Pic.: Neerja Panchal
For me, one of the most endearing sights about Ganeshotsav, here in our Mumbai city, is: the Pandals outside every building, every housing society. If there are five buildings in a Society, you may even see five Pandals! You, sometimes, get annoyed with such things… but, then, soon, you learn how to smile and go with the flow…
Hey, more the buzz, the merrier!
Some twenty-five years ago, when I first came to start my classes in the Society where my classes are located,, the young-ones (many of them were my students) living in the Society were very active in erecting the Pandal outside. It continued for many years… and, when those youngsters started working, got married etc, they found no time to concentrate on organizing the Gunshotsav. Suddenly, they stopped and we had no celebrations outside for a couple of years.
There was no second-line. The youngsters in those days had to groom their juniors so that when time came, the baton could be passed on easily…
Since last year, I am happy to see a new bunch of young residents, here, taking initiative, once again, to organize the festivities. Seventeen-year old Prateek is in the forefront. The other day, when he had come to collect my contribution, I told him two things.
One, they should groom their juniors as a second-line command. Trust them, involve them… train them… so that, when time comes, the juniors are ready to take on.
Two, they should show accountability. Prateek is a sweet, dependable young-kid, whom I have known well since he was born. So, even though I had no issue about how our youngsters used the money collected from the well-wishers, it was extremely important that they should learn accountability. That would help them win over the trust of all the residents and immensely help them to organize the events smoothly in the future.
Prateek had come with another young-man. Both of them got the two points I was trying to make…
I could have given my contribution and kept quiet. But, that would have been like feeding the youngsters for one day. Being a teacher, it came naturally to me to make young Prateek and his friend sit down and learn the two important lessons I wanted to teach them…
Yes, for thousands of years, the old Chinese proverb has been urging us to do the same:
“Give a fish to a man,
you feed him for a day;
teach him how to fish,
you will feed him for a life-time.”