It is September and since last one week, the 10 day Ganesh festival is on in Mumbai and rest of the country. Last week I had the opportunity to visit Lalbaugcha Raja in Parel. Lalbaugcha Raja is one of Mumbai’s most famous Ganapati’s and attracts hordes of people every day while the festival is on. I It is believed that this Idol of Lord Ganesha is Navsacha Ganpati (which means the fulfiller of all wishes) and hence over 1.5 million people visit this Ganesh Pandal daily during the 10 day Ganesh festival. Soon Lalbaugcha Raja may become a place of pilgrimage. My tryst with visiting Lalbaugcha Raja started 3 years back when I decided to go and visit, since I had heard a lot of people visit the pandal and because it is so famous. Since then I have been going there every year. The entire madness around the place attracts me. There are so many people just waiting to get a glimpse of the Lord. There is always a mad rush to visit. For the past years, I used to visit early in the morning in the anticipation of fewer people, but was proven wrong. So this year, I decided to visit around midnight. As soon as I crossed Curry Road bridge, I was amazed to see throngs of people just walking towards Lalbaugcha Raja. I have never seen so many people gathered in this part of the town during this time of the night. It seemed that all the people from Mumbai were there. In this I decided to call up my friend Prakash and asked him to come along with me. Luckily Prakash knew one of the volunteers who manage crowds and we could enter the VIP lane, which was sparsely populated and managed to pray silently for some time. This isn’t the case when you are standing in the other two lines. You get jostled, pushed etc, which hardly allows any chance of a silent, peaceful prayer. The entire experience this year was just too good and couldn’t have been possible if my friend didn’t know a volunteer there.