Navami — The Last Day of Durga Puja – Then Dashami

Navami, the last day of Durga Puja, is a day of prasad, food that has been given to the Gods for their blessings, and then returned to be eaten.  On this morning, two groups came bearing prasad for us.  We had already begun cooking for the day, but there was also enough prasad so we really didn’t have to.  To the children, all this had some familiarity.  To Gibi, it’s "of course."  I am forever trying to catch up!

One of young women who came on Astami is in Montessori training.  She had stayed to teach for two hours, and came again on Navami.  She called first to see if we remembered she was coming.  The children were already upstairs in the classroom waiting for her, going through their alphabet drills until she arrived.  Towards the end of the class I joined in and we did "opposites."  We walked in opposite directions.  I drew "same same" buildings and then opposite sized.  We had night and day, sun and rain, boy and girl, elephant and mouse, laughing and crying, quiet and noisy.  Of course, it’s not really all that simple, but good enough for now.

For us, it was really just a lazy day at home.  No one was ever naughty enough for punishment.  They even kept the TV at reasonable sound level.  Boro bacchas and choto bacchas spent a lot of time together.

I write all this on Dashami, the day of Durga’s sad farewell.  Today the processions to the water are to begin.  But if you go out to the pandals this evening, you will rarely see this happening.  Like clinging children, we hang onto Durga, the mother goddess, begging her not to go, and canceling her mode of transportation.  What can she do if her lorry does not show up?  Her gorgeously painted and decorated clay form cannot walk the distance to the Ganges.  So she stays, and stays, sometimes until a city ordinance is passed that she must go to the river.  As children we do not easily let our mothers leave us, and as mothers we linger with our children for as long as we are able.

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October 2007
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