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Photographer's Note

Every year during the lunar month of Ashwin or Kartik (September-October), Hindus observe ten days of ceremonies, rituals, fasts and feasts in honor of the supreme mother goddess. This festival is devoted solely to the Mother Goddess — known variously as Durga, Bhavani, Amba, Chandika, Gauri, Parvati, Mahishasuramardini — and her other manifestations. The name “Durga” means “inaccessible”, and she is the personification of the active side of the divine "shakti" energy of Lord Shiva. In fact, she represents the furious powers of all the male gods, and is the ferocious protector of the righteous, and destroyer of the evil. Durga is usually portrayed as riding a lion, and carrying weapons in her many arms.

This is the time of the year I miss my hometown – Kolkata, the most. Durga Puja is celebrated with a lot of passion there. I have lived outside Kolkata for almost 10 years now, but normally every other year I try to be in Kolkata during this time…not this year :- (

Here in Mumbai, there are around 500 Durga Pandals, where the sizeable population of Bengalis in Mumbai celebrate this festival with their best foot forward. New dresses, traditional saris, traditional food, marks this festival for Bengalis in particular.

I took this picture in a Durga Puja pandal (temporary abode of the goddess) in the North West suburbs of Mumbai…a place which has a lot of poor migrant labourer population from Northern & Eastern India. Durga Puja is not their festival alright, but they do participate in the festivities, in this place, far away from their homeland. This child, belonging to one of the poor migrant families, was sitting barefoot, with old crumply & dirty dress, forlorn as kids played around with new glistening new dresses & perhaps would have been thinking ‘But why? Is this not my festival as well?’ I wished he did not look at me so directly...but he did, perhaps curious of my act!

Post Processing: Used channel mixture to desaturate the original picture in Photoshop, increased the contrast & also the light in the BG in order to get a blown out "high key" appearance to have less distraction for the main subject.

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Additional Photos by Angshuman Chatterjee (Angshu) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 7851 W: 324 N: 16060] (56760)
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