Saptami — The First Day of Puja

Durga, having arrived the evening before, rises early for her bath.  Her day is spent in rituals of worship of nine plants that represent the Gods who gave their combined strength to Durga in her fight against the demons.

Gibi brought the girls to her home for this day, a special day of celebration.  They dressed in their fine clothes and spent the day with her family.  Her daughter is Didi (big sister) to them, and her son is Bai (brother).  They are with us often when their school is closed or they are not studying.  And I am really grandmother to them.  This is especially important if they are not studying, when a simple call from me will send them immediately back to their books!  Having the girls there is a matter of pride for their family, including their extended family.

I was high on our pandal stroll the evening before, ready to blog about it all.  I had planned a quiet day, and time with the choto bacchas.  The logistics of taking them there for the day were just too difficult, and I had some special ideas I wanted to try out, working on motor and cognitive skills.  Gibi came by early though, to tell me about a phone call she had received that morning from someone "in the know."  After that, I can only describe the day as "lost."  I worked at the computer, wrote and re-wrote documents, letters.  I stopped long enough to visit the girls and Gibi’s family for lunch.  In the evening Gibi and Bijoy took the girls for their pandal walk.  I had managed to twist my back while washing a diaper in the morning – one more added stress — or probably one more result of stress.  But I completed my work, and located a 24 hour courier service for the next morning.

We are getting wonderful offers of support from many areas, but it’s just not clear what will be most helpful.   I will write more about that as it gets clearer.

The girls came home from the day at Gibi’s and pandal strolling, waving new balloons, eating popcorn, and as usual, went first to choto bacchas to give them balloons and share their treats.  I went over all the documents with Gibi, as I always do, and we agreed I’d get them off to the courier in the morning.  We worry and laugh at the same time about all this, the trickery, the lies, the convoluted stories.  It’s all about money and power — who will control me.  This is really a stupid fight because those close to me would tell you that this is not a do-able task, or at least it hasn’t happened yet.  I am very stubborn.

Gibi and I also celebrate, every day, that in spite of the fights going on, we have the children.  They grow, they learn, they thrive, and in that way, so do we.

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October 2007
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