Tuesday, October 4, 2011

koritsi. chica. ragazza. just a girl.

Being a north Indian I have grown up with the ritual of kanjak celebrated on Ashthami- the eight day of the 9 days worshiping Maa, better known as Navratri. Navratri is celebrated in April and in October. In October it coincides with Durga puja.

Asthami for us would mean going to my nani’s house early in the morning. Sitting down near the mandir in my nani’s room. Waiting for nani to finish chanting her mantras. Singing along “shera wali maata teri sadayi jai” at the right cue. Getting our feet washed by nanu. The youngest kanjak pulled out a handful of grass from an earthen pot. For years it was me and my cousin doing it, my sister did it when she was old enough to. Then came the awaited moment of the Prasad- halwa, puri, chana and raita. And the token amount of money and a gift from my nanu was always included.

I am not a ritualistic person but there are  certain situations or things that you associate with certain people. I associate ashthami with my nani. She passed away in 2007 and I have not witnessed a kanjak puja after that. Today is Ashthami and I am thinking of my nani. And my girlhood.

A girl. Am I a 21 year old girl or a 21 year old woman? A woman; I think, who sometimes wants to go back to being just a girl.

It's sometimes nice being a female. You get the attention of a busy shopkeeper faster than the xy people. And you don't have  really have to ask a guy out. There's some stuff about being a woman that pisses me off but I don't really want to get into that. Not today.

Today, I want to be grateful for being a girl. I want to count my blessings. Today, I want to hold on to the traditions and rituals of the past. If not continue with them, I want to just think of them with fondness. I want to make up my own rituals. For myself. And for my future offsprings. Today I want to think of my nani, who taught my mom so many things and who in turn taught me so much. 

I want to celebrate being a girl, for once. I don't want to rant about feminism and equality and what not. Then why do I even mention feminism? Because it is on my mind. I am thinking about the obvious stuff like female foeticide and what happens in Haryana. But for today I want to keep all of that aside. For today I want to believe that I, like the goddess can slay demons. Atleast my own demons. 

I am a girl today. Not a kanjak. Just a girl who is missing her nani  and loves Asthami.