Friday, February 21, 2020

Microfiction: Mahabharata Minis

6 Word Story

The Curse of Pandu
Here Lies Pandu
Loved to Death

(A Part 2)
Also Madri;
Couldn't Live Without Him

25 Word Story

Krishna Defends Draupadi's Dignity

Gambled away by her husband, Draupadi is dragged out and physically stripped in front of a crowd; by Krishna's power another sari appears on her.

Madri on Pandu's Pyre (Uncle Katha, link)

Author's Note:
I had a bunch of ideas for the 6 word story but the format really lent itself to an epitaph or tombstone. Thus, I abbreviated down the death of Pandu, who died making love to his wife Madri due to a curse placed on him by a celestial being, and then I included Madri's as well because she climbed onto his funeral pyre with him and died too. Tombstones don't really require a lot of detail, and the 6 word stories do not allow for much so I'm pleased with the way these turned out.

I was really thriving on the as-few-as-possible word count stories, so I next tried out the 25 word story. This was a very short version of Yudhishthira gambling away his brothers, himself, and finally their wife, who was indeed seized and stripped but prayed to Krishna to preserve her. This one was a little more difficult as I had to shuffle and adjust the words quite a few times to make a cohesive sentence but stay at 25 words.

Narayan's Mahabharata Reading Guide, by Laura Gibbs (link)

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Reading Notes: Narayan's Mahabharata Part B

  • The Pandavas are still alive
    • Everyone's fighting about what to do with them, but finally Dhritarashtra gives them part of his kingdom
      • They build a city called Indraprastha
        • The sage Narada visits the Pandavas to warn them about possible conflicts that could happen since they're sharing Draupadi as their wife
          • For example, Arjuna intruded on Yudhishtira and D during the year they were exclusive (essentially,) he goes into exile for 12 years...and finds two more wives, Ulupi and Subhadra, so don't feel too bad for him
  • The Dangerous Dice
    • Shakuni suggests to Duryodhana that they can get revenge on the Pandavas via a game of dice
      • Shakuni is really good; Yudhishthira (crowned the king of Indraprastha) is not.
        • Vyasa visits the Pandavas and warns them of the bad omens incoming
          • Vidura comes to invite them to Dhritarashtra's newly built Crystal Palace for a game of dice, and Yudhishthira cannot refuse the challenge so they go to Hastinapura
    • Game 1
      • Shakuni plays in Duryodhana's place; Yudhishthira loses everything he owns
        • Vidura urges Dhrit to put a stop to the game, but it keeps going
          • Yud gambles away his brothers, then himself, then their wife
            • Wifey Draupadi is NOT happy about this, wanting to know how it is possible for Yud to gamble her away if he had already staked himself and lost. Plus, she is on her period and doesn't want to be seen in public
              • She is dragged into the assembly hall and is ordered to undress, so she desperately prays to Krishna. As her sari si pulled off, another replaces it
        • Dhritarashtra gives Draupadi a wish (why? we don't really know) so she wishes that Yud be set free. He gives her another wish which she uses to free her other 4 husbands. She declines the third wish. So Dhrit gives back all the Pandava's posessions and sends them home in peace
  • Weapons from the Gods
    • Krishna pays Yud a visit and promises that Dury and his allies will be punished.
      • Draupadi and Yud are having a bit of a quarrel about forgiveness and patience
        • Vysas teaches Yud a mantra that makes it possible to get weapons from the gods
          • Also teaches it to Arjuna (who's back from his exile)
            • Arjuna rejects an apsara named Urvashi who fell in love with him, so she cursed him to live among women as a eunuch. However, Indra is impressed by his self-control so she tells him his curse will be a blessing later on.
      • Reading Guide for Narayan's Mahabharata Part B, Laura Gibbs (link)

The Ill-Fated Game of Dice (Wikipedia, link)

Reading Notes: Narayan's Mahabharata Part A

  • Shantanu and Ganga
    • Shantanu is the ruler of Hastinapura
      • Meets a mysterious woman by the river and falls in love with her
        • She agrees to marry him, but he is never allowed to question her actions
          • So, she drowns their babies in a river as they're born
            • He can't take anymore by the 8th child and protests, so she explains she's the river Ganga reincarnated as a woman to give birth to eight gods, the Vasus, who are now trapped as humans as punishment for stealing a cow, but by drowning them she is returning them to heaven
  • Shantanu Part 2: Satyavati
    • She's a fisherman's daughter
      • Shantanu wants to marry her of course, but her father protests because S already has an heir (Bhishma).
        • Bhishma, being a very good son, renounces his claim to the throne AND the possibility of having children
          • S and S have two sons, Chitrangada and Vichitravirya
            • V ends up ruling and marries Ambika and Ambalika
              • But he fathers no sons
  • Heirs
    • Stayavati begs Bhishma to father sons with the widows, but he won't because of his vow of celibacy
      • She had another son from a wild story with a rishi named Parashara, named Vyasa (...who looks weird)
        • Ambika closes her eyes because he looks gross, so their son Dhritarashtra is born blind
        • Ambalika blanches from fear so their son Pandu is very pale
        • Then Ambalika has her maid sleep with Vyasa instead, and because she liked him and reacted to him positively, their child was born normal
  • Pandu's curse
    • He has two wives, Kunti and Madri
      • He was out hunting and shot a deer as it was having sex
        • It was actually a celestial being in disguise, so it curses Pandu so that he will also die during sex
      • Kunti has a mantra to summon the gods and have children by them, so they have 5 sons, called the Pandavas
        • But, Pandu thought with his little head and could no longer resist Madri, so he dies during sex with her. She climbs onto his funeral pyre with him, so Kunti is alone to raise their 5 children
    • Narayan's Mahabharata Reading Guide, by Laura Gibbs (link)
Satyavati and Shantanu (Ravi Varma, link)

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Storybook Plan

A lot of the information from my Topic Research was pretty spot on, so at the risk of being redundant:

Story Sources

  • The Jataka, Vol. II by W.H.D. Rouse (link here) for the Story of Kama-Vilapa-Jakata
  • Tales of the Sun; or, Folklore of Southern India by Kingscote and Sastri (link here) for the Brahman Girl and the Tiger
  • The Panchantra by Bidpai (link here) for the Mouse Who Was To Marry the Sun, along with a Chain Anthology (link here)

Each story will be an episode, and they will either be told from Kama's point of view, or possibly by a nameless narrator who can connect that story and what Kama does for it. These will be separate stories, but linked by Kama and probably the same storytelling styles.

The main idea would be how Kama influences love (or lust, according to some translation,) and I would like to convey how much of an impact love makes in every story.

Comment Wall

Kama, God of Love (Tanjore Heathen Gods, link)

The link to my Storybook:

Friday, February 14, 2020

Week 5 Story: Brother's Business

"Hey bro, wanna come watch my back while I kick some dude’s ass?”

Sugriva read the text from his older brother Vali and sighed. He had better things to do than be engaging in another one of his brother’s fights, but being younger he often got dragged into his brother’s problems anyway. He begrudgingly throws on a hoodie and meets his brother outside in the quickly darkening twilight.

Sugriva is stationed outside a drugstore by the place where Vali planned the confrontation, to be a lookout and emergency backup. He yawns and pulls out his phone to check SnapChat while waiting for his brother to take care of business. He idly clicks through SnapChat stories, only really paying attention when Vali’s girlfriend’s pictures popped up…he thought she was really hot, but obviously his brother had pounced first…as usual. He grumbles to himself as a text from his brother pops up on his phone.

“Lil bro, I chased this jackass into a dark alley. Come stand guard at the mouth of it until I come back.”

Why did Vali have to be so bossy? Sugriva drags his feet but, unable to say no to his big brother, shuffles to the alley and waits. He expected Vali to come swaggering out, wiping sweat off his face in twenty, maybe thirty minutes tops. But Vali doesn’t come. Sugriva waits an hour, then another, then another, until the sun starts to rise and early morning runners begin to give him suspicious looks as they jog by.  He decides to text his brother…what was taking so long?

“Dude, where are you?”
                                No answer.
“It’s literally already morning, people are looking at me like I’M gonna drag them into the alley and beat them up. You done yet?”
                                Still no answer.

Sugriva decides maybe a phone call will make the matter seem more urgent. He dials Vali but the phone rings and goes to voicemail.
Tuesday. 9:30 a.m. “Dude, It’s been a whole day. I’ve gotta go home…I mean, I assume you’re okay? If you are you should pick up my freakin’ calls.”
Wednesday. 8 p.m. “Vali this isn’t funny anymore. Come home, your girlfriend’s worried…and, um, I guess I kinda am too. Never thought I’d miss your annoying ass.”
Friday. 12:45 p.m. “Dude I don’t know what the hell kinda stunt you’re pulling, but your girlfriend’s really upset. I’ve been spending a ton of time with her…comforting her…um, anyway, sorry I dipped when I was supposed to be guarding your back. I kinda figured you’d come back later…”
Monday. 9:25 p.m. “Vali…you’re not coming back, are you. PLEASE answer me. Tell me I’m wrong.”
Thursday. 10 a.m. “I don’t know why I’m still calling your voicemail…I guess it kinda makes me feel better, since I know I’ll never REALLY talk to you again. I, uh, started dating your girlfriend. She was really upset and missed you and I kinda stepped in to comfort her…so she’s mine now. Hope you’re doing okay wherever you are big bro…rest in peace.”

Missed Messages (Stephen Krow, link)

Author’s Note: This was an adaptation of the story of Sugriva and Vali, where Vali went into a hole to fight an enemy; after a year Sugriva assumed he was dead and went home to take over his brother’s kingdom (represented here by Vali’s girlfriend.) Vali returns eventually and exiles Sugriva. It's set in a modern context emphasizing modern technology, which probably should have improved their communication skills (but did not.)

Source: Ramayana, The Epic of Rama, Prince of India by Romesh Dutt (link)

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Reading Notes: Sita's Story (Ramayana Continued)

  • Sita's Birth
    • Janaka Rishi: a pious man (and Maharajah) who lived as a simple farmer
      • The King-farmer was ploughing his fields when he encountered a gold pitcher buried in the ground
        • It contained a baby girl, who he promptly and happily adopted as his daughter
          • Her name Sita comes from the furrows she was found in (sitas)
            •  He mother gave birth to another daughter a year after Sita was found, named Urmila
  • Adolescence
    • Sita was a Goddess of Beauty, apparently. She also believed that Janaka and the Queen were truly her parents.
      • At the age of 14, many suitors were asking for her hand, and the Maharajah (likely being bad at decision-making) proposed a test instead
        • The bow of the Brahmin Parashurama
          • In a slight deviation from the usual story, apparently Parashurama said that Janaka should have Sita marry whatever man could break the bow
            • As we know, Prince Rama (age 16) snapped it in half
              • They were married: the Sun-Prince and the Moon-Princess
  • Marriage
    • Sita and Rama were surprisingly happy, considering the circumstances
      • "Rama with his deep and loving voie was filing her heart...A dark handsome face, and a pair of love-illuminated eyes gazed into her own making the world a place of sunshine, which was heaven itself for her."
        • Rama takes her home to meet his mother, who pulls them aside after the ceremonies are through and speaks to them with a mother's affection and pride, and cries tears of joy. 
          • She loved Sita, eventually as much as her own son
      • But while celebrating their wedding with Rama's people, he notices a drop of blood on Sita's forehead
        • He removes the crown to find a big thorn in it, and the author foreshadows it to be her throne of sorrows

Sita and Rama (Pinterest, link)