Festivals Are Fun, But Their Ironical Lessons Are Not!

This festive period is all about invoking the female divine power, and celebrating their fierce win over the evil. But why is it not the reality?

It’s the season of festivities— of happiness, joy, and celebration.

Celebration of the victory of good over evil, of a son’s return from exile, of the love between siblings, and most importantly, of what we know as narishakti— women empowerment.

The whole nation, and Indians abroad, invoke the Supreme Mother, the saviour of the universe. We remember her story, her legend, and try to pass it on to our next generation.

Along with the tales, the folklores, the rituals, we also never fail to mention to our daughters to have fun throughout the day, but return to the safe walls of the house before it’s too late.

How late is too late?

Just a few days back it was Kali Puja and Diwali. We celebrate these days in honour of the goddess. Kali Maa as we love to address her in Bangala — the enraged Goddess, whose uncontrollable wrath created havoc in the entire cosmos; the Goddess of destruction, and death.

So on this auspicious day, I was invited over to my friend’s house to attend the puja. It’s a huge household, owing to the fact that my friend hails from a large joint family.

I was supposed to go over to her house early in the evening and be back to my own before it was too late. My plan was to board the last metro train at 9.30pm that would drop me to the station closest to my house by 10.30pm.

Still very late.

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But I was adamant enough to do this alone.

However, a certain change of plans prompted me to skip the last metro, and stay a bit longer. Eyebrows were raised in her household, and my friend’s father voiced his concern.

It was at around 10.30pm that I felt exhausted and wanted to go back home.

Of course, I wasn’t allowed to. Everyone started fretting as if I have committed a scandalous crime by wanting to go home. So, instead I had to wait till 2.30am so that a male relative of theirs could drop me home before heading towards his own.

Are we overthinking this

I might be wired up in a manner that it irks me to seek someone’s help, unless it’s a guidance. And I am grateful for the lift-back home by her cousin.

Because the main roads were hauntingly empty, but the lanes and the by-lanes of the city had scattered herds of drunk men tucked away in corners.

And these men do not really have any control over their movements, let alone their actions.

Mind you, judging by the way they dress, they are men hailing from well-to-do families. Pinning the blame on the shelterless people for phantom crimes of future, is just another way to tie stigmatize various communities and their people who have no societal power.

Why is the night of the goddess unsafe for a human girl?

What still disturbs me, and I guess would keep disturbing me for some time now, is the fact how on the day when we specifically worship the Goddess of destruction, we also fear our daughters’ safety the most?

How, specifically in the month when we call on Feminine Divine powers, and celebrate narishakti, are the times when daughters’ find themselves worrying about their well-being in public more often than usual?

Are women empowerment merely to stay restricted within mythologies?

I was brought up to believe that our socio-cultural practices mould our societal thinking. But, growing up in this society, my experiences speak otherwise. Now, I do not merely witness gender-based discrimination, but also face it every day in manners that usually skip attention.

Such large-scale celebrations, rituals, tales surroundings the days of each puja, mythology-are they mere ideas that cannot transcend the boundaries of abstract and find its place in the practical world?

Each year, with the advent of the festive season, we preach on how one should seek inspiration from Devi, and bring misogyny to an end.

Advertisements flood with messages of women empowerment with inspiration storylines that eventually lose their way in the real world.

Again.

It’s time. Either the irony ceases, or the false invocation of narishakti.

Image source: Kolkatar Chobiwala, free on pexels, edited on CanvaPro

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About the Author

Akankha Basu Roy

The author is a Gen-Z kid who resorts to writing to vent out about the problematic ways of the world. Having majored in Theatre, English, and Psychology, I take a guilty pleasure in complex read more...

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