For the first time, someone had called me Kali and I felt nothing but proud.

In January 2016, while travelling on a Mumbai local train, artist Reva Pandit saw a woman looking out of the window. She kept staring at her and the woman couldn’t help but gesture “What’s up?” Pandit walked up to her and told her something that changed her perspective towards herself.

Pandit told the woman, Seema Harindran Puthyapurayil, a Mumbai-based software designer, “The reason I was staring at you is because I drew this picture a while ago, from my imagination, and she looks exactly like you.”

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She showed her the picture and Harindran ‘flipped’. “It was an intricate, mesmerizing, black and white sketch of a lady, who looked a lot like me even in the absence of colour. The same wide nose, large eyes, long chin and m-shaped hairline,” she wrote.

The two exchanged numbers and Pandit decided to paint Harindran’s face just like the one in the painting. The result was mind-blowing and it changed the way she looked at herself because of her dark skin.

“For the first time, someone had called me Kali (capitalized, meaning the goddess Kali) and I felt nothing but proud. I had spent my whole life feeling sorry about being called kali and never once thought that I could just think of it as being like goddess Kali. Reva needed to walk into my life with a smile and tell me that I looked like her interpretation of Kali,” wrote Harindran.