While most of the city will begin chanting Lord Ganesha's name from Friday, for some like Hemant Parmar, a resident of Navi Mumbai and Kishore Ghag, a local of Kalachowki, the festival started from Tuesday night. Because it was then when both of them started the wish-fulfilling queue at Lalbaugcha Raja, becoming the first devotees
to stand there.
"Both of us were coming from different sides and we almost collided. We were the first ones to put our steps inside," said 27-year-old Parmar.
The ten-day festival sees people at the Lalbaugcha Raja mandal queuing up from days before. In fact, this time, Parmar came three days before. "Last year, I was here eight days before," he claimed. The desire to queue up days before came to him after the Lord started fulfilling his dreams.
"First time, it was because we wanted my brother's murder to be cracked," said Parmar adding that it did happen eventually. Last year, it was about him getting a baby boy. "That too happened. This year, I am here for my sister who had a miscarriage. I want her to be happy," said Parmar.
Ghag, on the other hand, is in the queue for his father. "He left home two years ago and has not come back," said Sunil Kadam, Ghag's uncle, who accompanied him. "My first visit was eight years ago. At that time, we saw a lot of people in the queue and felt a bit guilty. Next year, I was in the queue to make sure that I present myself before the Lord," said Ghag.
Similar was the case with Anjana Chavan, a resident of Ambewadi and Indu Gholap, a resident of Igatpuri, who started coming to Lalbaug first just to have a glimpse of the Lord. "But it was only later when I wished for jobs for my son and daughter. Now, I wish a property issue be solved peacefully, so that they can live happily," said 65-year-old Gholap.
Chavan said she came with the wish that her brother's and her family should live happily. "My sister-in-law was supposed to come. Since she could not, I have made it a point to be present here," she said.