Saturday, September 21, 2013

Not Your or Mine But Our Ganpati!

Communication leads to community, that is, to understanding, intimacy and mutual valuing….Rollo May

The great American psychologist has very neatly defined the success behind any community’s togetherness & I witnessed it recently when has been called at one of our completed project Ashtagandh, for prize distribution of Ganpati festival competitions. Even a single festival can do miracles & on that front in Pune, I think Ganpati celebrations are much more festive than that of Diwali also. It’s not just a festival where you make sweets & enjoy with friends & family but it has become the platform where entire segment of the society comes together & this is where a bunch of people staying together becomes a community!

Ashtgandh is a small project with nearly 30 units & they have been accompanied by the neighboring few row houses for the Ganpati festival. It was a cozy function as the secretary of the complex welcomed me & informed in brief that they are celebrating the festival jointly for the first time together & it’s in parking of one of the three buildings only, the pendol has been set. All seven days they had organized different competitions amongst the residents & for all age groups & gender i.e. there was painting event for kids with a theme about importance of trees keeping in tune with environment & fancy dress too. Then there was cooking competition for ladies of the complex as well rangoli competition & events like that. All these have been organized & co-ordinated by few youths from the complex which was well assisted by the senior members. And as a final event it’s being concluded by prize distribution for all participants & a dance event by the kids & then a lunch together. It was very simple & cozy affair without any fancy decoration or lighting. The Ganpati statue itself was set on a homemade stage in one of parking with side wall covered by colored clothes & flowers. I think that was the success of the event as the entire dĂ©cor & mood was making everybody at peace & ease. That way such celebrations isn’t uncommon in Pune & nothing special about the entire scene as there must be thousands of such complexes where Ganpati is being celebrated in this way. 

Eventually this Ganpati festival I came across one more such rzendevious with Ganpati festival of another such complex building. Where I have been invited by one more single building residents, one of which is my friend, where I gave a slide show presentation about Kanha forest in front of a crowd of hardly thirty odd people was there, right from five years kids to seventy-five years old grandpa’s were present! This also was a new experience for me. What was pleasant is to feel is their enthusiasm & the joy with which all were participating in the festival! As this is the soul of the festival for which it has been started by Lokamanya Tilak more than hundred years back. All around us when every public festival is getting shifted from the cause & getting commercialized & being considered as fun fair for just few karyakarta’s, it was heartening to be part of such cozy event keeping in tune with a human touch to entire thing. And which in real term can be called as social event. Speaking about my own feelings, what more honor it could have been for a builder than being called by residents of his one of the competed projects & getting felicitated for doing some good work! Especially on the background of bitterness of builder customer relation in this industry, it’s quite uncommon!

These are the times when many of us proudly say that we don’t know even our neighbors leave apart having knowledge of good & bad things happening in the neighbors house. This is the same Pune which boasts itself as a cultural capitol of the State & City of Wada’s where what’s being cooked in one house is being known to entire surrounding, such was the warmth of the relations amongst the families staying in backyards of the gallis or by lanes of a locality. And now it’s saddening that when any couple comes for booking to me, they are least interested in knowing who is their neighbors & information like that. All they are interested in knowing what kind of amenities & specifications their flat is having but don’t want to know about who the other occupants of the buildings will be! After all they are going to be neighbors for ever & yet such ignorance about them right from beginning! Even as a developer our staff is also not bothered about making them aware regarding such information is also a fact. Already our life is getting too mechanical & gadget oriented; the face to face dialogues are being lost in Whatsapp & Chats & FB. At such times festivals like Ganpati are the great bond healer which is getting lost from the people staying together. I delebretly used the term staying together & not living together as there is a huge difference in both. To stay together is like you are there physically that’s all, but when you live together you are concerned about the individual living around you. You care about someone’s problem & you become part of his joys too. You support your neighbors & in return they become your support in all incidences of life that is what living together is meant!

As a real estate developer I always wonder what it makes a home, is it the buildings we build or the people live in these buildings or the amenities & specifications we provide? What it is after all? I think I find the answer in Ashtagandh Ganpati Festival where all residents have come together for a festival keeping away materialistic things like age & status & this togetherness is what makes a home. A home does not necessarily means anybodies four walls with lots of interior of individuals choice but it’s a feeling which goes through these concrete walls which we have built around us & shares our emotions with people who are living in our surroundings & to which we call our neighborhood! This is what we can proudly mention as our society where people are living in homes & not just luxurious flats!

We need more & more such Ashtagandh societies around, as this is the answer to our future rather key to our feature. Its festivals like Ganpati which melts the terms like "your & mine" but converts them in "ours'! In so many ways we in the role of a developer can support such events as it need not be just financial support which off course is welcome but we can ask our marketing team to promote the concept in our completed projects residents. Promoting such concepts of togetherness is what going to make us Promoter & not just building more buildings! As all required is someone to take just a step in right direction. Many complex issues such as maintenance charges or contribution of the society can be resolved once people starts coming together & having a dialogue amongst themselves. And what better occasion than Ganpati festival for this first step!  

As per what Rollo May has said, being a developer its duty of the entire real estate to cultivate this culture amongst what we have built. Then only we can be proudly called as a developer or else we will end up as just the machines which produces concrete structures, makes money out of it & at the end become the destructor of the terms like community & society, to which even the Lord Ganesha won’t be able to save!

Sanjay Deshpande

Sanjeevani Dev.

MSEDCL (Power) Committee, Credai, Pune

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