December 31, 2015

While my parents were living in Bombay, they acquired an ornate wood carving of the elephant-headed god Ganesha and displayed him in our apartment, more as a decorative object than as a religious icon. They were extremely fond of this sculpture (my father still treasures him to this day) and called him by his other popular name, Ganapati, or, affectionately, Gumpy, for short. As a baby, I must have seen this figure hundreds of times and developed some sort of attachment to him, perhaps because of his plump, childlike form dancing a comical version of the mystical Dance of Creation and Destruction that his father, Shiva, performs. When it came time for me, at around my first birthday to utter my first word, it was not “Mama” or “Papa.” It was “Gump.” Not surprisingly, Ganesha has been a special figure in my life, and since material possessions can often turn into obstacles, I chose to give away a Ganesha today.

For those readers who are familiar with Ganesha, this might seem like a strange choice as an ending, since Ganesha is the Hindu God of Beginnings. As such, Ganesha is prayed to by Hindus before undertaking any new projects or embarking on journeys. He is also the God of Doorways, and his image appears cresting entranceways, a sign that he is blessing the worshipper’s entrance into a temple or home. Finally, he is worshipped as the Remover of Obstacles, and is prayed to for success in all endeavors, from school examinations to marriages and business ventures. He is often depicted with his vehicle the mouse, and together they can be counted on to remove all problems, Ganesha the large problems and the mouse the smaller ones.

I have a couple of statues of Ganesha – one beautiful stone one that was given to me as a farewell gift by the staff of Pacific Asia Museum when I left – to wish me well on my new journey. The statue has sat on our mantelpiece protecting our home for years. The other is a small crystal figure of Ganesha that a friend brought me from India over 20 years ago. This little amulet has lived quietly in one of my jewelry boxes for years. Today, I am giving it to my husband David (check your pants pocket, David!) to thank him for his support while I ransacked the house looking for things to give away, while I ran off into the night to give away last-minute gifts, while I sent another item via the USPS across the world, and while I sat at my computer late at night writing instead of watching tv with him. I also thank him for doing my Giveaway for me when I was in hospital earlier this year, and for being a loyal follower of this blog, sticking with it for the whole year, even though he has had his own struggles to deal with.

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Though we are not a religious family, I know that it can sometimes be reassuring to have a lucky charm with us as we go out into the often-scary world, and perhaps Ganesha will help David overcome the various obstacles life has placed in his way. The amulet can’t help him with his physical disability, but maybe if he keeps it with him in his pocket it will protect him from stumbling and injuring himself on days when his legs are particularly weak. And although this amulet is tiny, perhaps having this charm with him will help make the difficulties he’s currently facing at work less insurmountable. Ganesha is also the God of Beginnings, so the gift is also a wish for a strong, obstacle-free start to our family’s New Year together.

At the end of this year-long project, my feelings are mixed. Over the last year, I have emptied out closets, drawers and bookshelves and given away easily over 500 items in total, but I know that I have gained so much more in return – smiles from strangers, notes from friends across the world, time reminiscing about friends, and most of all a valuable reminder that I have been blessed with wonderful people in my life. I am not going to stop giving things away, as I have become a bit addicted to it now! However, the blog must come to an end here. I am deeply grateful to my followers and readers for giving me the gift of their time, attention and comments this year. This was a tremendous gift to me.

On this New Year’s eve, as I part with my last object in this Giveaway, my hope is that 2016 will be less cluttered with material things and full instead of warmth, friendship, love, patience, laughter and compassion. They are what truly enrich our lives and they don’t take up any room on our shelves or in our closets.

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16 thoughts on “December 31, 2015

    1. Hi there, Julia. Thanks so much for reading! Did the earrings ever make it to you? I hope so. If they’re not your style, please feel free to pass them along! I will continue blogging but I think my new blog will be about Asian art. Will start it soon. Not sure I’ll have as many followers, but who knows! Happy New Year to you and yours! xx

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    1. Thank you, Alison, for reading it all the way from Scotland! I am so glad to know you are there and part of our tiny family. It’s mad that we haven’t met but we surely can fix that somehow. Sending warmest wishes for the New Year. xx

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  1. This is the husband speaking. – the lucky recipient of Meher’s last giveaway – the Ganesha. I’d have written this regardless of being the last benefactor of the Giveaway. I’m so proud of Meher for sticking with this, through thick and thin (hospitalization, other illness, just plain fatigue) and for her amazing two-fold ability – to always come up w/ a giveaway item, but perhaps more importantly, her creative gift to give even the most basic of giveaways a funny, inspiring or personal touch. I marvel at that quality in her, as I think do her other readers. I think our ten year old son, Theo, is old enough to look and cherish his mum even more for this year of giveaways.

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  2. You are an inspiration to me, my friend. As others feel, I’m sure, my heart is more generous thanks to you. I love your last gift!
    I know even more love will come your way

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  3. What an achievement! I’m one of the lucky recipients (see December 11th…. my birthday and David’s too). You have taken us on quote a journey this last year ! I have learned so much and have been touched by your generosity of spirit. I’ve been on a mission to down size and keep to a more minimalist approach to my new environment. I’m still working on it. Thank you for the inspiration, kind words and documenting a year of your lives over there. I have some more catching up to do from the last six weeks so hopefully the blog will remain available for awhile. Much love to you guys … Sharon

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  4. Congratulations Meher! It’s been great getting to know you better through your posts – Happy New Year to all of you and I look forward to seeing what you choose to take on next!

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  5. Happy new year to you, David and Theo. This last blog entry was just lovely and has once again made me realize how much I miss not living near you anymore. Will try to FaceTime you soon. Love you my friend, Sandy xx

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  6. What a wonderful way to spend your year Meher! Sorry to hear there was illness this year. Hope you are well now. And hope the end of this project means more rest for you. Happy New Year to you, David and Theo. Hope our paths cross sometime this year. -Genny

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  7. Meher, what a gift it has been to not only discover this wonderful and inspiring blog, but to reconnect with you and meet your family. I so look forward to participating as a reader in your next adventure. The very best to you in this New Year.

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  8. Fantastic job, Meher! I am impressed with your dedication to such a worthy project. You are a beautiful person and I am honored to call you my friend!

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