Rama, a resident of Mumbai's Sion area, has made 3.51 lakh Ganesha idols for the past 16 years, hundreds of them blindfolded. Little wonder that she figures in the Guinness and Limca Book of Records, and several other record books in various categories.
"It's a passion," a modest Rama told DH, on the eve of Ganeshutsov festivities in Mumbai. Amid the bustle of household activities, Rama sets aside time for her artistic pursuits. Her husband and saffron dealer, Satish Shah, remains her constant source of support and encouragement.
Rama's creative urges were triggered by a dream she had in 2000.
"In March 2000, I dreamt of a magnificent Lord Ganesha, sky-high, adorned with ornaments, bright and shining," she said.
She then made 22,222 idols in 99 days and displayed them at the local Shreevallabh ashram hall on August 19-22. It was an instant hit, attracting over 25,000 people. Many who bought the idols at the fair said it brought them good luck and solved their problems, which prompted Rama to continue.
Even as she made over 3 lakh idols, Rama chanted the shlokas and made them with reverence, invoking the grace and blessings of the elephant god.
"Many groups invite me to demonstrate before a large audience on how to make a Ganesha idol blindfolded. This is usually followed by interactions with the crowd," said Rama, a Gujarati Jain.
"I have no commercial interests. I don't sell these. Whatever people drop in the donation box, that is all I make," she said, adding that most people buy Ganesha idols after learning about her prowess.
"This is my passion, a hobby and I will continue to fashion these idols," she said.
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