Today, 28th September 2017, India is celebrating the 8th day of Navratri (a multi-day Hindu festival celebrated in the autumn every year that is also known as Durga Ashtami.) On this day, the Goddess Maha Gauri – the eighth manifestation of the Goddess Durga – is worshiped. It is believed that her divine light illuminates the entire universe.
As an Old Calcuttan of many years standing in the late 1950’s through the early 1970’s, I can imagine in my mind’s eye that virtually everyone is hitting the streets of Kolkata today, albeit under heavy security arrangements, and each celebrant is undoubtedly spellbound by the festive look of the transformed city itself.
Durga Puja (or prayer ritual honoring Durga) is the biggest festival in this part of the world, and West Bengalese, dressed in traditional Puja attire, are more than just fervent to welcome the high spirits prevalent everywhere. The eastern metropolis welcomes its patron goddess with the beat of drums, amid the aroma of incense and fragrance of the shiuli (night jasmine) flowers.
Typically, revelers – balancing plates of cutlets (fritters) and daab pani (green coconut water) while precariously maneuvering through the crowded alleyways – patiently queue up for a look at the pandals (large open-sided structures with captivating, religious-themed decorations inside. I’m told that the community pujas in the city number over 3,000 this year, while thousands more are observed in towns and villages across the state.
You number over 75,000 in over two-and-a-half years ago back in early 2015, when I first began to put “some of my thoughts, written down” and posted them in the blogosphere. Since that time, many of you have urged me to seek support of my site and my writings by way of donations.
My blog is about my life. It’s about what I’ve learned through the span of my life. It’s about things I love, and things I know and things I have experienced. I am humbled that so many of you want to join with me in my reflections. If you like what you find here, if it inspires or informs or amuses you, then I am content.
Copyright © 2017 Azim Lewis Mayadas