A Letter to Maa Durga
This is a letter to the divine Goddess Durga, who is worshipped across India. The letter is an ode to the Goddess who embodies the power that each and every woman on this Earth possesses.
A warm welcome and a heartfelt thank you for making this annual sojourn into our mundane lives. Your arrival makes life beautiful, it transforms this dreary dingy city of Kolkata, I call home, into a picture-perfect postcard, artistic souls crave for. With you comes the sound of the Dhaak and the smell of Dhunchi (Coconut fibre smoke, mixed with camphor ) and a hint of winter. With you come the colourful Pandals and the smiles. With you comes colour and life back into life. You bring with you a sense of hope, that life tomorrow will be better and safer because you are here.
For me, you are the omnipotent force, a part of my childhood, my growing up years, and adulthood, irrevocably inked into all my memories. You, with your ten hands, protect me from all directions and give me the courage to vanquish all my demons as easily as you handled Mahishasur. You are the other half of Shiva; he is the form, while you are the expression. And yet you are “shakti”, or the female principle of divine energy, bowed down to by even the mightiest Gods including Brahma, Vishnu, Mahesh. I sometimes think that you were the world’s first feminist, a woman in a man’s world living life on your own terms and needing no one’s protection. Infact, you were the one providing succour and protection to all the Gods.
Every single day of the Durga Puja, as I see you standing majestically, I realise the message you send out to millions of women and girls.
That we are enough. That we are complete in ourselves just as you are. We are beautiful in all our forms, whether as little girls running around in pigtails or gawky teenagers stepping into the world, whether as young women balancing home and work and looking after everyone’s needs or 60-year olds with wrinkled hands and skin. We make life possible and we are valuable. We are not parcels to be passed on from one man to another. We are not commodities of pleasure. And that, it is imperative to awaken our third eye when we are undervalued or ill treated. That it is OK to ride the lion when someone mistakes our kindness for weakness.
And that every Mahishasur in our lives needs to be reminded of what hell looks like when it wears a gentle woman’s skin.
Your loving daughter
About the Author
Priyanka Modi is a writer, environmentalist, storyteller, poet, feminist, and mother. She loves to read and believes that books can change the world. You can catch up with her on Instagram at pri_mods or read more about what she thinks at Thepointofeve.com