Two youths drowned in a river in Panvel earlier this week. The men, aged 19 and 20, were part of a group of people who had gone to the Gandhi river at Koproli in Panvel at 11 pm for Ganesh visarjan. While carrying out the immersion, a report said, the 19-year-old slipped and fell into the river. His 20-year-old cousin jumped in to save him, but both perished. The group did try to rescue them, but in vain. One may assume they were carried away by currents of a fast-moving river.
Let us make immersion accidents, most commonly it is drowning, a thing of the past. While bidding farewell to Bappa, and telling him to come back soon, safety should be priority. Even at rivers, or any other water bodies, those standing on rocks on other platforms must realise that these can be extremely slippery because of the water and one may fall in. It is better to be tethered or have a ‘chain’ of persons holding on as one immerses the idol. While this too may not be foolproof, it is a safety layer and can prevent such accidents.
When going towards the sea to immerse beloved Bappa, be extremely alert. There are ‘experts’ on the shore who will take the murti in deeper waters. As immersion is an emotive issue, at times families insist on getting into the water during immersion and misjudge the depth, completely.
Carried away by the mood of the moment, all the festivities and rituals of the visarjan, some enthusiastically go deeper and deeper only to realise that they are way out of their depth (both literally and metaphorically) and now, in serious trouble in the water.
Keep your wits about you, follow rules and wade in only till a very safe height, and that is only if you must. Let Bappa shower his blessings on all devotees who must remember their families and friends are waiting for them to return home.