It was Durga Puja, the massive nine days festival of Bengalis celebrated all over India with much vigor and enthusiasm. Maa Durga is the goddess of Shakti. However, as the mother of this universe, she also personifies tender love, wealth, power, beauty and virtues.
The fresh morning, the beautiful fragrance of varieties of flowers, smell of the incense sticks, the rhythmic and rejuvenating beatings of dhak and chanting of mantras and shlokas of Goddess Shakti, all summed up together to create the perfect ambiance for the celebration of Durga Puja.
We were already late for Pushpanjali (flower offerings to Goddess Durga) that morning. As I came towards my car with my two year old son, I could barely open my eyes. The sun shone bright leaving very little place for the cool pleasant air to provide some solace. I sat at the back seat with my dark glares on to prevent my eyes from the scorching heat and ray of the sun. Rahul, my husband, began to roll the steering wheels. On the way, suddenly, I heard a laughter. A laughter with a gigantic strength of embracing all life’s beauty within it. My eyes startled and impatiently started searching for the source.
My eyes beheld the glimpse of a poor mother with barely any cloth on her body, breaking bricks under the same scorching sun. It was her little malnutrition-ed kid’s innocent gestures that made her laugh like an angel stretching her lips to the far end. She summoned her husband from across the road to witness their kid’s childish funny actions. Her husband also joined them wholeheartedly handing over the skimpy lunch pack to her wife. It was hardly a 1 minute glimpse of their world, happy or not can’t say. All I could feel at that point of time was that they were very strong, meeting hardships of life 24*7 yet finding occasions to be happy out of their meager means. This is not the end of the story.
I had these poor artless people in my prayers during Pushpanjali. I was with my friends and family. But their was something so arresting about this experience of mine that I was all over-powered. While returning through the same road I had a strong wish to see them again. And God granted me that wish. It was almost 3 in the afternoon. One can very well imagine the boiling temperature. This family of three were fast asleep over the broken pieces of bricks, on the same blazing cemented platform, where their son danced and made guileless gestures. I came home, switched on my AC, adjusted the fan and tried to relax after this long tiring day. As I slept on my pillow my mind and senses invariably flew to this unsophisticated pristine family. I pondered over the entire episode and discovered that they were actually a compelling source of inspiration. Isn’t this strange? We are blessed with everything yet we find occasions to grumble. On the other hand these poor people have every reason to moan yet they victoriously find happiness in all odds. Hats off !
From that day I decided never to whimper over any matter and try my level best to find a ray of hope in adversity.
“Henceforth I whimper no more, postpone no more, need nothing… Strong and content, I travel the open road”.- Walt Whitman