Worried that you will binge on sweets this festive season? A Ganesh mandal in Andheri has taken on the mantle of making sure devotees stay healthy, by asking them to ‘donate’ their calories by working out on a treadmill. The Suresh Nagar Mitra Mandal, near the Regional Transport Office in Four Bungalows, is spreading the message of ‘Healthcha Shri Ganesha’ (Start taking care of your health from now).
You can pray to Lord Ganesha and check your weight at the same time at Suresh Nagar Mitra Mandal in Four Bungalows, Andheri (West). Pics/Pradeep Dhivar
At the spot where devotees stand and pray to the idol, the mandal has placed a weighing scale. One has to stand on the scale and pray to the Lord; in the process, if you find your weight is a tad too much, you can work out on the treadmill placed adjacent to the weighing machine and ‘donate’ your calories. After taking the lord’s blessings, devotees are given the prasad a healthy serving of sprouts.
If you find you’ve put on weight, you can work out at the treadmill there. Constable Tanaji Sawant from Amboli police station is seen using it in this photo
The idol itself has six-pack abs and the priest conducting the daily rituals is fit. The 14-foot-high idol was sculpted at a Parel workshop by sculptor Ashok Mhatre. The mandal has also appointed a nutritionist, who will be present on the weekends to offer free diet advice to devotees. One can also vow to rid oneself of unhealthy habits like consumption of tobacco, junk food, etc.
During the immersion, the mandal will also give out pedometers to 100-odd members and volunteers. These devices will measure the number of calories burnt while dancing in the procession. Shiva Yallapa, the vice-president of the mandal, told mid-day, “We had already procured the idol with six-packs to spread the message of health, when advertising agency DDB Mudra approached us.
These concepts were then developed into the big idea: ‘Healthcha Shri Ganesha’, a title which the agency owns, but is applied to our mandal this time.” A client of the agency is sponsoring the activity. “In our daily routine, we tend to neglect exercise. But you can’t lie when you’re in front of Ganpati. Hence, we thought this is a good way of promoting healthy living,” he continued.
The one-of-a-kind message is hitting home, with almost a thousand people having offered their extra calories to the elephant god. One of them was Tanaji Sawant, a constable from nearby Amboli police station. He said, “This is a very interesting way of promoting health. We don’t get time to work out; coming here, we can show our devotion and also exercise in the process.”
Chandra Gopalakrishnan, another devotee, added, “I live nearby and heard of this pandal from my neighbours. I weighed myself and prayed to god to help me stay healthy.” The mandal, which is now 23 years old, had raised its voice against female foeticide last year.