I have heard of people having a passion for collecting things, but I never gauged the extent of this passion until I saw the amazing collection of Lord Ganesha statues here, in a friend’s home in Oman. The collector was none other than Mr. Ramesh Shettigar. Ramesh is the husband of our versatile team member Jaya who is already known on this site for her mouth-watering recipes. She also diligently covers all the Hindu festivals and Tulu Koota functions for Mangalorean.com.
Ramesh is a collector par excellence. His pieces of Ganesha idols have crossed one hundred and seventy in number and considering he has no intention of stopping, the number could rise impressively in the next few years.
The sight of the Lord Ganesha’s sitting in serene splendour around his beautiful home itself can be mind-boggling, but when Ramesh explains the artistic characteristics in each piece, one has to sit down to grasp it all in. The Ganesha’s are all of different sizes ? big, medium, small and a few downright tiny. While some are plain, abstract, unpolished and sturdy, others are translucent, bejeweled, delicate and finely etched. But whether crafted or unadorned, each piece is undoubtedly exquisite in its own way.
So, when did it all start? Ramesh explains that when he and Jaya first set up their home they did so by lighting a lamp in front of Lord Ganesha’s idol. The reverence was always present, but the interest in this hobby was first developed when one of his close friend P.B. Alke’s daughter, Sapna Alke presented him with a beautiful Lord Ganesha idol. He was so touched by her gesture that very soon, he decided to start collecting Ganesha idols. Since then, he has made it a point to look for ‘unique’ pieces to add to his now exclusive and steadily growing collection. Ramesh says he gets ample opportunities as he travels extensively within India and abroad.
At present, he has Ganesha’s made out of precious stones, semi-precious stones and precious and ordinary metals ? The pieces are distinctly different and made out of Brass, Silver, Gold, Crystal, Marble, Iron, Pearl, Wood, Jade, Ruby, Fibre Glass, Copper, Turquoise, Terracota, Tiger’s Eye and Onyx. Just when you thought that must be it, you find some more made out of Coconut Shell, Tender Coconut, Bamboo Root and one that is even fashioned out of coir. There are some very unusual pieces like the Silver Ganesha on Clay, the Clay Ganesha on Supari and one that is cleverly made out of Turmeric root. An incredible and arty collection indeed!
Ramesh is all praises for wife Jaya, an artist herself, who he says goes out of her way to design and mount some of his Ganesha’s. Jaya on the other hand laughingly adds that it is very easy to choose a gift for her husband, considering his passion for his chosen hobby. The creative touch is found all over their home ? Ganesha’s on paintings, carved on wood, adorned on walls, etched on metals and peacefully reclining on nooks, corners, tables and shelfs, their artistic beauty beckoning one to take a closer look.
When questioned about his favourite pieces, Ramesh unhesitatingly replies – "Some of my much loved pieces are the Crystal Ganesha, the Bamboo Root Ganesha and the Tender Coconut Ganesha. I also have a Ganesha created out of different herbs which is very unique. And of course I can’t help but be proud of my exclusive set of brass Ganesha’s, each holding a different musical instrument."
Is this an expensive hobby, I’m curious to know. Ramesh doesn’t think so, as it all depends on the particular piece you’re buying. Compared to Stone, Fibre Glass and Wood, definitely the one’s carved out of precious stones and precious metals are on the expensive side, but at the end of the day, to him, the value of the collection lies in the ‘exclusivity’ of the piece and not its monetary cost.
Ramesh would especially like to thank all his dear friends and relatives who have always encouraged him in his hobby by showing their appreciation and admiration every time they see his ‘Ganesha collection.’ This undoubtedly encourages him to collect more and he gets help here too. No prizes then for guessing what Ramesh gets for his birthdays, anniversaries and festive occasions. And I’m sure there’s no gift that makes him happier.
Mangalorean.com wishes all our Hindu brothers and sisters a very auspicious Ganesh Chaturti!
Author: Shaly Pereira- Oman