I look at her and there is an instant connection. She understands my pain, my worries and my misgivings in this life. I can smell her arrival in the morning breeze way down into the labyrinthine coconut groves of Kerala. As I sat in my balcony today in the morning , I could hear the chants of the temple priest back home, cajoling her, invoking her and finally inviting her to visit us on these nine days.The scent of the homa in its ethereal form wafts in through my window and the yearning is even more.
Durga as a diety, or a dietified female form is close to my heart. I have grown up seeing her glimpses in the women around me in the world, be it late Mrs Indira Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Mary Kom, Malala Yousafzai, Sushma Swaraj, Kiran Bedi, Shirin Ebadi, Mata Amritanandamayi or even Mayawati, Phoolan Devi, Benazir Bhutto,Jayalalithaa, Lady Gaga, Priyanka Chopra and Mamta Banerjee all in some way or the other have touched me and these are to name a few! Naysayers, please! This is a personal list. These women were certainly born with an iron will! They persisted, persevered and never fretted… never played the gender card and relentlessly marched on. Be it love, hate, compassion, sports, art or even stiff political games, they delivered beyond expectations.
Durga, when she stands in her pagan form, all beautiful and radiant, draped in a resplendent Banarasi Saree, I want her charisma to rub off on me… a wee bit will do. That which would make me stronger, braver, resilient and resolute. The dhaak sounds beat a tempo of positivity and the different rituals like the dhunuchi dance, placing durva grass in their text books by diligent and god fearing students 😁( Durva or doob is a special kind of holy grass grown at the pedestal of the goddess), Sindurkhela( married women playfully sharing the colours of the holy vermillion to mark their married sisterhood) and the auspicious and sacred bhog ( the offering of food to the diety, to be later shared by all) in all forms be it the partaking of the khichdi (gruel) or the sweet delicacies, all mark her oneness with us.
It’s exciting to look for her in every new city I decide to dwell in, especially around this time when her name bring thoughts from home.