By Navesh Chitrakar

Born and raised in Kathmandu’s Newar community I am familiar with Lord Ganesh. His elephant head attached to a human body makes him easy to identify. Ganesh is honored at the beginning of rituals and ceremonies as we celebrate religious festivals.

This month, I had the opportunity to take pictures of Living God Ganesh after I asked one of my friends who was close to the living god’s family. I was pleased and surprised that the family was willing to accept me since they don’t normally allow pictures to be taken.

The first thing I saw was a six-year-old boy sitting on the sofa and yawning. The boy was the living god but he looked totally different from how he had looked when I saw him on the streets during festivals. In his home, the sofa was his throne.

As he bathed I took some pictures, never realizing before that his hair was so long. What struck me was he was just like an ordinary child. He was very playful and would hide from his mother when she came looking for him. He did his homework and loved to draw pictures. And just like any regular child, he loved to dance.

I thought to myself what makes him a living god? Is it people’s belief or is it just tradition that has been followed from ancient times? Maybe the question will remain unanswered. For me, he was a very sweet boy kept inside a closed box. I never saw him wearing colorful clothes like other children instead he had clothes made especially for different occasions.