For every person living in Maharashtra, the festival of Ganesh Chaturthi is almost always the most exciting part of the year. The 10-14 days of festivities in honour of the elephant-god Ganesh/Ganapati/Vinayaka/Ekadanta is the source of rejoicing in many households. Things were no different in MUWCI. The entire duration of the festival was marked by the placement of the Ganesh idol behind the cafeteria and the daily Aarti pujas (prayers) at 06:35 pm which were attended by many students, faculty and staff, regardless of their faith. However, the most memorable part of the festivities was the final day, the day of the immersion.
On 22 September the idol was to be immersed so the god could go back to his abode at the end of the festivities. A very huge section of the school congregated next to the idol in the afternoon to escort it to the nearby Mulshi river, by the village of Khubavali, to immerse it. The idol was placed on a trailer being pulled by a tractor along with huge speakers which continuously played music as we went down from the college to the village. The students, faculty and staff danced incessantly to this music and also threw symbolic pink gulaal (powder) at each other. Upon reaching the village, we joined the villagers in the final prayer, and then proceeded to the river. After the immersion of the idol, many of the students swam in the river, an experience in itself.
For all of the students, Ganesh Chaturthi was an opportunity to learn about Maharashtran traditions while enjoying and revelling in local customs.