Durga Puja, Oct. 15 2010
Three amazing hours: a hot pressing crowd, lilliputian gods, thick incense like tuberose, heaps of tossed flowers, old women dancing (one in a rolling-eyed state of transport), pounding nonstop trance drums, enormous piles of fruit tribute, and E chosen — ! — chosen to impersonate the celebrated goddess. Her feet must have been kissed by one hundred people. They tucked bills into her robes as she was borne, with a terrified face, around the stifling room. Everyone so gracious and generous and beautiful.