For most Bengalis, Mahalaya marks the return of goddess Durga to Earth and also marks the beginning of the Durga Puja festivities. This usually occurs mid-to-late September, after the monsoons — also a time when a lot of flowers are in full bloom in India. Coming from a Bengali family, I looked forward to this time most of all, mostly because it was the time when my grandmother’s garden would look the prettiest. She grew roses, mogras (arabian jasmine), shiuli (night-flowering jasmine), marigold, and a variety of other flowers. Through deep blues signifying rain, mellow whites symbolizing rain clouds and purity, and yellows and reds communicating warmth and happiness, I wanted to capture the essence of Mahalaya in this painting. Along with depicting my grandmother’s flowers, I used actual flowers from the past year’s Durga Puja to physically connect this painting to one of my happiest childhood memories. 


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