I have neglected my blog to the extent that my Indistats ranking has taken a plunge from a mean 77 to just pass 44 . Sad .
That said , this is the festive season . The most beautiful season called "sharat kaal" in Bengali , mystified to a thing of supreme beauty by Tagore in innumerable songs . The skies are a bright blue dotted with puffball clouds which suddenly darken ominously and end in a spatter of rain , only to become bright and sunny the next minute . There is a slight nip in the air at nights and the elusive evocative fragrance of chhatim blossoms .That is the magic of "sharat kaal ".
And this is also the time when Durga is worshipped . This is the time of agomoni -when Bengal waits for a young woman to return to her father's house with her brood for her annual visit .While she is worshipped as a victorious goddess , she is nevertheless the quintessential girl coming back to the bosom of her family for four days of loving before she is bid goodbye.The songs sung in anticipation of her visit , the agomoni songs, are poignant - hinting at the inevitable departure.
On a more mundane note there are traffic jams and hectic shopping , women dressed to the nines in their "south indians" at the mall and at the pavement stalls ,jostling each other to pick up , among all things , terracotta wall hangings , mobiles and doormats,plastic bins , pearlpet bottles .Shopping like there is no tomorrow .The magic of waiting , preparing , is palpable .
Driving past my childhood home on Sunday I wept . The garden is now a garage - there used to be a shiuli tree there and in the mornings , little white flowers with orange stems would pattern the grass like a carpet . My favourite pre -breakfast activity was to collect the flowers in my grandmother's wicker flower basket for puja , being careful not to touch any of the caterpillars that lived on and around the tree , shiuli trees being a favourite habitat of theirs .
There was the window where I curled up with my little sister and my grandmother watching the crowds on Shoshthi waiting for Baba to come home and take us all out .Now of course , none remain of that family except for my sister, who I am not sure shares my memories , and I .
Today I woke up at dawn . From my bedroom window , I could see the sky , now a dark misty grey .Etched against it was a row of glittering yellow lights on the roof of the South City towers , the builidng itself not visible , an absolutely mundane sight - but nevertheless a sight so magical in my half sleep state as to be almost part of a surrealistic dream ....