Maa Aesegache

                Amidst the beats of dhols and the nagadas the mother arrives. The eyes which till now were waiting desperately for her arrival, is filled with joy. The goddess arrives victorious. The conch is blown and the ladies perform “ulu dhyoni” in unison.
                The sight of mother on lion with furious eyes, ten heads holding weapons stabbing the mahisasura is a sight to watch. My heart starts pounding hard, I am sure every heart does. Standing in front of the Devi, tears seem to fill my eyes and I wonder why since childhood we have been taught to pray. Pray to God for giving us strength. We were told- if you ask sincerely God never denies help. But a question kept teasing my mind. Hasn’t God made us self-sufficient to take care of ourselves? Definitely there is a super power. Miracles do happen. But why consider ourselves weak.
                This little girl from an orphanage in Rourkela wasn’t weak for sure. She used to take up the responsibility of several others. But when she tried raising her voices against a senior person molesting her, she was chained. Chained to the same person who molested her. This incident dates back sometime around where we witnessed the “Nirbhaya case.”
                Durga- jagatj Janani, mahisasur mardini. But why limit these words to just Durga. Isn’t it applicable to all women? She definitely carries the responsibility of spreading and preserving love through her motherhood in her womb. But doesn’t Durga show that if someone dares to trample with her respect, she can become Mahishasur Mardini.
                Go on and call me a feminist but there is one more point to make here. Brahma, Vishnu, Mahesh came together to empower the Goddess with weapons and wisdom, when they together couldn’t curb evil.  This puja let it be a message for all men and women, women need not be protected. They need to be empowered.

                This puja is special for us. Our ancestors conveyed a simple thought through symbols. But it depends on us how we decipher these symbols - cry for help in front of the almighty or take the message, they wished to convey.
                                                                          - Rohini Naishadham