the upcoming kali puja

two versions of kali – one by raja ravi varma and a more totemic local one. we were in kolkata this past week, just after durga puja, the holiday for the goddess durga, and two weeks before kali puja, the holiday for the goddess kali. kali is the goddess of time and change, and is pretty badass. when the goddess durga is unable to kill the demon raktabija and his minions – duplicate raktabijas that spring up whenever the demon’s blood hits the ground – she calls upon (or transforms into) kali: out of the surface of her (durga’s) forehead,…

mariamman festival

the portraits i posted in the previous few posts began from this image … i was walking through one of the many metal-working districts in chennai last week when i came across these figures. the guys working on them told me they were for a festival down the street, so i walked into the neighborhood and learned that their mariamman festival was starting the next day. the mariamman festival started with the setting-up of the stage and the idols, followed by a neighborhood meal; afterward, the temple priest held ceremony in which, traditionally, he asks mariamman if she is ready…