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Archive for October, 2011

It’s that time of year again when Bengalis fold away our usual sensible, introverted character and spread out a more joyous, and dare I say it, carnival-esqe side to us like a beautiful, jewel-coloured bed throw from Fab India.  It is Durga Puja time.

But who is she and why do we celebrate her so enthusiastically?

It turns out that Durga is quite phenomenal.  She is the Hindu Mother Goddess, a warrior, a killer of demons and the personfication of energy (“shakti”).  Amazing, given that Indian culture can be so pro-man.  The story goes that she was created to fight Mahishasura, a demon who couldn’t be defeated by man.  The gods became so angry at his destruction that beams of fierce light emerged from their bodies, from which Durga emerged.  She has 10 arms, each of which holds a different weapon including a chakra, bow and arrow, and conch.  Oh and her ride was a lion.  Her battle with Mahishasura was epic, with him taking many forms like a buffalo and an elephant, each one slain by Durga with grace and power.  She finally kills him after 10 days of fighting.  Buffy the Vampire Slayer could learn a thing or two from her.

Durga in action

So Durga is a powerful, multi-tasking, graceful slayer of badasses.  And just like women the world over, she is also a wife and mother.  She seems to have a taste for bad boys as her hubby is Shiva, the cannabis-smoking destroyer of the universe. Rock and roll.

I can’t think of a better deity to celebrate.

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