The Deity and the Devotee by Nandita De nee Chatterjee
' Offer Beauty, Offer Victory, Offer Glory Destroy each Enemy.'
Autumnal aurora setting in.
There's a palpable excitement in the air.
A million hearts beating in expectation.
The advent of the Mother Goddess in the offing.
Will she arrive on a palanquin, elephant or boat?
How will the weather turn to welcome her?
The frenzied pace of the year will suddenly cease.
Millions of people on a break.
Roads barricaded against traffic.
The onset of people on the streets,
sauntering at ease,
a glittering spectacle,
street food stalls the only stops,
entire state on a five-day recess.
The season of celebration
of the Divine Goddess Durga.
Her valour, her glory, her omnipotence
in her maternal avatar,
flanked by her four offsprings.
Ya Devi Sarva Bhuteshu
Shanti Rupena Sangstitha
'The Goddess who is omnipresent as the personification of the Universal Mother'.
The season of indulgence,
celebration of beauty in the world.
Feminine glory unfolded in umpteen ways.
Every home getting ready for months.
Wondrous weaves, Benarasis,
Kanjeevarams, Balucharis in
resplendent handwoven Zari,
threads of gold,
acquired over the year -
a fiesta of finery for the five auspicious days.
Off with the boots, the street shoes, loafers.
Out comes the glitters,
The long forgotten workhorse,
suddenly bask in renewed attention.
Auspicious red borders
adorn the humble female foot.
Exquisite mehendi motifs
pay salutation to its yearlong struggle.
Jewels adorn the toes and ankles.
Silver anklets return from red velvet
jewellery cases and caress feet
washed in sandalwood oil.
The air is permeated with the scents of nature's bounty.
Proudly she gazes at her tender feet.
Gently stepping on the mirror she murmurs,
' It's your time now.
My homage to your endless endurance for my sake.'
The conch shells peal out at break of dawn.
A rush of young girls
bedecked in the holy
red and white silk Garads.
Palatial pandals reverberating with holy chants.
Wafts of incense,
glow of stately lamps.
Lotuses adorning Ma Durga's feet.
The chime of tinkling anklets.
Bare feet lined to offer floral homage,
hands folded in prayer.
Young and old take reverent steps
gathered under Her benevolent eyes,
and Pushpanjali commences.
Red bindis on their foreheads,
garlands of flowers in their hair
and grandma's jewels.
Bashful faces flaunting
A bewitching, breathtaking spectacle
of feminine grace.
It's way past midnight.
The crowds don't stop.
The city dazzles in its illumination.
Every road, every lamppost
bedecked in splendorous flamboyance.
The laughter still resonates.
High pitched voices,
of a sleepless city.
An annual extravaganza.
A journey of salutation.
A lavish ballad to Divinity, Faith and the human spirit.
A splendid invocation
of one's inner Goddess.
Nandita De nee Chatterjee is a writer/ freelance journalist/housewife. Formerly with Economic Times. Cover stories and Feature Writer with Statesman, Illustrated Weekly of India, Economic Times, Telegraph, Times of India, Femina, Filmfare, Voix Meets Mode, UK, FrontierWeekly.com. Was Part Time Lecturer at Calcutta University Journalism department, PG. Was Consulting Editor, Environ. Launched Economic Times Marketplace for ET. Editing experience. Co Author, Big Bang of Non-Fiction, Life in Reverse; 30 Best Poets; Sea; Coffee and Echos; Wrapped Up Feelings; Christmas in my Heart, Moonlight, Writers' Haven. Featured in Namaste Ink, March 2020. Participate in major digital literary forums Poetry Planet, English Literature, Asian Literary Society, Literature Lovers Association, Realistic Poetry International, All Poetry.com, Let's Make Stories, Our Poetry Archive, Plethora Blogazine, Wonder Women World Writers, Beyond the Box, Women's Web. The above poem by her has won her The Editor's Choice Category Certification for the #poetryprompt #evokingthegoddess organized in Plethora Blogazine's Facebook group page.