Kaali of Malana

In a small stone tribal hut devoid of any hint of natural light, under an abnormally pitch-black night sky, with the moon and the stars hidden behind a veil of a never seen before black cloud, a mother gave birth to an unnaturally dark-skinned curly-haired girlchild. At 8,600 feet above sea level, isolated from the rest of the world, in 1960, Malana was a village of around a thousand five hundred individuals in one of the most secluded regions in the cradle of the mighty Himalayan Mountain range.

Amara had broken a taboo. For thousands of years, it was forbidden for the people of her tribe to share their secrets, their sacred Kanashi language, and their way of life with outsiders. A year back, she fell in love with an African traveller to the region and became pregnant.

While the traveller, who claimed to be a descendant of King Shaka Zulu himself, was banned from ever entering the village again and returned to his country, Amara was branded an outcast by her own people and left to live her life in a small stone hut outside the village.

The oldest known republic in the Indian subcontinent, the hamlet of Malana in the Pavitra Valley region, nestled amidst the icy peaks of the gargantuan Himalayas, surrounded by steep cliffs and snow-capped mountains, had always been a realm of mysterious origins, intrigue, and legends.

The year is 326 BC. Alexander the Great had just fought and won the epic Battle of Hydaspes against king Porus of Punjab. Sometime after this iconic victory, his army exhausted by years of campaigning, in the end, mutinied on the banks of the River Beas, refusing to march further east.

Finally, after twelve years of warfare, which started with the Battle of Chaeronea on 2nd August 338 BC, and after defeating thirteen formidable opponents, empires, and kings, Alexander had reached the easternmost extent of his conquests.

Seeing no hope for returning back to their homeland, a small division abandoned its main army and mysteriously disappeared in the Himalayan mountains. After wandering for days on some of the world’s highest terrains, these Greek soldiers had finally found a patch of heaven on earth, where they could rest their battle bruised bones. Gradually over the years, they took wives from other tribes in the region and settled permanently in this heavenly land, which they came to call the Malana village.

For more than two thousand years since then, the descendants of that division of Alexander’s army continued their secluded existence in this mysterious patch of earthly heaven.

Though mostly secretive, the people of Malana were not completely unwelcoming to outsiders. High spirited adventurers who found their way into the village very rarely, were tolerated with restrictions. There was a strong attraction for these overzealous travellers to seek out this hidden and mysterious hamlet.

Amidst the cool gushes of sooting mountain winds and arrays of bottle green deodar trees and in the hazy fields on the hilly slopes grew an herb, which the villagers considered holy and to outsiders was one of the best experiences of transcendental ecstasy. The resin or Hashish made from the cannabis plant that grew wildly in the region was known as the world-renowned Malana cream.

The unique hand rubbing technique used to produce it and the fabled intoxicating effect of this rare Hashish attracted the highly adventurous seekers of the ultimate high to this tiny village. Over the years, it had become a good source of rare but fabulous income for the villagers. They did not mind selling Hashish to outsiders as long as the visitors did not overstay in the village, kept to themselves, and did not become involved with the locals in any way.

Dawning their traditional light brown robes, caps and hem shoes, the residents of Malana looked more Mediterranean than Himachali on any given day. With distinguishably different physical features from the other tribes in the region, they had had light brown hair and eyes, long noses, and a golden-brown complexion. Strict rules on mixing with outsiders had helped in preserving their Greek looks through the generations.

Now when Amara got pregnant by a charcoal-black-skinned African Zulu descendant, it was more than a scandal. It was nearly a death sentence for the couple. The African’s life was spared, and he was forced to flee back to his country. It was Amara who suffered a greater punishment. She was placed in a small stone hut outside the hamlet and barred from entering the main village, ever in her life again.

Then on that abnormally pitch-black night on the 20th of October in 1960, Amara gave birth to the unnaturally swarthy girlchild, whom she woefully named Kaali, meaning black or dark-skinned.

Kaali grew up as an outcast in her own community. Though unlike her mother she was allowed to enter the village but was always looked down upon, by everyone for her dark skin and curly hair. Her complexion and her hair were her greatest enemies, for they were different from the others. For them, she could not make any friends or find affection from anyone in the village. Everyone looked down upon her and her bastard origin.

Kaali was, however, not weak. She was a hybrid of Greek and Zulu warrior genes. From a very early age, she displayed unnatural physical strength and the unique skill to wield any object as a weapon. Kaali, however, did not display these qualities in public but practised this self-discovered combating art secretly, while everyone kept on mocking, bullying, and behaving with her indifferently.

As the years passed, Kali grew immensely in both her mental and physical capabilities. Training in the wilderness secretly every day, she had become a warrior who was unaware of the extent of her very own skills. There was no one to rage a battle with. Though everyone in the village treated her miserably, she did not consider them her enemies, on whom she could test her abilities. They were no match for her anyway; she could easily snap any of their heads like twigs.

Years passed in this way, and it was the month of June in 1980. Kali was four months short of her twentieth birthday, and a terrible cloud of darkness befell on the village. On one beautiful summer day, as most of the peaceful residents of Malana strolled and carried on with their activities, a Russian Mil Mi-8 helicopter landed on one of the cannabis fields right outside the hamlet.

From the chopper came out a group of twenty heavily armed combat-trained scary-looking men. Wielding AK-47 assault rifles and PSM semi-automatic pistols, they took control of the entire village.

As the villagers were rounded at gunpoint in the centre of the hamlet, the tallest giant among the assailants, their leader, slowly walked up and stood atop a high rock so that everyone could see what he did next. Stooping down, he picked up a seven-headed cannabis leaf. Dramatically crushing it into a lump, holding and displaying it between his thumb and index finger, he slowly moved his gigantic arm from left to right and put the herbal pellet in his pocket.

At that moment, the intention of these armed men became clear to the villagers. They were there to loot the fabled Malana cream, as much of it as possible.

Within a week, the mercenaries organised themselves. Though they could not speak the native language, and neither could the natives understand their dialect, they made their intentions and instructions pretty clear. They would inhumanly torture and even kill anyone who refused to listen or understand what they said.

They were there to stay for as long as they desired. They were there to force the villagers to make Malana cream for them. As much of it as possible and for as long as possible. Soon the peaceful heavenly village turned into a concentration camp. The villagers were made to work from morning till evening in shifts. When not working on the production of Hashish, most of them were locked in their own houses.

More than three months passed this way, and in a newly built central godown in the village, the smugglers had managed to amass the largest stockpile of Malana cream ever accumulated. They could keep operations up and running because no official of the Indian Government had ever visited the village. For that matter, most of the world, apart from the seldom adventure traveller, did not even know about the existence of this place.

The smugglers guarded the village pretty well making sure that outsiders did not come into the village and that none of the natives escaped. They had well planned to capture and prison or even kill any traveller who laned in the village during this dark phase. Fortunately, no outsiders came to the hamlet during their terrorising reign.

All this while the mercenaries had mapped the village and the surrounding areas well, but they were unaware of the existence of one individual whose self-taught skills and dark skin helped her stay hidden in the shadows away from their knowledge.

Kaali had managed to hide from them. During the last three months, she took her time to study every movement that the mercenaries made. Then finally on an abnormally pitch-black night sky, similar to the one seen only once before, some twenty years ago during the time of her birth, Kaali made her move.

The Zulu-Greek warrior of the blackest skin ever seen, shed all the clothes from her body and moved invisibly in the shadows of the pitch-black night camouflaged in the darkness. She knew exactly where the sentinels were and how they moved about. As the night progressed, the black warrior moved through the village with her touch of death.

Kaali now stood at the door of the leader of the mercenary’s room, who could not see but had sensed her presence. The giant had sprung from sleep and now stood clothless with his right hand firmly gripping a massive combat blade.

“Pokazhi sebya ubiytsey (show yourself assassin),” spoke up the giant, bending and stretching his arms forward and lowering his stance to make a lethal move. He knew no one could defeat him in hand-to-hand combat.

Then from the shadows slowly emerged the darkest woman the man had ever seen. The blood of his men was all over the female warrior’s naked black skin. “YA razorvu tebya, ved’ma (i will tear you apart witch),” screamed the Russian Goliath and leapt towards Kaali.

As the first rays of morning light pierced through the cracks of the stone and wooden cottages, the villagers realised that something had happened. As they broke out of their home prisons, they saw one after the other nineteen lifeless bodies of the Russian men.

When they entered the hut where the mercenary leader had taken up residence, they found his stiff naked body in a pool of his own blood on the floor of the cottage. His massive Russian blade crested deep in his solar plexus and few strands of curly black hair in his left fist, firmly clenched.

There were footprints of blood that limped away from the body and vanished into the nearby cannabis field. The field ended in a deep ravine that fell thousands of meters into a fast-flowing river that vanished into a dark abyss.

It would not be till 1996 when the police could reach the Manala village for the first time in history. The villagers however did not tell the authorities about their brush with the Russian drug lord and his mercenaries. They had torn apart and discarded the chopper in the ravine and gradually sold a considerable portion of the Hashish made during that time and hid the remainder of the harvest.

Right after the incident, the villagers asked for Amara’s forgiveness and requested her to return to the village. She however decided to continue living in the stone hut, where she had given birth to her beloved daughter, who became the warrior to save the hamlet.

Though Kaali was never seen again, and it was presumed that severely injured in the fight, she must have wandered off into the nearby cannabis field and fallen off the cliff half-conscious and disoriented in pain. Many, however, believe that she lives in the shadows to this very day, protecting the people, way of life, and secrets of the Malana village.

Kaali of Malana


Copyright © 2021 TRISHIKH DASGUPTA

This work of fiction, written by Trishikh Dasgupta is the author’s sole intellectual property. All rights are reserved. No part of this story may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including printing, photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the author, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law. For permission requests, send an email to the author at trishikh@gmail.com or get in touch with Trishikh on the CONTACT page of this website.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Trishikh

Trishikh Dasgupta

Adventurer, philosopher, writer, painter, photographer, craftsman, innovator, or just a momentary speck in the universe flickering to leave behind a footprint on the sands of time..READ MORE

84 Comments Add yours

  1. I loved it… I simply loved it…
    🇯🇲🏖️

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Trishikh says:

      Oh! You are too kind with your appreciation. Thank you so much. It really makes my day when someone admires one of my stories.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. mcurry09 says:

    Another amazing story.
    Sent from my iPhone
    >

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Trishikh says:

      Thank you so much Marthe. Always appreciate and look forward to your comments. They mean a lot to me. I treasure our friendship which spun when we men briefly but will last our lifetime.

      Like

  3. Be it a divine form or human, “MAA KAALI” is the symbol of bravery. She protects everyone.
    This tale presents many beautiful aspects along with many lessons to learn.
    The beauty of narration is the key.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Trishikh says:

      Thank you so much Tanishq for your heartfelt comment. I am so glad that you find my narration appealing. Will try my best to bring more such stories in the future.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. A carefully crafted and detailed tale of race-mixing, social ostracization, turning a supposed weakness into a strength, redemption, and finally acceptance.
    “Her complexion and her hair were her greatest enemies” is both a harsh reality and a powerful phrase.
    Well done, sir.

    Liked by 7 people

    1. Trishikh says:

      You have perhaps summarised my story perfectly in the shortest description possible. Thank you for this lovely comment. It gives me a lot to think and further analyse, that which I have written.

      Like

  5. Interesting story. I just wished Kaali had lived to enjoy the reward for saving everyone.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Trishikh says:

      Who knows, maybe she lives in the shadows as the villagers believe. She might have decided to not come in limelight and stay hidden in the jungle, where she was most comfortable and could practice her skills. This we will perhaps never know.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks for the encouragement she’s out there somewhere. 🙂

        Liked by 3 people

      2. Trishikh says:

        I also like to believe that.

        Liked by 2 people

    1. Trishikh says:

      Thank you so much.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Great descriptions. Beware Kaali!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Trishikh says:

      Thank you so much Rebecca. So happy that you find my descriptions in the story appealing. Yes indeed, “Beware Kaali.”

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I like her confidence and forgiveness despite the way she was treated. Nice to read about a magical warrior heroine.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Trishikh says:

        You are right, confidence and forgiveness can be great inspirations. Both of them require much work to be acquired and practiced. Yes, for this story I wanted to portray a female lead, someone who was treated indifferently, but triumphed as a heroine.

        Liked by 2 people

    1. Trishikh says:

      Thank you so much for liking and showcasing my story in your blog. I am much honoured.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Admiration is appreciated from a far, no matter how close one may be… but to be pulled in… to feel one’s heart beating with the pulse of the piece… to find one’s mind moving effortlessly with the many characters… is so much more than mere admiration… so please allow me to christen your piece… Admiration Squared…
    🇯🇲🏖️

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Trishikh says:

      There is perhaps no befitting reply to your coment rather than humble bow with my clasped hands. I accept and cherish your admiration and feel immense joy in my heart to have been able to bring a moment of literary elation in your life. Thank you so much friend.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. annieasksyou says:

      You construct these morality tales so well. Good doesn’t always triumph intact, but the elements from distant and near past, real and imagined, and diverse cultures blend into artful story telling. Always worth reading and pondering.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Trishikh says:

        Dear Annie, today you gave a new name to my stories “Morality Tales” – I really like it. Thank you so much for this. You are right good does not always triumph the way we want it to, but is always victorious. Really treasure your constant support.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Powerful storytelling! Excellent weaving of history, of Alexander and his men. An enjoyable read and a great story. Bravo!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Trishikh says:

      Thank you for this wonderful comment Suzette. So glad that you liked my story. Yes, history is a big part of my writing, and fiction is a big way for me to portray it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. A pleasure. Keep on.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Trishikh says:

        I will continue to do my best.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Another very enjoyable read!! Thank you! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Trishikh says:

      You are so kind with your appreciation. I really treasure it.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Not at all, they are well merited!! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Vivekananda says Physical weakness is the cause of 2/3rd of our total problems. Kaali practised and built herself strong.

    She freed the villagers who kicked out her and her mother from the Malana village. Villagers pleaded guilty for their mistake. They did not just welcome her family but also started praising her strength, her victory.

    The story is similar to your previous stories, I like your tone. The blog is distraction-free. It allows the reader to develop his or her interest in the story. You guide them throughout the journey.

    I like this friendship, trust and will to keep moving. Thank you.😊

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Trishikh says:

      You have been a constant support in my journey of short story writing Lokesh. I really treasure your friendship. Yes, I have tried to keep my blog ad free, and only dedicated to short stories. By God’s grace in just 1 year of blogging I have been able to attract 1,038 followers, and the number grows everyday. I have published just 41 stories and the support, encouragement, and compliment that I have received from everyone is mind-blowing. I really treasure this blogging experience, and will continue to write more stories in the coming days. I really admire Swami Vivekananda and absolutely agree with his words on both physical capabilities and mental powers too.

      Liked by 3 people

  11. Subhraroy says:

    Its too terrible

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Trishikh says:

      Yes there is a lot of terror in this story along with so many other feelings as well. Thank you for liking it. Always treasure your comment.

      Like

  12. A marvelous story filled with passion and bravery. I can say Kaali lives!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Trishikh says:

      I also believe that she lives. Thank you for feeling so. It gives me great joy.

      Like

  13. katelon says:

    Wonderful intriguing story! Thank you!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Trishikh says:

      I must thank you Katelon for liking my story. I am so glad that you find it intriguing.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Trishikh says:

      Thank you Anna. Much appreciate your lovely comment. So glad that you find the story moving.

      Like

  14. Wow what a story Trishikh. Very enjoyable. Sometimes I wonder if your stories are indeed fiction. Your writing is superbly real and beautifully descriptive.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Trishikh says:

      I take a lot of facts and history and mix it in my fiction. That perhaps makes it feel real. Thank you so much for always liking my stories. Appreciation is one of my greatest motivation.

      Liked by 2 people

  15. First Trishikh, thank you for sharing you most compelling story, you are definitely a great writer, you keep us on our feet as we go along reading your story. Second I really loved how you decided an “outcasted” girl with black skin , who was tortured by the villagers opinion to become the hero of her town. This all about acceptance of each other no matter what color and about recognizing the female power. Kudos to your great story

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Trishikh says:

      Reading your comment at the start of my day gives me immense confidence that my stories are creating an impact around the world. They are my footprints that will remain with humanity long after I am gone. I thing those who are a bit different from the rest are always victimised. That is one of the cruelties of not only our species but most living organisms. To me they are the real heroes who live their life facing this indifference. Thank you Cornelia. Always treasure your comment.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you Trishik, for your great response, I think you summarized all what I meant to say.

        Liked by 1 person

  16. Neethu says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading this ..

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Trishikh says:

      It’s my great pleasure that you enjoyed the story. Thank you so much for your encouraging appreciation.

      Liked by 2 people

  17. I absolutely loved your story about Kaali, the Kanashi “people “and the two sides of the medal! Many thanks, Trishikh:)

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Trishikh says:

      It gives my stories fruition when someone from another corner of this world reads and enjoys them. Thank you so much Martina.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. KK says:

    Twists and turns of events kept me captivated throughout. The characterisation of Amara and Kaali has been beautifully crafted. This is an interesting story with a beautiful ending. Keep it up, Trishikh, you are a wonderful story teller.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Trishikh says:

      I always look forward to your comments KK. They are a great source of encouragement for me. Thank you so much for liking the story and the characters of Amara and Kaali.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. KK says:

        It was my pleasure, Trishikh !

        Liked by 1 person

  19. Wowzer!
    This is absolutely fantastic. I loved every bit of it.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Trishikh says:

      Thank you so much Emmanuel. So glad that you enjoyed every bit of this little story of mine.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. My utmost pleasure Trishikh. I’d be looking forward to your next story.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Trishikh says:

        I shall do my best to bring forward another great story this weekend.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. Please do! I can’t wait to read.

        Liked by 1 person

  20. Thanks for sharing this story!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Trishikh says:

      It is my pleasure Vanya. I am elated that you liked it.

      Liked by 2 people

  21. I love it, one of mythology most venerated subject matter, the avenging angel has not lost its appeal.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Trishikh says:

      Ah, ‘Avenging Angel’ a very dear concept of mine too. Thanks for introducing me to the terminology. Always appreciate and look forward to your comments.

      Liked by 1 person

  22. Kally says:

    Very intriguing story.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Trishikh says:

      Thank you Kally. Really appreciate your appreciation.

      Liked by 2 people

  23. I thought it was marijuana that cannabis plants produced, and poppies that produced hashish.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Trishikh says:

      Hashish is a cannabis concentrate product. Found a good definition to differentiate between, Marijuana, Opium, and Cannabis: https://m.economictimes.com/industry/miscellaneous/all-the-highs-and-lows-on-marijuana/decriminalisation-of-marijuana/slideshow/79703752.cms

      Liked by 1 person

  24. Another great story linking history and modern times, hidden lives and loneliness. I hope the warrior is still there.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Trishikh says:

      I hope for that too. For Kaali to be moving in the shadows, secretly protecting the Malana village. Thank you for your beautiful comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  25. cbholganza says:

    As always, a riveting piece. Couldn’t put the piece down until i finished it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Trishikh says:

      Thank you so much. So happy that you liked this story of mine.

      Liked by 1 person

  26. I must read it again. I love it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Trishikh says:

      Oh, that is a big honor for me. Glad you liked the story so much.

      Like

      1. Trishikh says:

        Thank you so much Susan. So glad that you enjoyed my story.

        Like

      2. 👏🏿💖❤💕

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Trishikh says:

      Thank you so much for visiting my site and enjoying the story.

      Like

  27. Extraordinary story…your blog is nothing less than a bestseller book out there….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Trishikh says:

      Piyush, this is perhaps one of the best compliments I have received. It gives me great encouragement to carry on with my writing efforts. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re always welcome Trishikh…

        Liked by 2 people

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