Ganeshas merged into the waters around this city and across the state. Eleven days he was worhshipped in homes, on public stages. Statues carried in arms, on bikes, on tractors, on cars, on bullock carts, on cycles, on lorries. The stature of the worshippers reflected in the medium of the Elephant God’s carriage. The waters around the city are full of him, in mud that will melt seeped with his colors, in plastics that will pollute. Dams release more water to make place for the gods jostling for space on the river beds.
The prime-minister of India was near my home towns in Silicon Valley. He was in landmarks around the towns where I first lived, breathed and tasted America. He has promised a digital India, he has promised innovation, he has spoken with pride of the brain “deposit”; of all the Indian talent that has left Indian shores for a better life in America. Indians crowded the venues of his speeches, proud and patriotic. Indians who love India but rarely come back to live here clapped and posted on Facebook. Meanwhile, while the Ganeshas merge into the city waters and the prime minister shares the Facebook excitement of a digital India, of internet for everyone; a man is killed by a mob because he is suspected of having beef in his fridge for dinner, a husband is arrested because his wife falls off his bike and dies when the bike stumbles over a massive pothole on the road, farmer widows collect compensation for their husbands who have killed themselves defeated by an indifferent monsoon and government, children on the side of the road continue to beg and work to support themselves, brides are still traded in marriage along with the worth of their dowries, pollution compels women to cover themselves in scarves and ride their bikes like bandits in broad day-light, Dalit farmers convert to Islam to save themselves from centuries of abuse from the high caste Hindus in their villages and I, I navigate human, cow and dog waste on the sidewalks I walk on.