Do You See?

Durga in the Festive or the Failures We Cherish

Again, long time no posts… But something about the autumn festive season perks you up. Or does it? While everyone exhibited sartorial, gastronomic, real estate, body embellishment and other conquests, I read a photo essay and wrote this in the moment. No please, it’s NOT a poem. I am told it has shades of Suniti Namjoshi:   Durga~ the quentessential middle class woman **Durga is going to her mother’s place on a rickshaw. At the turn in a dark alley, a shortcut, suddenly three men come upon her and push the ragged rickshaw puller down from his seat. Scuffle and scream. Then quiet. Stop. **Durga is late for office. One of those days she feels sick and falls behind on her schedule. The male colleagues keep cracking the “monthly” joke on her in the lunch room while she swallows a pill and prepares for a late evening over files. Stop. **Durga is not allowed to cross the threshold of the big house in her village. She can chop the crops, shear the corn, gather the bundles, clean the wheat grinder, but can never enter the big house kitchen. She can wash their clothes, clean their buckets, but never touch the big house drinking water pots. A low-caste woman, she can become a body for big house men. But a nobody to be counted as human. Stop.

**Durga is a widow with no Shiva for protection. No sons or army of earthly fans. She says she’ll grant everyone’s wishes by sweeping corridors, scrounging dishes, dusting homes, cooking food, even tolerating the house-owner’s long glances behind her while she mops the floor. Stop. Durga is in love. Mahisha is the man. But she’s whisked away and locked in a room without food or water. She is threatened with dire consequences. Even death. Mahisha must die. She should poison his tea or else the clan men will hack his head. “Love jihad?” Durga feels she’s going mad in this din and light and nag. Make me a goddess, I’ll do it, she yells, at last. Stop. ***

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This entry was posted on October 5, 2014 by in autumn, Durga, Nabina Das and tagged , , .


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