A stuffy room, noisy crowd. Inchoate, pulsating anticipation. Scented mist of dhoop. Rousing chanting and blare of conch shells. Large platters of diyas swaying around the deity. Ascending rhythym of the dhol. A priest moving a feathered pankh to the sound of shlokas. Customs designed to mesmerize. In the end, absolute pin-drop silence as a hundred heads bow in devotion. And yet all this pale before the searing eyes of Ma Durga – eyes that blaze through ceremony and rituals with something…something that’s the mark of a true goddess and testament to a true human – courage.