The Sonajhuri Haat:
I do believe in GOD. God for me is there as the air, sometimes breezy, sometimes still, sometimes stormy. God is like my heartbeat, which goes fast, faster, or the fastest like the graph of my emotions. Or like the tiny hand which suddenly holds my pinkie finger on a sunny day in Sonajhuri Haat, Shantiniketan on a random day of a winter morning. That sudden warm, unexpected touch make me see the Goddess Kali standing beside me.
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My First Reaction
The Goddess surprises me not only with her unexpected occurrence but also with her 4 feet height and a purple sweater underneath her gorgeous blue dress. Goddess look at my poker face also. For a moment, doubt overpowers me, how can I see a God, that too, so small, a childlike. After a few moments of doubt, something inside me slams me saying, I am killing a lifetime opportunity of meeting God. I together all my slept devotions, and think of asking a boon. But the surprise does not end for me yet. Before I Can, the Goddess asks, “Can you give me 5 rupees? I will have pickles”. A few moments ago, my mind used all its energy in thinking, clearing doubts, mounting my devotions, smashing my central logic, so it decides to take a break after hearing this question. What else I can expect? God wants money! 5 rupees! for pickles! So, I can’t answer anything and keep staring.
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And The Start
God is kind, as she thinks of giving me another chance. She must know well that people don’t see God’s every day like cattle, so they tend to confuse. She shrugs me and asks again but with now little command, “Give 5 rupees”. And my hand itself slips inside my pocket and comes out with a 10 rupees note. As I stretch it towards her, I experience the difference. We want more than we need, but the Goddess knows what exactly she wants. As, she takes the note and tells me, “oh, you don’t have a chance, wait here, from the pickle seller I will bring you the change”. I look at the pickle seller, who is doing fail attempts at protecting pickles from the flies.
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After she buys some pickles, she comes to return my money. And the sight touches me. That’s the power of simplicity and purity. My heart suddenly feels lighter when I see her coming towards me with the change in one hand, and licking the pickles from the other. All thoughts release my mind and hurt from its clutch. And I kneel in front of her and ask: “can you please spend the day with me at the fair? We will roam around, and I will feed you on time”. After a moment’s thought, she says: “Okay, but my brother will join me in an hour. Can you feed both of us?”. Goddess Kali’s brother? I never heard or read about him. Should I dare to ask? What if my ignorance upsets the Goddess? But the God is Omniscient. She says, “My brother’s name is Rohit, you will see him”. Excuse me, what! Isn’t “Rohit” a modern name? She starts walking by my side while licking the pickle. GOD is the big prankster, I must say.
In the fair, the bauls (Bengal’s folk singers) are singing loud in colloquial phrases, but the rhythm and the music are so soothing that we could not resist going there. They welcome us, one of them waves his hand to the Goddess and says: “Pinky, is everything alright at home?”. And hearing this, my mind speaks again, “PINKY! The Goddess has a nickname too! Why all the Bengalis have to keep a nickname, and that to the Goddess too. No wonder her brother’s name is Rohit”. Pinky smiles and tells them to sing a song.
Now the Goddess tells me her story that she stays very far, in an interior village. And she loves this Sonajhuri fair, so every week Saturday and Sunday she visits here, sometimes as Goddess Kali, sometimes as Lord Krishna, sometimes as Shiva. Not only that, she bunks her Saturday school every week to come here. She is an artist, a polymorphous.
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I feel like offering her some food. But the Goddess is a little reluctant to have anything else; she refuses ice cream, chocolate, more pickles, rice, and fish curry until Rohit comes and joins us. Rohit has no Godly elements, he is an 11 years old, cool dude, in the winter he has unbuttoned his upper chest. He sits calmly under a tree with a hesitant smile on his face.
Now we eat together, listen to the baul songs. I am feeling enlightened, never felt that pure ever. End of the day Rohit’s hesitant smile changes.
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Our time ends like magic. Finally, Goddess tells me, “We will leave now”, it feels like a Dashami day, I again kneel in front of her, asking her, “can I give you something, whatever you want”. She nods a no, then she says, “if you come tomorrow, then we will meet again”. But I have to return, but one part of me wanted to ignore all the responsibilities and stay for one extra day, but that was just not possible. The Goddess understands me again without me uttering a single word. She gives a smile and is about to leave. Then suddenly she comes back, holds my pinkie finger again, and asks: “can you buy me a small size Saree?”
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