2013 Ganesh Chaturthi Blessings

by Sharell शारेल on September 10, 2013

in Festivals in India

Post image for 2013 Ganesh Chaturthi Blessings

Lord Ganpatti joined us once again yesterday, with the commencement of the annual Ganesh Festival. My building society has made a big effort with its festival program this year. As well as the evening aarti, there’s a dance performance, fashion show, and bhajans on different nights.

Although I feel most connected to Hindu Goddess is Saraswati (no surprises there, since learning and creativity are a focus for me), I love Ganesh festival celebrations and the energy that’s present.

Ganesha is popularly worshiped to remove obstacles, support new beginnings, and achieve prosperity — not just material prosperity but spiritual prosperity too. In fact, he’s a very versatile god! Siddhi, one of his wives, possess great spiritual power. Hence, worshiping Lord Ganesha is believed to be the best way to attain spiritual strength and insight. His other wife, Buddhi, is associated with wisdom and intelligence. Wielding an axe in his upper left hand, Lord Ganesha is also able to help us conquer our emotions and cut the chord to worldly attachments. Destroying selfishness, pride and ego are his specialties as well. And, importantly, he encourages us to view the world as an abundant place, full of potential.

Way before I moved to India I bought a beautiful book called Indian Wisdom 365 Days. Today, I read through it and found these quotes which feel inspiring and meaningful to me for this festival, which celebrates the birthday of Lord Ganesh.

Life is like a garden. Quite normally, leaves wither and flowers fade.
Only if we clear the decay of the past
then and there can we really enjoy the beauty of the new leaves and flowers.
Likewise, we must clear the murkiness of past bad experiences from our minds.
Life is remembrance in forgetfulness.
Forgive what ought to be forgiven; forget what ought to be forgotten.
Let us embrace life with renewed vigour…
We should be able to face every moment of life with renewed expectation, like a freshly blossomed flower.

~ Mata Amritanandamayi (better known as Amma).

What we are about to undertake is an expedition together, a journey of discovery
into the most secret recesses of our consciousness.
And for such an adventure we must travel light, we cannot burden ourselves
with opinions, prejudices, conclusions that is, with all the baggage we have collected
over the past two thousand years or more. Forget everything you know about yourself,
forget everything that you have thought about yourself,
we are going to set off as if we know nothing.

~ Krishnamurti.

Blessings to everyone!

Pandit lighting the lamp.

Pandit lighting the lamp.



Pandit and Ganpatti.

Pandit and Ganpatti.

Big and small Ganpatti.

Big and small Ganpatti.

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© Copyright 2013 Sharell शारेल, Diary of a White Indian Housewife 2008-2014. All Rights Reserved. Do not copy and reproduce text or images without permission.

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{ 50 comments… read them below or add one }

ChrisH September 10, 2013 at 7:26 pm

I must say I was thinking that I find those idols of Ganesh creepy as hell, but thinking again and comparing them to the the idols of a half-dead dude nailed to a cross we have over here, they’re really quite endearing!

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Sharell शारेल September 11, 2013 at 9:37 am

Personally, I find Jesus nailed to the cross really upsetting. Many Hindu Gods and Goddesses are “odd” looking, but they become less so once you get to know them and understand what their various bits represent. :-)

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ASG September 11, 2013 at 12:11 pm

Hi Sharrel,

Happy Ganesh Chaturthi to you and family. I think Hindus establish a personal relationship with gods. They are treated like guests and then send off with tears. They are taken care off like humans. I feel the same during Durga Pooja, that Goddess Durga with her ten hands, is protecting for the entire duration of the pooja. I guess my Marathi friends may feel the same about Ganapati. It never feels good when these beautiful idols are immersed, it is like losing a near and dear one. There is also something about prasad, even ordinary food tastes so good. I thing the collective devotion of people transforms everything.

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mandeep September 11, 2013 at 3:09 pm

say whatever you want for your religion, but the comments by chrisH above are blasphemy for hindu religious views.

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Gitanjali Singhal October 1, 2013 at 4:32 pm

There is no such thing as blasphemy in Hinduism. We modern Indians need to learn to get a little less uptight about our religion and culture, incorporate the best of it into our lives, recognise the faults for what they are alter our culture with a sense of humour and recognition of what is good in other cultures.

I keep hearing about how great our civilization is – well so is every other civilization great. FOr example, peoples in the Americas knew about zero before we did. It is just that the knowledge was lost with the conquest by Europeans.

This time I did not give any money to any of the Ganesh pandals in my area because they all pollute the water bodies. If anyone is willing to make a plain clay one with pollution free paints, I would not mind. I might get lynched in Mumbai for talking like this – that’s what I mean – we all need to get less uptight about our religion/culture.

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Manny October 3, 2013 at 3:22 am

There may not be an “official” or “institutional” blasphamy.. but people have a right to get offended and have a right to voice their outrage as much as you think you have a right to give offense.

The problem with the “sicu-uklar” liberal Hindu is, he/she feels Hindus should simply shut up and take it without speaking up or shopw their outrage when others offend them and their religion.

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sentu October 20, 2013 at 10:04 pm

Words of an atheist? Well answer me these questions chris… we know everything has an end but tell me where does the universe end? It is said that our universe was created by a “big bang”, what was there before the big bang? Try to search answers to these questions but dont try too hard my friend, you will go crazy like one of my cousin brother. Dude whenever i asked these questions i kind of go crazy not able to find the answers and this is where God actually appears and i kind of find peace in mind even though i dont still have the answers to those questions.

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John K V September 11, 2013 at 7:01 am

This festival causes such public nuisance and pollution in Mumbai, I hated the season while living in Mumbai. People sing bhajans in trains, use loud speakers within apartment complexes, much to the annoyance of non observant folks, sick and elderly. India should lean to pray in private and respect others privacy.

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Sharell शारेल September 11, 2013 at 9:35 am

It’s no where near as bad as Diwali, thankfully, which I have come to dread. People do need to be more conscious of noise pollution in general.

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Raj September 16, 2013 at 2:14 pm

John K V September 11, 2013 at 7:01 am
India should lean to pray in private and respect others privacy.

The concept of prayer/praying in India is different from the west and I am very happy about it. Most of the festivals in India are communal i.e. they are celebrated as a community and that involves mass prayers, bhajans, songs, claps, music and even dance. If you take out those essential elements of festivals, the entire essence of Indian festivals is lost. I am not in favour of excess noise/pollution but at the same time I can never imagine Janmashtami or Diwali or Holi or Dussehra or Ganesh or Sankranti or Eid festivals celebrated quietly like silent drones in prayer mode. And Indian festivals are not all about prayer and silent contemplation but family gatherings, festivities, fun and food as well.

And Diwali is the king of Indian festivals and the most celebrated of all. The noise and pollution levels need to be controlled by using eco friendly fire crackers(they are available in India but not many are aware of them due to lack of publicity) but a completely silent diwali is unimaginable!

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AmreekanDesi September 20, 2013 at 11:24 am

A quiet Diwali? Who would want one?

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Arti September 11, 2013 at 12:15 pm

Beautiful captures Sharell.
Loved those quotes that you have shared :)
Wish you and your family a very Happy Ganesha Chaturthi :)

My Yatra Diary…

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Ravindran Nair September 11, 2013 at 2:30 pm

I remember back in Kerala, when I was in primary school, a girl near me drew Ganpati in a santa Claus. Me, trying to be snobby, told that Ganpati was a Hindu god and Santa was a christian concept (I was a child alright!). The girl told me that the two were rotund jolly men who provides happiness to a large number of people.

Looking back on it, her drawing of Ganpati in a snata claus outfit was adorable.

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Jill September 11, 2013 at 4:11 pm

Happy Ganesh Chaturthi!
I suppose after living here for a long time my awe will wear off, but it being my first year here right now, I am like a little kid, running to the balcony every time I hear the drums, the bhajans, the fireworks, I’m content to spend my day just watching everyone and enjoying the celebrations and joy being spread. I constantly want to be outside taking pictures and soaking it all in!
Our building society is one of those utilizing a loud speaker and I can see how it can be disturbing to others, but if it is, I don’t think anyone is complaining. In fact, most people traveling on our road don’t even turn their heads at the sound, it feels like most are just accustom to the noise. But I am finding the gentle music and waft of incense through my apartment throughout the day absolutely lovely and relaxing…I think I will miss it when the festival is over. :-(

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Manny September 11, 2013 at 11:01 pm

When I was a kid I often travelled to my grand parents homestead in a small village in Kanyakumari.

Opposite the homestead right in front is a temple and another temple down the road as well. There was a speaker in that temple often blaring music so loud that it used to annoy the hell out of me…when I used to sleep upstaris and the window the room is right in front facing that speaker.

I used to take a BB gun and shoot that dang thing… I put so many holes in it..and told my uncle what I did to reduce the noise pollution in that village.. He was tad miffed cause he was the one who paid for that speaker in the first place.

Go figure! :P

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Kannan September 26, 2013 at 8:14 pm

Haha…the loud speakers annoy me a lot. I was visiting my folks in Bangalore last year and it happened to coincide with the navaratri festival. The local temple in the area thought it would be a great idea (not!) to have people take turns to sing devotional songs 24/7 for 9 days straight and the live singers were broadcasted to the whole area with really loud speakers. It annoyed the hell out of me for the first few days, and i wanted to go and scream in the loudspeaker that they dont need to make all this noise to communicate with God. But I got used to it and learned to ignore it after 4 days of nonstop song and music :)

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Ved September 11, 2013 at 5:56 pm

Hindu festival’s chaos, seem like seasonal light burners, to whom hindu people are drawn get their life in congestion ,injured or died with it as if they were insects and yet knowbody knows for what cause or purpose? But at an another moment i suddenly unravel some bright side of irrational obscure philosophy of human intellect.so i personally do feel very sad when such qualities of tradition intermingle and collide with more modern industrial society creates disgust and annoys sentiments of people from different parts of the world and eventually at some occassion gone to become partially or fully dysfunction in atleast consideration.

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Ramanan September 11, 2013 at 7:11 pm

You are officially 110% a desi now. Congratulations.

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Prasad Np September 11, 2013 at 7:29 pm

It is tough to not to fall for the silent charms of Lambodar the remover of obstacles, who is the first one to be remembered for anything auspicious. Beautiful post…

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Eli September 12, 2013 at 8:49 am

Nice pictures – I really like the atmosphere of the festival too:-) And thanks for sharing the quotes from the book – beautiful:-)

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A. Madhavan September 13, 2013 at 1:12 am

Happy Ganesh Chaturthi Sharell! Wishing you a wonderful prosperous year.
I feel connected most to Ganesh out of all the deities. For some reason, this year’s Ganesh Chaturthi affected me a lot. I felt so enlightened and so at peace with myself.
You’re so lucky you’re in Mumbai to celebrate it! I’ve heard that Maharashtra has the largest Ganesh celebrations, the pics are beautiful you posted. Loved them!

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Shannon September 14, 2013 at 9:04 am

I know you’ve mentioned before you don’t want to talk about politics/current events, but in the light of the latest rape/murder (and the men just being sentenced to death), I’m wondering if you’d be willing to talk about safety in India. I’m interested in hearing about how safe you feel personally. Can you go everywhere by yourself? Do you find yourself avoiding certain things/areas in the city? Certain activities?

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Sharell शारेल September 14, 2013 at 9:34 am

Hi Shannon, it’s hard to be definitive about safety because it varies greatly depending on the place. In Mumbai, I travel alone late at night (in auto rickshaws) and feel safe. I’ve never felt the need to be accompanied by anyone anywhere, day or night. That said, I doubt I’d want to do the same in Delhi — or quite a few other places in India. There are also two issues in India as I see it 1) safety and 2) feeling uncomfortable. I don’t feel unsafe very often because I can take care of myself pretty well physically, HOWEVER, I often feel uncomfortable because of harassment — whether it’s lewd comments, lustful stares, being photographed by gangs of guys with phone cameras. Gangs of guys commonly hang around tourist attractions and harass women. So, it’s feeling uncomfortable that’s my biggest issue in India. In general, misbehaving men will back away quickly when confronted, as they don’t expect it from a woman and they take advantage of a women feeling powerless. Of course, there are exceptions though — such as the rape incidents. Those are different, isolated, situations though. (Ones which being accompanied by a male has not prevented the crime from occurring).

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ASG September 15, 2013 at 12:37 pm

Hi Sharrel,

I think in this country we keep on mixing issues and are unable to arrive at a conclusion. There are desolate places, poorly lit streets etc., which require proper infrastructure and policing to make them safe. The point is about ensuring the safety of every citizen, if it comes from the point of view of a women, and quickly, so be it. Change in the mindset is necessary, but many things can be improved by proper administration. Unless that happens, I guess common sense should be the guiding factor.

Then comes the debate about what a women should or should not wear. A few years ago, there was fashion of low waist jeans, which practically displayed everything which should have been concealed by a girl at the slightest movement. This was accompanied by tops that just do not reach the waist. It was most vulgar to say the least. Today we have dresses which display colourful bra straps of girls. If I call this vulgar/obscene according to my sensibilities, am I wrong? Then there is vulgarity in films and advertisements which passes off as ‘modernity’. No one doubts the need to gender sensitize the men and this is not about controlling of women as it is made out to be. Every society has certain standards of decency, what is vulgar, essentially remains vulgar. Do we have to be defensive about our cultural standards? if someone states the obvious, he is branded as ‘conservative’, ‘fundamentalist’ etc. Is our culture so weak? If superstition, misogyny and fundamentalism is condemn able then why is drugs, alcoholism and other such deviant behavior hailed as high culture. Our vision is blurred by our biases. We need to set our moral compass right which is going haywire. Sharell, what do you think about this. I would love to know you views.

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C September 19, 2013 at 7:20 pm

I’ve been listening to the Ganpati music from my Gujrati apartment all week. Certainly it was a wonderful festival and quite lively here. In Kachchh I personally felt very safe during the festivities, but it’s all a matter of location and how one holds themselves!

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Abhi September 24, 2013 at 1:50 pm

Beautiful post Sharell. Incidentally, around New Delhi and MP Shri Ganesh’s wives are called Riddhi and Siddhi. I suppose Riddhi is one of the synonyms of Buddhi though I’ll have to ask a Sanskrit scholar to be sure.

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Kannan September 26, 2013 at 8:04 pm

Nice pics Sharell. Although I like the looks of the colorful Ganesha idols in mumbai, I much prefer the raw clay (not baked)idols of Ganesha popular in (or at least used to be ) and other south Indian cities. The raw clay idols dissolve in water easily and have no chemicals unlike the colored idols. Unfortunately the non-ecofriendly version of idols seems to be getting more and more popular and spreading out of Mumbai thanks to bollywood that’s doing a good job of glamorizing the colorful idol in their movies. I urge my fellow indians to go back to using traditional raw clay ganeshas. This might be difficult in Mumbai as they seem to have taken the non Eco friendly approach for quite a few decades and there might be opposition from businesses. However other Indian cities and villages who have been long using raw clay images for visarjan should continue to do that instead of this new fad for chemical filled non-Ecofriendly idols. When people refuse to buy Ganesha idols that arent made of raw clay , businesses will be forced to change. you can easily make your own if it’s not an option in your city; most traditional people do that anyway. Although it may not look as pretty, it’s the devotion and symbolism that counts.
http://www.hindu.com/2009/08/06/stories/2009080659930300.htm

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Kannan September 26, 2013 at 8:45 pm

Here’s a good article on how to make Ganesha idols from mud or soil. Last I remember Ganesha idols made of were sold by local artisans in chennai for as little as Rs.10 (but that was over 10 years ago). It’s inexpensive and ecofriendly

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.568599976509475.1073741830.379081965461278&type=3

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nahinahi September 29, 2013 at 11:05 pm

Do u understand Hindi songs?

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Sharell शारेल September 30, 2013 at 10:13 am

I understand that most of them are about love and romance, and that’s enough. :-)

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ASG September 30, 2013 at 12:35 pm

Hi Sharrel,

You should listen to the bollywood music of 60s and 70s. It was the golden age of romantic songs. Nothing beats old songs. I bet your husband has remixed some of them too. This a few of all time favourites.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vo1MykK4u8U

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=heXQRxM2Gro

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8fMHFLD6NFU

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m8cHqAffwIE

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rakesh October 15, 2013 at 8:45 am

while going through your experiences about INDIA a happiness u delivered via photographs and by your inner words, it expresses everything .
i,myself is not a expressive person but wonder how simply and deeply you have expressed them,
dont know..why but wanted say you sorry for whatever bad experiences you had ..

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Sharell शारेल October 15, 2013 at 1:08 pm

Thank you, Rakesh, for your kind words. Wishing you the best.

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sentu October 20, 2013 at 10:58 pm

Hi Sharell!!
Reading your blog for the first time. Very impressive i must say. Lot of interactions on various interesting topics. Mrs. Sharell you seem to know many things about India and i can see you’re loving it very much here, thats fascinating. Hell i am an Indian and i am not aware of many things here *_* what a shame!!
I have observed that foreigners tend to know India more deeply than Her own people. Its like outsiders have a better view of India, like watching from a watch tower or something, you know what i mean. Whereas we insiders are all too busy with our own messy bits of life that we dont have the time to appreciate the beauty and actually condemn the ugly things in our society.
Looking forward to read more of you.
Alas!! Thank you so much Sharell for sharing the beauty of India through your lenses and your words of wisdom. Have a meaningful and joyous journey of LIFE!!! *_*

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Sharell शारेल October 26, 2013 at 1:18 pm

Thank you so much sentu. Yes, I agree with you. I think the interest in India that foreigners have encourages them to explore and learn (that’s certainly the case for me). Whereas, for many Indians, it’s routine and life. I’m glad that my knowledge and love for India shines through!

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Mahesh October 23, 2013 at 3:18 pm

and when is next blog?

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Ravi October 24, 2013 at 2:14 am

Sharell, missing your posts thoroughly, hope you are alright

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Sharell शारेल October 26, 2013 at 1:10 pm

So sorry, I’m happily busy travelling all over India (just got back from Kashmir) and haven’t been inspired to write much. Hopefully, that will change soon! Thanks for your concern about me. :-)

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Coco October 25, 2013 at 11:02 pm

This was a great introduction to Ganpati. There is a Ganesh Mandir directly below my apartment and I was greeted by Puja every evening on my return from work. So nice to read about a fellow expat experience.

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Dinesh November 3, 2013 at 1:44 am

sorry for being off the topic but couldn’t find proper space to write.
Dear Sharell & family and all blog readers & respective families, wish you all a very happy, prosperous and safe diwali.

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Sharell शारेल November 4, 2013 at 9:32 pm

Thanks so much, and best wishes to you and your loved ones. :-)

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Ravi November 5, 2013 at 9:30 pm

Not Fair, Not Fair Sharrell! You got us addicted the blog and got us inspired. What can we do now to inspire you and write more???

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Abhishek November 17, 2013 at 6:34 pm

long time no see…. :(

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Neel Aryan December 10, 2013 at 9:32 pm

Hi Sharell, You have a great blog here. Your unbiased treatment of issues encountered by a foreigner in India is refreshing. India ….what can i say.. is one big experience…a melting pot in every sense. I took the opposite route to you and landed in aus 8 years ago. I adapt well and have a very good life here both professionally and personally…the suits nd share options and all the trimmings. Though I tick all the boxes and appear outwardly happy, there has been a void gnawing at me for a few years now. … India. I’m now in the process of a course correction to be home-bound. The longer I stay away from her the more the urge to head back home!! – India
cheers for the blog.

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Sri December 10, 2013 at 9:35 pm

Hi Sharell
The pic of yourself and your husband looked familiar. I remember watching the House Hunters episode of you guys and wondering how you are going to survive in pyaara Desh!!! Good to know you are hanging in there and thriving!! Rock On, sistah!

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Sangya December 14, 2013 at 8:18 am

Hi Sharell!!
I am eagerly waiting for your next blog. In fact i check it almost everyday. I am a big fan of the way you project India. Hope your next post comes soon. Take care.

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Jyoti Sharma February 26, 2014 at 10:50 am

The Lord Ganesha aarti and worshiping images are nice. Keep writing and posting images.

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Dinesh April 4, 2014 at 11:14 am

hii sharell..
Sorry to write it here but unfortunately my laptop was stolen from my room on day before yesterday. All documents regarding laptop (bill etc.) were in laptop bag. So i am unable to get its ip adress. I have made all my comments in this blog sites using my laptop and this moblie phone by which i am commenting this. I think you have gotten ip adress of my laptop when i made any comment using my laptop. If so, please tell me. I will be very thankful to you. Reply as per you convenience here or at my mail id.

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Sharell शारेल April 8, 2014 at 1:37 pm

Hi Dinesh, so sorry to hear about the theft. I’ve had things stolen on a number of occasions and it’s the worst feeling. :-( I checked your IP address but it was a dynamic one, so it changed almost every time.

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sreekanth Gopinathan August 8, 2014 at 2:27 am

Hi Sharell
Love to see ur blog, yes the Mythology tells that lord ganesh is mainly workshipped for removing the obsctacles and a support for new beginings/openings. The article in really incredible -lol-

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