As per legend goddess Durga comes to visit her parents just for four days and leaves on the fourth day, which is celebrated as Vijaya Dashmi all over the country. In Kolkata, to be precise wherever Durga is worshipped, she is bid adieu on Vijaya Dashmi or Doshomi as it is known in common Bengali dialect. In the rest of the country, on this day ( Doshomi/ Vijaya Dashami), effigies of Ravan ( the Demon King, who had abducted Sita, Lord Ram’s wife) are burnt; symbolizing the victory of good over evil, and thus a day of happiness.
For those associated with Durga puja, the last day, Doshomi more often than not, brings tears of sadness to the eyes. Sadness? Yes, four days of un-adulterated revelry comes to an end, and for most people, their work places resume services!
While, the thought of getting back to routine life, makes a lot of people to feel blue, for many the intense sense of attachment which they develop with the Durga idol, who is breathed life on ‘Shasthi’, adorned with flowers and jewels, worshipped with love and intense faith, and then bid adieu post a beautiful, vibrant ceremony called the ‘sindoor khela’, makes them feel a little despondent. It is almost akin to a family member going away, who will not visit, till the next year.
‘Sindoor Khela’ is one of my most favorite part of the various rituals of Durga Puja. It may come across as a surprise, for this is essentially the bidding-adieu-ritual. What is it that like so much about Sindoor Khela? It is the act of wishing, a good journey and a happy married life, which is done by doing ‘ boron’ (wherein Durga is applied the vermillion hued sindoor on her hair parting, fed sweets, and wished good luck for her journey back home) to the goddess.
Post doing ‘boron’, the married ladies all wish each other happy fun-filled married life ahead, by applying the sindoor and feeding each other sweets for happy days ahead. It is the sense of camaraderie and the happy vibes the good wishes generate, that I love most. One can almost palpably feel the positive vibes in the surroundings. With all the vibrant vermillion sindoor all over, ‘Sindoor Khela’ is one of the most brightly hued community rituals, where not just the priest, but also everyone in attendance can participate. For those not aware, the words sindoor khela means playing ( khela) with sindoor ( the red powder which is traditionally used by Indian married women in the middle of their parting).
Goodbyes are associated with a sense of sadness, but if you want to experience a goodbye which generates a lot of love and happy warmth, drop by next year, on the last day of Durga Puja and watch the ‘sindoor khela’ unfold before your eyes.