Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Week 11 Storytelling: Gopa's Thoughts


Dear diary,

Today the king’s priest came into my home and, upon seeing me, began to jump up and down and rejoice. I thought that he was quite an odd man; however, he informed me that I was going to be prince Siddhartha’s wife. I mean, who ever said that I wanted to be married? I don’t even know the guy. I’m more interested in enjoying my twenties as a free spirit.



Dear diary,

People in the city are making such a big deal about prince Siddhartha! Just today I was informed that all young girls were to travel to the palace on Saturday in order to receive gifts from the guy. Me? Yeah, I’m going to show up late and act like I totally don’t care.



Dear diary,

So, I did just as I said I’d do; I was the last one to show up at the palace. Siddhartha tried giving me a ring. All I could think was that, “He must like it if he wants to put a ring on it.” I didn’t want to take it – after all, I’m not in to pretention. A ring that nice would surely draw all sorts of attention to me.



Dear diary,

The stinking king of Kapilavastu showed up at our doorstep today asking my dad to permit Siddhartha to marry me. Why am I not able to have any say in this? Luckily, my dad said the prince had been nothing but a sloth thus far in his life and he didn’t know if he could permit my marriage to such a man.



Dear diary,

Great – just because my dad called out the prince for his lethargic nature, there is going to be a city-wide competition to prove that Siddhartha isn’t lazy after all. I think it’s actually somewhat amusing that these boys are all going to compete for my hand in marriage. This afternoon is going to be interesting.



Dear diary,

Well, the first challenger to Siddhartha was an artsy-type. He wanted to compete with the prince in a ‘write-off,’ but Visvamitra stepped in and declared Siddhartha the victor before anyone had even done as much as pick up a pen. Next up was a mathematical match-up. Siddhartha won that one, too. I was actually pretty glad at that because the other competitor was a pocket-protected prim.



Dear diary,

It has been arranged. I’m marrying Siddhartha. I hope that I like this guy. I haven’t even had the chance to sit down and converse.

 I’ll surely be back in the next few days to write about what I think about the prince once I formally meet him.



Author’s note: I wrote this story in first person to describe how Gopa may have felt during the process of Siddhartha winning her hand in marriage. The unit itself didn’t include much about Gopa other than her dream. I found that a bit odd, so I wanted to expand upon her character here. This section of the unit focused on what Siddhartha and his father had to do in order for Siddhartha to marry Gopa. I should also mention that Siddhartha is the name of the man who would go on to become ‘Buddha.’ I didn’t change anything as far as plot, but I did include much more of Gopa’s thoughts. Link to the story: http://www.sacred-texts.com/bud/lob/lob09.htm

Bibliography: The Life of Buddha, by Ferdinand Herold. 1922.


Monday, March 30, 2015

Week 11 Reading Diary B: Siddhartha's Conversion

“…but companions and friends desert us when it is the path of holiness we would take.” This seems to describe some people who I know to the tee.

It is only fitting that Siddhartha takes the warrior horse to go and perform the noblest act.

 Does this have some connection to the power that humans have over animals or what? It seems like, for the most part, animals are gentle beings that are molded by the actions of their owners.

It is understandable that all wallowed at the news of Siddhartha’s departure.

Why is it that Kanthaka died? Could this be foreshadowing of more deaths to come?

Hmm… five dreams? This must represent something significant.

Those were some STRANGE dreams.

Ahh – this describes the image that must associate with “Buddha.” He is seated with legs crossed and is facing towards the east.

Week 11 Reading Diary A: Life of Buddha

I wonder what the significance, if any, is of the six tusks.

So was Maya always a queen? I didn’t see anything indicating that she was.

I find it to be a bit peculiar that king Suddhodana distributed food and drink upon hearing of the good news. Is this custom in their culture?

Well, it seems like the earth is certainly joyous at the impending birth of Buddha.

This collection of stories has been quite metaphorical – I suppose there is no better way to tell it.

It sounds like the land was quite merry in the land of Kapilavastu.

So prince Siddhartha was raised by his aunt? Interesting!

So there is a connection between Rama and prince Siddhartha – Visvamitra. This must have been quite a special teacher.

So, was it prophesied that someone would become “the Buddha?”       

It was intended that Siddhartha would never see the infirmities of the world – this seems odd.
                                                                  A Young Prince

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Storytelling for Week 10: Avian Assessment

Swoosh! Down went Bhimi as he flew straight for earth’s surface. His siblings – Korza and Khamki – had no choice but to do the same.

“Why in the world are we going to land in the middle of India?” asked Khamki. “I mean, after all we are heading southwest, aren’t we?”

“Oh hush,” barked Bhimi.

“I grew tired. We’ve flown over 300 miles today.”

“Yeah, that’s what you get to look forward to with aging,” joked Korza. “You will have to stop and take breaks.”

Khamki gestured as if her back was hurting to poke fun at Bhimi. Both She and Korza got a good laugh out of it, but Bhimi – not so much.

“Look, just because I’m the eldest and most mature of us three doesn’t mean you can disrespect me. Mom and Dad will be quite pleased to see, so let’s just rest a little and make it back to see them in a few days,” said the wise Bhimi.

“Now help me find a place for us to land before it gets too dark.”

“How about we aim for that clearing in the woods where all of those humans are gathered. Maybe there is some sort of a festival going on,” declared Khamki.

The three finches slowed their descent and nestled on a tree branch just a few feet from an eclectic bunch of fowls.

“Well hey there,” said an eagle perched right below them. “What brings you to the battle for Hastinapura?”

“The battle for what?” cried Korza.

“Hastinapura” shouted a vulture from a few feet down on the field.

“I’m sorry, but we are just stopping by on our migration west,” explained Bhimi. “We had no intent to participate in a battle.”

The fowls turned to look at the finches and burst out in laughter.

“Oh my! No, we’re not going into any type of battle here,” uttered a sparrow who sat just below them. “This is the battle for the kingdom of Hastinapura.”

The eagle cut in, “We’re nothing but spectators for this event. It promises to deliver plenty of action if you’d like to stay and watch.”

“Why in the world are these two groups going to fight for this – Hastinapura?” enquired Khamki.

So the three of the birds went on explaining the events of the Mahabharata to their new companions.

“What a shame!” cried Bhimi. “This family had everything the world had to offer at their fingertips: knowledge, prosperity, peace, and they elected to pour it down the drain because of their vices.”

“And I thought that we migratory birds had it bad. No – Duryodhana, Shakuni, and Dhritarashtra – these are men who disgust me with their every being.”

The next day, the birds all spectated at the battle that began to unfold.

“What a mess these humans are,” said Khamki.

All of the birds nodded in agreement.

“Well, I suppose that we could sit around and be entertained by the bloodshed all night if we pleased. We must surely make way our way west before we lose another day of migration.”

After the finches bade their farewells, they were gone just as swiftly as they landed.
Author's note: I again chose to write in third person with the hope of sharing the opinions of several characters in the story. My intent with this story was to illustrate that even the simplest of creatures realized that what was going on was wrong. I did not make any changes to the Mahabharata.
Bibliography: Narayan, R. K. (1978). The Mahabharata.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Week 10 Reading Diary B: Yudhistira Talks

Yudhistira opened up chapter thirteen with a statement that resonated with me, it was this: “Is it worth all this conflict?” Do these two mighty empires need to go to battle? What will they gain as a result? I think much in the same way with current events – why must violence be the ultimate resolve? One group will do the unthinkable to another – and all for what? It seems a tragedy that, even with all of our analytical cognitive ability, we many times decide on a whim.

It seems a bit unorthodox that many of the characters are given ample opportunity to pledge their allegiance to one party or another before the fight. I suppose this is similar to the events surrounding many civil wars.

Wow! It would be quite a sight to be present when all of the bad omens occurred.

So I must admit that I felt like the battle was strung out for an excessive period of time.

Week 10 Reading Diary A: Dhritarashtra's Vice

Dhritarashtra needs to establish a council wherein he can get some sound advice – or a therapist.

It sounds like Duryodhana plans to go to battle against his cousins. I guess that every good book needs some type of a conflict.

The pompous Duryodhana was taken as a prisoner? I very much enjoyed reading this.

A deer drawing an unsuspecting man out into isolation? This sounds familiar! I wonder who it could be this time.

That must be some ridiculous H20 to kill all who come into contact with it… or could it be H202? That would sure do the trick.

It was just a yaksha, that explains it.

All of the pandavas are going to simultaneously appear within a neighboring kingdom AND continue to perform some of their uncanny feats? This sounds like nothing less than a bad idea to me.

It is nice to read that they’ll be participating in their favorite hobbies for the first time in twelve years. I do have a soft spot for seeing joy in others.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Week 9 Storytelling: A City of Splendour

“Go and play now, Virta” said Nartha. “Leave the man to do his work.”

She pointed and led him away. She then chuckled at the inquisitive nature of children.

“He doesn’t bother me a bit,” said the architect.

Nartha responded, “Nonsense, you must work without distraction to have this project finished before the grand rajasuya sacrifice.”

The architect later sought out Virta.

“You know I can build just about anything, right?” asked the architect.

Anything?” implored Virta.

“Yes, is there anything special that you would like for your section of the house? There is a surplus of space,” explained the architect.

“Just last week I built a swimming pool lavish enough to accommodate the Pandavas.”

“My parents wouldn’t permit something grand in my living quarters – after all, I’m a kid!” responded Virta.

“We can keep this between the two of us,” added the architect.

“Well, how would you create something special without my parents knowing?” beseeched Virta.

“Ha! That is the easy part,” scoffed the architect. “I have built all types of secret nooks and crannies for my clients for years.”

Secret?” grinned Virta.

“Of course! Typically it is at the request of the head of the household in order to get some time away from the Mrs. and enjoy the ‘man cave,’” lauded the architect. “But that is beside the point.”

“Virta?” called Nartha as she made her way through the partially constructed palatial abode.

“Okay, so how about you draw up what you think you’d like?” said the architect as he tore off a piece of his design paper. “Come up with a few ideas and I’ll do my best to work it in to your quarters.”

Nartha made her way out to the patio as the architect hurried off to continue his craft.

“What are you doing out here alone?” inquired Nartha.

“I was just playing by myself, per your suggestion,” quipped Virta.

“Well, go wash up and prepare yourself for dinner. We are expecting to have our neighbors – the Pandavas -- over to dine with us,” explained Nartha.

After dinner, Virta hurried off to draw up some sketches for the architect.

“What should I do? The possibilities are limitless!” thought Virta.

“Ah! I know.”

Virta flipped open a few of his favorite books. These tales described an imaginary escape by the main character into a world so exciting that no kid would ever want to leave.

Virta drew up everything that stuck with him during the fictional excursion – slides, elevators, zip lines, and trampolines – and placed the drawings on his nightstand. Off to bed he went, though the excitement made sleeping quite a challenge.

At sunrise the next morning Nartha came in to Virta’s room. “Rise and shine!” exclaimed Nartha. “We’re traveling to the other side of Indraprastha to visit your aunt.”

“Today?” asked Virta.

“Yes, today. Now get ready,” added Nartha.

“Great, I planned on handing the plans over to the architect myself! How will he ever know exactly what I want,” thought Virta.

Off they went. The trip took a half-days time on chariot. As a result, the family stayed with their kin overnight.

Upon arrival the next day Virta darted to his section of the house.

“What happened?” he thought to himself. “This looks. . . normal.”

Virta grew upset at the thought of the architect letting him down.

A tear made its way down Virta’s cheek as he leaned against his wall. Upon touching the wall Virta managed to press on an uneven brick.

Bam! Down went Virta as the wall gave way and he sped down a slide. The slide ended on a foam ball pit. After Virta made his way out of the pit, he marveled at all of the features of his hidden playhouse. Everything he requested was carried out to a tee.
"He really is a master of design," thought Virta.
Author's note:  My tale was in a third person writing style. I wrote this story because I was inspired by the description of the city of Indraprastha. I hoped to be able to provide depth to the events that occurred when the city was being built. Narayan mentioned the city and all of its grandeur, but he did not include much of the building itself.
Bibliography: Narayan, R. K. (1978). The Mahabharata.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Commenting Review

I do feel as if I have made some good connections with a few classmates. Some of whom created interesting storybooks that were quite good at drawing the reader back in for more the following week. I think that the introduction was the most meaningful way to make a connection with a classmate. I think that the suggestions for revisions on storytelling posts have been the most useful by a long shot. I have actually never had a class which promoted commenting on classmates’ work – I have found it to be pleasant. I think that getting feedback from more people each week could potentially be a way to improve the overall commenting process for this class; some students provide much more meaningful comments than others.

I chose this image because I found it to be inspirational. Some of my storybook stories were written based off of inspirational images much like this.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Writing Review Week

I believe that the Storybook project as a whole has been my greatest writing success this semester. I’ve really enjoyed writing it and I think that it has turned out well so far. I hope to continue to progress on my writing capability. Writing in story form surely isn’t something I’ve done much of (especially before this class), and I’d like to expand on my abilities in this area. My storytelling posts are principally for my Storybook, and as such, they deal with the interactions between a grandfather and his grandchildren. I would have to think that being able to place myself in the shoes of the characters has best helped me to write my stories.

                                                                                Lei Tree

This photo was included in a Storybook story in which the grandchildren learned that it provided anyone consuming its fruit with wisdom. I loved the image itself and it fit the description from the story where I read about it first -- on the top of a mountain/hill.

Reading Review Week

I found both Narayan’s Ramayana and Mahabharata to be very good reads. I viewed as rather pleasant as opposed to a ‘mandatory’ reading assignment. Buck’s Ramayana didn’t interest me very much; however, I think it may be due to the fact that I had just read the story a few weeks back. I appreciate that the class provides us with the option of rereading the epics, but I picked the alternative option because I don’t particularly enjoy reading things twice. I didn’t necessarily use the reading diary directly to build on my storybook, but I did take note of which stories stood out to me. My suggestions for future students would be to utilize the storytelling assignments to create the storybook if possible; some students may enjoy writing a substantial amount, but I preferred to try and keep the workload down.

                                                                         Adept Archer

The image I chose of Rama was chosen because I enjoyed reading about his prowess with the bow. He utilized this ability countless times in the Ramayana and I believe that it provides an apt visual introduction to the story.