How is Ma Durga coming this year?
Durga Puja for all Bengalis world over means the idol (usually made of clay and straw) of Mother Durga with her two sons and two daughters (with their “bahons” – see a previous blog) are brought to the place (“pandal/mandap”) where they will be worshipped for four days (two and half in US usually to make it convenient with school calendars) and then submerged in water (in US, though we save them for next year! ).
Now, one of the common questions before Durga Puja starts, as I recollect from my early childhood, is “Ma Durga ebarey kisey aaschhen?” (How is Mother Durga coming this time?). She could come in a “nouka” (boat) which would mean we were going to get flooded during Puja season. Or she could come in a “gojo” (elephant) which means we are going to have rains. (I assume not enough to cause floods though 🙂 ). Or she could come in a “ghora” (horse) which would signify sunny weather. I think the fourth option was to come in a “paalki” (palanquin). Don’t exactly recollect what that meant. Storms?? (I am a little shaky here but I think the story goes that those are the four days she came from her in-laws’ place to visit her parents’ place – I presume to avail herself of the Puja Holidays 🙂 )
Last night, as I was going for our local Pujari Puja center at Berkmar High School in Lilburn, GA, I distinctly noticed that this year Durga Ma was arriving in a rented U-Haul!! I have to ask my mom what the Hindu scriptures have to say about that 🙂
On an aside, I have no idea why Durga Ma and her kids had their own “bahons” (modes of transport – e.g. it was a lion for her) but they had another independent way of coming for Puja – boat, horse, elephant etc… One more question for mom 🙂
[On a further aside… Shhhh!!! she (my mom, not Durga Ma 🙂 ) does not know that I will be visiting her this Tuesday for a few hours. I intend to spring these questions as a surprise to her 🙂 ]