A new journey begins for a new Durga designated to vanquish the new Asura, more appropriately, Asuras.
After a precious interim of ten months, my little Durga was coming home. The joy was immense as was my anticipated relief. Through all my years, I never missed the opportunity of being in the proximity of the unique festival, the Durga Puja. Its exuberance overwhelms me every year and I respond to it ecstatically. But that year, it didn’t even seem that the celebrations were going on. It didn’t depress me though, for once, as I lay in bed away from the festivities that fostered the Feminine Energy of existence.
Such was her captivity. No lesser than the one Maa Durga exercises on her devotees, I pondered. I could feel her twisting and jabbing in my belly. Little could we wait to see each other.
According to Hindu mythology, Durga is created by the Gods to slay the evil demon, Mahishasura. She was born with astounding beauty and power, empowered by the collective strength and spirit of the Hindu triumvirate consisting of the three gods — Brahma, Vishnu and Mahadev, and further bolstered by the support and sanction of the other minor gods. She received an ensemble of weapons from the Gods and eventually emerged as an ominous form for the Evil to reckon with.
Around this mythological tradition has burgeoned one of the greatest festivals of India. It is held annually to worship the divine superpower, Goddess Durga, and acknowledge the potency of the positive. It is also a reminder to purify our own selves and promise to protect the genuine.
I can hardly dare to proclaim that my little Durga is tantamount to the great Goddess. But the bliss she made me feel was perhaps way more than I ever felt from the veneration of the invincible Spirit. Or maybe it was just the delirious crossover of the entity that rules within to that which resides without.
The moment had happened. Right in my arms was my belief bundled in the most pristine presentation of potential and peace. She was already named Durga, but with her in my arms, I could feel the similar surge of unrestrained emotions that I feel during the homecoming of the Goddess.
Just a few months back, I and my spouse were at the clinic waiting to get my ultrasound done. The doctor inquired if we were ready to know the gender. We didn’t wish for an impromptu surprise and spontaneously agreed. I had a strong feeling of harnessing the feminine vitality inside and was confident that it was a ‘She’. When the doctor confirmed, I only kept smiling for the rest of the day. Even today, I do not have the right words to explain what went through me that day. Only a few weeks more and my Durga was expected home. My Durga, who I longed for so much, year after year, for several years.
Homecoming is essentially euphoric and awaited. It gives us something to look forward to and something to hold on to as we steer through the course of our lives. A promise of coming together with family, friends and dear ones. A time ahead that would be jubilant and fulfilling. Just-as-good was the arrival of my little one. Exhilaration, exhaustion, pain, pleasure, struggles, shocks and what not blended into one another without a respite. Altogether, it was a new phase that commenced with the birth of my child.
Many people might consider me overtly religious as I named my daughter, Durga. I am not. By calling her Durga, I was only relating to the essence of the Goddess. The whole that she embodied. The hope that the Goddess eternally brings to people was possibly the unconscious impetus that led me to the spontaneous selection of the name.
I call my daughter, Durga because I want the quintessence of the Goddess to fill her and become the guiding force of her life. I want others to see in her a glimpse of ‘the fort’ that the name signifies. A stronghold against the iniquitous and the malevolent. Elucidation of the victory of virtue over vice.
I do not know of many daughters who are born during these few auspicious days of the Durga festival. Those who do, are usually named after the manifold manifestations and distinctive features of the great Goddess. Must admit, among seven billion people, it seldom happens that a Hindu daughter is born during this time. When that happens, it dictates the reincarnation of a stronger generation, a more powerful and thoughtful one.
With earnest prayers and propitious intentions, mothers of such Durgas take bolder strides to lead them forward towards their destinies and destinations. The daughters are prepared to walk the untrodden track, fortified with their creator’s credence and confidence in them. A new journey begins for a new Durga designated to vanquish the new Asura, more appropriately, Asuras.
Unbelievable at times, but my Durga is now two years old. Her homecoming although feels like yesterday. The vision of myself being pushed on a wheelchair with Durga in my arms along the corridor of the hospital. Proud and perfect, as every known and unknown face showered their congratulations and made the event memorable. A moment of a lifetime!
Once again, Durga Puja is here, but now that we have such a gorgeous toddler around us, the celebrations never seem to end as love for my dearest Durgas keeps proliferating.