|MANIMEKHALA : Maya Siddhanta
is not merely a name; it is an epithet to symbolize dynamism. Maya is indeed an epitome of fearlessness and determination. In her very early youth she took part in a daredevil expedition. The year was 1978. The month was January. The very presence of winter, the jackfrost was severely felt in cold wind by every Calcuttan. Maya alongwith two other expeditionists began the MANIMEKHALA EXPEDITION from the Man-O’-War jetty Calcutta. It was a sailing boat expedition to cover 2900 nautical miles from Calcutta to Trinkomalee, Sri Lanka. The expedition was to be completed in 90 days. Just imagine! Hailing from a remote village, Amdanga, in the then 24 Parganas, Maya in her late teens accepted the challenge of MANIMEKHALA sea expedition across the Bay of Bengal, the Indian Ocean and the Palk Strait. The obvious dangers of turbulent sea storms, of the likely attacks by wild aqua-fauna, to say sharks, could not deter her spirit of adventure. Maya's parents, the late Santosh and Parirani, had a very modern outlook. They encouraged Maya and inspired her to welcome such daring challenges in her life in the days to come. The media all over the country covered the expedition for days together. Such a small sailing boat expedition for such a long distance was hitherto unknown! Maya is acclaimed as the first young woman to take part in such a sailing boat expedition.
On her return from the expedition she introduced a magazine, Malini, in Bengali from Calcutta. It was women's own magazine. It was the time when no 'women's own' Bengali magazine was coming out from Calcutta. A famous litterateur, the late Santosh Kumar Ghosh devised a very appropriate slogan for Malini - "Malini meyeder kintoo meyeli noy". Malini had hit the stands for the first time in 1980. Since then she has never fumbled or faltered. She is now completing thirty one years.