Ode to Devi Durga

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Which Durga we should worship, asks a little girl. Sutapa pays tribute to the Durga and the Goddess, in this verse, in Different Truths.

‘Durga Puja?’ My little Juhi asks

And giggles,

‘Will we worship our Durga?

She, who sweeps and swabs our home?’

 

I look at her five-year-old innocence

And wonder…

Is it possible that her third has opened?

 

Rupam Dehi, Jayam Dehi, Yasho Dehi, Divsho Jahi…

 

There she was, the brilliant Devi.

Golden, radiant, ten-armed

Venerated by incense, flowers, invocations.

 

Here she was, my young Durga.

Dusky-hued, wise beyond years

Two hands juggling more than ten jobs,

Yet, taking time to slake her thirst for books from me.

 

Lightning flashes from painted eyes,

As the Devi ferociously fights a bull-headed demon.

 

Dreams lurk in Durga’s dark eyes, too.

Daily she confronts the multi-headed hydra…

Of poverty, malnutrition, illiteracy

Of lechery leering from every street corner.

 

Fiercely, the Devi plunges her trident in,

Three sharp points drawing .

My Durga also owns a three-pronged trident

Of , determination and strength,

Nurturing it with her own blood.

 

My Durga declares…

 

‘I shall learn

 I shall earn

Until I stand on my own two feet

Certainly, all odds I will beat

Until I’m able to raise more like me

 up the hill, you will see.’

 

Rupam Dehi, Jayam Dehi, Yasho Dehi, Divsho Jahi…

 

Indeed, my Juhi has sightfulness

When life is consecrated into the idol,

I am sure

It is my own Durga who breathes in the Devi.

 

I ask you…

Does it matter

Whether we worship the Devi or my Durga?

For we adulate the spirit that rises

from the quicksand of desolation.

For we revere the vision that pierces

the darkness of misery

For we honour the voice that is raised

Aloud against all injustice.

 

Why do we wait to idolise Durga once a year?

Why can’t we constantly worship the innumerable Durgas around us?

Why don’t we identify with the Durga within us?

 

I pray to Devi-Durga…

Offering handfuls of starry shiuli.

‘May you take the flame from their hearts

And ignite fire in my daughter’s soul!’

 

To my Juhi, I say, ‘My fulfillment

Is in the lessons of

Passion, resolve and courage

You learn from our Durga…

She, who sweeps and swabs our home.’

 

Rupam Dehi, Jayam Dehi,

Yasho Dehi, Divsho Jahi…

Grant us your form, Grant us victory,

Grant us benediction, Eliminate all animosity… 

©Sutapa Basu

Photos from the Internet

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Sutapa Basu

Sutapa Basu

Sutapa Basu is an author, poet, editor and consultant. As an undergraduate student of Literature, she spent four halcyon years at Visva-Bharati University in Santiniketan. Author of novels, Padmavati and Dangle, she has co-authored four anthologies, Crossed & Knotted, Defiant Dreams, When They Spoke, Write India Stories, and two poetry collections. Her writings have been published in Readomania, TOI Blog, Muse India, Café Dissensus, New York and other magazines.
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