The much awaited annual festivities of Durga Puja are here again. And with it the anticipation, the enthusiasm and the nostalgia. Amidst the highs and lows and changing tides, these four days every year is like home-coming. Even in distant lands away from home, to keep the flame alive and joining in the festivities brings me that much closer to Maa.
But before I get drawn into the festivities let me remind myself of its true significance. It is a worship of the Goddess, in the glory of 'Shakti' or power. Mythology tells the story of Maa's victory over Mahishasura, the tyrannous demon. Is it not also symbolic of the victory of goodness, or divine power over our inner demons? The true essence I am told is reflected in nature, in autumn's clear blue skies, a carpet of shiuli flowers and the winds blowing over the kaash blades. I feel fortunate that in the world outside my window, it feels so much like such a day today, even if the waft of the shiuli's smell is purely imaginary!
So there is hardly any time left, and all the preparations need to be made - the room where She will stay needs to be cleaned, incense and lamps lit, some food items prepared for her bhog, the songs rehearsed. The beats of the Dhak, the smoke from the Dhuno and my heart's deepest desires, all culminating to the four days of Pujo.
The war inside is raging, with the demons raising their heads every now and then. But there is prayer and hope, that Maa will slay all demons and all will be well. Rejoice!