This is a great time of the year to be in India. Most parts of the country, particularly North India, Eastern India and many parts of South and Western India are already in throes of festivities, especially those celebrating Navratri (a Sanskrit word, which means nine-nights, wherein the word nav means nine and ratri means night).
While those residing in the eastern part of the country are gearing up to welcome Goddess Durga, who is a symbol of divine energy, i.e. Shakti. Even Navratri is celebration of Shakti, and nine forms of the goddess are worshipped across nine days and most people also undertake a fast, wherein just a few vegetables and home-made-sweets are consumed for nine days. So, not only is this time good for the soul (one can search for deeper meanings in the nine forms of Shakti being worshipped), it is great for the body too, especially for those who undertake the Navratri fast: a good way to detox.
Since my connections run deeper with the Eastern part of India, having been born and brought up there, over the next few days, I will keep updating my blog on the ongoing festivities happening in this part of the country; Kolkata to be specific.
Book readers may have heard about Kolkata, or Calcutta, that is if they have heard about French writer Dominique Lapierre and his book City of Joy, which was also made into a movie. So popular was the book title, that now Kolkata is known as the City of Joy, and rightly so. A city, which grows on you, and in spite of the comparatively less economic power in terms of other Indian cities, its heart is in the right place.
The other famous connect Kolkata has is with Mother Teresa, an Albanian born Indian Roman catholic nun, who made Kolkata her home and founded the Missionaries of Charity. The discarded, the suffering, the terminally ill and poor, all are welcome at the Missionaries of Charity. Mother Teresa is no more, but her large congregation of nuns still continues to serve with love those who are unwanted and unloved by the society.
Are these the only two famous connections of Kolkata? No, there are many more, I would need to write a separate post for the same. The reason I chose Dominique Lapierre’s book is because now the city is synonymous with the name, City of Joy. Mother Teresa, because, what better way to appreciate and understand what love and selfless service means, Missionaries of charity is a place where I am sure no one can come back untouched emotionally and spiritually from.
And aren’t festivals and worship meant to rekindle the spirit? Well, at least I think they are. I so hope to be re-kindeled when I visit Kolkata again. Will I see her with new eyes? Will I chance upon some aspect of hers, which till now had escaped my notice. I hope so…will keep sharing as I savor along.