Friends, wish you all a very happy Mahalaya. To those whom are uninitiated to this festive day, in India. Particularly in Bengal, this day marks the arrival of Goddess Durga, from Kailasha to this earth for 10 days, which is said to be her parental home(she is believed to be the daughter of Himalaya!).She is accompanied by her four children,Goddess Lakshmi, Saraswati, Lord Ganesha and Kartikeyan. Lord Shiva ,her better half prefers to stay back at Kailasha. Being a Mahayogi, He opts for the tranquility of his snowy abode. It’s a welcome ritual to the deity and her children in this world. Her stay is celebrated as Durga Puja or Navratra by the Hindus.
This auspicious day also marks the end of Pitri paksha and beginning of Devi paksha. In this day people also offer water to their dead ancestors and relatives(tarpan), early in the morning after taking a dip in nearby waterbodies, like rivers lakes or ponds.
The day brings a sense of nostalgia in me. I feel reminiscent of old times, when we were kids. As it was almost a ritual, to listen Mahalaya on radio. It’s the Devi Sukti( Mahisasuramardini) rendition along with the story of slaying of the demon called Mahisasura by Goddess Durga , by Biren Krishna Bhadra and others. It is still aired over All India Radio, from 4 to 5. In our adolescent days, we used to get annoyed for being woken up so early, when it was still dark. But father would not listen to any of our excuses and insisted on listening the program. In the beginning we didn’t understand what this is all about yet the mesmerizing voice of the main orator and the sweet songs drew us towards it. We, at the same time felt ecstatic, just imagining about the upcoming days of revelry, making plans to wear which new clothes on each day of the festival and visit which pandals with friends and family ( the last four days). Almost every Bengali family made it sure that their radios were in working order. Now the radios have been replaced by phones to listen the program.
At present, its now my duty to make my kids listen to Mahalaya, so early in the morning, their protests not withstanding. They plead that they would listen to it some other time on YOUTUBE, but the fervour it creates at its designated time just cannot be matched.
You see, this year is marked by the unprecedented events mostly not to our liking. The festivities and the grandeur of Durga Puja in Bengal is unparalleled, which may not be the case this time as restrictions are still in place. We must worship and pray to Mother Goddess ,’Durgati Nasini’, to extricate us from all the miseries and keep us happy and safe.
The green fields, kash ful(white willowy flowers) and the sweet scent of shiuli flowers and faint chill in the weather (as autumn is upon us) beacon us to explore the nature’s magnificence, at this time. I fervently pray to the Goddess that she must slay the demon of the virus and wipe it out forever from our lives.
I extend my greetings to you all. Have a happy and prosperous days ahead of you.
Adieu for now
Cover photo also digitally drawn by my daughter.