Posts Tagged ‘Ganesh’


We couldn’t have done it better ourselves.  Check out Toy Art da India – concept toys by Brazilian designer Rique C. Pereira.  Pictured above are Shiva, Ganesh and Parvati.  Kali, Lakshmi, Krishna and Hanuman are also part of the collection.

Sadly, Rique (as the designer was known) passed away – er, beaten to death in Sao Paulo actually.  From what we could gather, the toys were to be produced in resin.  Perhaps someone purchased the rights to the artwork, we don’t know.  But what lucky boy or girl would not want these in their collection?

Our condolences to the Pereira family.

Page translations from the Portuguese by Google Translate:
Toy Art da India
Mouring: Rique C. Pereira


In case you and the kids are bored at the beach…

First things first,  Sri Ganesh Ji:

Image by Barcroft Media


Image by Sudarsan Pattnaik


Image by Sudarsan Pattnaik

The Taj Mahal:

Image by Sudarsan Pattnaik

Gandhi, as sculpted in the Italian town of Jesolo:

Image by Reuters/Michele Crosera

All but the Gandhi sculpture were sculpted by internationally renowned sand artisit Mr. Sudarsan Pattnaik, who grew up on the shores of Puri in Orissa.  You can learn more about him and the Sudarsan Sand Institute at  Talk about a self-made man!


The Little Ganesh book we have has caught my son’s attention of late.  He seems to be drawn to the large colour illustrations – and Ganesh’s potbelly.

It’s the story of Ganesh and his brother Karthikeya and their competition for a magical mango.  In brief, Brahma (on a whim) decides that he MUST know who is the “wiser” of the 2 brothers and enlists Narada, the mischevious sage, to find out.  Narada gifts a magical mango to Shiva, telling him that it must be eaten whole and can’t be cut into pieces.  Being the chivalrous god that he his, he passes it onto Parvathi – but she’s too proper of a wife and so decides one of her sons should have it.  But which one?  Narada steps in, reclaims the mango, and says he will give it to the first one who circles the world 3 times.  Most of us know what happens from here:  Karthikeya hops on his peacock, thinking he’ll be lapping Ganesh on his mouse (the peacock and the mouse are their respective vahanas (modes of transportation)).  But Ganesh shows that he’s the “wiser” one by circling his parents 3 times.  After all, his parents are his world…

I get it – but I see a number of problems with this story from the perspective of a 4-year-old.  I don’t like how the brothers “can’t” share the mango (NOT the example you want to set when you’re trying to teach a kid the importance of sharing).  I don’t like how Brahma and Narada were trying to quantify how “smart” the brothers were (would not want my kids doubting if they are “smart” or “smarter” than their friends, or worse – their siblings – what a confidence killer!).  Lastly, I don’t like how it alludes to parents (Shiva & Parvati) playing favourites among their kids – this breaks the cardinal rule of parenting!

(I was also a bit disturbed by Mandala Publishing’s Elephant Prince: The Story of Ganesh – a beautiful book about how Ganesh got his elephant head – but my kids do NOT need to be thinking about how the god Shani accidentally destroys a child’s head at this point in their lives.  Of course this version of the story is probably less horrific than the one where a father (Shiva) actually beheads his son.) 

I don’t want to avoid these important mythological tales altogether, so what do I do?  I change the wording of the story – that’s what I do.  Instead of “wiser,” I use “sillier.”  And rather than the prize being the mango itself – it’s who gets to use a really cool plastic knife to cut it. 

And I make Ganesh share that darn mango.



It is a day to celebrate the Lord of Beginnings, Remover of Obstacles, icon of wisdom.  Growing up, this day was always special in my family – perhaps because it always fell right before the start of the new school year.  We typically had a small prayer ceremony followed by lots of food.  It was a chance for us to clear our minds of summer frivolities and to look forward to the challenges ahead.

My parents have this tradition (which we continue with the grandchildren) where each person in the family selects 1 book to involve in the prayer ceremony.  We mark  the inside cover with a turmeric and kumkum “Sri” – a (semi) permanent stamp which serves as a reminder of this day each time the book is opened.  Throughout the year, when my son opens one of the chosen books, he loves to point out that “we did pooja for it.”

Getting to select a book is perhaps the most exciting part of the day for the kids.  It’s a way to directly involve them in the ceremony.  They also learn to associate Ganesha with books and learning.  Personally, I feel that understanding this connection (and hopefully effectuating a reverence for knowledge) is more important than learning about the story of Ganesha himself.  It really is a gruesome tale – Shiva, Ganesha’s father, cuts his head off?  Thankfully, my son hasn’t asked me why Ganesha has an elephant head…

So what were the lucky books this year?  Ahilan chose Clifford’s Neighborhood and his sister chose The Hiccuping Hippo.  We even had a special guest at the pooja – Baby Leap Frog.  Ahilan annointed him with kumkum and insisted that we perform aarti to him as well.  Hey, whatever works for him…