The landlord of the house where we are staying proudly leads us up a narrow stairway, past the two floors. The entire house is strewn with furniture of the kind we would exhibit with a view that generates a sense of envy in our neighbours. The walls are a veritable gallery of beautiful paintings and exquisite artifacts.
When I said Bye to you in my last post, I was flying to Turkey. And Hello from Malaysia now?
Well, the week long trip to Turkey has ended and I am in Malaysia right now. 😀
It so happened that I, along with a senior journalist from Delhi, was chosen from India to cover the Ramadan festival in Malaysia. The news came to me just 2 days before I flew to Turkey ! I was to fly out on the same day I would have returned from Turkey.
I live in Mumbai and yet this was my first time at KGAF (Kala Ghoda Arts Festival). Call it my bad luck, I was always out of town at this time of the year.
I used to wonder what is so fascinating about this festival that people come here from other parts of India to attend it and I haven’t done so! Thankfully, I now know the reason.
This 9 day art festival is held every year in Mumbai with various themes and interpretations with representation of social issues, the state of our country what it is today. Many artists show their creativity through their work. Not only this, the sub-festivals feature the visual arts, dance, music, theatre, cinema, literature, lectures, seminars and workshops, heritage walks and special events for children as well. Various NGOs also have their stalls selling their products.
Have you heard of shopping festivals around the world? I am sure you would have heard of Dubai shopping festival or Istanbul shopping festival which attract thousands of tourists every year.
When I reached Malaysia a few days back, I was so happy to come here now. Like any other international shopping festivals, Malaysia also has one. It starts in late November and goes on till 31st December or 1st week of January. What more! The festival is not restricted to one city or town… it is spread across every single inch of land of this beautiful country!
The Malaysian shopping festival is a very popular fair all round the world among the international tourists and they throng it during the shopping festival.
As I walk towards the camel fair ground, I have a preconceived image of the fair in the back of my mind. From what I have seen in the photos till now, visit to Pushkar is a very colorful atmosphere with decorated camels on sand dunes, tourists galore, stalls and so on. The shops are open on both sides of this narrow road. It is around eleven in the morning and there is no rush to lure the tourists. Also, there is no sign of sand anywhere. Am I mistaken?
At a distance I see a Ferris wheel being fixed up. Oh that’s the ground! I run towards it. I hear some strange grunting sounds. Do camels sound so? I am excited. With rucksack, camera and water bottle I go in the direction where camels are parked.
My first impression on seeing the camels is a disappointment. There is only one color and different shades of it in the vicinity. Brown. There are more camels than men in this huge ground. The whole atmosphere is a little languid. Under the scorching sun I see people lazing on string cots or near their carts which serve as their temporary homes.
And so we bade farewell to our Lord Ganesha. The Elephant God was worshipped for ten days amidst fanfare and now it was time to say goodbye.
Reverberating “Ganapati Bappa Morya ! Pudchya Varshi Laukar Yaa!”, requesting Him to come fast next year, people carried Him to the respective immersion place, whether it was a small pond or a lake or the Arabian sea !
They carried Him on their heads, in their laps or in large trucks, the spirit of this festival remained high. It didn’t make any difference whether they were just two or a large group; whether they were Hindu, Muslim or Sikhs. Everybody rejoiced.
I have tried to catch the mood in my camera. There are many, many photos which I’ll upload soon in my photo gallery.
People of Indian origin make 3rd largest group in Malaysia. Most of them are Tamil speaking. No wonder Malaysia celebrates Pongal, Thai Pusam, Deepawali and other Indian festivals with same zeal as it celebrates other festivals.
Saw this Rangoli at the entrance of Petronas, Kuala Lumpur.
Come Ganesh Chaturthi and we have Lord Ganesha in any form, in everything. Or, anything can be made into Lord Ganesha.
Before the fever of Ganesh Utsav subsides I must publish these photos, on request of Samaresh, a fellow traveller. I had posted one of the photos on Facebook and he wished to see some more.
The idol is made of biscuits.
Lord Ganesha in biscuits.
Lighting was such that it was difficult to take a good shot. Some close ups ….