September 7, my sleep is interrupted by my phone ringing. It’s Didi. “Wake up! It’s Mahalaya!” she exclaims. My sleep is all gone in minutes. I quickly take to Youtube and play the ‘Mahalaya’ recital.
As “Ashhiner Sharodoprate…” plays through my earphones, my mind slowly drifts to the river banks of Gumti, back there in Tripura, where the ‘kash phool’ must be swaying in the breeze by now, the mystic ‘dhak’ beats, the camphor smell in the air, the ‘pujo-pujo gondho’, the Aroma of the arrival of Maa, that only a Bengali can perceive.
Being stuck in a far-off land, in the south of the India, where there’s no visible signs of Autumn, no ‘Mahalaya’, no Durga Pujo, I closed my eyes in reminiscence. On this day, we would wake up before the break of dawn and Mahalaya would be played in the radio in all houses, the reverberating voice of Birendra Kishore Bhadra, leaving us all mesmerized for hours. As the divine aura of his narration soothed my soul, I looked around, my roommates were all fast asleep, with a lump in my throat, Tear drops rolled down my cheeks in silence.
Here’s a drawing, done the day before, with a Mehendi cone, the funny reason being, I didn’t have the right colors and brushes to do it! My friend had brought it for me from the fair. Being the girl that I am, devoid of all girly interests of wearing Mehendi on my palms, I shamelessly used it where it wasn’t meant to be. Apologies to her.