Abhijit and his family
And generous, among other characteristics.
Abhijit lives with his extended family - his brother & wife, parents, grandparents, and aunt. CouchSurfing with him was a special and memorable local experience.
His mother and aunt prepared Gujarati (their home state) meals and super sweet desserts and chocolates. Food was always accompanied by sweet chai tea. Let’s just say that we were never hungry in their abode. We felt guilty that they kept giving us food, but Abhijit assured us that this is normal in his culture and not to worry.
Unlike Abhijit and his brother, his family is very spiritual. Their home has a dedicated temple with shrines, offerings, and traditional musical instruments. His grandparents and aunt would pray for hours at a time. We didn’t want to intrude on the ritual, but Abhijit assured it was okay to observe, especially the songs and instruments. His family is also creative. When his mother isn’t putting together delicious food, she’s creating art with paper. His sister-in-law is also quite the artist when she’s not teaching.
Ganesha Festival & Global Vipassana Pagoda
In a smaller stupa, we were able to participate in a short meditation session. The teacher spoke in the local language, Marathi, so I couldn’t understand the instructions, but I took the opportunity to focus on my breath and posture. It was relaxing, to say the least.
Also on the grounds is an impressive gallery showcasing over a hundred carefully painted scenes of Buddha’s life and teachings. Not only is the art impressive, the sheer amount of pieces shows the artist's dedication.
Next, we walked for quite some time across the island to the beach. We observed families praying, singing, and making well wishes for the god, Ganesha. Each family had their own statue - some bigger and more elaborate than others.
The finale of the multiple-day festival is marked when people carry the elephant-headed god of education to a body of water and throw it in. I personally don’t quite understand the ritual of littering a god that you worship into the ocean, but perhaps it is a respectful thing to do. It’s unfortunate that the next day, chunks of Ganesha sculptures could be seen dotting the beaches.
Thank you Abhijit
Thank you Abhijit! See you again.