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In this very thought provoking piece of flash fiction, Kasturi Patra writes, why the beloved Goddess have left the temple, not to return.
The early morning sun was like a shy girl on her first date, still trying to hide her face beneath a thin veil of clouds. The sky reflected the pink blushing of her cheeks. The holy men arrived– freshly bathed, in their pristine white dhotis, lightly smelling of sandalwood. They opened the wooden gates of the main temple to start their morning Puja. The Goddess of this temple was known as an ‘antaryami’, someone who understood people’s minds, and the generosity of her abundant blessings was known far and wide. In an hour’s time, there’d be a crowd thronging at the gate, seeking the Goddess’s blessings, trading their choicest offerings in the hopes of being blessed more than others.
With a loud creak, the holy men pushed open the thick wooden doors. Then they gasped in horror. Everything remained as they’d left it last night, only the Goddess’s idol was missing from her throne. It seemed to have simply disappeared along with the night! They started a frantic search, within the dark interiors of the inner sanctum, behind the pillars, and even in the vast green courtyard. The idol seemed to have left without a trace!
“Let’s examine the throne more closely” exclaimed the head priest. “We might find a clue leading us to the sinner who committed this despicable act.”
They gathered around the throne and upon close examination, none of them could believe their eyes. There was no clue, except for tiny droplets of blood adorning the seat. With their mouths agape and eyes popping out, they looked at each other and rushed to the entrance gate. Aghast, once more they read the notice board they’d put up yesterday.
“From today, before entering the temple, every woman will be scanned to check whether she is menstruating. Women on periods are not allowed inside the temple.”
Cover image via Shutterstock
Kasturi’s debut novel, forthcoming in early 2021, had won the novel pitch competition by Half Baked Beans Publishers.
She won the Runner Up Position in the Orange Flower Awards 2021 for Short Fiction.
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