Radio waves dance between
sleep and the half light
of dawn. Yawning, Ma adjusts the
knob to wake up the station. The man
on the radio invokes the Mother in
gravelly chants. Malkauns,
waiting in the wings,
takes the stage. The beginning

Far away, in another lifetime,
a temple bell rang. The devotee,
crazy for a single glimpse of the
lord, cried his heart out. “Don’t
shatter my hopes; leave me not.”
The dark-skinned god stood still.
Wobbling across decades
of palsy, an old man’s feet
breathed life into its

Malkauns moves mountains. Cripples.
Stony gods. An adored mother goddess
and her carousel of
children. It moves sleepy heads
into a dozy trance. Malkauns
moves dark nights of the soul
into mornings that must


4 thoughts on “Malkauns

  1. Intriguing mention, after stony gods, the mother goddess and her carousel of children. Wikipedia – which is getting as unreliable as a go-to source as it is getting accessible – talks of Malkauns being created by Parvati to appease Shiva. And then Barbara Walker, in her woman’s encyclopedia of myths and secrets, under ‘Shiva’, writes, ‘..the puzzling vision of Shiva as Shava the Corpse, under the Goddess’s feet, illustrated the “doctrine that Shiva without his Shakti can do and is, so far as the manifested is concerned, nothing.” ‘

    1. Thanks for stopping by and commenting, huzaifazoom. This isn’t based as much on mythology as its representation in popular culture. 🙂

      Stanza 1 alludes to this rendition of recitations from the Chandi, interspersed with songs, many of them composed in Malkauns. For Bengalis, this marks the beginning of Durga Puja, when Durga (another name for Parvati) comes to her father’s house on earth along with her four children, sans husband Shiva.

      Stanza 2 takes from a Hindi song in the film Baiju Bawra, also set in Malkauns.

      1. Thanks Bhaswati for the background and the melodic linkages. Rafi’s voice is signature smooth – although Haridas’ still image is a bit scary 🙂

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