While getting back from work I stopped at the neighbourhood Kali temple. The whole para was dark due to a major fault in the electrical system. The Kalibari‘s oil lamps were the only source of illumination. Curious to catch the deity in all her dusky glory, I stepped in.
The temple courtyard was empty. The priest was in the sanctum preparing to lay the goddess to sleep. A single oil lamp lit up Kali’s fierce visage. The quivering flame cast demonic shadows dancing all around the temple precinct calling to mind certain dakinis and joginis associated with Kali worship.
The last toll of the huge brass bell signified that it was time for the goddess of the dark to return to the darkness. The huge wooden doors were being pulled shut by the priest. As a last glimpse, I saw Kali’s blood red tongue. In the semi-darkness it seemed almost real. The trees in the temple courtyard caught a Southern breeze unusual for this time of the year. As the leaves rustled and I was putting my shoes on, I couldn’t help but wonder, is Kali sticking her tongue out because she accidentally stepped on her husband Lord Shiva? Or is she just mocking us, humanity, because we have taken her too literally.