Saree #8 This ghee coloured chikankari-worked treasure has lain in my cupboard for some time now. So an old but new saree for me, and as new clothes are customarily worn to Durga Puja festivities, I decided to wear it to pay my obeisance to the Mother this year. To celebrate Shakti in our lives, a friend and I were planning ‘typical’ things to do during this Durga Puja. When I mentioned to her that on Ashtami day we make an offering of kaapod (a cotton taant saree, sundries and mishti, phal, phool and dakshina – sweets, fruits, flowers and money) to the Mother Goddess along with special prayers and pushpanjali (flower offerings), she was all ready to participate in the festivities with due devotion and solemnity. So off we went to my parar (neighbourhood) Puja, performed the worship and anjali, sought Her protection and blessings, chanted prayers with the community, and watched the shondhi puja (the moment when Ma Durga slayed the demon Mahishasura’s two principal generals in battle). And emerged from the pandal feeling happy, fulfilled, empowered and with a lighter step!
During this festive season each year, I experience an inexplicable joy and lightness of being. It is almost as though Ma Durga’s very descent to Earth lifts some of the burden off mankind’s weary shoulders. There is renewed belief in the victory of good over evil. I am infused with hope, excitement, and a resurgence of strength and look forward to good things yet to come for all of us. It also signifies the presence of the ‘Devi’ in each one of us women, as we go about our lives suffused with her energy and strength.
So there you go. A saree from the northern part of our country worn here in the South to celebrate Shakti and the Mother Goddess, the Bengali way!

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