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The following story is part fact, part fiction and is a distant childhood memory.
It was the festival of Ganeshotsav. Ganpati Bappa had made a grand entry in many homes. Little Anu and her friends thronged every house where their favourite deity was the most awaited guest, to sing songs and partake of the tasty modaks lovingly prepared for Him.
Anu loved and adored Bappa. "He is my Santa Claus. Whatever I ask Him, He gives it to me...just like that!" she chirped, snapping her fingers. "Last year I wanted a new school bag. So, I just whispered it into his ears during the aarti. And, guess what? When I woke up the next morning, there on my bed was a brand new bag in pink colour! Just like magic! Bappa knows my favourite colour, too!" she beamed happily at the memory.
This year, for Ganeshotsav, Mrs. Joshi, their very dear aunty, had arranged a dance performance by all the little girls at the Ganesh Mandap. Anu too was a part of that group and was very thrilled about dancing on the stage in front of so many people. They were to wear colourful ghagra-choli and flowers in their hair and apply make up. Wow! All of it was the stuff dreams were made of. Anu was so eager to see it happen.
She enthusiastically told about the new clothes she would be needing to her parents.
"Sure we will get you the new dress" mother said lovingly.
"What? A new dress? Do you know how much it costs? " father growled. "Why don't you wear the one you already have?" he asked.
Anu's face drooped. Huge tear drops spilled from her big, brown eyes. Mother enveloped her in her arms and whispered into her ears,"Why don't you ask Ganpati Bappa to help you? I am sure this time too He will weave his magic and give you what you want." And the big smile returned on Anu's face. She sprinted out of the house and scurried towards the Mandap. Seeing no one around, she crept gingerly towards the huge idol, cupped her hands and whispered her secret wish into Bappa's ear. Then, with a twinkle in her eyes, knowing that her wish would definitely get fulfilled, bowed her head before Bappa and hurried back to resume practising for the show.
The day of the performance dawned. Anu woke up very early. She completed all her tasks for the day, including her homework and practice and sat down patiently waiting for the magic to happen. The day went by, but nothing happened. Evening approached and so did the time for the performance. Still, no magic.
Her heart started to beat nervously. Hadn't Bappa heard her wish properly, she wondered. What if.... no no, that would never happen. Her Ganpati Bappa would never let her down. She was so lost in her thoughts that she didn't hear her father calling out to her.
"Anu, come here, beta. There is a package for you here." He called out again. Instantly, Anu was alert. She ran to her father and there lay in front of her a parcel packed in brown paper.
"Go ahead, open it. It has your name on it." father prodded her.
With her heart thumping wildly, Anu carefully opened the package. And there lay the most beautiful ghagra-choli she had ever seen! It was satiny smooth and in such vibrant colours! And the gold lace gave it such a rich look!
"My new ghagra-choli! It is the BEST ghagra-choli in the world!' squealed Anu with delight.
"I knew my Ganpati Bappa would answer my prayer! I knew He would work his magic! Ganpati Bappa Moryaa!!" she exclaimed happily. She hugged her parents and darted off to get ready for her performance.