Subho Bijoya Dasami: Featuring Maa... our Durga

As a child, I used to be fascinated by a tremendously gorgeous “lal par shada Gorod’er saree” that my Dida kept tucked away in her almirah. But I would never see her wear it.  All I remember is that she used to take the saree out, her wiggly fingers gently caressed through the fabric and then she placed it back in the almirah. I could sense a strong string of melancholy run through her. I could see a faint smile vanishing in the corners of her lips, while tears rolled down her eyes. The saree was a gift to Didan from Dadu on Durga Pujo. I could never understand why she would never wear it again. Little did I know how cruel the world we live in actually is!

This is the 21st century, and still Hindu widows in our country, as we all know, have to go through a lot of ordeals. They have to face social taboos. With the death of her man, a woman is expected to renounce all earthly pleasures. She should no longer look attractive and is expected to be clad in white sarees for the rest of her life.  What is worse is that she is considered inauspicious, so she couldn’t be present at the various rituals and celebrations that form such an integral part of Indian life. It doesn’t really matter how much that person has loved you or has sacrificed for you. Her husband is dead and that’s the end of the story…her story.
Thanks to the world outside, she is reminded every day and every moment that she has lost her husband, who was her happiness and her biggest strength. People leave no stones unturned to emotionally hurt her, be it directly or indirectly. She is judged by the colors of her cloths, for the choice of her jewelry. People mock even if she wears any random dark colors, let alone red. So she kind of started avoiding them altogether, no matter how much we wanted her to.

Anyway, it has been six years that baba, my father-in-law, has left for the heavenly abode and in these six years I have seen my mom in love grow stronger and become more self-dependent with each passing day. Furthermore, we are dependent on her for the way we live our lives. It is not that she has never been attacked by fear, low self-esteem, self-doubt and low confidence levels, but she refuses to let those demons to eat her up from the inside. Yes, she is our super woman; she might cry herself to sleep, but wakes up next day with an ever smiling face. So, when I was planning to do Durga Puja special shoots for my blog, I wanted to feature the real women of my life, each with her own story and her own battle. Who do you think could have crossed my mind other than Maa? After all, she is no less than Durga Maa for us. Besides the external demons that Maa is grappling with every day, she has also fought the internal demons, and how!!

When I asked Maa to don her “lal par shada saree” for the shoot, she was taken aback for a while. A red saree? She murmured. “Yes, Maa”, I uttered. I could sense her waging a war with her inner demons, which were worse that the ones waiting outside the house. But finally, she emerged victorious, as usual. She opened the almirah, took out a quintessential “lal par shada tant er” saree and said “Red and White are his favorite colors and this is his favorite saree.” I felt a lump in the throat and a tug in the heart.
I know this is just a mere shoot, but every step counts. Isn’t?

So, for Dasami this year, I have my Maa with me, clad in her much loved “Lal-shada” saree. Kohl smudged eyes and boro lal tip rounds off the look. This used to be her signature look and our heart pined to see Maa like this. I also took out Maa’s favorite kaan phool, which had been sitting in a corner of the locker since baba’s death. 

Decking up Maa today gave me a happiness that no words on earth could ever explain. Special mention, my husband…who continuously encouraged me and Maa for the shoot. I feel totally blessed. We just want to say that, don't let age-old customs stop them from celebrating colors, celebrating life. Let them wear whatever they want to, spend life however they want to.

And if any of you, while going through this post, feel awkward or think that we have done wrong…then kindly leave me a message. Ohh come ‘on I need to know who are you before showing you the door to leave my life. Before that I will definitely pray to Maa Durga for your speedy recovery.

With this I end my Durga Puja series. Other than these five incredibly amazing women, I have few other women too, whom I wanted to feature. But time and distance took the better of us. Hope someday I’ll be able to feature them too.

Lastly, I would like to thank my readers for showering immense love, for liking the series. I was really apprehensive about this, but the comments and views on my posts say it all. Thank you so much. Keep pouring your love. Love you all.


  1. I had a lump in my throat dear as I read it. Maddy, your maa in love in so so lucky to have you as her daughter in love!

  2. Awesome attempt boudin, you are a gem.

  3. Words r falling short. God bless you and your mom in love. God bless the love between you two. What a fantastic post. I wish more n more people starts following this. You are incredible.

  4. Oh dear, I got a bit teared up reading this. You are appreciated as is your mom in law. Strong women pave the ways in the world. This is powerfully written with heart and soul.

  5. I love this kind of series you're doing here. Keep it up. Both of you very inspiring

  6. What a fabulous post and series!

  7. My heart goes out to you and your mother. She looks beautiful in that saree!

  8. I cannot imagine living in a culture where a woman's life is expected to be over just because her spouse has passed. To avoid events of loved ones would break my heart.

  9. Sangita Banerjee9 November 2023 at 23:07

    When the husband of a married woman dies , she has to give up wearing The Red Sari she likes , not by her choice but it's done forcefully making the women the real enemy of themselves. Hearing this from you about my mother in law made me very sad. Seeing your mother in law not following the 'custom' or the norm gave me a bit of hope for all the ladies out there who lose their youth and charm once their husband dies.We are the ones who can change the world for the better.


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