Thursday, June 26, 2014

Shakuni, Prince of Gandhar - The Mahabharata Chronicles #4

He walked along the corridors of the palace, deep in thought. Things were not looking good. The Pitamah and his crony, Vidura were getting suspicious of him. He could sense the distrust; sometimes even see it in their eyes. Something had to be done before things got out of hand. Something really subtle, yet potent.

He remembered his latest meeting with them. They had admonished him again to keep away from his nephews. They had not minced any words either when they ordered him to head back to his own kingdom. He had bristled at that thought. His eyes glinted with malice. But as always, he had kept his sentiments to himself and meekly mumbled something about missing his sister too much. He had also added for good measure, that his kingdom was being well run even in his absence. And as always, Bhishma had looked straight into his eyes, with that discerning stare of his, as if he knew exactly what was going on in his mind.

He loathed the Pitamah. Ever since, his sister had been forced to marry the blind king, and she had taken upon herself the oath to bind her eyes as well, his dislike of the grand-sire had just increased. She didn’t deserve this life.

Gandhari. His sister. Princess of Gandhar. A lady of great perseverance. A true Kshatriya Princess. The determination in her was a given. It was evident in her manner of speaking, in her bearing. The way she carried herself, you could see that she was of high patronage and that it was royal blood that flowed in her veins. Wooed and courted by various princes from the surrounding kingdoms, she was a great queen in the making.

Shakuni had always admired his sister. She was his favourite and he hers. As a kid, when Hastinapura had laid siege and slaughtered the kingdom of Gandhar, his entire clan had nearly been wiped out. Brother and sister had sought out each other then and she was the one who had protected him and whispered soothing words to calm his frightened self. Years later when Bhishma had brought forth the proposal to his father for her to be wedded to Dhritharashtra, the blind king, he had ranted and raved. He had even gone to the extent of waging a war again. He did not want his sister to marry a blind king especially one from the Kuru clan, however strong and good-hearted he was. His sister however begged to differ. She had seen what had ensued the previous time her father had refused to accept Hastinapura’s conditions. Worried that she may have to witness a bloodbath again and losing too much in the prospect, she had agreed to marry the blind king. But she didn’t do so silently. Under the reasoning that she wanted to share the pain her husband was suffering, she took a red cloth and tied her eyes, to shut herself out from the world. For the rest of her life she would be so.

His sister’s action was a message to the young boy. He knew that she didn’t agree willingly. He knew that even before setting her eyes on the Kuru prince, she had blindfolded herself. He wanted to retaliate. He wanted to avenge the humiliation that his clan was undergoing at the hands of the Kuru family. He swore to bring about the downfall of the entire line of Kurus. And to ensure that they knew what the agony of seeing their loved ones suffer was.

                                                                                                                   [Pic Couresty:]

Master of sorcery, skilled dice player, black magic aficionado, and a mind-game expert, he had planted himself into the folds of the Kuru family, first as a brother who couldn’t stay apart from his sister, and then as a well-wisher to the sons of his sister – his nephews. Mastermind that he was, slowly he had poisoned the young and hapless minds of the young kids. He found himself in a fix when he realized that the kids would always follow their eldest brother. But then, Kunti had come back to the palace from the forest, with her five sons and he had gotten his golden chance. Steadily, he had created an air of uneasiness in the minds of the young Kauravas about their cousins. It had worked exceptionally well and much more than he had expected. The rest of Gandhari’s sons had just followed. And thus an everlasting animosity was born.

Over the years he had slowly instigated the cousins vehemently against each other much to the displeasure of the family elders and sometimes even his sister. However, the thirst for revenge was stronger than ever and he was unshaken in his quest. He always made sure that none could squarely place the blame on him for any mishap and had always stayed in the background ministering his intentions through the Kaurava brothers.

Standing at the side-lines, he had ensured that there were planned attempts on the lives of the “kind-hearted children of Pandu” and that the source of the blame always rebounded to the “malevolent children of Gandhari”. Working hard and ably, using his wiliness and sorcery, he had strengthened his hold over the 100 sons of Gandhari.  He had unhurriedly created an aura of evilness around the entire clan. It wasn’t that he liked Kunti’s sons any better. His plan was to ensure that the entire line of the Kurus perished.

But now, he could feel the Pitamah’s eagle eyes on him all the time. He knew that the old man was wary of him and always kept watch over him cagily. He needed to act soon. He needed to plan something that could strike terror in the hearts of the Kurus.

And then he got his opportunity.

He learnt that Duryodhana had been insulted at the Indraprastha palace by Draupadi and he was seething. He realized that if he planned this right, he could start something that snowball into the climax that he had always envisioned. He soothed and rubbed his eldest nephew’s shoulders all the while guaranteeing that he would have a chance at revenge soon. And imperceptibly he told Duryodhana of his strategy.

Invite the Pandavas to Hastinapura for a friendly game of dice. Let Yudhishthira play for the Pandavas while he played on behalf of the Kauravas. And then behold the scene that unfolds.

The plan was put in place. The invitations were sent out and accepted. The whole family would be gathered to see the debacle that would befall them.

It was all coming together now.

He rubbed his hands in glee. Smiled wickedly.

Threw his favoured dice into the air. The dice that never disobeyed him. The dice that he had fashioned and imbued with vengeance against the Kuru family. The dice that would wreak havoc and make a mockery of the family that he despised.

This was his chance. His ultimate gamble. The one that he knew he could never lose.

He knew the rules of the game. And he played them better than anyone else.
“Two sixes” he called out.

Two sixes fell. 

Monday, June 23, 2014

Sahadeva - The Mahabharata Chronicles #3

I have fallen here. Lying down in the dark, caught in the crevices of the vast Himalayan ranges, half-buried by snow. It’s only a few more hours before this test is over and Yudhishthira and the dog finish their climb to ascend Swarga.

I knew this was coming. JUST LIKE EVERYTHING ELSE.

As soon as Draupadi fell, I was anticipating my turn. Next will be Nakula, my twin, followed by Arjuna and then Bheema. Just the canine and eldest brother will not fall. That is no ordinary dog, in case you didn’t realize. That is the God of Dharma, Yudhishthira’s father. He loves testing us so. This is not the first time he has done this. And I am sure Yudhishthira knows this. He is a perceptive one, my brother. He always was.

For the better part of my entire life, I have been quiet. Never to utter a word, until I was spoken to. Never to offer my opinion, until I was asked so. But it wasn’t until father’s death I became so. 

But today, I wish to speak. Because I know now that it doesn’t matter. There is none here who can hear me and none to chastise me if I speak so.

And so, I state my story. In my words.

                                                                              [Pic Couresty:]

My name is Sahadeva. I am the youngest of the Pandavas, son of Madri and Pandu; twin brother to Nakula. We are known as Madreyas, sons of Madri, much like Kunti’s sons were called Kaunteyas. I was born in the forests, where my father Pandu was residing after being cursed to live a life of celibacy. Mother, confided in us later that Nakula and I were the children of Ashwini Kumaras – the gods of sunrise and sunset, the physician gods. I learnt that all of us – the sons of Pandu – were offspring of Gods. It filled me with a sense of importance, thought I can’t really say why.

I loved growing up in the forest. Father, who used to tell us all stories in the evenings, always made me sit on his lap. I was the only one who had that privilege, by virtue of being the youngest. I used to listen to him wide-eyed, of the stories of rishis and sadhus, devas and asuras. I imagined us fighting a war against the asuras and winning it for the devas. But of all the things that father told us, I remembered this one thing very clearly. It seemed a little odd then, but no one questioned him why. He told us to consume his brain after his death. He said that this would give us immense knowledge and make us all wise and astute. I realized later that it was a premonition that he had had, because a few days later Father was dead. And Mother died along with him, blaming his death upon herself. Nakula and I were left stricken until Kunti-ma took us into her fold. From then on, we were known only as the Pandavas, sons of Pandu.

The day that Father died, was the day that I was reborn. At his funeral, I had seen a line of ants scurrying away with what looked like his brain. I could only hear Father’s words clearly resonating in my head. Not one to hesitate and unknown to the rest; I caught the ants and ate the pieces they carried. It was in that instant, I LEARNT EVERYTHING. All that had happened, all that was happening and all that was going to happen. And in my haste, while I was running back to tell the others of what had just transpired, I ran into HIM. HE was in disguise of course, but I saw through it because now I KNEW everything. HE knew that I knew and extracted from me two promises. One to never speak of this to anyone. And the second to counter a question with a question. I, of course understood the reasoning behind it. Immense knowledge had the potential to ruin everything and the cycle of Karma would be hindered. To this day, I don’t know whether this was prudence or folly. In return, as a favour for extracting such a heavy promise from me, I asked HIM to be on the side of the Pandavas as long as we were righteous and adhering to Dharma. HE smiled benignly and agreed.

Father’s death and the subsequent events had brought in me a sea-change and I was no longer the cheeky kid I was. It wasn’t a sudden change. And it wasn’t just any change. For now, I could only talk in my mind. And even when I knew what the future held, there was no way in which I could let others know of what may befall them. The fire at Varnavrata, the attempts on our lives by our cousins, Draupadi’s marriage to all of us, the exile, her humiliation at the sabha, the war that was to come… every single event that would occur!! To say that this was hard would be putting it slightly.

Personally, one of the hardest trials to endure was Draupadi’s humiliation at the sabha. Like the rest of my brothers, I was smitten by her as well and I was the one she would turn to when she wanted to pour out what was troubling her. She couldn’t say so to any of the others and I knew how best to play the part that she expected out of me. I comforted her. I lent her a listening ear. And I always reassured her patiently, that she would be at peace when the tribulations were over.  

I knew that the root cause for all this was right in front of me. I knew I would be the one to bring about his death and because this was meant to happen by my hands, that fateful day at the sabha, I declared so. I swore to thrust the sword that I was adept at handling into the man who was sitting clad in black robes, rolling a pair of dice, chuckling to himself. People were surprised, for I was known to be the meek one. I wasn’t as flamboyant as BhÄ«ma or as gifted as Arjuna. I wasn’t even as loquacious as Nakula or as virtuous as Yudhishthira. I was considered by most to be unremarkable, because of my silence and my inconspicuous persona. It was an act that I had refined because it helped me observe the surroundings and helped me blend into the background as unobtrusively as possible. But the oath that day in the sabha to kill Shakuni, helped me release a little of the burden that I was carrying - the heaviness of the promises I had made, that were weighing on me. And so I did. On the eighteenth day of the war, I did what I vowed. I plunged my sword into his body and stared into his remorseless eyes.

For eras to come, people would talk of this, even call it my moment in the sun. They would talk of this as the highlight of the life that I lived, of the ordinary existence that many believe I tolerated.

For not many know of my story.

I am Sahadeva, the last of the Pandavas and the least known.

You may call me gentle and wise. Yet you may not know of the burden that I bore.

To realize what really was, powerless nonetheless.

Of knowing everything however disallowed to speak out. Of seeing everything yet enforced to accept.

I am Sahadeva, the last of the Pandavas and the least known, and yet… I am the one that knows it all and the one who sees it all.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Devavrata - The Mahabharata Chronicles #2

He lay on his bed of arrows, fashioned very kindly by one of his grandsons, the so-called best archer in the world. He was tired. Of this mortal life. Of all the burdens that he had borne. It had not been a pleasant few days. Then again, he supposed a curse would have to play out like this. But it would soon be over. This pain. This suffering. And the mental agony. But for that he would have to wait it out a while longer.

He couldn’t wait to get back to his world. The realm of Vaikuntha. The world where he was Prabhasa – one of the eight Vasus. Slated to live out his life as a mortal, for the transgression of trying to steal the divine cow, Nandhini, for his wife. In retrospect, he figured it could have been much worse. His brothers were luckier. They were released from the mortal life, as soon as they were born for having been just co-conspirators in the offence. Him on the other hand, he had to live this out.

Gifted man, he was. He who could remember all his previous lives. He who was given a boon by his father that he could choose when he wanted death to embrace him. A boon that he did not know to label whether as a curse or a blessing. And so he waited. Until Uttarayana. Until the glorious Sun turned his journey northward. The most auspicious time.

And while he waited he remembered his lives. This mortal life especially.

In this life, he was Devavrata.  The eighth-born son of King Shantanu and Goddess Ganga. His was a very colourful childhood. Brought up amongst the residents of the river of which his mother was reigning sovereign, he was taught very many things by its varied inhabitants. By the time he grew into a strapping young man, he was aware of much more than others his age. He understood the language of the flora and fauna that surrounded them, he had his own way of communicating with his mother, the river-goddess and he was admired as one of the most knowledgeable and level headed lads around. He was initiated under Bhargava Parashurama, for training in weaponry and combat of war. And then, he was introduced to his father. The father for whose happiness, he took upon a vow of lifelong celibacy. The father who bestowed upon him, the boon of choosing his time of death.

The shocking vow that he undertook earned him another name – Bhishma, He of the terrible oath. This was the name that the world knew him as, though more often he was affectionately revered as Bhishma Pitamah. Pledged to serve the ruling king of the dynasty that he was a part of, he had lived a long life. The kingdom had flourished under his administration, but the cracks in the family legacy deeply left their scars. Some had healed. While the others had just faded away because nothing could be done about them. However, there was one that had been reopened today. At the battlefield. His hour of reckoning.


The fiery outspoken princess of Kashi. The woman whose tenacious gaze had disconcerted him. He could sense in her a wilfulness that he admired. It wouldn’t have been easy. To stand up in the testosterone-filled sabha and speak out her mind. Yet she had done that. And in spite of that, he had abducted her along with her sisters, for his brother. But on the way back, when her stubbornness had abated a bit, she had started telling him about Shalva, the one who had usurped her heart. He had listened, non-committedly, wondering what made such a feisty girl such as herself, fall for someone so conventional. But he hadn’t let the thoughts take root. Instead, with a benevolent gaze and a confused mind, he had helped her onto another chariot and set her on forth to where her heart was trapped. He had thought it would be the last time he set his eyes on her. Only, she had come back, in a state of shock, having been sent away by Shalva, who refused to accept her, citing the fact that he had lost to Bhishma, while trying to rescue her and it still rankled him.

Amba had come back to the Kuru palace and beseeched to him, to give her an answer for her predicament. He had in turn entreated to his brother, who originally was supposed to marry her. His brother, now happy with his two wives (sisters of Amba), had refused as well, insisting that her heart lay elsewhere. Amba had again beheld him with her resolute stare, demanding an answer to the question. He on the other hand had no answers. She then, as a last resort had asked him to break his vow and marry her. So that she may have a little bit of dignity restored. He had refused, stating that he couldn’t break his vow. Not even for her. She had then blamed him. For the situation that she was in. For the situation he had landed her in. But there was no way that he could help her. She stayed on for a while at the Hastinapur palace. He let her be.

However, she had succeeded in making him uneasy. Disturbed even. With her fierceness. With her aggressive nature. With her hatred towards him, the loathing which grew over time. The intensity of which had one day, led to her proclaiming that she would be the reason for his downfall, before she left the palace for places unknown. She had reappeared, once with his master, whom she had begged to fight him. The fight went on for a few days, before master and disciple decided it was to no cause. Her fury had then been unleashed. She had raved and ranted like a mad woman, berating him and then as suddenly as she had appeared, she had left. Some time, later he heard that she had killed herself, in order to be reborn to bring about his ruin.

Over the years, he thought of her sometimes. Without any rhyme or reason. A sentence spoken here, a word heard there, a particular stare felt from a corner. He still felt guilty. But the guilt was reduced by reasoning that he had still kept his vow. But sometimes, just sometimes, he couldn’t help wonder. What it would have been to live with her. His determination and her spirit. His calm nature against her fiery temperament. His toughness versus her resolve. But it wasn’t meant to be.

He had seen her again today. At the battlefield. His hour of reckoning. Phoenix like. Reborn from the ashes.

He was the only one who recognized her. Still the smoldering stare. Still the hatred emanating for ruining her life.

The others only knew about her. They knew her now as Shikhandi. He on the other hand, KNEW her. KNEW what she was. And how she came to be who she was now.

This time, he accepted it, laying down his arms. He was done here. He wanted no more of this life. He did not a see a point in it. So he had let his grand-son shielded by her, pierce him with his arrows. He had seen the accomplishment in her eyes. The cry of triumph, worded silently. She was appeased now. As was he.

No more blame. No more guilt. No more remorse.

And so now he waited.

And while he waited, called upon the thousand names of his redeemer. Sri Vishnu Sahasranama – Bhishmena Kathitha. Vyasena Grathitha.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Yagnaseni - The Mahabharata Chronicles #1

Yagnaseni they called her. The one born out of fire. The virtuous one. The one whose fate was linked with the harbingers of change. The one who was both a blessing and a curse. Blessing to the people and curse to her father. Or so she had been told. She had heard that when she arose in front of him, he “blessed” her with unhappiness, sorrow, misunderstandings and strife for the better part of her life.

There wasn’t much that she remembered about her birth. All she had felt was a searing heat from the flames that were licking around her and then a sudden thrust out of it. She had almost fallen out of the fire, much rather being born out of it, much like an after-thought of the GODS.

                                         [Pic Courtesy:]

Daughter she was, to the famed king – Drupad. Princess of Panchal and twin sister to the Crown Prince, her brother, Dhristadyumna, who had stepped out of the fire, gracefully and leonine like as desired by her father. She who was endowed with a heart-shaped face; skin that shone like burnished copper, lustrous hair that fell down to wide hips that swayed when she walked and a pretty smile that framed her luscious lips. She who the world called the most beautiful. Her childhood, she remembered, was bound by rules and bogged down by actions that befit a princess. She chafed at the shackles that restrained her and craved for a freedom that was only heightened by the curiosity that played around in her mind. Questions that remained unanswered. Or ones that were answered with other questions.

And the one, who did that the most with her, was the one she considered as her soul mate.

Her Govind. The one who affixed her with the female form of his own name – Krishnaa – the dark skinned one. Friend, guide, philosopher and roguish imp all rolled into one. The one she always turned to when in strife, in sorrow, and the first one she shared with when in joy, in delight and in revelry. The one who gave her support and the one who quietened her ever-questioning mind. The one who knew her best. The one who wanted the best for her. The one who told her to reject Karna.

Karna. King of Anga. Loyal friend to the scion of the Kaurava clan. Cherished disciple of the Rama with the axe. Famed archer rumoured to even best Arjuna. Son of a Suta.

The first memory she had of him, was that of him seated in the competitor arena for her swayamvar. She remembered that moment like it had just happened then.

Skin that shone like he was drunk on the rays of the sun. Well chiselled and marked body. The warrior stance. Strong arms. And his eyes. The gaze that was steadfast yet with raged with an intensity that made them come alive. Eyes those were flecked by golden flames.

She recognized the fervour that burned in his eyes and his belly. The passion to prove to the world that he was here to accomplish great things. She knew that was what it was because the very same fire burned within her. He had looked at her just once. Glanced rather. She felt taken in by his intent look. Felt the quiver of butterflies in her tummy. The gaze that stripped her naked, yet cloaked her with a protectiveness that she hadn’t felt before, all in the span of a single moment. This was unlike anything that she had felt before. This was a thousand times stronger than any flickers of infatuation that she may have felt. Ten thousand times even. This was a raging blaze. In that one glance that they had shared, she had known that he was the one for her. And yet she had rejected him. Except without knowing why. On the basis of the fact that he was a charioteer’s son.

Because HE told her to. Because she trusted in HIM blindly. Because HE knew her best. Because HE wanted the best for her. Because HE told her to reject Karna. Her Govind.

But now, standing in front of the entire Kuru clan, shamed, dishevelled and disrobed, she couldn’t help wondering. Did she make the right choice back then? Is this what was BEST for her?

Here she was, married to the illustrious, almost godly Pandavas and not one of them could save her from this mortification. Would Karna have let this happen to her? Would he have just sat there, head bowed, with down-cast eyes, unable to bear the humiliation that was being meted out to her? Somehow she didn’t think so.

Sure. He was standing on the OTHER side now. He was the one who had provoked the vile Dusshasan to do what he just did. He was the one who called her unchaste. He was the one who stood there mocking at their plight. This was his vengeance and her come-uppance for the way she had treated him at her swayamvar. It didn’t justify in any way that what he was doing to her was much worse than what he could / would / may have felt. And yet she saw a hint of remorse in his eyes. For the words that he spoke. For the way he had behaved. And as much as she wanted to hate him with her entire being, she couldn’t bring herself to.

And she realized that in some way, he knew it too. That he was aware of the consequences of this. And that even though he may have had a choice, he couldn’t bring himself to make it. That in some way he anticipated the repercussions. Morbidly even looked forward to it.

And so she forgave him. Forgave just him. For the dastardly act that he was being a part of. For the terrible violation that had just been enacted out in the palace court for all and sundry to see.

For now SHE knew what was coming.  The purpose of HER birth. The very reason for HER existence. She was slated to be the harbinger that would cleanse the world of the vileness that inhabited it.

Perhaps, this was the way it was meant to be.

Perhaps, this is what happens when a shard pierces the heart.

That one sliver coursing its way through the entire system.

Taking along with it all that brought down to this moment.

This very moment. Where it all ends. And where it all begins.


Disclaimer: This is solely my viewpoint and a fictionalized attempt on my idea of what Draupadi may / may not have felt. Written on the basis of inspiration by articles and stories and books that I have read on this subject and legends that suggested she may have loved Karna and events that transpired in the Mahabharata. I do not claim this to be true in any way. J

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Ramblings on a Wondrous Epic - Mahabharata!

I am a mythology buff. Indian mythology to be precise. The traditions, the folklore, the little known legends, the trivia, and the facts – they fascinate me to no end. I love reading them over and over again and I haven’t yet found another culture such as ours that is so rich in traditions, myths, customs and legends.

And my most favourite of them all is the epic – MAHABHARATHA. I have lost count of the number of times I have read this, watched this, the number of viewpoints on this and the underlying and interconnected backstories as well as the intricate strategies employed in them. And always it is interesting to read the lore, albeit from different viewpoints or just the story as such. So far, one of the best versions that I have read has to be “Jaya” by Devdutt Patnaik.

I recently read 2 more versions of it. One was a story written from Karna’s second wife – Uruvi’s viewpoint! (I didn’t even know Karna married twice. I always thought he was married only to Vrushali.) and the other was a story from Duryodhana’s viewpoint. Both interesting and thought-provoking in their own way. Out of all the various versions of the epic that I have read (which is a little over 7 versions), as well as all the articles that are minutely related to the saga of one family, I have always been fascinated by the lives of Karna and Arjuna.

2 heroes, one glorified and the other vilified.  Countless verses have been written about these two protagonists, each mighty in their own right. There are stories that champion the cause of how Karna is a better archer than Arjuna and there are others that say that Arjuna was better than Karna, citing examples even.

Back when I read this epic for the first ever time, I was drawn towards the character that was Karna. A kind of empathy for the way his life had turned out. Loyal friend, victim of circumstances, wronged from birth and always misunderstood. However, subsequent versions have led me to believe that there is no one who is fully right or fully wrong in this epic. Each one is but a victim of circumstances. I have read snippets of how Duryodhana was actually named Suyodhana and the “Dur” prefix came in much later thanks to the histrionics of Shakuni and his vile ways!! How much ever, we dissect situations and say that this one did right and that one did wrong, ultimately, there is an underlying reason for the same.

Suyodhana’s love for Subhadra, Karna’s generosity, Draupadi’s lust / love for Karna, Krishna’s strategies and why he brought about the war… the deaths of Ghatotkacha, Iravan and Abhimanyu, etc.. The stories of course are never-ending… but reading through a multitude of versions throws up a lot of questions… and a lot of ifs and buts.. 

The picture below by Molee Art symbolizes my perception of the Mahabharata precisely. 

Krishna as a master puppeteer and everyone else under this master strategist.

                                                  [Pic Courtesy: Master of Puppets, Molee Art

Would the war even have happened had Kunti declared and accepted Karna as her son at the exhibition of the princes’ skills and prowess?

Would Duryodhana have hated Karna after knowing that he was a Pandava?  Or would he have agreed to give away whatever was rightfully theirs, because he valued Karna’s friendship over all?

Did Draupadi really love Karna? Was it only because Krishna told her to that she insulted him at the swayamvar? 

If Karna knew about the curses on him beforehand, why didn’t he do something to overcome / neutralize them, over the course of the years? 

Who was the better archer in fact? Karna or Arjuna? And then what about Ekalavya? What happened to him? 

Is Ashwatthama still alive and roaming about pus and sore-filled somewhere in the world? 

Why did Gandhari choose to suffer alongside her blind husband instead of being the eyes he didn’t have?  Wouldn’t that have been a better choice? 

The one thing that is evident in the entire epic is the cycle of Karma.

If one's action bore no fruit, then everything would be of no avail,
if the world worked from fate alone, it would be neutralized. - 

No one becomes a villain without any reason and everyone is a stranger until you give them a chance! As you sow, so you reap!

Disclaimer: This post initially started out as one just about Karna and Arjuna. As it happens most of the time, it became totally something else. Call it my ramblings about a wondrous epic! And expect many more ramblings in days to come! :-)

PS: If you are interested in reading Mahabharata, do read the following for a different perspective. You should know by now how much I am hooked on to this.

Jaya – Devdutt Patnaik, Palace of Illusions – Chitra Divakarunni Banerjee,Ajaya – Anand Neelakantan, Karna’s wife, the Outcast’s Queen – Kavita Kane, Mrityunjay – Shivaji Sawant, Arjuna  - Anuja Chandramouli, Yuganta – Iravati Karve, Bhima, The Lone Warrior – M T Vasudevan. 

Monday, June 2, 2014

Masti, Marriages, Mayhem, Milestones, Mangoes and Much More … The Month that was MAY!!!

Yes! That’s how cool we are these days! Because, a title is all I can come up with at this point of time. The self-induced plethora of blog posts on the 100 happy days has bitten the dust long back. Very very long back, in case you guys didn’t notice! Which is to say, have you all disappeared from here like I have? :-/ 

Anyways, the story, bottom line, the point of it all, is THIS. I came up with that cool title about a week back and was wondering what to write on those very topics (we are diligent, if not anything else!) so that it qualifies for a readable post. After breaking my head over which, I gave it all up and decided to churn out whatever got in the way of these fingers while typing… which translates to, you may have to end up reading some nonsensical stuff – if you’re reading this that is! :P

So we settle back to old usual random way of spilling out all those thoughts that have taken up space in my mind… de-cluttering it is gonna be my dear friends!

Where were we? Oh yeah! The 100 Happy Days Challenge. Right! I am very happy to inform you that this has bitten the glorious dust like a lot many of my projects. Again! Not because I was / am not happy most of the days. They were eclipsed by this other factor called PROCRASTINATION of which I am a master! Either ways, I did get some super awesome feedback from some very kind people and if I ever get the feeling that I will want to start a blogging spree, I may just take it up on again. I actually did want to do that A to Z blogging challenge which a lot of my co-bloggers have picked up, but then considering I did not finish the earlier challenge, I thought it was safer for me to stay away from challenges for a while. But to those of you who are doing it, KUDOS! I end up reading all of those blog posts, and then feel jealous that I am not able to write like that!!... Hmmmppff!! Oh and before I forget – remember this post on HOPE and Britto words… I got one for myself!! :D this one in the image right below… Kinda symbolic you think! :D :D Hehehe!

Have I ever told you, that the month of MAY is my most favourite of all months in the year?  December comes a close second, but MAY is right up there. You ask me, why? I say, because it’s my BIRTHDAY Month! And this MAY was simply awesome… whole lot of celebrations, a trip back home, temple visits, farmhouse visits, mangoes, reading and lazing about at home… the best 2 weeks and 3 weekends in a long long time. The vacation this time started off with a close one’s wedding, the associated celebs, an almost finger-removing car door slam (a lil’ exaggeration if I may!), the long drive back to Home Sweet Home (which I was visiting after more than a year!!!), the hot humid weather, the blessed showers, a milestone birthday, the folks’ anniversary, a new car, temples, the mango & jackfruit season, the gorging on amma’s cooking, catching up with all the besties, and so much of reading, sleeping, gossiping, shopping and all that jazz…  BLISS!!!

This pic below is from the farmhouse. Clicked and edited on my phone, it calls for a whole new blog post all by itself. I love this one spot at KALAM and the fact that it has a statue of one of my favourite gods makes it even more enchanting.

Coming back to work, after more than 2 weeks means VACATION HANGOVER. Which is what happened. And what also happened was that, I forgot the password to unlock my system!!! After a couple of futile tries, it opened up! Thank god for predictability!! :-) And then it was back to square one! Putting out fires and getting rid of the to-do pile and then adding more to the to-do pile. Just another few routine days! :-s while that was going on, I noticed something weird. I was kind of getting tired of MAY. I mean, yeah! It was still my favourite month and all that but god! How long was this month in any case??  It felt like it was never getting over!!!! :-/ probably all that work stress! ;-) but we did have some good times at work like a drinks get together, some cake cutting and general silliness with the girls on and off! Solid team I have here I tell you!! Touch wood! :D :D

Also caught up on a few movies, including the much hyped ‘Kochadaiyaan’, which frankly in my opinion did not feel like a Rajini movie at all, sorry! The only relatable part was his voice and dialogue delivery which remotely made me feel I was watching a thalaivar movie! None of that mass hysteria or that jaw-dropping and silly grins ever happened. But then all said and done, was one heck of an attempt by the crew. Could have been better though, I have to say! If you are going to be shooting a movie for more than 2 years, I am going to expect something better than a game of guess-who-that-hero/heroine-is! And for a thalaivar movie, those expectations are well warranted, if you ask me.

Watched X-Men and drooled over Hugh Jackman unabashedly. Also loved the movie. New characters, new plot line which completely derails all that ever happened until X-Men: The Last Stand, and a devilishly brilliant action sequence by one of the most inspired characters ever – Quicksilver set to Jim Croce’s Time in a Bottle. Stand out scene!! The best scene in the entire movie, if you ask me. Evan Peters with that roguish grin of his is someone I want to see more of in the upcoming X-Men movies.

And the IPL madness has ended, with the team that I supported getting trashed in the qualifier – 2, thanks to some recklessly stupid shots by a seasoned player. I also got to know that my cricket knowledge is half-baked when the best friend was kind enough to point out in some not-so-good-words, that Dwayne Bravo was a medium fast pace bowler and not spin like I had always thought!! Gulp!! Don’t ask me why I thought he was spin bowler! :( I half dozed through the finals yesterday. I so badly wanted Punjab to win, which obviously didn’t happen. Anyways, now that has ended. KKR has won and SRK is a happy man, on his way to becoming the richest actor in the world!

Over to the milestones part now.

I turned 30. And I am somehow feeling very glad about it. Weird right! I always feared growing older and now I find that I am actually looking forward to the 30s. I think I am finally becoming wisdomous in Joey Tribbiani’s words! So ladies and gentlemen, the milestone birthday was brought in amidst folks, after about 5 years and with all four of us under one roof. Low-key all the same but one of the most relaxing big moments ever. Gone are those days where one could pull an all-nighter and still show up to work fresh and dewy faced. Now if I don’t get my quota of 6 hours, I am a grumpy soul solely walking straight thanks to copious amounts of coffee.

The other milestone is that I completed 5 years in this ‘Lah-Lah’ land! Funny how time flies. And when I think back, I can’t believe I have spent 5 years here. And I don’t know whether to be happy or sweet about it. I think I will settle for BITTERSWEET!

MS Word tells me that I have typed 3 pages already.

I think I should stop on this note. J

I wish I could say that I will blog more religiously and fervently from now on, but I don’t want to make promises that I can’t keep! :P

Oh god! This wisdomous thing is sometimes a pain! ;) :P

Peace out…  

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