It’s that time of the year when Shraddha Kapoor makes the most of festivities – with lip-smacking traditional food, family time and many devotional moments as Ganpati Bappa arrives for a day-and-a-half at her home in Mumbai. This year, too, the actress is looking forward to lots of “dhamaal” with her friends and cousins during this festive period.

The actress says, “Ganesh Chaturthi is a family tradition each one of us cherishes, especially my mom’s side of the family, because it brings together my extended family and friends.”

Shraddha says, “My mother’s side of the family has had a strong influence on my upbringing, and I am very close to the female heads of my family. This is a tradition that I want to continue and hope to carry forward.” She spent most of her growing years at her maushi’s (Padmini Kolhapure’s) house in the same residential complex, which plays host to Ganpati every year and the festivities include “music, singing, cooking, feasting, lots of fun conversations… and a longing for the 1.5 days to stretch longer.”

Recollecting how the tradition began in her family, she shares, “It started after my aaji-aajoba (nani-nana) got married in 1962. The festivities are a blend of both their backgrounds. My aaji was from Mangalore, while my aajoba was from Kolhapur. So, even the food we have during Ganpati is a combination of delicacies from both the sides.”

The Stree actress credits the three main female members of her family for taking the festivities ahead in full throttle. “It’s the dynamic trio – my mom (Shivangi), Padmini maushi and Tejaswini maushi who get into the super women mode and take charge. My brother Siddhanth, cousin Priyank (Padmini’s son) and I look forward to feasting on varan bhaat, poori-bhaaji, modaks and kheer. We all sit on the floor and eat food served on banana leaves,” she says.

On a nostalgic note, Shraddha shares, “Siddhanth, Priyank and I would create such a ruckus. I feel so blessed to have been brought up this way with my huge family. Ganesh Chaturthi has been one of the biggest binding forces of my life, and it’s an aspect of my life that keeps me rooted. And now, we have our cousin Vedika (Tejaswini’s daughter), who is eight years old, joining our gang.”

She adds, “I have had a very strong connect with Ganpati Bappa since childhood. My faith in the divine is deeply rooted in him and he has been the most humbling force present through the ups and downs in my life”

‘My aaji used to make the most delicious modaks’

I have never made modaks, but I like to binge on them! It’s one of my favourite things to eat, and I light up every time I have one. Modaks are filled with my childhood memories, laughter and sweetness. The ones which my aaji used to make were the most delicious modaks in the world. The maximum modaks I think I have eaten in one go is probably four, but in a day, I must’ve easily had about eight!”

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