“First of all, I’d like to clear that I’m from Mumbai (laughs),” begins actress Daisy Shah. She has been celebrating the festival of Ganpati right from her childhood and has been getting the Lord to her residence for the past many years.
In a frank conversation with Prateek Sur, Daisy Shah opens up about her memories of celebrating Ganpati, what prompted her decision to start bringing the Elephant God to their residence, how she missed going to the Salman Khan-residence this year for the festival and how eco-friendly idols can help save the beaches and oceans. Excerpts:
You’ve been in Mumbai for so many years now. What’s your first memory of the city’s Ganpati festival?
My first memory of Ganesh Chaturthi would be from the time when I used to live in Vile Parle, and I was about seven-eight years old. I didn’t understand much of what was going but I knew that towards the end of Aarti, I knew we would get something delicious to eat; and I would really enjoy that!
You’ve been bringing the Lord to your home every year now. When did you start and what prompted this decision to start celebrating Ganpati at home?
It was actually my mother’s decision. She said that when we would move to a new house, we would get Ganesh Ji. Now we did have Ganesh Ji in our previous house as well, but that was only for five years. But since we shifted to our new house, my mother decided that we do this every year till the time we can do it. So, there’s no boundary of years.
You've been close friends with Salman Khan, who is known to have one of the biggest Ganpati celebrations at his home. Are you planning to visit his home for the festival this year?
He has the biggest Ganpati celebrations in the city when it comes to the film industry. I actually did plan to visit but since I had Ganesh Ji at my place, I couldn’t make it. Plus there were a whole lot of others things going on from me being jetlagged from my shoot to the preparations at home, and so I couldn’t make it this year. But fingers crossed, hopefully, I make it next year!
Every year we see so many half-decayed Ganpati idols at the beaches around Mumbai. How would you try to curb that beach pollution?
If your Ganpati idol isn’t eco-friendly, you should not get one into your house. To the people who still get home non-eco-friendly Ganesha idols, I would like them to think that when they take such great care of Ganesha Ji throughout, then why not after the Visarjan too? It’s heart-breaking to see broken idols wash away at the shore; it’s a sad, sad sight to see. Eco-friendly means ‘Mitti se aaye hai, mitti me milna hai (it’s come from the earth and will go into the earth afterwards)’. It’s simple, and it’s great for the environment. People who believe in God will understand what I’m trying to say.