Thursday, May 6, 2021

Week 15 - Extra Credit Reading




He sees Vyasa, an ascetic meditating. Vyasa has composed a poem, and he needs a scribe.
Ganesha arrives and agrees to be Vyasa's scribe. Vyasa tells the story of the birth of Satyavati and why she smelled like a fish. She makes love with a wandering sage; he removes the fish smell. Vyasa is their son.
Amba tells Bhishma that she is secretly betrothed to King Salva. He releases her to join him. King Salva rejects Amba, even though she insists Bhishma has not touched her.
Pandu becomes king.
Dhritarashtra marries Gandhari. When she finds out he is blind, so she veils her eyes.
 Pandu takes her in his arms and dies.
Madri and Kunti argue about who will join him on the funeral pyre. Madri tells Kunti to be a mother to her children.


Peter Brook's Mahabharata 1. The Beginnings.

Thursday, April 29, 2021

StoryLab Week 14

                                                                     (Grammar Tips)


How to use a semicolon:

The first video I enjoyed was the one on how to use a semicolon. I normally struggle to know when to use semicolons so that is why I wanted to watch this video. I usually write run-on sentences and I know semicolons can help eliminate this problem. I did learn that it can clarify ideas in a sentence that already has a lot of commas. Also, linking two independent clauses is a helpful way to use a semicolon. Two main rules I picked up on were: unless semicolons are use in a list, then they should only connect sentences that are related, and you'll never find a semicolon before two coordinating conjunctions. 

How languages evolved:

- Early on similar groups that spoke the same language; would split into smaller groups and become isolated, creating a similar but not the same language.

- This would continue as populations grew and new places were discovered.

- Grammar and syntax are key for determining a language tree. Whether that be pronouns, numbers or kinship.

- The answer to "how many languages are there?" can be 3,000-8,000. 

- The further back we go studying languages, the less and less we can find out.

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Reading Notes, Week 14 - Sita Sings the Blues Part B

                                                                  (Sita Sings the Blues)


- Dave breaks up with Nina by email when she is in New York. Her heart breaks and she burns with grief.
- Sita tells Rama she is pregnant. Meanwhile, a laundry man (a dhobi) beats his wife, accusing her of being unfaithful and comparing her to Sita.
- To protect his reputation, Rama tells his brother Lakshmana to take Sita into the forest and abandon her. The narrators debate these events.
- Sita, now very pregnant, sings the blues again. Lakshmana, weeping, takes her into the forest and abandons her.
- Nina is living in Brooklyn, and she dreams about Dave.
- Sita thinks it is karma from a past life that is bringing her grief. She would kill herself if she were not pregnant. Valmiki rescues her.
- Sita sings the blues on the shore of the river.
- She gives birth to twins, Lava and Kusha. From Valmiki, they learn to sing the praises of Rama.
- Nina calls Dave in India and begs him to take her back.
- The narrators debate Sita's devotion to Rama.
- Sita sings the blues again, looking at Rama's picture.
- Rama hears the boys singing in the forest. He learns they are his sons, and they learn Rama is his father. -- He asks that Sita once again prove her purity.
- Sita calls upon Mother Earth to prove her purity and take her back into the womb.
- Sita sings about her love for Rama one last time, and then leaves them behind.
- In New York, Nina reads the Ramayana and works on the film.
- You see Chandra the moon god, Vishnu rubbing Lakshmi's feet. 

Sita Sings the Blues. Question Copyright.

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Reading Week 14, Sita Sings the Blues - Part A


                                                                (Sita Sings the Blue)


- Lakshmi rises from the sea with a phonograph.
- The cosmos: Shiva in a ring of fire, Brahma, Lakshmi and Vishnu resting on Shesha, Surya the sun god, Chandra the moon god, the beating heart of the universe, and Bhumi the earth goddess.
- San Francisco. We see Nina, her boyfriend Dave, and their cat. They are all very happy. The boyfriend gets a job in India.
- The three narrators argue about the date of the Ramayana. They also argue about whether it is true or not, and about where the story took place.
- King Dasharatha has three wives and four sons. Sita, daughter of Janaka, is Rama's wife. Queen Kaikeyi makes Dasharatha send Rama into exile. He dies of grief after Rama leaves.
- Despite Rama's warnings about the rakshasas in the forest, Sita goes into exile with him. The phonograph plays a song while they go into the forest where they live happily while Rama slays rakshasas.
- San Francisco airport: Nina kisses her boyfriend goodbye.
- The narrators discuss Ravana who stole Sita. Ravana some say was a good king, but they also compare him to Mogambo the Hindi film villain. Ravana was so devoted to Shiva that he played the veena (lute) for him with his intestines: this refers to the legend that when a string on the veena broke, Ravana used his own guts to continue playing so that he would not interrupt the song. He was the king of Sri Lanka, and there was an ancient land bridge connecting India to the island.
- Surpanakha is Ravana's sister. Angry at Rama, Surpanakha tells Ravana about Sita. Maricha tells Ravana to leave Sita alone but Ravana commands Maricha to become a golden deer to distract Rama so he can grab Sita.
- Sita is enchanted by the golden deer. Rama suspects a trick, but Sita begs him to pursue the deer.
- Sita sings about her love for Rama, while Ravana sneaks up on their forest hut.
- Ravana abducts Sita in his flying chariot.
- Sita drops her jewelry as a sign; Rama seeks her in the forest.
- Hanuman: The narrators discuss Vishnu's incarnation as Hanuman, and one narrator mentions Shiva's incarnation as Hanuman (the other narrators had not heard about that, and it is indeed a later tradition).
- Rama and Hanuman become allies. Rama sends Hanuman to look for Sita.
- San Francisco: Dave calls Nina to invite her to India.
- Sita is held captive in Lanka, and she weeps for Rama. She rejects Ravana's advances.
- Hanuman finds Sita in Lanka while Sita sings the blues. He sets Lanka on fire and then returns to Rama.
- The narrators argue about why Sita did not escape with Hanuman. Meanwhile, Nina goes to India.
- The narrators argue about whether the monkeys were monkeys or half-monkey and half-man. Rama leads his monkey army to Lanka.
- Sita sings with joy while Rama battles the rakshasas and slays Ravana.
- Nina arrives in India, but Dave tells her not to kiss in public. They don't kiss in bed either.
- The narrators discuss how Rama was cold to Sita after rescuing her.
- Sita and Rama are reunited, but he rejects her because she lived in another man's house. He sends her away. Sita despairs.
- Sita asks for a funeral pyre. The narrators argue about how to interpret this part of the story.
- Sita sings the blues while she undergoes a test by fire, protected by Agni the fire god.
- Rama asks for Sita's forgiveness.
- Nina and Dave are working in the same office in India. Nina goes to New York for a week.
- The narrators discuss the flying chariot, Pushpaka, that takes Rama and Sita back to Ayodhya.
- Sita sings the blues again: if you want the rainbow, you must have the rain.

Sita Sings the Blues. Question Copyright.

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Reading Notes, Seven Secrets of the Goddess

                                                                       (Seven Secrets)


Kronas could only leave the womb by castrating his father.
Kronas did this and declared himself king and ate his own children.
Zeus then kills Kronas.
Brahma saw Adya as his mother.
Vishnu received the third eye and lit a fire which 3 goddesses rose.
Egyptian mythology does not focus on gender.
The alpha male keeps all the females for himself
Not all males were necessary for reproduction
Tribes needed women not men, for survival
Woman were represented as fat while men represented as alpha's
Men had to fight each other or submit to the woman's choice
The male could not refuse the woman in some cultures and if a man forced himself then he was killed
Men were always eager to kill and take place as a lover
Some chosen males were beginning to get sacrificed
Castrating oneself was the only way to save oneself
Male priests rose up as a woman


Seven Secrets of the Goddess. Devdutt Pattanaik. 2016.


Thursday, April 15, 2021

Week 12, StoryLab

Advice to Writers
For this story lab, I chose to focus on Jon Winokur's advice to writers. 

    Starting off, I like how as soon as you click on the website it gives you a daily quote. You can also, go back and look at the past day's quotes. These quotes can offer inspiration, advice, and/or criticism. This can give writers the boost they may need for a day.
    The interview section I believe is really helpful because it brings in authors who are well acclaimed and goes in-depth with basically how their writing process works. They get to give advice on how to deal with writer's block and it even goes into where the best place to write is for some authors. The interviews are recent too, so these are writers who are active and may have new and improved techniques.
    Another good resource on the website is the writing books tab. This gives you a page full of books that could help you in the writing process. It is a really good feature and if someone does not know where to start when writing then one of these books seems like a great resource to have. 
    The resources tab is also a great dropdown menu that has 10+ resources listing everything from Twitter to Nobel lectures. Overall, this website gives writers, new and old, great advice and can be a great resource for everybody. 


Thursday, April 8, 2021

Week 11 Story




King Bhima is walking alone one day when he runs into a very dangerous rakshasa while in the forest. However, he is not alone. Hidimbim, the sister of the rakshasa, watches as Bhima kills the rakshasa. Hidimbim secretly hated her brother so she falls madly in love with Bhima. After a while, they have a son. His name is Ghatotkacha.

Fast forward a couple of years and Bhima fights another rakshasa. The rakshasa is named Baka. Bhima is now old and so everyone is surprised that a Bhima can defeat a demon as savage as this. However, Bhima was injured in the battle and was left very sick. All the best healers and priests tried to come heal him. No one was successful and Bhima dies. Hidimbim wept day and night at her husbands passing while Ghatotkacha came to become the king.

King Drupada lived close by but overheard that King Bhima had died and wanted to send Ghatotkacha a gift to try and make him feel better. But it won't be free. Ghatotkacha is given an invite to try and win Drupada's daughter in the bow and arrow contest.  

King Drupada is holding a swayamvara for his daughter. His daughter's name is Draupadi. Draupadi is also the mother of Dhrishtadyumna. The Pandavas, Karna, and Duryodhana all attend this swayamvara. The avatar of the god Vishnu, Krishna, is also in attendance. Even his brother Balarama attends. Even though the Pandavas are disguised, Krishna recognizes them right away. He can see that the brahmins are the Pandavas. During this contest, everyone comes and goes but no one can hit the target. There are two people left, King Ghatotkacha and a peasant named Arjuna. . Arjuna wins this contest. He is able to string a bow and hit the target. By winning this contest, he can take Draupadi as his bride. Kunti explains to his brothers that whatever is acquired that day must be shared. This means that the brother must share Draupadi. So, Draupadi is the shared wife of the five brothers. Vyasa then explains that even in a previous lifetime, Draupadi also had five husbands. In her previous lifetime, Draupadi was a woman named Nalayani. Nalayani was married to a sage. This sage slept with her in the guise of five different men. After the sage left her, Nalayani prayed to the Lord Ishvara, Shiva, to give her back the five husbands. The prayer was answered in a Draupadi's lifetime. This is why she marries the five Pandava brothers. 

King Ghatotkacha is furious and feels insulted after finding about Nalayani and her past. He vows to destroy King Drupada and make sure his daughter never marries again. So Ghatotkacha hires spies to go and steal Nalayani during the night when she is asleep. After she is captured and made prisoner, Ghatotkacha sends a warning to Drupada. The letter says that if Drupada does not denounce his title of king then his daughter will be killed. Drupada refuses to denounce his title so Ghatotkacha is true to his word and will carry out the execution tomorrow. The next day, right before Nalayani is about to be killed, Bhima appears in front of Ghatotkacha. Bhima says, "Have mercy my son, for you are supposed to be a just king, just like I was." Ghatotkacha was so overcome with emotion that he decided to spare Nalayani's life and had her returned to Drupada. 

So for the rest of his days as a ruler, King Ghatotkacha became a just king and had mercy for those who really deserved it.

Author's Note

For this story, I rewrote the first section of the Mahabharata. I tried to take bits and pieces from the original story while also mixing in my own telling of the story. I tried to keep it simple and easier to follow.  Focusing on pages 24-47 made it easier to keep it simple but also limited me to what I could talk about. That is why the story is not as long as some might write. The overall plot is from my reading notes and then the other writing is just off of the top of my head.  Going forward I would love to get feedback on what I can do to these stories to improve. I just got my comment wall up so now I will actually be able to see the comments. Please let me know what I can do better and what I did well to keep doing that. I kept the names of the original characters so it would be easier for me to write and keep track of what actually happened.  In the future, I think I will change the characters to one of my favorite shows characters because it seems more fun to write like that when you can change what happens to your favorite characters.


Reading Guide for Narayan's Mahabharata, Parts A and B. Laura Gibbs.

Week 15 - Extra Credit Reading

                                                                                         ( Mahabharata ) Notes -  He sees Vyasa, an ascetic ...