Nov 24, 2018
It was late when I recieved a call from an old acquaintance of mine. His son required a piece for his board projects about a dialogue between Devi Durga and Mahisasura. An interesting topic, which got my attention. Here is the entire short dialogue for you all to see.
Scene: The Metro Station
[There is a great bustle all around. People have come out of their houses with their families, dressed in a brilliant gala of colours. The air is thick with the smell of perfume and sweat. Everyone looks happy, and busy. All the trains are packed with pandal-hoppers, the eccentric people of Kolkata who do not have the time to wander around, lest they miss some important landmarks on their bucket lists. On a seat by the platform, two figures can be seen. They are sitting down, and observing the people, the trains that arrive and depart; and commenting on the things they see]
M: Another Year, another festive season, lost without a moment of leisure. Where is your Lion, devi?
D: Do you want the common pandal-hoppers to see a live lion on their commute-spot? Imagine the outrage! It is inside the pandal itself, where I left it.
M: A relief! He tends to bite at my thighs whenever he sees fit. Oh, another train arrives, devi!
D: This one seems to be more crowded than the one which just left. Lo, look at the crowd spilling out through the doors. Some people will get hurt, for sure.
M: As you mentioned, devi. That child over there was elbowed by some passenger in extreme hurry. She is crying bitterly. Poor child!
D: Do you remember the old days, Asura, when people would visit us with their families-peacefully, happily? That seems to have been lost now.
M: I do remember, Devi. People would praise you and worship you with all their hearts. They would sing songs of your bravery with joy in their minds. There was no extravagance, no useless expenditures on massive outward structures.
D: There is no faith in their worship anymore. They do everything so that they can show it off on social-media. They cannot even enjoy a moment in the company of their cherished and loved ones.
M: Truly said, devi.
[They sit in silence for a moment, as the crowded train departs from the metro station.]
D: Do you remember, Asura, about the customs in the early days? People would consider helping the under-privileged, unfortunate people when they worshipped me. Durga Puja was the prime occassion for serving the poor, philanthropy and giving back to the society.
M: How could I forget, devi? No one in the streets would go hungry to bed. Everyone savoured your holy offerings and were filled with sumptuous bliss. That is lost now, amidst all the posh restaurants and eateries that trend during the festival season. Those hungry eyes do not light up anymore, devi, like the old days
D: I often become very sad when I think about how selfish, mean ans cruel people hace become. They know nothing except greed, the mad lust for power, and self-fulfilment.
[They are watching the passengers in their beautiful costumes as they line up across the platform for the upcoming commute]
M: What can be done, really, devi?
D: I think people should understand the spirit of Durga Puja and the essence of giving back to the society. People should learn to be happy in minimalism, in enjoying the simple pleasures if life, amthat this festical embodies and offers. They should strive to reach out to their hearts, and find the demons in the souls to vanquish them.
[Mahisasura smiles hopefully. They look out as the new train glides into the station, carrying a bunch of passengers. The doors open, and a new crowd emerges from behind closed doors onto the platform]