Short Story Section: Will Ma Durga Arrive? Part II

Written By

Debolina Coomar

Will Ma Durga Arrive? Part II Loading

(Continued from Part I)

Who were Andie and Miranda, and why were they here?

Andie, as Ajay was called, was the son of Mr. Mallick’s cousin, Binoy Mallick. Andie had been settled in the US for a long time, after marrying Martha, his American girlfriend of a few years. His father had practically disowned him and the relationship had got so bad that he had been even told not to return for his father’s last rites. Andie was a timid guy, and all this turmoil had left him heartbroken. Everybody knew that he now had a daughter, but nobody from the family made any attempt to meet Andie’s wife or daughter. His arrival with his daughter made everybody wonder. However, it all became clear when they heard that Martha had passed away the previous year due to a chronic illness. Everybody sympathized with them.

Mr. Mallick knew Andie very well since he was a boy, and loved him for his wit. He had been pained to break all ties earlier, and was happy to have his long-lost nephew back. He wondered, though, why he was back after so many years. Miranda was 10 years old, and was perceived to be completely different from her cousins because of her origins, though children being more adaptable, they quickly tried to befriend her. But, she was here for something else.

The night before Mahalaya, Mr. Mallick rested in his easy chair on the veranda as he listened to old Bengali chants and remembered the days when everyone in the family came together to celebrate Durga Puja. How things have changed! Mr. Mallick thought with regret, today he wasn’t even sure who would pick up the idol and when.

Suddenly, he heard a soft voice, and sat up. “Dadu, I want to ask you something.” He saw Miranda standing next to him. Mr. Mallick presumed that she didn’t know Bengali, so answered in broken English. “Hai bolo, Miranda, ummm…ok, say?”

Miranda asked, “Ma kobe ashbe?” (When will Ma arrive?) Mr. Mallick was taken aback for a moment, both because of the language and the question. After a pause, Miranda continued, “Dadu, Ma Durga kokhon ashbe?” (Grandfather, when will Ma Durga come?)

At that moment, the question was apt, and more so coming from this motherless little girl. Mr. Mallick had tears in his eyes as he hugged Miranda, and said, “Ashbe Khukumoni, ashbe. She will come, my dear.” Andie and Kanaida witnessed the entire thing. Everybody was in for a surprise, with the beginning of the new day.

At 4 a.m. the next morning, everybody was woken by the chants of Mahalaya, that seemed to soak their souls in divinity. People got up one by one, and wondered where the sound was coming from. They checked Mr. Mallick’s room, and found no one. Soon, they realized that Mr. Mallick, Andie, Kanaida and Miranda were missing. They were nowhere to be found! Soon, the Mahalaya hymns came to an end, and a new sound emerged — the heady sound of the dhak and conch-shells, at which the entire family rushed to the main gate.

It was a mesmerizing scene. Ma Durga was approaching in full pomp and splendour, and none other than little Miranda, clad in a beautiful white and red saree, led the procession. Andie was wonderful with the conch shells, and Kanaida never missed a beat of the kasor. Everyone stood still for a moment. Soon, the entire neighbourhood joined in to welcome Ma Durga, the ladies of the house rushed to make preparations for the ceremony, the men and the kids joined in too. Again, Mallick bari was thrumming with the chatter and laughter of many excited devotees. Everybody was assigned responsibilities, and they happily obliged. Mr. Mallick stood there looking at everything, and tears rolled down his cheeks. He looked at Ma Durga’s idol and little Miranda standing next to it. He remembered their conversation last night.

“Ma amake always taught about Bengali culture, and told me a lot about Durga Puja. Ma bolechey Durga is not a God, she is like a mother to all. I wanted to see mother once again, so Baba amake brought me here. Amio Durga Puja te khub fun korte chayi. When is Ma Durga coming?” Martha had done a perfect job of imparting her husband’s cultural heritage to Miranda, and Andie was proud of both of them.

This was enough for Mr. Mallick’s spirits to revive. He felt a return of his customary zeal. He knew that he had to bring Ma Durga for little Miranda, if not for anyone else. The gates of Mallick bari were again open to all, and this time it was better than ever. The Puja promised to be a beautiful celebration of joy and family togetherness, much like it had been decades ago.

Mr. Mallick clasped Miranda’s small hand in his and said, “From today, you are my Durga!”

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

As a believer of 'live & let live', Debolina likes to enjoy the little things of life. As a person who enjoys reading, writing and interacting with people, she finds it exciting to write about emotions, experiences, stories, lifestyle, parenting, self-improvement, current affairs and pretty much everything that affects a common man's life. Debolina is an ex-HR and Corp. Comm. professional, wife to a wonderful husband, mother to a lovely daughter; and a freelance content, creative writer, content developer and blogger. She strives to ignite the power of thought with a whole new perspective. Debolina shares her thoughts at: debolinacoomar.wordpress.com

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