The Gods Are All Around Us

Driving down the main drag of Olympia, Ganesh stares out at passing drivers and pedestrians. His bright visage adorns a curry house. He’s been there for months. My family almost always cries out ‘Jai Ganesh!’ as we pass by. Seeing him so publicly makes me smile. My three year old daughter always wants to know why he looks angry. I’m guessing the artist didn’t mean to make him look that way; Ganesh is rarely angry! My daughter insists I know the answer, so I have to make something up.

Larger view of Olympia’s Ganesh

Today, on the way to my son’s kindergarten classes, we saw a new addition to the curry house wall: Kali! My son and I both shouted out loud with glee! We decided that after class we would go by for a closer look. We did so, but we also took offerings. I doubt these murals were intended as sites of reverence, but as there is no Hindu community nearby and I have a devotion to these two, I thought….. why not? Why not use them as sites of reverence?

Olympia’s Kali

So after class my son and I went to a flower shop to buy some flowers. I was hoping for something red for Kali, but they only had red gerbera daisies, which didn’t feel right. But – they had marigolds! Marigolds are used in Hindu pujas all the time, but they are rarely found here. I chose a bunch of them. Oh, they smelled so good. Next we bought a big ol’ cookie with cheery pink icing for Ganesh. I was hoping to find a macaroon, but they cookie looked lovely and no macaroons were to be seen.

In broad daylight we went to the parking lot with the murals. I took some pictures, laid the offerings, said some mantras, and bowed. My son wanted know what would happen if someone took the cookie or the flowers. My hope is someone does! Traditionally, after puja offerings are handed put as blessed. I hope someone enjoys the cookie!

I really hope more murals are forthcoming!

About Niki Whiting

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