Its time to welcome Bappa in our homes. The Ganesh Chaturthi festival begins Saturday (August 22) and will continue till September 1. However, this year's celebrations are marred by the rising cases of Coronavirus in the country. Though it will be a low key ceremony, celebs are not going to miss out on welcoming Bappa. Here's how they plan to celebrate the grand festival in COVID times.
Sharad Malhotra: Bringing Ganpati home is a tradition and I was sure that COVID, no-COVID, I won't be missing out this year too. This is my 10th year of bringing Bappa home, and I wanted it to be very special. I wanted it to be grand. But because of COVID we couldn't do much. Ripci and I are doing everything on our own and we will have friends over for puja and arti. I just pray to Bappa that we get rid of this Coronavirus and all the negativity soon, and our lives get back to normal.
Meera Deosthale: I made my own Ganpati this year. I got some organic clay and worked on my idol for three-four days. My fondest memories on Ganesh Chaturthi is all the pujas and pandals we used to visit as a kid and dancing in the visarjan. I can’t share what I will ask from Bappa for me, but I will surely ask him to take away all the vighna and bless all of us with health and prosperity.
Rishina Kandhari: We don't get Bappa home. So I will be visiting my bua and a couple of my close friends, who are taking care of all the safety norms and are keeping social-distancing in mind. Many of them are calling only two guests at a time on a set time, unlike calling everyone at once like every year. I pray to Bappa to bless us with good health and positivity and hope we get a Coronavirus free world soon.
Shashank Vyas: This year the festivities won't be that grand. And though I don't bring Bappa home, I try and visit my friends and seek blessings from their Bappa. This year I will miss visiting pandals too. Looking at the number of COVID cases I will try not to visit my friends too because I don't want to put others at risk. My fondest memory would when I went pandal hoping during my first year in Mumbai. I was tired by the end of the day, but it gave me such happiness and peace. I pray for a world free of COVID virus from Ganpati.
Vijayendra Kumeria: This time the festival will be celebrated differently, but I am sure Ganpati Bappa will take away our sorrows and all the negativity and bless us with joy. Like every year we will do puja and arti at home, the only difference will be that we won't be visiting friends and other pandals. We brought Bappa home for three consecutive years and the artis, bhog and the visarjan can’t be forgotten. This year I ask Bappa to make things normal, take away the negativity and bless everyone with good health.
Vikas Sethi: My fondest memory is Ganpati visarjan. I visit Marine Drive every year to witness this miracle. It's a beautiful sight. I am looking forward to Ganpati season irrespective of COVID, but obviously wth precautions and required pre-requisites. Stay safe and enjoy the Ganpati season!
Jhanvi Sethi: We bring Ganpati home every year with a big bang. Two years ago at visarjan we were all really happy and dancing away all night. It's my favorite memory of Ganpati. Besides this year is different. Let's stay safe and indoors. May Bappa bless all of us abundantly. Enjoy the Ganpati energy!
Mohit Malhotra: Yes it will be a low key ceremony this year. We brought Bappa home like every year, though the celebration won't be the same, we intend to continue with the ritual. This time also it will be a eco-friendly Ganpati. We will have friends and family over to celebrate it but with all the safety and precautions. My fondest memory of this festival is reuniting with friends and families, and ofcourse gorging on the yummiest sweets during this time. Chocolate modaks are my favourite. I will ask Bappa to set us free of this pandemic and to get our lives back to normal.
Pranitaa Pandit: This year Ganpati festival is going to be very low key and we will take a lot of precautions and care. It’s only going to be my family, no friends and relatives will be coming to meet our Bappa this year. Its special as we have a new addition to our family. We tried to make sweets at home and whatever we get from outside we are sanitising it. The decor is very basic and I am sure Bappa will understand the situation we are in and also that we have a new born baby at home so we can’t take any risk. When I moved to Mumbai I decided that the day I have my own house I will keep Ganpati at my place. After I got married the first Ganpati was very special. This year my wish is to make the world Covid free because I really want to get back to normal again. My fondest memory is being with Bappa 24*7, we don’t leave him alone even for a minute but the most special thing was that at night I used to sleep next to him so it was a very good and comfortable feeling, different from our daily life.
Khusbhoo Kamal: Every year I bring Ganpati at my house, but this year I am not bringing him because of this pandemic. I am going to miss Bappa at my house. I will keep the fasting and go to the temple. This year I will ask Bappa to end COVID and whatever lesson we have learnt during this pandemic, I am going to keep that in my mind and will apply it in the future too. My fondest memory is when my family and friends used to come over to my place and do arti.
Angad Hasija: I always keep Ganpati at my place. I remember when I first came to Bombay, I made a special prayer that when I will become famous and get good work, I will bring ganpati at my place. So touchwood that happened, and I have been bringing Bappa home for seven years now. This year I am not in Mumbai so it won’t be possible for me to bring Ganpati. I will pray Bappa to end this pandemic soon so that everyone gets back to their normal life.
Rohit Chaudhary: We started bringing Bappa since last year. Because of the pandemic we are in Delhi now, but we brought him here. We will invite friends in slots and will maintain proper social-distancing. This time we will do artificial visarjan and when it melts we will put it in Tulsi plant.
Shilpa Raizada: Ganpati festival is very important for me. I brought my first Ganpati home three years ago. At that time I was not having any work, I thought that bringing him can bring happiness and his blessings are so magical that in the first year itself I got 'Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai'. I have not got Ganpati home for the past two years and this year too I couldn't bring Ganpati home due to COVID. I wish that the pandemic gets over soon and our life goes back to normal and he takes away all the negativity from our lives.
Urvashi Upadhyay Sharle: This year Ganpati will be celebrated low key due to this pandemic and taking care of health is very necessary. Ganpati Bappa is Vighnaharata and we bring him home so that he can take away all our problems. Even Bappa doesn't want us to crowd a place and he understands the situation. My fondest memory is that during Ganpati, Gujaratis make ladoo and put a coin in one of them, it is believed that who ever gets it has Bappas blessings. This year I wish Bappa to make the world Corona free.
Aarvika Gupta: Ganpati festival is very special and in Mumbai it is celebrated with a different level of energy. So every year I visit Siddhivinayak and Lalbaug and other pandals. We bring Ganpati at our place for 11 days, we do bhajan and arti. This year due to the lockdown guests won’t be coming at my place. I have made my own Ganpati so it will eco-friendly and we won't have to go any where for visarjan. The best part of the festival is the moment Bappa steps in our home the whole vibe changes and there is something magical in the vibe. I wish Bappa to give strength to everyone and always keep them motivated and also to end Corona.
Rajit Dev: I love Ganpati festival. My love for dancing started when there use to be events during Ganpati near my house in Cholegaon Thakurli (Gaodevi mandir). I’ve grown up dancing in that mandap and used to get money as appreciation from different people. I realised that a prize like a trophy would matter more than money to an artist so I suggested the organising committee to give trophy or any gift to all the kids who participated and they agreed. I miss those days. I always wanted to keep Ganpati at my house. I prayed to Bappa that I will bring him once I buy my own house. So that happened and I brought him home for seven years. But two years ago my parents moved back to Kerala and I live alone in Mumbai, so because of my work commitments it became difficult as there are a lot of religious aspects that needs to be taken care of and not being home was a major problem. I miss getting Bappa home. Unfortunately this year started with a lot of negativity, so I pray to Bappa, the Vighnaharata, to please bring back peace and love and take away all the negativity and bad energy of 2020 and bring our lives back to normal.
Dhruvee Haldankar- Every year Bappa's homecoming brings happiness in my family. We celebrate it with great enthusiasm and goodwill. I am a Maharashtrian and living in Mumbai I witness the grand celebration every year. This year there won't to be any dhol or nagada for the festival, but I will pray with complete devotion and will ask Ganesh Ji for the betterment of the world, for humanity and for the wellbeing of my most dear ones.
Mou Das: 2019 was my first year in Mumbai and I had welcomed Ganpati Bappa in my house and had decorated the house and tried my best to follow all the rituals for it's staphana. We had enjoyed those one and half days while Bappa was blessing us. Unfortunately, this year due to COVID I am stuck at my native place and will not be present in Mumbai to celebrate the festival. However, I will try my best to match up the same at my hometown. This is my 10th year of getting Bappa home. Every year is special but my fondest one has to be last year’s as it was my first time in Mumbai, it was like one long wish which got fulfilled. I pray that Bappa takes away the miseries and depressions spread all around due to this pandemic.