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You are Olokhhi! None ever said that to me. On the contrary being born a day after Lakshmi Puja, my family always held me as their Ghorer Lokhhi! Though I hardly realised ever what that meant! As I got into my teenage years and became a stubborn yet silent rebel, questioning almost every social custom logically, I somehow found the reading of the Lakshmi Panchali on Lakshmi Puja quite interesting. Not for the mythological tales that a Panchali relates, but because of the description of a woman who can be considered as Lokhhi (Lakshmi) bringing good omen to the family at large. And of course such a woman who cannot be a Lokhhi of the house was also mentioned. From describing each of her physical attribute to how she should speak in a coy and low tone, how she should serve the family and perform religious vrats, the Lokhhi-Olokhhi concept came to me as one of the most gender-biased social custom that our society practises.

This idea thus encouraged me to ask men of today who they feel a Lokhhi Bou or Lokhhi Meye is? Men from different professions, share their ideology and feelings about this age-old concept that probably their mothers had shared with them. Simple stories, honest feelings. They are the modern Bengali men who have stood by their mothers, daughters, wives and everything feminine. They have worshipped not just Goddess Lakshmi, but even the wild, free spirited woman, what we generally perceive as the Olokhhi. 

Keep an eye on GetBengal Lokhhi in Olokhhi series tomorrow. I am sure you will enjoy the perspective of men and view Goddess Lakshmi through their eyes and behind their lens. My special thanks to Debanjan Chakrabarti, Shuvayu Bhattacharjee, Kaushik Chakraborty, Shibaji Bose, Santanu Paul and Mrinal Mandal for finding out time from their busy schedules and penning down their thoughts. Let’s celebrate the Olokhhi in Lokhhi! After all, a woman has many shades! 


SAHELI MITRA
Content Head, GetBengal (P&M Communications)  

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