Week 7 Story: Exiled in the Tongass

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The dense air weighted on the shoulders of Jacob and Joseph as they plunged through it gathering all their supplies to head out camping into the Tongass, the largest forest in America located in Southeast Alaska. They looked forward to this day for months, but something didn’t seem right to the twins on this very day.

“Maybe it’s just the polluted air making us feel uneasy,” Jacob screamed to Joseph who was forcing a few last things into his duffle bag.

Joseph nodded in agreement, and began discussing all of the plans the two had for the trip.

“You know, there is everything we could possibly want to experience there. There’s dog-sledding, fishing, hiking, and 17 million more acres of activity in the forest.”

With the positive outlook on vacation, the two loaded up the third brother, Wayne’s car. Wayne dropped Joseph and Jacob off at the grand entrance of the Tongass, helped throw out all of their supplies (tent, etc.) onto a safe camping spot, and waved the twins goodbye. As soon as Wayne drove out of the gate, thick barricades rose up from the ground. As far as the pair could see, barricades kept rising. There was no way out.

A gruff voice spoke, “now you both are captured, you will live life exiled in the forest until further notice. It’s only a small whisk at gaining back what you’ve put us through.”

Joseph and Jacob frantically looked around to locate where the voice was coming from. No one was in sight, but Jacob quietly whispered, “the Jural brothers.”


Years seemed to pass by and Joseph and Jacob were still living exiled in the forest in a one stall tent. They’d fought for survival until they grew so weak that they barely had enough strength to hold the fishing rod in hand waiting for a bite. They’d grown so very tired.

“Joseph. Jacob.”

The brothers hadn’t heard a voice in years, could this be their saving grace?

The barricades to the entrance alone lowered and in walked the Jural brothers with bulky guards all around them…

Authors Note: Life in the Forest from the Mahabharata, as well as scenes from the Ramayana were used in order to create a modern approach to exile in the forest. Joseph and Jacob represented the Pandavas brothers. In the Mahabharata, the Pandavas brothers were exiled to the forest for 12 long years. During this time the Pandavas brothers encountered many different sages who lived in the wilderness, which I didn’t include in my recreation. The Tongass Forest is truly the largest forest in America, and I thought it was a cool idea to bring in some of the things you can actually do at the forest, as well as information about it. I wanted to leave the story at a cliffhanger on whether or not the Jural brothers, taking the place of Duryodhana and his brothers in the original, to decide on whether or not they would be able to enter back into the real world.


Image One: Tongass National Forest by Wikimedia Commons.

Sources were taken from several different places: Arnold, Besant, Devee, Dutt, Ganguli, Kincaid, Macfie, Mackenzie, Nivedita, Seeger, and Tagore. All were accessed online for free here.

Tongass National Forest

Reading Notes: Mahabharata, Part D

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All of the revenge and plots to seek revenge is crazy! Literally I feel like almost every character has “beef” with someone and wants revenge on someone. The revenge then leads to more problems and more people seeking revenge. The way in which each death is described is intense and creates such imagery. For example, Ghatotkacha’s death basically felt like a horrible sad movie. I love the way it’s described. Unfortunately, there were many other deaths that occurred during this reading, and each time the imagery was intense. Seriously, many of the characters died off based on trickery, battle, and for the well being of others. Could you imagine the change of power that this brought forth for those living where kings died?

The Night Raid was definitely the most unexpected and interesting reads in this section! I remember how nervous I was as Drona’s son snuck into the darkness to fulfill his revenge on the Pandavas brothers, who I’ve grown very fond of since they’re in my very own storybook. It took a turn with Ashwatthaman, and I was not expecting it to end that way. The following section discussed what Ashwatthaman faced after raiding the Pandava’s brothers camp. The jewel that Ashwatthaman has on his forehead also symbolizes him. The symbolization also plays a huge part in the cultural text already, and I think it’s cool that the jem basically protects him. A story could be created where a character is played as Ashwatthaman and cannot lose a battle, because of the jem placed upon his forehead at birth. The rest of the story could be whatever I wanted it to be, but the jem protecting the character would be interesting!

After the completion of the Mahabharata I definitely get the main ideas and pictures, though many of the character plots are really confusing to me. BUT, the Mahabharata was overall an excellent read! I feel like many parts are sad due to the high number of deaths and mourning! As far as the storytelling goes, I do want to stick with my camping story previously discussed from the last reading.


Image One: Indian Epics Battle accessed on Flickr.

Sources were taken from several different places: Arnold, Besant, Devee, Dutt, Ganguli, Kincaid, Macfie, Mackenzie, Nivedita, Seeger, and Tagore. All were accessed online for free here.

Reading Notes: Mahabharata Part C

File:Camping by Barriere Lake, British Columbia - 20040801.jpg

The first reading section, Life in the Forest, sounded so familiar to context from the Rayamana. The Pandavas brothers enter an exile in the forest for 12 YEARS similar to that of Rama. What can happen in 12 years of living in the forest is unimaginable. A story could be recreated to modern time once again, because I’ve still been trying to get a story and turn it modern. A few brothers could be out camping when the world turns crazy, and they aren’t allowed to enter back from the woods. I could have the brothers represent the Pandavas brothers, and Krishna’s visit could bring forth another character during their time trapped in the forest.  They would have to face “Duryodhana and his brothers” before being able to answer back into the city. It would be awesome to make this weeks story about the exile in the forest (or camping trip), and then leave off at a cliffhanger of when they approach the brothers. That story could then be picked back up and finished the next storytelling week. Of course, I’d change the characters, but stay with the same overall characterization. The biggest difference would be the relations to culture from India to here, currently. Also, the vocabulary would be a huge difference.

I was so excited when Hanuman came back in the Mahabharata! He’s definitely a character that would be great to incorporate into any story! Him and his brother, Bhima, could have an entire story dedicated to them alone. I could discuss their father, Vaya (the god of wind), and how they came about on this earth. Maybe they could go on some crazy adventures with their dad controlling the wind? They could also be incorporated into my first modern story idea. Hanuman could come and bring the trapped brothers hope.

When Karna enters the story, I was amazed at the natural armor and earrings. Karna also seems like such a comical person at the same time. What a character!

Image One: Camping Barriere Lake accessed on Wikimedia Commons.

Sources were taken from several different places: Arnold, Besant, Devee, Dutt, Ganguli, Kincaid, Macfie, Mackenzie, Nivedita, Seeger, and Tagore. All were accessed online for free here.

Week 6 Review: Another Week Done

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I decided that backing up my storybook would be a wonderful ideal this week, but I think it’s really important to keep a back up of it. There’s just so much effort, thought, and time that go into each story it would be awful to lose it all. Hopefully a new thing that I can start along with the famous last words is to stay up to date on backing up and reviewing.

Wow, I really appreciate the time and effort put in to creating the class announcements. I really found a meme that I absolutely loved this week. It’s true that I get behind on reading the announcements, so I’ve enjoyed backing up and looking at all of the announcements throughout the week that I missed. This assignment also helped me find the class progress chart. I know I’d always make sure I was standing in good terms by the chart, and this semester I haven’t been able to find it.

So now I feel so much better knowing that the chart is available to look at and make sure I’m keeping up! All in all, backing up to review is always a good thing!

My favorite meme was actually found on Sunday, October 1st! My favorite is the cat meme stating “Difficult is not Impossible” and accessed here. It just brought me happiness, because it’s so true! And what better way to depict that than to have 2 cats plot to open a door?

Backup accessed on Wikimedia Commons.

Famous Last Words: Progress

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My overall outlook on this week was the progress I’ve made. Man, who knew the last semester at OU that time would be so limited? I sure didn’t. I thought this would be a nice semester of relaxation and work. Boy was I wrong. BUT, progress is in the works and that’s all I can really ask for! I’m by no means doing bad in school, I’m actually doing very well in my classes, just not as ahead as I’d like to be.

In this class I was able to complete my story and enjoy it! I’m so proud of myself for that, because I haven’t written a story in weeks due to the Thursday night deadline and me having so much going on (no excuse). Although I did better at completing assignments, here I am on Sunday night finishing up the rest of the weeks work. Again, I’m not happy about that.

In my capstone class I stayed true to my statement last week that I’d work on the lab report a little bit each night.  However, I was still up quite late working on it the night before it was due. I’m sure glad I got it completed, and I’m sure I did well on it, but here’s another scenario of getting things done in time, just not as ahead as I want!

I’m really looking forward to getting ahead in my classes this week. Tomorrow morning I plan to complete the reading for the week before I head to work, and hopefully get some great ideas for storytelling this week! This week I’m not working full time hours, so I really need to take advantage of the extra time I’ll have. Instead of hanging out with friends and having a social life, I need to stay focused on completing my school work first, and then enjoying time with friends.

Image One found on Flickr.

Week 6 Story: Vyasa’s Birth

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Indra, the king of first heaven, was silently lurking through the village contemplating which fellow villager would become the next king. He had been king for his whole life, and he had decided that it was finally time to at least think about passing down the crown to a new leader. No man knew his plan so the faces that gazed upon his were confused and worrisome. As he stared at longing faces throughout, he thought to himself.

“If only a man could step up and proclaim strength and dignity.”

Just as those thoughts crossed through his mind, commotion erupted around the large body of water near town center. Indra rushed to the scene. Two children were flung from a sharks mouth abruptly, and the cries could be heard miles wide.

“What is going on here!” Indra shouted.

“King, this shark has given birth to children. This can’t be so,” a random villager urged.

Grasping for air, Indra coddled the two babies.

“Is this the answer to my prayers?” he thought to himself.

He handed the baby girl to one of the villagers whom he didn’t know or care to know, but held the baby boy with pride.

“You will be the next king. I will name you Vyasa, and you will change the world son.”
With that he lifted the boy up into the air, sprinkled sand on his head, and just like that the baby boy morphed into a grown man.

Indra stood in awe at the grown man that had just appeared before him and reached out his hand for a firm shake. It was as if Vyasa was prepared for life in his prior form, because he stood at attention, shook hands, and immediately began talking as if he’d lived in the village his whole life.

The conversation between Indra and Vyasa was straight to the point, and Indra declared that Vyasa was indeed an answer to his prayers and he wanted to immediately proclaim him as king. The surrounding areas were then to undergo a change in power…

Authors Note:

In the Mahabharata portion discussing Vyasa and Ganesha, Vyasa’s birth story is told. Gods sent Indra to go bribe the king of Chedi with a crystal car that has the capability to carry him throughout the sky. His semen ended up falling in the water on one of his journeys, and 10 months later fisherman caught a fish and discovered the had two children. The king took possession of the boy, but sent the girl off to help on the river. In my version, I wanted to make Indra the main character and the one searching for a replacement. I did want to keep the same cultural relevance to the story, and chose to make the boy take over as king. I also added in new details such as Indra easily morphing Vyasa into a man with sand alone. I didn’t want to begin discussing the changes and outlooks that Vyasa made, so I ended with the power being overturned.


Vyasa and Ganesha accessed online here. The Mahabharata, A Summary by John Mandeville Macfie was also utilized as a source.

Indra: Wikipedia

Vyasa: Wikipedia

Image One: Vyasa  accessed from Wikimedia Commons.

Reading Notes: Mahabharata Part B

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The reading guides really help me out, as the first paragraph of reading B I’d already mistaken that Vidura is Pandu and Dhritarashtra’s wiser brother. Unfortunately since his mom was a servant or “slave girl” he was not allowed to be king. He would be a good character to create himself his own story. What if he could be king? Why does it matter that his mother was a servant? I know that it’s cultural, but I could change it to where he’s king.

Although the reading guides do help tremendously, I’m still confused and lost in all of the different characters. I’m generally able to separate the characters out, but they all seem to jumble together when recalling events and the outcome of those events. I really enjoyed all of the wilderness scenes in the Mahabharata. These scenes would be so much fun to rewrite as well. So many different things can happen in the wilderness, and obviously dangerous things as seen in the story. They could also encounter characters from the Ramayana! That’d be a fun plot.

Nalayani’s life with her 5 husbands is another idea that could be written as a story this week. I thought it was an interesting story to read, as she’s now Draupadi. The Pandava brothers are for sure something very strange and different to write about.

Keeping up with 5 husbands obviously would be a never ending task. I’m curious if I could rewrite something of this approach in the modern world. It could be 5 friends married to one woman? I could give modern problems they’d face. I’m still not sure what I want to do or write about. I have so many different ideas, but so many that I can’t fully develop.

For next weeks reading, I plan to set aside time to listen to your audio version. I really think that will allow me to slow down, think, and really understand and distinguish the characters. As for now, I’m still a bit confused at all of the events that have taken place in this weeks reading. I’m really enjoying the reading, it’s just hard for me to remember each characters part in each situation.


Image One: Draupadi at pachisi game accessed on Wikimedia Commons

Sources were taken from several different places: Arnold, Besant, Devee, Dutt, Ganguli, Kincaid, Macfie, Mackenzie, Nivedita, Seeger, and Tagore. All were accessed online for free here.

Reading Notes: Mahabharata Part A

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The amount of characters presented in this first section of reading is numerous. I have sort of lost the importance of each character, but I know one things for sure, Vyasa is very interesting. I love where they stated at the very beginning that not only is he the composer, but he’s also a character in the story. I hope that these characters are introduced good int he next few sections if they return so I’m able to recall.

In this story as well, there are staple objects that represent tokens in their culture. At the very beginning, I thought it was interesting that Indra was sent to bribe the king with a crystal car that could carry him through the sky. I chuckled a bit at his semen falling from the vehicle as a fish ingests the semen, later resulting in a boy and girl. What a very different way to bring forth new characters into the story. This is how Vyasa arose, and I have so many different ideas for different ways that he could’ve came to life with a twist on the culture. His birth could take place similarly to Uchchaihshravas rising from the churning of the milk ocean, since I’ve been reading so much about it. Maybe Vyasa could arise astride Uchchaihshravas?

King Shantanu and Ganga had such a weird relationship. I was very confused through the child birthing of Ganga’s children, and why it happened the way it did. For that reason, that will be something I could recreate to something more understandable. I could give another reason and action for why she departed and never returned. The next love interest for the king, Satyavati, was the mother of Vyasa. This was a repeat of the first story in a way, but I enjoyed the ties between the families. I was surprised when Shantanu didn’t consent to the promise of the father of Satyavati prior to giving his daughter to the king, leaving the king’s heart heavy.

The story of how Devavrata got his name, Bhishma, could be retold in so many different ways! That’d definitely be a cool remake.

Amba is definitely a character that could be focused on, for she is the only princess that didn’t wed the king. I love and admire her strength here, and she could also have a different story be told for herself. The Pandu family is also very interesting, and many different events could be changed and retold there. I’m excited to read tomorrow’s section for this class, because I’ll probably be able to write out more of the ideas for a potential story later this week!


Image One: Mahabharata accessed on Wikimedia Commons

Sources were taken from several different places: Arnold, Besant, Devee, Dutt, Ganguli, Kincaid, Macfie, Mackenzie, Nivedita, Seeger, and Tagore. All were accessed online for free here.


Famous Last Words: I’ll make it

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It’s images and quotes like these that give me so much more motivation. This one in particular has so much truth behind it. Overall, I’ve had an incredibly hectic and crazy week. Between working full time hours and having assignments due in capstone, I had a really hard time finding time to complete all of my assignments this week. I didn’t do very well on my first capstone quiz, but I did really great on our first lab report, making the late nights worth it.

In this class specifically, I’ve kept up with most of the work, but I want and strive to be ahead instead of barely reaching deadlines. This isn’t like me, and I’m still determined to get ahead next week and the weeks after to where I don’t have to worry about the deadlines.  Sadly, as much as I’ve tried this week, I wasn’t able to complete the storytelling assignment yet again. My time management skills haven’t been the best. I did complete an extra credit reading assignment to take the place of the storytelling points this week, but I’m still not done with this weeks assignments. All I have left to do is the project, which I’ve put off until tonight so I really have some time to sit back, relax, and enjoy writing my introduction.

This is a memo to myself for the next week.

I don’t care if I work full time hours, when I get off work at 9 o’clock and arrive home, I need to devote time to my Indian Epics class. I will devote time each nite to my online class no matter how late I get off work or how exhausted I might be.

I have a capstone lab report due this Thursday, and I’m determined to get started on that today and work on it for a while each night until Thursday as well. It takes a lot of time and effort to write a report, and research simply cannot be put off.

Image One: Go for it found on Flickr.

Reading Notes: Ramayana: India’s Immortal Tale of Adventure, Love and Wisdom, E & F


Since the storytelling for this week is over, I’m going to try to focus on content alone in these sections. I didn’t read the previous sections of this book, but I really wanted to get to the reading that involved Rama and Sita. These are two characters that I really enjoy learning about, and I love all the differences in versions I’ve read thus far.

When Rama discovered what had happened to Sita, the text gives such good descriptions. I could see him pacing back and forth, crying, and desperately hanging on to thoughts she was alive.  This book in particular is so good at vivid imagery through their text. From start to finish, I could picture the events so much better than the other versions we read (though there was nothing wrong with them, they were great as well).

Poor Rama has already been through so much, the loss of his kingdom, separation for everyone he loved, the king dying, and for Sita to be lost was just the icing on the cake. The ongoing search for Sita had me sitting on the edge of my seat, even though I already knew what the outcome would quite possibly be.  I feel like they set this up so much more like a cliffhanger looking for Sita compared to the other versions. The monkeys are also a huge part in this story. When Hanuman came into the story I was really excited. He is definitely a character that has such strong personality, and I like him a lot. He’s basically a life saver to Rama and Sita. And wahoo, Sita was found thanks to Hanuman. He wanted nothing else to do but get Sita safely to Rama, but of course (just like in the originals) it wasn’t that easy. Probably my favorite part of all this reading was the description of Hanuman basically receiving his “job well done.” They describe him leaping into the air, pressing down the mountains with his pressure, and the trees shaking and shedding blossoms. I thought that was great use of imagery, and brought this story to life, just like so many other parts of this story!


Image One: Rama and Sita Wikimedia Commons

Ramayana: India’s Immortal Tale of Adventure, Love and Wisdom by Krishna Dharma accessed online here.