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The author writes about the Durga Puja festivals in Kolkata and the ones in Bangalore, spending time in a different city with her mother and her daughter.
Goddess Durga has just returned to her abode in Kailash after the quintessential Bengali bid an emotional adieu to their mother Goddess. This marks the beginning of another year long wait for the main festival of Bengalis to return with the promise of a new fervour when yet again, every nook and corner of Kolkata will shine with happiness and dance to the rhythm of dhak; when yet again, every pandal will house the Goddess and exhibit creativity at its best and the city will be at its cheerful best.
Durga Puja is very close to every Bengali’s heart and this is one festival that radiates a sense of peace, harmony, and the victory of good over evil, not to forget that the Goddess is revered as the ultimate incarnation of divine femininity, Adi ParaShakti.
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I am a Bengali who had made Bangalore her home for the past 10 years but still carries Kolkata in her heart! So, this year, when I couldn’t go to my city of joy during the Pujas, I was obviously yearning for the fun and excitement that was going on there. Well this post is not about my dampened spirits that didn’t witness the festivals in Kolkata; on the contrary, it is about how I enjoyed a different Durga Puja in my second home with my parents around.
I would like to mention a little bit about my mom here – she underwent her brain tumour operation 5 years ago, after which she lost her ability to walk on her own. The tumour has affected her balancing system and after the operation, the remaining portion of the tumour had to be treated with both chemo and radiotherapy. She now needs a constant support by her side as her right side has completely become unstable forever.
She has gone through so much, she is week and feeble but she has not lost her indomitable spirit, at least not fully. I call her fondly, ‘my brave lady,’ my ‘Joan of Arc.’ So, when I could spend this Durga Puja with such a lady beside me, do I need anything else?
I feel blessed, proud, and happy. I couldn’t have asked for more. All throughout my life, I have gone out with her regularly to pandal hopping, shopping, cinema, restaurant, everywhere. But, now life is different and we have to accept that. I could take her out only one day during the Pujas, on MahaAstami day to see the Durga Pratima (deity) at Ulsoor Lake. She also sat with us and enjoyed the cultural programmes arranged by the Bengali Association. She was happily chatting with her little granddaughter – it was such a treat to my eyes after a long time. Words fall short when feelings take over.
I know certain things will not change, I will miss my mother’s delectable Chinese recipes always, I cannot run to her like a little girl and say, ‘Ma, please prepare my favourite noodles,’ but I can always cherish the moments spent with her now, and always. I wish I could make time stand still when I hear her giggling with my daughter but time flies and that’s the reality of life. I just wish that she lives this slice of life well as the future is uncontrollably uncertain.
I want to live every moment of life with her in full zest and I want to celebrate our very special mother-daughter-granddaughter bond. To me, my mother is my Adi ParaShakti living on earth and when my daughter grows up to be a young lady, I would like her to know that her grand mom (Dundun as she fondly calls her) was brave and to me she is a woman of substance.
Top image via Shutterstock.
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