Rina held four-month-old Myra in her arms as she climbed the last bit of incline to reach Vaishno Devi. She was visiting the darbar accompanied by her in-laws and husband. Her mother-in-law proudly showed Myra to everyone.
“See, Mata Rani finally listened to my prayers and blessed Rina and Rajat with this beautiful girl.”
Rina and Rajat had been married for ten years and after three years of non-stop IVF treatments Rina had finally conceived and Myra was born.
“All credit goes to Mummyji and Mata Rani, while I suffered the trauma of being called infertile and the ordeal of IVF treatments,” thought Rina with a sigh.
They were waiting in a long meandering line. This area doubled up as a place where many vendors had set up shop. Rina also saw many people offering halwa-puri to little girls in a row; for Kanya Pujan.
“Aunty, I see you have a baby in your arms, will you also be doing Kanya Pujan,” said a cherubic little girl with wide eyes and dimpled cheeks. Before Rina answered, her mother-in-law, had given her verdict. “Yes, of course.”
“ I’ll get some girls and you can do puja now. You can buy all things from these shops,” the little girl said. Rina’s mother-in-law nodded in agreement, signaling Rina to follow. “Rajat, hold Myra,” ordered her mother-in-law.
The agile little girl seemed very tuned to the procedure. She had already gathered about twenty little girls, as she smiled brightly. “Aunty, let’s sit there.” She pointed to an area demarcated by a sari. As her mother-in-law bought things from the vendor, the little girl had shown.
Rina indulged in conversation with her. “How old are you?”
“I am 8,” she said smiling widely, adjusting her dupatta. She was instructing the girls to sit in a straight line and all of them obeyed her quietly.
“She’s a born leader. I hope Myra has a strong personality like hers,” mused Rina. Her mother-in-law returned with all the stuff and signaled to Rina to begin the distribution. “Finish it quickly Rina, the line is beginning to move.”
Soon all the girls had received everything, and they rushed back to the line. It was there that Rina realized she forgot to give each one the money she held in her hands and she dashed back.
As she peered into the area which she had left a few moments ago she stared in disbelief.
“All of you quickly put all the things in this basket.”
“But didi, these belong to us.”
“Shut up! You think you can teach an eighteen-year-old how to do business? If you say another word, I’ll see to it you don’t sit for puja all day.” She gathered all the things and took them back to the vendor who in turn gave her some money.
“Such a liar she is, such a chor. When I grow big, I will push this dwarf off the cliff, I promise,” one of the girls was crying in distress.
- Vaishno Devi – A Hindu temple dedicated to a goddess, situated on a mountain in Jammu and Kashmir.
- Mata Rani- Principal goddess in Vashino Devi
- Darbar – The temple complex.
- Kanya Pujan – Little girls (pre-menstruated girls) are worshipped as they are regarded symbolic of Mother Goddess.
- Halwa – A sweet Indian dish made from semolina.
- Puri – A small round bread of unleavened wheat flour, deep fried.
- Dupatta – A shawl, traditionally worn in the Indian Subcontinent by women.
- Chor – Thief
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