The city is already in high gear for the Ganesh festival beginning from Friday, August 29. We see Ganpati idols making their way to pandals all across the city. Frenzied preparations have begun in homes and shops as people get ready to welcome the elephant God.
Pandals, both big and small are in the last throes of preparation, for what is promising to be a hi-octane Ganeshotsav, especially before the assembly elections. Roads are already crowded with worshippers and revellers. Buses and trains going towards the Konkan are all booked with people leaving the city to mark Ganeshotsav in their hometowns.
While this festival is one of piety and joy, it also brings special challenges to Mumbai. The roads are already choked with additional traffic and idols going towards pandals, often resulting in snarls and bottlenecks.
The traffic police need cooperation from people. Motorists have to exercise patience and restraint. Absolute adherence to traffic rules will go a long way in maintaining discipline on roads that are even more crowded than usual.
Hampered by the mushrooming of small shops everywhere, pedestrians too must try their best not to jaywalk, sprint needlessly in front of cars and try to use facilities like pavements (if not encroached), subways and bridges when they can. Even a little bit of consideration can go a long way in easing tension on the roads.
Meanwhile, it is up to the authorities to remain extra vigilant as crowds gather outside pandals. Last year, this paper had carried a shameful photography of young men taking advantage of the Ganpati crowds and molesting a woman . Safety of women is a priority and they should be free to worship just like anybody else.
Avoid cutting queues, arguing with security personnel and maintain a cool head as far as possible, even if queues are impossibly long outside pandals. Every celebration is a two-way street — vigilance from authorities and cooperation from the people. Let us put the onus on ourselves this time.