Both by the idea and by the belief, goddess Durga is worshipped as the female embodiment of power. Well, whether in real life we really care about the real sources of power i.e. the women or not may be an issue to discuss later, most of the women seem to have their way through joy and celebration during the festive days for sure. Playing with the vermillion is a ritual to mark the departure of the goddess and it becomes an outlet for the women to leave beyond their regular desires and disappointments and soak into a mixed pool of emotions of fun and sadness.
They laugh and dance and spread vermillion on one another as on this day, many of them who are generally always homebound, get the chance to come out on the road to join the procession of the immersion of Devi Durga. They also feel sad as they become one with the departing goddess and feel the pain of leaving the place where they thought they belonged.
Every year I try to attend the ritual to capture moments of intense emotion and a mélange of moods. From behind the viewfinder, I see them giggling, posing, praying, enjoying and wishing in various manners, each expressing themselves in unique ways to each of them, and the air whispers in my ears, "live life to express, not to impress".