Ma Durga looked a wee bit anxious when we went along to pay her a visit last evening. She had only arrived in a grand palanquin when the newspapers started brimming with strange tabloids.
A puja has been scrapped this year. Another is to follow suit the next. The pandals – parks, per se – have apparently grown too fancy and their people too environment-conscious to afford a homecoming party. One of these parks for instance, has been converted into an ornamental garden, replete with musical waterfalls and fountains that pour wine. And to deck such a beauty up in an ugly tent and have a section in it for eateries and hawkers is too much to digest. The people in that area have complained of rowdy behaviour and brawls that accompany Puja every year. Such an eyesore, I tell you.
Moreover, it seems, people are no longer simple enough to trust divine powers for personal security. The gold chains and zardosi saris and diamond bangles all demand stringent security delivered by men in black uniforms. Providing such Prime Minister level security to a multitude of puja pandals is no longer a feasibility.
I wonder where such good sense disappears when we drive down to the house in the next block, one hundredth of a kilometer away. Who accounts for the pollution that we add to every day, day after day? I can vouch for the fact that a conscious restraint on our polluting abilities – when done on a daily basis – can render a few days dirtying-of-a-park insignificant. Also, there is no dearth of waste paper baskets anywhere. Nor is there any dearth of cleaning agents in today’s scientific arena.
Actually, there is abundant reason that proves beyond doubt Shiva’s omniscience. He has always known the machinations of Earth but, considering this is his spouse’s maiden home, has never stopped her from visiting. In fact, there is no way the dust and grime of our cities can ever hold a candle to the beautiful serenity of the Kailash. Every year, the Goddess tries her best to bless her people and give them good sense. The few days of Durga Puja and Navratri, the people even pledge goodness. I will take care of my family. I will be good to my colleagues. I will do one noble deed every day. So on and so forth. But when the fragrant agarbatti dies and the dhol of the dhaaki subsides, our sensibilities are back where they belong.
As I said hello to the divine family of five and scowled at the evil Mahishasur, I wondered if the pandal would be bright with life the next year round. “Care for some bhelpuri?” Mom cut into my thoughts. And I dug into thoughts more delicious than these.