Photographer's Note

"Let me show you the Kali have seen nothing yet if you haven't seen the Kali"

We try to escape, muttering politely that we have seen her or we will come again another day, but he staggers along.

"Don't say you don't have time. What is time after all? Time stands still here. Come, come, take a look. You have come so far, and you don't want to walk another few feet?"

I follow reluctantly. He enters a little grotto and shows me a hole in which there is a black something I can hardly see in the dark.

"Very sentient," exclaims he. I take a frame quickly, then exit the room. He points to another bearded man with a turban sitting beside a pair of sleeping dogs. "Take a photo of 'baba'," he accosts me. I find the composition compelling, so I let off a series. The 'baba' asks if he could see the photos. I sheepishly confess that this is an older type camera, where the photos have to come back from a shop, not from the camera's back. But he is not disappointed. I try to leave, but this wild fellow rebukes me for not paying an honorarium to the 'baba'. 'Baba' is embarrassed, and signs me that the fellow is drunk. But I put a bill at 'baba's feet, which he does not even look at. I worry it will fly away in the wind.

I try to return to the car, but the wild fellow follows me, insisting that I must see the other temples too. A few men around there asks him to leave me alone, but he continues. I climb into the car; he comes up and asks for a donation. I refuse. He is outraged. "I showed you so many things, and you can't part with a few little rupees? What is money after all?"

The car coughs and sneezes but doesn't start. The driver tries again, fails. He pumps the gas pedal, then revs up...but the car gets stuck in the soft red clay, its back wheels spinning hopelessly. I jump out and the men around come forward to push. The fellow is elated,"You city folk, you thought you could escape without paying me a donation! Jai Ma Kali, bome bome Kali!"

The men around the car snarl at him to clear out, then we push. The fellow then comes forward and lends his hands. The car lurches on and clears the mud.

I thank him and the others. He puffs up his chest and yells, "Come again, but bring a donation next time...this time I helped you out...without my help Kali wouldn't let you off!" and smiles contentedly.

I thank him and wave. He waves back.

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Additional Photos by Animesh Ray (AnimeshRay) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 689 W: 44 N: 846] (9089)
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