या देवी सर्वभूतेषु शक्ति-रूपेण संस्थिता। नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमो नमः॥
Came the sound of the blaring loudspeakers from the over-crowded pandal. People were in their highest spirits full of mirth enjoying with their closed ones. But Radha was all alone terrified and hiding behind the darkness the pandal hid in itself. She was shivering and was hoping that here friends find her out soon. Not even in her worst nightmares has she imagined that her excitement to go for Devi darshan alone with her friends would lead her into such serious trouble. The speakers blared again thumping louder matching the beats of her heart.
Maa durga is home. The environment is filled with the smell of incense and spirituality, holiness and positivity. A celebration of nine days for the masses has begun. Today is the 2nd day of navratri or durga puja. Maa Brahmcharini is worshiped today. She is ‘radiant and majestic’ and signifies ‘loyalty, penance and confidence’. She holds a rosary in her right hand and a kamandal in her left hand. She wears rudraksha. The word “Brahm” refers to ‘Tapa’(penance)- Her name means “one who performs tapa.” Her penance to get Lord Shiva as her divine consort is believed to be so strong that it disturbed all the 3 worlds. The symbol of motherhood, power, strength and purity is here to remove the perils from the world. But what about the perils deep rooted within us?
Eve teasing has always been a troubling factor in our society. Radha was all alone and the only option left with her now was to get up, fight for her and save her. The continuous chants of the mantras from the pandal made her feel a surge of strength within her. She got up grabbing a brick in her hand, and smashed the face of the guy approaching towards her and ran as fast as she could proving the world that she was her own hero.
ॐ जयंती मंगला काली भद्रकाली कपालिनी
दुर्गा क्षमा शिवा धात्री स्वाहा स्वधा नमोऽस्तुते।
This signifies the various forms of Adi Shakti and so did Radha. Every woman is a symbol of strength in herself. Durga Puja is not just about idolizing the female goddess but also respecting every women in the world and empowering them. Durga Puja is a festival of celebrating women power, ‘a festival of women, for women and by women’. As we propitiate Maa Durga these nine days, we are reminding ourselves that there can be no universe without a woman. Maa Durga’s idols and image processions reaffirms that the woman is the creator, the sustainer and the destroyer. So it would be appropriate enough to say “Every woman has a DURGA within her!”