On the last day of Durga Puja, the grand and imposing idol of the goddess inched its way slowly on Red Road, Kolkata, amidst a sea of humanity. Volunteers danced with gay abandon to the sound of drums, bells and brasses and a riot of colours.
Ma Durga looked resplendent. Accompanied by Saraswati, Lakshmi, Kartik and Ganesh, Ma Durga looked resplendent in all her glorious fineries.
In Her ten hands, She holds myriad weapons viz. the trident, discus, conch and noose, spear, arrows, sword and shield, axe and armour, thunderbolt, and also a lotus. A majestic lion accompanies Her in an aggressive stance. Millions of onlookers watch with awe Her magnificent demeanour.
Ma Durga is believed to be the symbolic controller of all sources of energy in the universe. With the third eye on her forehead immaculately camouflaged by a tiara and maang tikka, Ma Durga is symbolic of the multifarious capabilities and power of womanhood.
As in mythology, Ma Durga also happens to be the quintessential modern woman in today’s times. With her mythical ten hands, she handles a huge repertoire of tasks, duties, responsibilities, ambitions, dreams, commitments, aspirations, adulation, love, fear, anger, joy, bravery, dedication, determination, faith, knowledge, sympathy, warmth, perseverance, sacrifice, wisdom, optimism, pessimism… the list is endless.
She fits forty-eight hours within the twenty-four in hand. Every day, without a single complaint or grudge, she fulfils all her duties and even those beyond her commitments. Hopeful or despondent, life’s tribulations can never take away her positive spirits and her beautiful smile.
She lives in every home. Chief mentor, motivator, planner, executor, fire fighter, doctor, soothsayer all rolled into one, she deftly manages multiple roles with equal ease. The supreme manager in every home, her absence creates an immense void that’s hard to be filled.
However, we don’t stop from mercilessly killing her right within the womb. And if she manages to survive, we suppress her aspirations through a fine display of our verbal and physical powers. We do not have the courage to do it publicly, but shamelessly, behind four walls.
It’s funny how we talk of gender equality at times. We shower loud praises on books and films that talk of women empowerment. In our debates and discussions, we are perfect gentlemen, singing laurels on the fair ladies. However, deep down, we still continue to cling on to certain age-old beliefs that prevent us from thinking straight. And, perhaps that’s because we know quite well that men don’t even stand a chance if compared to women. A woman in her complete glory surpasses everything that a man can ever aspire to be.
And thankfully, in these modern times, more and more women are smashing male bastions with aplomb.
A bold Kalki Koechlin overcame child abuse to work up her way as a successful actress.
Bharti Singh stepped onto the previously held ‘male-only’ domain of stand-up comedy on stage and has been earning tremendous applause with her shows from audiences and critics.
Chhavi Rajawat created history by becoming the first female sarpanch of India in Rajasthan.
Volleyball player Arunima Singh was the first female amputee to climb Mount Everest. This was her scintillating reply to destiny which saw her thrown out of a running train by thieves, losing her leg in the bargain.
Despite being visually challenged, Beno Zephine became the first 100% blind IFS Officer in India.
The desperate need to support her family pushed Prema Ramappa to enter another ‘men-only’ club by becoming a city transport bus driver in Bangalore.
Rupa brushed aside an acid attack, and now successfully runs Rupa Designs, her own clothing line.
All these women were not born with a silver spoon. What motivated them was simply an unwavering desire to prove their worth, in their own special way.
It would have been easier to list big names viz Indra Nooyi, Malala Yousafzai, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Chitra Ramakrishnan, Saina Nehwal, Sania Mirza, Chanda Kochchar… the list is endless. But for every famous woman, there are many more, who are fighting their very own battles with destiny.
Exciting times are ahead and why not rise up to the occasion that celebrates this beautiful spirit of womanhood.
To begin with, how about acknowledging those very women around you, who make your life easier. This Women’s Day, a sincere “thank you” to all those lovely ladies can make a whole lot of difference.
Be grateful for her existence. Make a difference in her life. Without her, our very existence is in question.
We look forward to the times when Women’s Day celebrations would not just be limited to a day, but a continuous process every day.