A workshop for kids in Mumbai teaches the art of making organic Ganpatis
You cannot be dubbed a Mumbaikar if you haven't noticed the various make-shift shops that spring up months before Ganesh Chaturthi. Here, Ganpati statues wait in rows, for the last lick of paint
Tree idol making workshop, BDD Chawl
You cannot be dubbed a Mumbaikar if you haven't noticed the various make-shift shops that spring up months before Ganesh Chaturthi. Here, Ganpati statues wait in rows, for the last lick of paint. A few years ago I took my kids - Vani, now 12 years, and Ammol, 10 - to a tiny place in Chimbai where our family bought a Ganpati idol. It was an experience to watch artisans work on idols. This year, it has been the tree Ganesha that everyone seems to be talking about.
Kids trying out the mould at the sworkshop. Pics/Datta Kumbhar
I spotted it on Facebook recently. But Dattadri Kothur says that the concept began in 2015. Every visarjan, Kothur would go to Chowpatty to immerse his idol and be disheartened to see the broken murtis and POP strewn on the beach. A commercial artist who worked in an ad agency, Kothur has been making Ganesha idols for his home for the last 15 years. This year, thanks to the visibility for his cause through social media, his venture captured the imagination of many. Kothur quit his job and soon, he and his team were swamped with orders from and around Mumbai.
Kothur created the tree Ganesha, where the idol can be watered and dissolved into pots instead of immersing in the sea. Seeds that were planted into the idol, when watered would sprout and transform into the miracle of nature.
We reach BDD chawl one afternoon and it's hard to miss the make-shift shack sitting between two trees that has been put up next to a maidan. Inside are several rows of Ganesha idols in three sizes. Each idol - made from red soil collected from the potters at Kumbharwada, Dharavi - is a beauty. The eyes and tusks are the only bits that are coloured. The rest of the statue is left as is.
In a bid to convert as many Mumbaikars into making organic Ganpatis, Kothur and his small team have been holding workshops for kids. In the two-hour session, each child is shown how to stuff wet clay into the mould designed by Kothur. The hollow statue is joined, and then, depending on the size, it takes three days to two weeks to dry. The dry hollowed Ganpati is then placed in a large pot that has been filled with manure. As the festival nears, Kothur stops taking orders.
Vani and Ammol watch as a batch is readied. The finishing touches are given to the idols, by etching the lines on the crown and removing excess clay. Other members are working on fully dried statues, by painting the eyes and tusk of the elephant god. There are accidents too; we spot one where Ganesha's crown is broken. But since it's made of clay, it can be repaired.
Each finished batch is placed in a corrugated cardboard box that includes a mud-fertiliser mix, ziplock packets of seeds and, of course, the Ganesha idol, ready for his journey to a home.
Where: BDD chawl No 94, 86, opposite DN Wakrikar Marg, Ambedkar Nagar Vasi Naka, Worli.
Best for: Girls and boys from five years upwards
How to reach: BEST buses ply to this area. Nearest railway station is Elphinstone Road (Western).
Timings: All day
Budget: Not applicable
Food: Not available. Carry
Water: Not available. Carry
Rest Room facilities: No
Where else to go: Kamala Mills for its many entertainment and play zone areas
Parent Poll: Educational. Interesting how the space is treated as a place of worship
Kids' Poll: Loved watching the making of Ganeshas
What's Good: Hands-on experience
What's Not So Good: Can't think of any
Watch Video: A Dangerous Phenomenon: The Blue Whale Suicide Challenge !
Download the new mid-day android app to get updates on all the latest and trending stories on the go https://goo.gl/8Xlcvr