Shakti at Work

September 28th

9:00 TO 5:00 DESIGN WORKSHOP
11:00 TO 1:00 MEETING TO DISCUSS MPB ACCOUNTS
3:00 TO 4:00 MEETING WITH ZIA, UKK Fabric producer
4:00 TO 5:00 MEETING WITH NOOREEN AND PRAJAKTA TO DISCUSS SOCIAL PROGRAMS, GLOBAL DIALOGUE THEME
4:30 TO 5:30 MEETING WITH NITYANAND, Auditor

The standing joke here is that everyone needs at least a 2-day break to recover after I leave– and I believe it. Today was Dassehra, which is a big festival for the Hindus. But everyone was working today – the embroidery artisans, MP-Mumbai and SHARE staff. We had another meeting with a fabric producer, and accounts meetings. The 4.00 – 5.00 pm meeting had to be rescheduled when we simply ran out of time. This happens sometimes because the schedule is so tight.

We heard from Nooreen and our two visitors, Summer and Katrina, about their visit to see the Dandiya dancing a couple of days ago. Our guests are from the U.S., currently working in Bangladesh, and they were interested to see some Hindu culture while in India. That was the last day of the 9-night holiday Navratri, which celebrates 9 forms of the Mother Goddess, all her different forms of shakti, or female power! Since this was the last night to see the dancing, Nooreen volunteered to take them. Nooreen is Muslim, and had never attended one of these performances. Yet she cheerfully volunteered and took them to see the dancing in a nearby slum, at 9:30 at night, although she did not know anyone there. When asked if she felt comfortable doing that, she said, “This is my Mumbai!” Strong and strong willed women are abundant at SHARE and MarketPlace!

At the end of Navratri, Dassehra continues to celebrate the victory of good over evil with the story of how the god Rama defeated the demon Ravana, the story of the Indian epic the Ramayana.  It also celebrates a new year, and the goddess Durga is worshipped on this day.  Puja (offerings) are made to  bless machines and work implements.  Out in the streets you see many vehicles – auto rickshaws, taxis, trucks, cars – adorned in orange marigold garlands.  In addition, entrances to homes are also decorated with marigold and mango leaf torans.

And then there are loud processions with bands and people singing and dancing as they move through the traffic, setting off noisy fire crackers, and taking  the statue of the Goddess Durga, whom they have worshiped, prayed to and danced around for the last 9 days, to the sea to immerse her in the water.  This is a very colorful and exciting season.

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