Thursday, February 20, 2020

Story Lab: Microfiction of Ekalavya

Microfictions: short stories with specific word or sentence limitations. I chose to do the two sentence story and the six word story.

Six word story:

Unwanted class, dedicated, self-taught, skilled.

Two sentence story:

Drona wouldn't dare commit the sin of teaching archery to Ekalavya, one of low caste. Therefore, Ekalavya taught himself, became incredibly skilled, and in his purest heart, gave obeisance to Drona.

Author's Note:
This story is based off of the PDE version of the Mahabharata and Ekalavya's short little story. In the story, Drona becomes popular for his teaching of the Pandavas, so people come from everywhere to be his students, including Ekalavya. Ekalavya is a Bhil person, and the Bhil people are of a lower caste so Drona considers it a sin to give them knowledge of weapons. Ekalavya studies on his own but still honors Drona. One day Drona is hunting and his dog runs off in the forest and growls at Ekalavya. Ekalavya shoots the dog skillfully and claims to be Drona's student. As payment for the teaching he didn't do, Drona asks for an unusually harsh price, Ekalavya's thumb. Ekalavya gives it willingly. Though I considered making this story about how rude Drona was, I wanted to focus on Ekalavya and how his ridicule wasn't based on his own fault but rather something he was born into. Despite this, he grew up to be a skillful and respectful man.

Berkas:Ekalvya ki Guru Dakshina 2.jpg
 Picture of Ekalavya offering his thumb to Drona. Source: Wikimedia.


Story of Ekalavya in the Mahabharata PDE Version. Source: Indian Myth and Legend by Donald A. Mackenzie (1913).

Reading Notes: PDE Mahabharata Part B

It's interesting to compare the pandavas to rama. They talk about being tired or scared or sleepy and those were rarely things that we saw in rama. These characters and their flaws make them seem a lot more realistic.

Its so crazy to me how this rakshasa woman is willing to out her brother like that. The family structures in different creatures seem different. Bhima on the other hand is willing to fight for his brothers.

I will say though, I also think its interested that the rakshasa woman hides her rakshasa features but does not hide the fact that she is a rakshasa from her love or bhimas family.

The Bhima and Hidimbi was a lovely story and I’m glad that they seemed able to depart and leave everything on good terms

I feel like these stories are maybe more physically descriptive of the violence like when they say bhima broke someones back bone in two. It seems like a lot more hand to hand combat than the ramamyana.

When I first read this story a few years ago I was very confused with all of the names that start with the letter D. That hasn’t changed unfortunately.

Shankara is shiva apparently? Learn something new everyday

I don’t know why all these guys are mad at and trying to kill Arjuna. It’s not his fault they weren’t skilled enough or strong enough to do it. I wonder if the women in these positions ever think these tasks are weird or unnecessary or maybe even to easy for their hand in marriage. Also I wonder if these types of requirements for marriage are only present in royalty while lower class people just pay dowries.

The author vyasa is finally coming back around again in the story. Vyasa said that the Pandavas were the five incarnations of Indra. I was wondering, if an incarnation of a god has a child, would that child be equal in ability to just a normal non-incarnated god having a baby?

File:Draupadi and Pandavas.jpg
A beautiful picture of the Pandavas and Draupadi. Source: Wikimedia.

The Mahabharata by Vyasa. PDE Version.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Reading Notes: PDE Mahabharata Part A

I always think it’s so interesting, and I kind of don’t understand why a god would be afraid of a human’s austerity. In theory a person who has extreme self-discipline wouldn’t turn evil or desire to take power for evil means.
I was kind of upset that the King separated these kids at birth. Being separated at birth was a big trend in the media some years ago.

I kind of didn’t really understand how Vyasa’s birth story related to Ganga’s story at all.

I remember reading this when I first read the Mahabharata and it was so shocking to me that this woman drowned her own babies, but we have to keep in mind where her head was at. I wish she would have told her husband all of this drama beforehand so that he would at least understand he need not be attached to the first 8 babies.

It’s interesting how different versions display different sides of a story. In the story about Shantanu and Satyavati this version makes it seem like the Brahmin offered to take her fishy smell whereas in the story only about satyavati the story made it seem like she made it a condition of their relationship.

Devavrata, or Bhishma is such a great/terrible son. I wonder if he really thought through and mourned over exactly what his vow meant or is he just made it quickly out of devotion and love for his father.

Reading this story of Bhisma fighting off those guys to kidnap those princesses remind me of Rama fighting ravana because of their archery skills.

I don’t know why this girl amba came to the idea to blame bhishma for all her struggles. It seems her biggest source of anger was at not being loved back by shalwa, and it also seems that whoever else could have won her off that night would be in that same seat of blame as bhishma. I guess her story shows my original question that even people who work strongly at “asceticism” do not necessarily develop purer or holistic self-discipline.

Emaciated Siddhartha photographed by Akuppa John Wigham. Source: flickr.

The Mahabharata by Vyasa. PDE Version.

Monday, February 17, 2020

Famous Last Words: Everything is going to shi

My life has been terrible these past few weeks and probably will be this week coming up. I really liked writing my "Michael’s Tombstone" story. I thought it was pretty unique, definitely different, and by the comments some people agree.

I read a story by someone I don’t remember about a piano. Someone was explaining how this person gave up her family to be with a piano, but then realized that she could have two dreams: to be with her piano and her family. This story related to why Rama gave up Sita and is reasoning behind his decision.

My other classes are incredibly busy. I have this paper due in my art therapy class that shouldn’t have been due but she decided to move another paper instead of this one. I’m highkey really bitter, but it’s whatever. 

I have an interview this week for research that I need to get into. Pray for me. I haven’t been in an interview in 4 years so I’m feeling very rusty and self-conscious. 

I went to a piano recital this weekend by Igor Stravinsky here on OU’s campus. He is a faculty member an apparently a magician too. The recital was called Piano illusions I think and it was based on Chopin’s famous Nocturne. He played a few other unique pieces I’ve never heard before. I really like learning about different musics, so I wish he would have played more less well known stuff. I also wish there was a program so I could have looked into the unique pieces he did play. He is from Poland so he played some polish pieces which were nice.

I also went to go see Frozen 2 at Meacham (I just want to say I never go do this much stuff on campus so this was a big weekend for me). It was pretty okay. Probably as good as any other Disney movie. I don’t know. There were a lot of cute little kids at the theater though.

Also, I think the planet Venus was especially prominent outside this week. I’m no astronomer, but I think she may have been out. It is in the west sky near and after sunset. It was awkwardly bright as compared to other non-sun stars and more white than other stars.

black piano preview

Man playing the piano. Source: peakpx

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Week 5 Story: Michael's Tombstone

Michael was a rich man. He was 28, and he had been working in the business industry for 10 years. He paid his tithes and taxes. He donated to charities. He volunteered at an old folks home and spent many hours every week playing games or talking with them. He had no living family, and he was a bachelor. He hired a maid to come and clean for him once a week. He paid her fairly and even let her use his home whenever her house was destroyed in a flood. 

He liked to collect cars. Old cars, new cars, fancy cars. Anything rare. He rarely drove these cars because they were so nice, but he always drove each car at least one time. He didn’t want to damage or wear them. He did occasionally host car shows where he worked with other collectors to display the newest technology or retro fan favourites. 

One day he attended a car show and saw a beautiful chonky car. It was thiqq, but not curvy. Strong but crackable. Retro but futuristic. Angled, and yes a bit square. It was made from material that was out of this world. It was everything he needed/wanted/desired for his collection. It would be auctioned off in two days, but because it was a luxury item the auctioneers would only accept cash. Its starting price would be 12 billion smackaroos. He never had that much in cash, and he would not be able to get enough in cash in time. 

He had the passion but not the funds. It was auctioned off to a Mrs. L. C. Decauw.

Because rich people can be careless with their things, he was able to steal the car. He took off and crossed the border. He drove it down his favourite stretch of the Pacific Coast Highway, Cabrillo Highway, and made it home. He locked his garage and went to sleep.

He was in a different country from the auction, and he thought he was safe. He woke up early the next morning and decided to do his one drive with this car that day. He drove to a small diner for some fried eggs. He had the right of way, and he was about to make a left hand turn into the diner. An 18 wheeler with a drunk truck driver did not stop at the red light. Both cars were badly damaged. Michael and the drunk driver did not survive.

The police came. After they discovered that the car was a stolen luxury item, Michael became popular.

Michael lived in California. His skin was a little too tan, his nicely shaved moustache a little too rough, and his jet black hair a little too thick to pass for white. He was actually Mexican. His great grandparents moved from Mexico to Texas and became bankers. His parents, born in America, migrated from Texas to California and had Michael. Michael was a legal American citizen.

He went to Mexico on a trip for work, and he heard about the car show. He decided to stay longer and go to the show and the auction. He stole the car and drove back up to his home in California that same night with his legal documents and only the expected amount of suspicion.

The people at the nursing home he visited were heart broken when they heard on the news that he had passed. They were even more shocked as they watched the rest of the story. 

News Channel 8 portrayed Michael as an illegal immigrant and a merciless, violent thief. His death may have been fated. News Channel 9 speculated that he most likely embezzled from the company he worked for. News Channel 47 believed he was just some spoiled brat who didn't know how to act when he didn't get his way. News Channel 6 believed that his maid was probably a sex slave from his secret sex trafficking organization. News Channel 53 agreed that he must have been a pimp who probably stole all of his other collector cars.

They buried Michael on August 28th. What legacy did he leave, and was he good or bad? What was written on his tombstone?

Author’s note:

I wrote this story in reference to the animated movie Sita Sings the Blues. In this story, shadow puppets discuss whether or not Ravana was a “bad guy.” When I first read the Ramayana, I thought it explicitly said Ravana was a demon and therefore bad. I saw his actions in that light. The shadow puppets’ debate seemed as if his demon status or evilness was not a given. Whether Ravana was a demon and “bad” or not, I wanted to discuss that idea of perceptions in my story. 

The shadow puppets emphasized that the main bad thing that Ravana did was steal Sita, but besides that he was “good.” The only “bad” thing we know of that Michael did was steal a car. Being rich and being foreign are other givens that can bias how we view a crime just as Ravana’s demon status influenced how I viewed him as a character. Just as Ravana was “good” and devoted to Shiva, Michael seemed like a “good” guy. He was nice to his maid and to the old people, and he didn’t do anything bad against the government. 

No matter where your beliefs lie, I want to bring to light the idea of how we judge people based on their specific actions or their background. I tried to make it ambiguous as to whether or not Michael truly did some of the things he was accused of. I want us as individuals to make our own decisions about how we view people, and I want us to notice and not be afraid of the ambiguity in people’s situations. We often don't know about all of the good or bad that someone has done.

Also, I was loosely referencing tesla’s cybertruck, which I think is an absolutely ridiculous and detestable vehicle, but that’s my uneducated opinion. Also, this isn’t based on a real story or the opinions of real news channels. I just made up some common news channel numbers.

Sita Sings the Blues by Nina Paley. Web Source.

Blank Tombstone. Source: flickr.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Reading or Watching Notes: Sita Sings the Blues Part B

I’m lowkey really bitter about how Rama let Sita go because of his people. Didn’t they put it on national television that Sita went into the fire and her purity was shown? And not only did he kick her out but she was pregnant. He can be pure as a person, as a leader, as a son, but not as a father or husband it seems. I ain’t hearin it. It seems all Sita’s been doing this whole movie long is singing the blues about something, Sita deserves the best. I do think its intriguing though that she didn’t even in her sadness ever want to spite Rama. To me this shows her purity and praise worthiness over Rama. Not that Rama was spiteful, but perhaps a little untrustworthy, and I just can’t justify abandoning your pregnant wife that you love oh so much.

When I think about it though, Rama also had his time of mourning when he was waiting for Monsoon season to end. We saw his character and it changed a bit as well during that time. That’s another thing, I don’t think Sita’s character changed much. In fact her devotion, love, and sadness stayed pretty constant throughout the whole movie, but Karma was given and the circle was made complete when Vishnu had to rub Sita’s legs in heaven. I wonder what made Sita have to rub Vishnu’s legs in the beginning. Did she do something wrong first, or was it just her place as a woman?

I also wondered why Valmiki taught songs of praise for Rama. Was Rama proven to be an incarnation of Vishnu at that point, or are they just praising him as a “good” king?

Y’all the subject of Dave’s email was Dumpsville. I’m screaming. I hate this man. I was like Nina don’t call him back. You’re only hurting yourself more girl. Nina’s story stressed me out.

I personally wanted to learn more about Valmiki. From reading through the Ramayana, the sages often had some backstory, but I don’t feel like I know anything about Valmiki.

When we saw Sita run and jump into mother earth and the film stopped I was so scared that she actually wasn’t pure and that she had done something wrong and lied to us about it. Turns out she just wanted to sing some more, but that would be so wild if she had lied at some point.


Bibliography :

Sita Sings the Blues by Nina Paley. Web Source.

 Karma cycle by Senseidiegolabrousse. Source: Wikimedia.