Chennai: To have one god staring down on you can be unnerving enough. That’s what makes a trip to the lanes of Kosapet worth a visit. Every nook, cranny and empty space along the narrow streets are lined up with riotously-coloured Ganeshas. You can almost feel the eyes of the hundred Ganeshas following you as you walk down the streets. It is that time of the year—the run up to Vinayaka Chaturthi festivities— when Kosapet becomes a surreal zone of work and worship. Worshipped for being the ‘destroyer of obstacles’ these hundreds of six-foot Ganeshas stand wrapped in transparent plastic sheets to protect them from the vagaries of the rains that lashed Chennai recently.
By the time households across the city and its suburbs celebrate Vinayaka Chaturti on September 19, the streets of Kosapet will stand restored to their emptiness. But it is not emptiness that is on the minds of the artisans and idol sellers in Kosapet. For the artistans, this is the period they work for throughout the year. This is the only time of the year when they make the money which will sustain them for a year as well as be the seed money for the next year’s business.
It is not uncommon to see some of the artisans stooped over, squinting at a Ganesha, gingerly approaching him with a paint-tipped brush. These cosmetic changes done, they draw back slowly to look at their work with intense concentration, even as local kids run about tunelessly tapping the paper mache Vinayakas.
To have one god staring down on you can be unnerving enough. That's what makes a trip to Kosapet worth a visit.
The workshops though are a different aural experience altogether. A thick blanket of silence engulfs them, with heads bowed in concentration shaping or painting a trunk or a palm, punctuated by the heated bargaining of vendors and clients. Before the cries of Ganapati bappa moriya’can rent the air, there is much to be seen and heard at these spaces, where veneration is given shape to. Only then will Ganapati come earlier the next year.