Mahalaya

Sunday, October 20, 2019 - 5:55pm

Mahalaya

Mahalaya Buy this photo
Deeya Chaturvedi

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.