Autumn in Calcutta

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I’m strolling the bowered pathway,

swathed in an autumn sunlight

slinking in through tangled vines:

My face feels all flushed

in tones of the blossoms,

caressed by a nip in the air

romancing late October’s

shiuli, champa, chameli flowers.

 

The festivities continue unabated:

today is Karvaa Chauth  –

when for the longevity of their lords

women fast daylong,

paying obeisance to them  –

who over their lives supremely command,

under a full moon patiently summoned.

It’s romantic and has tradition no doubt

but reeks of subjugation and male clout,

as we women, since eternity, love a sheltered life:

Yet on a whim want our independence and flight

which to get we blame every man in sight,

But aren’t ready to give up on the benefits

of a male-dominated society  –

as that’s our heritage we’ve imbibed.

 

We’ve already worshipped in Bengal

the strength of a woman in its potent form:

goddess Durga and all her children,

rejoicing in her slaying of the demons

of poverty and suppression,

that lives had turned into a dungeon:

by bestowing upon all – gaiety and fun,

even if it’s only a week  long –

leaving us forlorn when the goddess is gone

but soothing our emotional fall

by cushioning it with another festival  –

with goddess Lakshmi and her owl,

that barely a week back

touched our houses and hearts.

 

As Dhanteras, Kali Puja and Diwali

draw near, the nip in the air

now much dearer  –

the aroma of Shiuli permeating my senses,

as the days are getting shorter –

the mornings more dewy and quieter,

and fog slowly pervading the night air

that make me value

the homeliness I’m steeped in,

to step out of my mental bower

to project my inherent

strength of being a woman.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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