Lord Ganesh is here. And this year, the Ganesh festival is bringing forth astonishing tales of people’s gracious love for the Lord of Wisdom. Meet Raj Kumar Shah. Taking worship of the Vighnaharta to a whole new level, he has virtually converted his house into a temple adorning a large number of various forms of the God. Each one as exquisite as the other, the idols number well over 2,000.
A chartered accountant by profession, Shah got his first idol way back in 2004. In the past eight years, he went on adding the idols one by one carefully selected and installed. The Lord can be seen in various poses, right from one engrossed flying a kite, in a joyous mood on a swing to a one busy with a computer or musing over a move while playing chess.
The 42-year-old CA has Ganesh everywhere in his house. His house name plate has a Ganesh itched on it; even a night lamp in his porch is shaped as the Lord.
Ask him how his craze for collecting the idols took off and he says, “I have always liked to collect things. When I was young, it was greeting cards, and in the past few years, I have drawn my attention on Ganesh idols. It’s not just plain craze, it’s a question of faith that gets me emotionally involved and motivated. As such, I have never tried to calculate the value of the collection.”
Seema, his wife, assists Shah in collecting and preserving the idols. “We have specially made cabinets in silver, other metals, marble and wood, each having several sections. These are used to place the idols,” she said.
When asked where did they find the unique idols, Seema proudly says, “It’s an on-going search, wherever we go we try to bring home at least one Ganesh idol, and each time its a different shape and form.”
Shah has spent around eight years collecting the idols. Shah’s hobby has the whole family captivated now. The children are also equally enthusiastic about their father’s hobby. Son Rajat says, “I present my father with a distinctive Ganesh idol on his birthdays and other occasions. In-fact I have developed a liking for this whole idol-collection thing.”
Shah’s younger brother Rachit, 9, makes Ganesh idols with clay. “My younger son has made some Ganesh idols with playing dough. I keep them with our idol collection.” Although most of the collection has been brought from Indore, it has idols from almost every part of the country. “We have idols from Andaman, Sikkim, Kashmir, Udaipur and Mumbai,” said Seema.
Each member of the family has its own favorite pose of Ganesh. Young Rachit likes the one in which the Lord is posing as farmer with bullock cart. “My favorite is the cricketer Ganesh,” said Rajat, while Seema’s likes the one resting on a wooden cot. Raj Kumar Shah’s favorite is the one with mother Parvati.