As we all know the condition of our water bodies when thousands of POP (Plaster of Paris) idols people put in them after Ganesh Chaturthi festivities. Now would be a great time for us to try and change things and celebrate our festivals in a more environmentally friendly way. Thus, eco-friendly Ganesha.
We have been making eco-friendly Ganesha for the last 21 years. I turned 18 this year so that means my parents have been doing it since before I was born. I have seen so many eco-friendly Ganesha being made at our home since I was a little child.
Ganesh Chaturthi is my favourite festival as me and my brother Renesh along with my parents make the Ganesha idol, do the decorations.
Traditionally on the day of Ganesh Chaturthi, a clay idol of Ganesha is installed and offered prayers as done at my Nanaji’s place is immersed in a nearby waterbody bidding farewell to Lord Ganesha after the festivities.
But modernisation has led to the use of materials like POP to make the idols which are painted in bright chemical-based colours which polluted our rivers and lakes causing irreversible damage.
Both my parents being artists they began exploring other eco-friendly materials to make the Ganesha idol instead of using clay, keeping in mind the tradition and at the same time satisfying creative pursuit.
I and my brother have been a part of the ideation and making the idol since the time I can remember. So far, we have made Ganesha from ragi laddu, puffed rice (mamra) laddu, clay, vegetables, fruits, bread, cream rolls and candies, newspaper etc.
For Visarjan we either dip our Ganesha in a bucket or just sprinkle water over it for the symbolic importance and then make it into prasad. Like the times we had things like bread, cakes and cream rolls, the Ganesha became prasad after Visarjan.
For vegetables, after immersing in a bucket, we use the vegetables to cook a prasad dish. This year I made origami Ganesha from recycled handmade paper.
Origami craft always interested me, and I found it a little challenging to make the Ganesha using recycled handmade paper as it is thicker than the origami paper. But I wanted my Ganesha to be as eco-friendly as possible. That’s why I used recycled paper also laying emphasis on the importance of recycling and reusing.
I had been inclined towards art and craft since childhood, the art room of my school being my favourite place. My art teachers played a very important role in my life.
Manjari Lakhum ma’am gave me the opportunity to explore my creativity and participate in all the school art activities. And Frenali Patel ma’am helped me develop my fine skills and strive towards perfection.
I had received many awards in drawing and painting both at the national and international levels. Some awards which I would like to mention are:
- Finalist in the International Festival under the auspice of UNESCO ‘Children is painting the world. Asia 2015-16’
- Gold medal in 8th Biennial International Children’s and Young Adults Art Competition 2016, Tehran
- Gujarat State Lalitkala Academy Award 2017 in students’ classes 6-10 category
- First Prize in ‘Rang Amaizi’ 2018 Unique wall painting competition by the NSS unit of LD College of Engineering
- First Award in ‘Festivals in Achroma’ National level children online painting competition 2020 organised by Basoli Group, Nagpur
Presently, I am pursuing B.Des-Industrial Design, my first year at Nirma University Ahmedabad. I aspire to become a product designer and design products for a sustainable tomorrow.