I’ve always had Ganapati Bappa hand on my head: Preity Zinta

Today is the first day of Ganesh Chaturthi and as devotees gear up to welcome Ganapati Bappa home with much fervour, we catch up with actor-turned-producer Preity Zinta who shares her love for the elephant God. “I simply love the way the city comes alive with joy and excitement during this time. You’ll find apandalat almost every corner of the city, and seeing those eyes of Bappa smiling back at you never fails to bring a smile on your face too. It makes you want to believe in goodness and just have faith in Him,” says Preity, who posed exclusively for After Hrs, with an idol of the elephant God.

Admitting that the festival’s significance has sunk in deeper only after she moved to Mumbai, Preity recalls her 21st birthday that became rather special with the divine touch ofBappa. “I was new to Mumbai then and me and my friends from my modelling days, one of who was Anupama Verma, decided to visit the Siddhivinayak Temple. Since it was a special occasion, we all decided to wear saris. Well, there was so much crowd in the queue, pushing and jostling, my pleats were coming off, someone stepped on my sari. But just as we entered, the aarti began and we were completely transported to a surreal world. We just forgot all about the crowd, the sari, and in those few moments, all we could think about was this beautiful deity ahead of us. I can never forget that moment, it was divine! I think no one who comes to Mumbai should ever miss the darshan there,” she adds.

Even today, the actor says that she shares a special bond with Him. “I firmly believe that I am blessed and that I’ve always had God’s hand on my head. I feel that He is in all of us, so more than just visiting temples it’s all very karmic too. You ought to show that love in action rather than thought alone,” adds the actor, who not many know, has adopted almost 36 girls, who she’s taken charge of financially. Ask her about it, and she says, “It’s really important that we think beyond ourselves, that’s really what God would want too right?” And it is for the same reason that the actor says she appreciates DNA’s initiative of encouraging eco-friendly Ganesha. “I think it’s a great cause and will benefit not just us, but our future generations too. I myself would urge people to opt for eco-friendly Ganapati celebrations,” shares Preity.

Also awaiting the release of her debut production Ishkq in Paris, we ask the actor if she’s praying for her film to do really well at the BO. “Well, I mostly pray to thank God for all that he’s given to me. Never for materialistic things,” she says. “And like each time I am sure Bappa will take care of everything without me asking for it. I have complete faith in Him!” smiles Preity.

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