Celebrating the earth on Chovoth

By on October 16, 2020
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A self-sustaining home in Ponda with an eco-friendly Chaturthi celebration teaches us how to live in harmony with nature

Atiny virus has hit us where it hurts – and earthlings are scampering to make amends for continuously abusing nature – whether in celebration
of festivals or in our daily lives like generation and disposal of garbage or
concepts of reuse/upcycle/recycle. But much before the virus struck,
a few environmental warriors were already active. While on a drive through
the green village of Bandoda in Ponda, an earthy, red house that seems to
blend right into the background catches attention. It is the residence of
well-known dentist Dr Dilip Bandodkar.
His love for nature and rural life prevented his migration to the city.
He explains, “My wife Chhaya and I entered our new home – built in
place of our ancestral house – in 1988.
Staying in close contact with nature and the village had a big influence on
us. It is built completely out of mud and wood, taking advantage of the
natural elements, wind directions, cross ventilation and natural light.”
For this nature lover, Ganesh Chaturti is celebrated as a thanksgiving to
Mother Nature. He elucidates, “This festival comes just after Shravan.
Nature is filling our coffers – providing for our needs for the whole year with
water through abundant rains and food. The paddy harvest is just over or
around the corner. We give gratitude by worshipping the wet soil – the Ganesh idol. We, as a society, are god fearing.
We don’t want to break traditions for the fear of insulting god and incurring
his wrath.” So with minor adjustments Dr Dilip celebrates his festival and nature too.
First he asks his artisan neighbour to mould a Ganesh idol, but with special
instructions, “We install a small idol made of clay and without paint,
decorate it with flowers and stuff from our garden.”

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