Ma Kali – The Peculiar Hitchhiker
The story which I am going to narrate is an infamous incident which happened in the small town of Salkia, in the Hooghly district of West Bengal. It was the year 1992.
Mr Saraswati babu was the Officer-in-charge (OC) of the local police thana (station). Due to the demanding nature of his job, he usually reached his home very late, mostly past midnight. On one such night , when Saraswati babu came out of the police thana after a day’s heavy work, he found his driver dutifully waiting in his car. After he got into the car, they started their late night journey to saraswati babu’s home.
It was past midnight as usual and the roads were empty without any trace of human life, shining in yellow patches of the dull yellow streetlights. Saraswati babu was sitting in the front seat besides his driver.
Suddenly, out of nowhere, they saw a human figure at a distance. It appeared as if a woman was asking for a lift (ride). Saraswati babu ordered his driver to stop the car before the woman. The driver being a superstitious and fearful village guy slightly trembled at his master’s order and said hesitantly, “Ea.. Sir, ..It is very late in night.. and .. the roads are also very empty….I, I mean .. sir, we should not give anyone lift, they say ghosts r..roam the streets during this time .. I mean sir, i…. am feeling very scared, please understand sir…”
On hearing this, Saraswati babu started laughing and said, “Oh! You superstitious village people..seriously! Why are you so scared ? I am with you, don’t worry about these things”. Even this assurance did not help the driver. Though he agreed to stop the car, he vowed not to look at the woman, come what may. As the car approached the woman her appearance became clearer to Saraswati babu. Saraswati babu could not see her face clearly as her face was very dark complexioned but what was very much noticeable was that she wore a very bright sparkling red sari and lots of jewellery – a set of big bangles and a long necklace – the gold was shining brightly on that dimly lit street.
As the car stopped before the woman , the woman said softly “I want a lift till the nearby Kali mandir (temple).” Saraswati babu replied, “No problem! It lies on our way, we will drop you there, you can get in.” The driver was looking straight onto the road, not attempting to get even a glance of the woman. The woman got into the back seat of the car and locked it from inside. The journey resumed as before. Saraswati babu started to become drowsy. This was very normal for him on such late nights. In that state he asked the woman where she lived to which the woman replied that she lived in that Kali mandir only. (For those who don’t know – Ma Kali is a supreme Indian goddess. She stands for shakti (power); she is known as the harbinger of death, and signifies the strength of a woman. She is very fierce and her wrath abolishes the dark of the evil)
Saraswati babu , losing consciousness of his surroundings didn’t pay much attention to what she said and dozed off. He woke up to the screeching noise of his car’s brakes. When he opened his eyes he saw the Kali mandir through the closed window pane in front of the car and looked to his driver, whose eyes were still stuck on the road in front. The driver told Saraswati babu to ask the woman to get down. Saraswati babu yawned, his eyes still sleepy, and told nonchalantly, “Ma’m you can get down.” There was no answer.
After a few seconds, when he didn’t hear the sound of car door being closed, he turned back again to call her but – to his shock, he saw that the seat was empty! All the windows were closed with the car doors locked from inside.
Saraswati babu shouted,”Where is that woman? When did she get down? But how can she get down.. the doors are locked from inside….and… and the windows are also closed….” After listening to his master’s words, the driver gathered courage to look back at the empty seat and wondered how he also didn’t listen to any sort of sound of the door being closed. And then it dawned upon him – shivering down to his feet, he exclaimed, “Sh..sh..she was mmmmm… mm.. maa kk.. kaali. She was maa kaali!!”. Saraswati babu was shocked at his answer; looked at his driver who was trying to join his palms together (respectfully), which were trembling and looked towards the Kali temple scared as if to death. Saraswati babu also looked towards the temple, then at the Kali idol which could be seen through the closed gate.
He found an unnatural, surreal sparkle in the eyes of the idol. He quickly shouted to his driver ,”Let’s go home! Quickly – just take me home!”
The driver was found unconscious (but alive) at his house the next day.The story of Ma Kali riding Saraswati babu’s car spread like wildfire throughout Salkia. Saraswati babu started Kali puja (prayer) in his house from that year. He got so lost in his devotion that eventually, he was on the verge of losing his job. Later, he also established a Kali temple in his town, which stands there, till this date.