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Ganeshas galore

Meet a cardiologist with a passion for collecting the Elephant-faced God



His latest acquisition - in rainbow stone. Pics: K. Ananthan.

AS A cardiologist, J. S. Bhuvaneswaran advises patients to reduce their girth and lead a healthy life. But, as a person, he is fascinated by Ganesha, the deity whose enormous tummy is held together by a serpent.

Lord Ganesha is like family. After all, the doctor has more than 500 of them adorning various corners of his home. One room has, in fact, been dedicated to the elephant God. Dubbed "Ganesh Darshan", it houses more than 300 Ganeshas.

Paunch-less God

He comes in all sizes - from centimetre-tall ones in pearl and coral to a slightly bigger one in solidified mercury to a really huge Ganesha catching up on his reading — and from across the world.

That means Ganesha occasionally comes without his trademark paunch; but he looks adorable all the same. The brass Ganeshas made by tribals in Orissa are proof of this - the deity looks slender and tall and has just the faintest hint of a paunch. The one from Thailand sports a typical Thai crown, unlike what is normally seen.

Another different piece is the one carved in double on a mixture of wood powder and cement. Turn it either side and you'll see a Ganesha smiling back at you.

The doctor, who works at PSG Institute of Medical Sciences and Research, says he was fascinated by the idea of collecting Ganeshas when he was doing his M.D. "Our neighbour, a maami, used to collect Ganeshas and soon, I developed a fancy too," he recalls.

So much so, that when his new home was being built, the wall of the TV room was designed in a fashion that the image of Lord Ganesha could be worked on in Mona Lisa tiles. On the opposite side hang a series of Tanjore-style Ganesha paintings.

Unique Ganeshas here include one in Italian marble where a very European-looking white Ganesha wears a robe and reclines on a chair.

Family effort

The Ganesha fad has caught on to the rest of the family too. Wife Poorna and kids, Abhinav and Janani, also chip in to ensure the number of Ganeshas keep growing.



SMITTEN!: Dr. Bhuvaneswaran's children in front of a shelf dedicated to Lord Ganesha .

"Mention Ganesha and the kids immediately think of their father. Even when they are on excursions, they scout to find some rare Vicky, as they refer to the Lord," says Poorna.

The hobby, at times, gets very expensive too. "Not so much for the larger Ganeshas. The rarity of the design and material used pushes up the cost. But, that's expected," says the cardiologist.

Now, the family is actively searching for unique Ganeshas, especially small figurines. The latest addition is one in rainbow stone, which reflects different colours when light is beamed on it.

Their collection includes Ganeshas in gold, soap, silver, sand stone, panchaloha, granite, marble and Swarovski. Dr. Bhuvaneswaran is also keen on collecting miniature elephants.

SUBHA J RAO

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