My Ganesha

March 15, 2007


Everywhere you go in India–in taxis, homes, stores–you find images of Ganesha, the benevolent elephant-headed god known as the remover of obstacles.

At first just another oddity, in time his omnipresent benign gaze seems an essential part of the Indian experience.

So by the time I reached Mamallapuram in Tamil Nadu, unconsciously I was already in his thrall.

Mamallapuram was home to the first great dynasty of southern India, the Dravidians. Unlike the Roman and Greek civilizations that thrived concurrently and have since vanished, the Dravidian culture still lives today in its elaborately carved and actively utilized stone temples.

One of its legacies is stone carvers who make their living pursuing the craft of sculpting granite statues for temples and homes. The workshops of these artisans line the highway leading to the city, and after a tour of the temples, I stopped on the road to examine some of the work being done now.

Unfortunately, the voice of reason, otherwise known as my aunt( or Massie, as she would be called in Hindi) had elected to retire to the hotel for a restorative massage.

Past endless Parvatis, Vishnus, Shivas…inevitably, I found myself standing before a six foot tall Ganesha. I began a discussion with the master stonemason with the aid of my guide and the driver (how long did this sculpture take, how much does it weigh, how much does it cost, etc.) and soon a crowd had collected. Before I quite realized it, a shipping agent had been sent for, I was sitting in the courtyard with the artisan’s wife and children, and heated negotiations about price had begun.

What is an Indian resort without a resident god? Thus I rationalize the purchase of a two thousand pound plus statue for (currently) an empty field in Mexico.


8 Responses to “My Ganesha”

  1. edie Says:

    Hey Brett
    Heard you’re off to Mexico. Expat life will suit you. Keep me updated on your resort.
    All the best
    (still in Taiwan)

  2. Meredith Skaggs Says:


    Is it true? Mexico. Good For You!
    I have such good memories of my time at Brett’s thanks for everything!


  3. Brett –

    Just read about your closing. So disappointed. My husband and I will miss your charming cozy spot, always wonderful food, delectable desserts…and of course, a warm and charming hostess. I guess this means no more kayaking breakfasts…..

    best of luck –

  4. Curious Says:

    Yes, but Mexico is large. How can I stay there when it’s open if you don’t tell us what town it will be in or what it is called?

    Good luck!

  5. Christa Says:

    Hey girl,

    It was a pleasure being your Squirrel girl all these years. Can’t wait for your new location to open. I would love to be there opening day!!

    Good luck


  6. Lisa Says:

    I’m sad to see Brett’s go, but excited for your adventures. Thanks for everything. I’m glad we were able to catch up…and if you ever feel like passing along the pumpkin bread, you know I’d love it!

    Have fun~


  7. LisaG Says:

    A grizzled electrician inside the restaurant broke the news to me this afternoon. Alas! But I can see why San Miguel beckons. I ran away from home at 18 and wound up there for several weeks (back in the Pleistocene). May Ganesha bring you buena suerte.

    Lisa G. (tilapia on whole wheat fan)

  8. Bonnie Says:

    I was about to sign up for a Chicago Kayak cruise, and noticed why you are not catering anymore. I will look for the inn and restaurant in San Miguel. I am going there for the first time next year, from March 17 until May lst. I have booked a condo for that time, and look forward to seeing a friendly Chicago face. (I live in Lincoln Park).

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