Thoughts after Nine days of Goddess Worship


Today is Dussera or Dasra (as I know it) a festival to mark the nine nights of worship to the mother goddess.These nine nights of worship are celebrated twice in a year, once in the earlier half and the other in the second half. It is this Navratri which comes at the end and is more well known and widely celebrated particularly the last day or the 10th Day which is known as Dasra.

This original harvest festival is also known as a day when Good triumphs over Evil – the slaying of the demon Mahisasur by the mother goddess. Yesterday was a day spent in frantic preparation for today – I cleaned and dusted and swept the house with a passion and vigour that was lacking these past few months. As I dusted away the cobwebs, I could truly feel the resident evil in my house lifting and going away. After months of despair, I am sure that things will change for the better and that the evil spirits that had claimed my life will slowly disappear. 
These nine days I have spent saying a special prayer for the Mother Goddess and this morning I truly got up at the crack of dawn and walked down to the temple nearby. It was strange but by 6.30 it was packed and I literally had to squeeze my way through.  In my part of the world men and women enjoy an equality unknown elsewhere in India but these days times are changing. With more and more people coming into the city, traditions are changing and we actually have separate queues for men and women – something simply unheard of when I was a child. However, since most people consider praying itself regressive, it would only be in keeping with this regressive mind set to segregate the worshippers into men and women. That did not stop me from keeping another tradition that is known only in my part of the world (circumambulating round the sanctum sanctorum. So refusing to be kept down by these men who hogged up half the temple, I excused myself and went to the back where I renewed my thanks before ploughing my way through the women in the other half and came away happy and truly blessed.
On a personal front, Dasra as a festival, has always been tinged with sadness as I always remember my first miscarriage that I went through on this day. Even though it was just in the initial stages, I always wonder how my life would have turned out if that child had survived. And with the upheaval in my life this year,  I find the loss all the more poignant and more real……..

But this evening Anna Shetty and her husband are coming home to celebrate and I’ve already finished boiling down litres of milk to make the divine caramelised Basundi that she loves. Sickeningly sweet and flavoured with saffron and cardamom, the little slivers of almonds add the crunch to this yummy sweet that she loves. Eaten chilled with the fattest of puris, nothing can be more divine!

Sudha ben has just delivered her usual Dussera treat of hot jalebis and ganthia signifying the start of the festivities. So now I will trot off to the goldsmith to buy some golden Bauhinia leaves which I will present to Anna Shetty welcoming her into the world of married women.

Happy Dasra all. May your ventures bear fruit and your wishes fulfilled! Good will always triumph over evil.

 

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Unishta

A granny who always sees the humour in life and tries to do things differently. When others make cupcakes, this granny makes banana fritters. When she’s not busy chasing her grandchildren who love making her run around, she indulges in her passions of reading, writing, meeting friends and watching movies. And somewhere between all this she enjoys travelling and cooking!

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