Get spooked with my Halloween masks!

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Halloween

It’s a tradition for many people to celebrate Halloween by donning¬†weird, scary and funny costumes. Some people also wear masks which look like ghosts, wraiths, demons or beasts. Unfortunately, I stay in the part of the world where Halloween is almost an alien concept to the people. Thanks to movies, TV series and of course, Harry Potter that I am a big fan of this festival!

Something is wrong with me today. I think I have been possessed by evil spirits or I am under the hocus-pocus of some evil witch. Hahaha! ūüėÄ Or else why I would suddenly decide to make frightening masks using insane ideas from cartoon shows I have grown up watching.

Jokes apart! So here are 3 masks which I have made using Microsoft Paint and Adobe Photoshop CS5. I tried my best to make them really terrifying, so that anyone who wishes to wear them can scare the hell out of others! I will be really glad to hear your opinions on them, and I will be happier if you actually print the masks, cut them out and wear them in the spirit of Halloween and post your pictures on my Facebook page. The Kaleidoscopic Kanvas

Mask 1

Mask 2

Mask 3

Happy Halloween folks! Don’t roam outside for long. Witches shall take you for dinner.¬† ūüėÄ

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Watercolour painting of Goddess Kali

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A few days back, I had shared a hand-made sketch of Goddess Kaalratri on the 7th day of Navratri in my blog post: Navratri Day 7: Worshipping Devi Kaaratri through artwork. Today, I share a water-colour painting of Goddess Kali, a manifestation of Goddess Kaalratri, on the auspicious occasion of Kali Puja.

Goddess Kali painting

As written in my blog post on Goddess Kaalratri, according to Hindu Mythology, there existed a ferocious demon named Raktabeej, who was blessed with an extraordinary boon that  one drop of his scattered blood was able to form a duplicate of him. Hence, in one way, he was invincible in a battle that involved bloodshed as drops of blood could form billions of the copies of the demon. The Gods pleaded to Goddess Parvati to help them out of their woes and she compliedby taking the form of Goddess Durga. However, She soon realized that the battlefield has become increasingly filled with his clones. Durga then summoned her fiercest form Kali to combat the demon. Kali destroyed Raktabeej by sucking all the blood from his body and not allowing anymore duplicates to form.  It is believed that the Goddess was intoxicated by the blood of her victims and she began to dance with destructive frenzy. She was bent on destroying the whole universe! So, the Gods sought the help of Lord Shiva and He lay in her way to stop her.She was so consumed by rage that she failed to see the body of Shiva lying on the battlefield and stepped upon his chest. Realizing her husband lying beneath her feet, Kali stuck out her tongue in astonishment, guilt and shame, and calmed down her anger.

To know more about Goddess Kali, you can read the Wikipedia article: Kali.

Goddess KaliGoddess Kali is depicted with a dark complexion, disheveled hair and a fierce appearance. She has three eyes and her breath spews fire. Her raised right hand is in Varada mudra (dispensing boons) and her right lower hand is in Abhay mudra (assuring safety and bliss). Her left lower hand holds the head of a demon and there is a Khadga (bent sword or scimitar) in the upper left hand. She adorns a garland of skulls and decapitated heads of demons, and she wears a skirt of chopped arms. Her tongue protrudes from her mouth, and her face and breasts are smeared with blood. She is shown standing on her husband. Her mount is the donkey.

ūüôā On this note, Happy Diwali to all my readers. May the Festival of Lights dispel all the darkness in your lives and illuminate your path to joy, success and prosperity. ūüôā

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A date with Durga

This post is inspired by the Write Over the Weekend theme given by BlogAdda. The prompt is:

You realize you’re on a date with God, which goes both good and bad. What happens? Write.

Hope you like it.

The scene was a Durga Puja mandap,¬†in the late evening hours, when people thronged the premises. I was also present there. I was excited to visit this particular mandap as a particular group of documentary film-makers were filming the festivities in my town for an upcoming film that they’re making on Indian culture, and tonight, they happened to be present at this venue. How I wished to be in front of their camera!

I entered the beautifully decorated hall and was walking towards the altar where the idols of Goddess Durga and Her children were kept. A horde of devotees were filling up the space. I could see a camera crew filming the ambience. Yes! They were here already. As I walked towards them, my eyes caught the sight of a beautiful woman, with waist length hair and dressed in a casual tee and long skirt. She was holding a microphone and getting ready for the camera roll. There was something divine in her appearance.

Date With Durga

 

I don’t know how long I had stared at her, because a man nudged me and told me to move ahead instead. I was so embarrassed! After offering my prayers, I sat on a nearby chair and like a hypnotized person, I fixed my gaze on the enigmatic woman, who was now speaking to the camera, as if it was a live person. There was some enchanting aura surrounding her, for I could see that a few more people had gathered around her. She wrapped up soon, and strangely, I got up from my chair and walked, drawn towards her.

“Hi! You spoke wonderfully. May I have the honour of knowing your name?” Words flowed out involuntarily from my mouth, as I approached her.

She gave a slight chuckle. “Excuse me. Do I know you?” After a brief pause, she continued, “By the way, why are you being such a gentleman to me? I think most men in India do not know their basic courtesies while talking to a girl for the first time.”

I was slightly taken aback. I was actually stunned by her reply. Did I give her some wrong impression of myself?

“No Miss, please don’t misunderstand me. I was very eager to meet your crew as I am a big fan of your shows. So I thought why not earn the chance to talk to you? I am really sorry for the abrupt introduction. I am Kunal. Nice to meet you.” I gave a weak smile.

The lady broke into laughter. It was loud and a bit terrifying. I wondered who she was.  I looked at her again and my instincts told me she was definitely not any ordinary woman.

“Hi Kunal, my name is Durga Vasisht. I am the host of this new documentary which we are filming. ¬†And please don’t apologize. Chill dude, did I scare you?” ¬†She gave out that boisterous laugh again.

Date With Durga

We talked for hardly ten minutes and I almost had a gut feeling she is some divine lady. Her name was Durga. What if she was an incarnation of the Goddess that stood a few metres away from me in the form of a clay idol?  Her appearance, her words and her laughter had a strange resonance that was mesmerizing as well as slightly terrifying, just like the Goddess. We built up a good rapport and I seemed to rejoice my date with this Goddess-like lady.

And suddenly. I noticed her expression change from a docile one to a worried and angered one. “Kunal, someone is in trouble. I need to go. Please excuse me.”

“I’ll go with you too. Please take me along.” I wondered what she was talking about, and how she¬†sensed something was wrong in the first place. Questions filled my already puzzled mind.

We ran out of the puja mandap. I was running behind Durga, who was moving at a blinding speed, but mysteriously, I was moving at her pace too. I couldn’t run so fast, I thought.¬†I could hear screams now, they were a young girl’s cries for help. Oh God! Please help.

The sight before us was blood-curdling! Two men were manhandling a young girl. One of them even held a knife and the other wrapped his arms around her, lest she escapes. Before I could scream, Durga rushed towards them.

Date With Durga

Bright light emanated from her as she screamed at the two perpetrators, who were stunned by her presence. Their mouths opened in terror as Durga grew in size. Ten arms appeared behind her and her hair grew longer and ferociously waved in the air, like a lion’s mane. Her eyes were flaming red and yet, she was beautiful. I had guessed correctly. She was the Goddess herself.¬†In one stroke of anger, she caught hold of the two men, and produced her divine trident. Before I could blink the next second, She vanished along with the two men. Punishment has been served to the demons.

Date With Durga

There was no trace of Her as I looked around, feeling a bit shaken by the divine encounter. I approached the girl and asked her if she was okay. She said she has been saved by the Goddess herself and she feels blessed. I agreed and comforted her with a smile. We slowly walked back to the puja mandap. I was quite disappointed with the turn of events. I had a rendezvous with the Goddess and the evening was spoiled with this disturbing incident. Surely, Durga was angered by how low some men can fall even on auspicious occasions and being a woman, she could sense the pain of the girl. Damn! I wanted to knock two heavy blows on those two rascals.

I reached the mandap. And noticed that the camera crew was missing! I asked one of the organizers if he had seen the lady or her crew. The man gave me a puzzled look and said that no film crew had come to this venue. I was dumbfounded! I inquired from a few more people who also denied ever seeing any lady or camera holding people.

The girl looked at me. “Something wrong?”

“You know I met a lady here, and..and she in fact was Goddess Durga herself. The one who saved you. She was filming with her crew here, and now everyone in her team is missing. People here are denying ever seeing them. Am I being paranoid ?” I was really¬†confused.

The girl patted my back. “Idiot. Don’t you realize you had a divine date with the Goddess tonight? It was all pre-planned and what you saw was Her divine play. Thank your stars. You got what you wished for.”

I had prayed to Goddess Durga once that I would be very glad to meet her, if not on Earth, at least in heaven.

The girl turned, let out the same terrifying laughter I heard an hour ago¬†and walked away. I couldn’t stop smiling.

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.

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Navratri Day 9: Worshipping Devi Siddhidatri through artwork

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Devi  (or Goddess) Siddhidatri is ninth and the final form among the nine embodiments of Goddess Durga and is worshipped on the ninth day of Navratri, just a day before Vijay Dashami or Dusshera.

To know¬†about the Goddess‚Äô previous form ‚Äď Mahagauri, read my blog post: Navratri Day 8: Worshipping Devi Mahagauri through artwork

This is the coloured sketch, I made, of Goddess Siddhidatri.

Siddhidatri

According to Vedic scriptures especially the¬†‚ÄėDevi Bhagvata Purana‚Äô, ¬†Lord Shiva worshipped the Goddess¬†and was blessed with all Siddhis. Siddhis¬†are spiritual, paranormal, supernatural or magical powers, abilities, and attainments that are the products of spiritual advancement through meditation and yoga. By the Goddess’¬†blessings, Shiva’s half body became female and other half body male in the avatar of Ardhnarishwar.

Ardhanarishwar

Since She offers all types of Siddhis to her devotees, she is called Siddhidatri Рthe giver of Siddhis.

The Goddess  is depicted with four arms and she is shown sitting on a lotus flower. Her arms hold Gada (mace), Chakra (discus), Shankh (scallop shell) and a lotus flower. She is draped in a red saree and her mount is lion. She is surrounded by not only humans but also by Devas, Gandharva, Asura, and Yaksha alike in a worshipping gesture.

Today, the air reverberates with the Sanskrit verses in reverence to the Goddess.

Ya devi sarva bhutesu, Siddhidatri rupena sansthita
Namastasyai, namastasyai, namastasyai, namo namaha!

(in English)

The goddess who is omnipresent as the divine Siddhidatri .
I bow to her, I bow to her, I bow to her again & again.

 

Navratri Day 8: Worshipping Devi Mahagauri through artwork

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Devi  (or Goddess) Mahagauri is eighth among the nine embodiments of Goddess Durga and is worshipped on the eighth day of Navratri.

To know¬†about the Goddess‚Äô previous form ‚Äď Kaalratri, read my blog post: Navratri Day 7: Worshipping Devi Kaaratri through artwork

This is the coloured sketch, I made, of Goddess Mahagauri .

Mahagauri

According to Hindu mythology, when¬†Parvati¬†did severe¬†penance to please Lord¬†Shiva, the severity of her penance¬†¬†turned her body color dark. When Lord Shiva accepted her great devotion, he washed her body with pure water of the river Ganges that made her body completely Gour (or white). Hence, her¬†name ‘Gauri‘ came into being. ‘Maha’ means ‘great’. So the name¬†Mahagauri.

Goddess Mahagauri is depicted with an extremely fair complexion and with four hands. She carries Trishul (trident) in one right hand and keeps the second right hand in Abhay mudra (assuring safety and bliss). She adorns Damaru (two-headed drum)in one left hand and keeps the second left hand in Varada mudra (dispensing boons).

Today, the air reverberates with the Sanskrit verses in reverence to the Goddess.

Ya devi sarva bhutesu, Mahagauri rupena sansthita
Namastasyai, namastasyai, namastasyai, namo namaha!

(in English)

The goddess who is omnipresent as the divine Mahagauri  .
I bow to her, I bow to her, I bow to her again & again.

To know¬†about the Goddess‚Äô ninth and final¬†form ‚Äď Siddhidatri, read my blog post: Navratri Day 9: Worshipping Devi Siddhidatri through artwork