Ganpati Bappa was welcomed this week with a lot of devotion, happiness and fanfare.  For Mumbaikars like me, Ganpati is a way of life.  But wait, not just in Mumbai, Ganpati is celebrated in many other states too.  In Mumbai, it’s not just that Maharashtrians welcome Ganpati at home, he is welcomed by people irrespective of religion and geographic borders!

My kids studied in a school where Bible hymns and verses were a part of their prayers.  Christmas brought in a new excitement every year and still does.  Decorating the Christmas tree, dressing up like Santa comes naturally and we love it.  Durga Puja pandals are brimming with excitement and are thronged not just by the Bengalis but people from all over.  Same with Diwali celebrations.  During Navratri, no one asks people their caste or religion as they perform the Garba.

That’s the beauty of Indian festivals.  It is not bound by a religious flavour, it is something that is enjoyed by everyone.  With more and more nuclear families and the fact that not every extended family can celebrate together, the children enjoy the festivities with their friends irrespective of the religion.  I see my children and their friends respecting and celebrating all the festivals.  Ours is a country which is full of diversity and festivals foster inclusiveness.

We shout out Ganpati Bappa Morya or Merry Christmas with all same level of excitement and happiness because every festival brings joy, teaches us to be inclusive, love everyone, be happy.


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