As I walk out into the burning scorching sun of the summer Calcutta home, I leave my trail of the sari palla falling and failing behind me. I failed as a woman you put on a pedestal, I failed for all the conditions and the confidence you had in my acceptance of your rules. Every time you flexed your muscle, I cowered because I knew my strength lied in my mind and not in my body. I knew you didn’t want to see the naked me. The naked truth of not being a Devi but a mere human being fraught with failings and follies.
I was tired and exhausted playing nurse for your incompetence when you fell ill and you couldn’t hold your health and spirit, I was angry for your tenderness towards me when I towed your line. Your approval of my morality when you spoke about the woman next door, who met men at her free will. Like she was some sort of a crazy person who needs counselling. I was dejected every time you pulled the hand brake when I tried to learn to drive because you thought my free reins would thwart your incessant need to be in control.
But you failed in navigating my path ahead because I had silently charted my own path. I am the Devi.
This summer noon was different. I felt the spirit of the noir goddess envelope me in her fierce nature. She was the epitome of all that is dark and divine. She isn’t the Devi who is demure. She is Kali the goddess of wrath. She marches on nude with her hair let down and her breasts are covered with the skull necklace of Asuras. She fought each one of them and as each Asura arose from each drop of blood she finally drank his blood to stop the birth of one more Asura. Devi is noir, merciless with evil, loves her meat and her drink. She isn’t the domesticated Lakhshmi. She is the noir Devi.
And you worship her every morning as the demure Devi but refuse to see her your own Devi in her naked truth after you open your eyes from your daily prayer. I hope you realise you are failing your own devout delusion. The Devi is the reincarnation of the years of turmoil she has endured in your bloody hands.
And there are Devis everywhere, under the fading sunlight and the receding moon. She is tired of you putting her up on a pedestal and stopping her from being the mere human spirit that she is.
The Devi on my blouse is Satyajit Rays’s classic film where Sharmila is worshipped as the reincarnation of the noir goddess because her father-in-law had a dream. That his daughter in law was a reincarnation of the Goddess Kali. To the utter horror of her husband who watched his wife being worshipped as a deity and eventually she starts believing that she is truly the Devi.
My Devi is in you and in me, she is in the trains, buses and roads where she fights against this conditioned mindset of how celestial she ought to be.
Devi is divine, demure and destruction. She is in you and in me. As we pack the tiffin boxes for our families with one eye on the clock and also wear our grey on our parting, she is everywhere and yet nowhere.