Friday, February 27, 2015

Week 7 Essay: Mini Khasi History Lesson

          This week I explored Folk-Tales of Khasis by U.K. Rafy. I absolutely loved the entire collection of the stories! The format of the PDF was very easy to use and make sense of. The large titles before each story helped you move on from the previous story, to the new story- even if you didn’t want the story to end.

          Each story was so expertly crafted. The language was very modern and crisp, always getting right to the point. Rafy also used introductions of sort before each story giving background of the modern, real-life implication of these folk tales on the mountainous people Khasis. She also used parenthetical asides to help give more back ground, or explain a term throughout the stories. These tid-bits of information really help when you are quite unaware of Indian culture and names as I was.

          Many of the stories flowed together, often formatted in such a way that the introduction of a character in one story was often followed by the story of the character themselves, or their role in Indian Folk-Tale. This style made these stories not only works perfectly singularly, but also as a whole in a collection of stories of wonderful history.  Many of these stories also reminded me of many other American fairy-tales and stories. While they may have had different story-lines, the principles were generally the same and refreshing.

          In all, I really enjoyed reading these stories. I would have never chosen such a topic to read on otherwise, so the opportunity in and of itself was very enticing. Upon choosing the Folk-Tales, I was not disappointed. These stories were very vibrant and informational and fun. The history embedded within the stories gave a perspective on current Indian culture, religion and customs. Overall, I was very pleased with these stories, and would highly recommend anyone read a few, if not all of the stories!


Image of Khasi Children
Provided by Wikipedia
Bibliography:Folk-Tales of the Khasis by Mrs. K. U. Rafy (1920).
Link to the Folk-Tales:

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Reading Diary B: Continuing Folk-Tales of Khasis

The Legend of the Iei Tree
        This tree continued to grow until everyone around it could no longer cohabitate. Yet no one would dare touch it because it was said to be the home of a powerful god. After all, how else could it grow so tall? They finally muster up enough courage to send woodsmen to cut down the tree, and each time they attempt, it heals its wounds. A little bird ka Phreit told them the secret to cutting down the tree. “…the smallest of all the birds, helped mankind to bring back sunshine and prosperity to the world.”

Hunting the Stag Lapalang
        No Lapalang! Mothers know best, leaving the forest can’t be good! And once again, he is killed only to break another mother’s heart. Her laments are like none anyone has ever heard before.

The Goddesses Ka Ngot and Ka Iam
        Another story about twins! They transform into rivers, one sister taking the easy route while the other taking a treacherous route, filling the land with their waters.

U Thlen, The Snake-Vampire
        Oh goodness, another story of how parents know best. A snake-vampire that can only eat human blood? No thank you.

How the Dog Came to Live with the Man
        The dog had nothing to bring to the fair. He found a family which gave him food to trade, but it was so smelly all the other animals made fun of him and trampled over the pot that contained the smelly food. The dog going back to the family was welcomed with open arms, only to avenge his karma by helping the humans capture the animals by smelling their stinky feet. And the addition of how the big was cursed to live in the sty with only scraps to eat while the dog could live with man and be fed what the man was eating. What a wonderful story!

What Caused the Shadows on the Moon?
        The moon was once as bright as the sun, truly beautiful, but he had the issue of wandering off without telling his family. Once he returned he was delusional enough to ask his mother to marry his sister, and his family so ashamed sent him away and threw ashes in his face, the reason why he is shadowed and dull, and the reason why he does not show himself in the day time.

Image of the Shadowed Moon
Provided by Wikipedia

Bibliography:Folk-Tales of the Khasis by Mrs. K. U. Rafy (1920).
Link to the Folk-Tales:

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Google Timer Tech Tip

Everyone should know about this. 
Why didn't I know about this? 
Why have I never thought about this?

This Google timer is seriously such a cool idea. I am always setting timers and alarms on to manage my time. I am constantly looking at the clock making sure I do not overrun the time I've set for a task.

This is life changing. While I do set timers and alarms on my phone.... I have a tenancy to leave that said phone across the house.... and completely defeat the purpose of my timer... If I am on the computer, why not have my timer on my computer. It is genius. 

This is definitely going to be used. 

Reading Diary A: Tales of the Khasis

What Makes the Eclipse
        I absolutely loved this story. Each character has their own story within the big grand plan of how eclipses came to be.  There is an essence of the modern day “Princess and the Toad” story with the uncovering of the toad-skin to find a beautiful Ka Nam underneath.

How the Peacock Got His Beautiful Feathers
        I have heard many stories about how the peacock got his feathers, but this one by far was the most beautiful and elaborate. These stories go so well together. Incorporating Ka Sngi adds consistency throughout the tales. Ka Sngi’s tears (The Sun’s Tears) caused the spots of the peacock, reminding him and anyone who sees him, of her love.

The peacock after his grey feathers are filled with the color of The Sun's Tears
Provided by Wikipedia

The Formation of the Earth
        This simple little story was rather interesting. The love and rituals of a mother’s daughters formed the valleys and mountains we have today.

The Legend of U Raitong, the Khasi Orpheus
        This hill is the origin of wife- sacrifice? Poor U Raitong, his family taken from him by a terrible epidemic, vowed to lament their death forever. Oh, but he has a secret life at night: he plays his flute while the village sleeps. The poor Mahadei falls in love with him, having his child. Pushed to death, she follows him unable to bear the thought of being without her lover, forming the birth of the love sacrifice.

The Tiger and the Monkeys

        Tiger elected king simply for strength… this could be dangerous. What is strength without wisdom? The monkeys are ready to plot what would be a dispute for all of time. This little practical joke was no joke for the tiger; he is determined to make their little sister his wife. The monkeys make a clay image of the little sister, only to have her head fall of when the tiger comes to see her, starting the war. Wisdom and cunning surpass strength and ignorance.

Bibliography:Folk-Tales of the Khasis by Mrs. K. U. Rafy (1920).
Link to the Folk-Tales:

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Week 6 Storytelling: Chatterbox's Worst Day EVER

 Just a few years ago there was a happy little family just outside of town. This family lived a wonderful life. They had everything they ever could need. The mother and father had only had one child, and this child was a very quiet child. The father often being gone on business and the mother busy with housework, the poor little boy learned how to play nice and quietly by himself. The mother often went to check on him just to make sure he was still there he was so quiet! This family was very calm and collected and happy…. But that was soon to change.

One snowy winter day, the time came for the mother to give birth to a beautiful little girl. The parents were so in love with their new child. They were sure she would make a wonderful addition to their quiet family.

Everything was well. The siblings played and laughed, filling the mother and father’s souls with joy. They lived such a peaceful life, that is, until the little girl began to talk. She slowly picked up words taught to her by her family and loved it. Her family was beginning to wonder if she was ever going to stop talking! The older she got the more words she learned, and the more and more and more she talked!

The peaceful, quiet brother was becoming quite annoyed with this. He liked his quiet time by himself and his rambunctious little sister kept pestering him.  She would barge into his room, asking him questions. He wondered if he would ever experience quiet again! He just wanted one day to be alone.

One afternoon, the brother being much older and manipulative, came up with an idea. He would trick the little girl into thinking she would lose her voice forever if she talked at all for the entire day tomorrow.

“You’ll never talk again if you say even one word tomorrow,” said the brother to his poor gullible little sister.

“What? Nu-huh. You’re lying!” the little girl retorted.


“SHUSH! If you tell mom, you’ll never EVER be allowed to talk. Tomorrow is a special day, and you can’t talk. There once was a turtle that couldn't keep quiet and he tomorrow is the day he DIED because of it,” the brother continued, slowly convincing the little sister.

"Anyone under 10 has to keep quiet the WHOLE day or they won't talk again," the brother added, conveniently excluding his 11-year-old self.

The brother hardly ever lied to her; in fact, he often looked after her like another parent. 

"Surely he isn't lying about this," she thought.  "Surely he would lie about something this serious." 

The little sister thought about the things her brother told her and realized that she must not talk tomorrow. After all, she couldn't imagine losing her voice forever!

The next morning, everything seemed to start well. The little sister was, however, unusually quiet.

“It’s working!” thought the brother. “I can play the WHOOOLLEEE day by myself without any noise!”

A few hours passed by, and the little girl became rather frustrated. She had so many new things she wanted to talk about!  The mother, too, became suspicious of the unusual quietness.

“Honey, what’s wrong? You seem rather down today,” the mother said to her poor, frustrated, quiet child.

The little girl just shook her head and looked away.

“You can tell me,” the mother went on…

The little girl gave no response.

“Well, alright, I’ll be in the kitchen if you change your mind,” the mother said as she continued to worry about her child.

 A couple more hours passed by and the little girl couldn't stand it anymore! She began to cry as she walked up to her mom, pointing at her mouth. Thinking something terrible had happened, she asked her son if he had seen her do anything.

“Uhhh nooo! She’s fine. I don’t know anything!” he said nervously.

 He would definitely get in trouble if his mother found out of his little trick.

The little girl cried and cried as the mother tried to figure out what was wrong. Feeling guilty, the brother finally confessed.

“Uhhhh Mommy…” he began, “I kinda tricked sister into not talking… I told her she would lose her voice forever if she talked today.”

Instantly, the mother ran to her crying daughter informing her of her brother’s trick.

“I have an idea…” the mom said trying to cheer the confused little girl up. “Why don’t you go take your new book to your brother’s room? I’m sure he would LOVE to hear ALLLL about the things you read this morning.”

“OKAY!!!” the little girl screamed, grateful to be able to talk again.
 She instantly ran to her brother’s room chatting the evening away.

Image of my family. 
(Provided by Chon Henderson, my mother)

Author’s Note: This story was inspired by the story “The Talkative Tortoise” in the collection of Indian Fairytales by Joseph Jacobs. In that story, a tortoise needs to be transferred to another pond. Two birds offer to help him by carrying a stick he has held onto with his mouth. In order for them to successfully carry him he must not talk or else he will let go of the stick and fall to his death. The Tortoise ends up cracking in half because he cannot force himself to stop talking long enough to be taken to another pond. While I found this story a bit brutal it is such a good reminder that sometimes silence is the best form of speech. Upon reading this story, I was immediately reminded of my childhood; being nick-named “Chatterbox,” I couldn't help but laugh at the memories of being told that “Someday your words are going to get you in trouble” by my father.  This story, while I may not exactly remember, is more than likely to have happened to me growing up.  Being the pampered gullible baby of the family, growing up with a brother who is seven years older than me, he often managed to trick me into doing things even if I had no idea why I was doing them. The image I chose may seem a little random, being that it is a picture of my family but it is actually one of the few family photos that we have that I don’t have my mouth wide open trying to say something (being the little chatterbox that I am), so I found it quite fitting for the story.

Bibliography: Indian Fairy Tales by Joseph Jacobs, with illustrations by John D. Batten, (1912). 
Indian Fairy Tales by Joseph Jacobs

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Reading Diary B: More Indian Fairytales

  • The Cruel Crane Outwitted
    • Tricking the fish by taking one and bringing it back! That is a whole new low…
    • He’s eaten all the fish, AND he wants the crab. Greedy, greedy. 
    • But luckily the crab is smarter than the crane, and grasped him by the neck.
    • I really like this quote from this story: “The villain, though exceeding clever, Shall not prosper by his villainy.”
  • Loving Laili
    • This lady gets told by an angel to marry Majnun…. And she believes him? 
    • And now shes getting in a big fish’s belly….
    • Well she finally found Majnun…. But her clothes are on fire. Interesting...
    • They went into the forest and she is turned into ash?... At least Majnun is faithful.
    • YAY! She gets to be reunited with Majnun… Wait…. Maybe not.
    • Turned into a little dog and can only be human again if he loves her?.... Sounds a lot like beauty and the beast to me.
    • For the record Majnun is a chicken. If the old lady “rakshas” wanted to eat him, then it would have without explaining itself.
    • Majnun is always making poor Leili’s life so difficult! He goes into another situation that she tells him not to, and once again people get hurt.
  • Harisarman
    • He already has a terrible life and now he wants to pretend to have magic knowledge… This could be interesting
    • Ah-ha they’re starting to question his validity… finally
    • But he manages to figure out where the frog is by luck!
  • The Talkative Tortoise
    • This story seems like something my parents would have told me when I was younger.
    • Chatterbox gets himself killed because he can’t stop talking.

Image of the Talkative Tortoise
Provided by Wikipedia

  • The Gold-giving Serpent
    • Oh another story about young, foolish greed makes this poor serpent and man never get along again.   
  • The Pigeon and the Crow
    • The end of story is much like a nursery rhyme. I really liked the format. Very entertaining
Bibliography: Indian Fairy Tales by Joseph Jacobs, with illustrations by John D. Batten, (1912).

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Reading Diary A: Indian Fairytales

  • The Lion and The Crane
    • I LOVE the story about the lion and the crane. I believe I have read a story similar about a Lion that needed a thorn out of his back paw and a mouse that was scared to help him or something like that. It is a very familiar story and moral. It is SO cute
This image is actually of a Wolf and a Crane with the same story, but I really liked it because it showed how the story has evolved through different cultures.
The wolf and the Crane
Provided by Wikipedia
  • How the Raja Son Won the Princess Labam
    • This is also like the story I remember reading many years ago with the thorn in the tiger's foot. Quite possibly a combination of these stories
    • This story also vaguely reminds me of the Disney Princess Jasmine: funny how bits and pieces come together from different ancient stories
    • Yay! All of the prince's friends came to help him with his feats against the king!
  • The Lambkin
    • Am I the only one who finds it a little weird that the Lamb has to make a drum out of his brother’s skin....
  • The Broken Pot
    • This story was so cute and accurate about how planning for the future never ends well. He tried to foolishly plan his whole life and ironically broke the pot that would hold the future to his entire plan!
  • The Magic Fiddle
    • This was a weird story…. A lady is now a fiddle?
I really enjoy these stories so far! Its sort of shocking to see the resemblance to other folk stories I have heard throughout my life. Bits and pieces of different stories always put an image of a movie or a memory of a story I have heard. It’s so interesting to see the correlation!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

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Week 5 Famous Last Words: Banging My Head Against The Wall

Do you ever have those days when you sit there and question why you're here? And why you're in school… And why you have so much homework..... And why you're not banging your head against the wall?

Welllllll... That was me.... All week…

The semester is definitely in full swing and I'm not even at the playground yet. I have almost quite literally been running around like a chicken with my head cut off. I’m taking it minute by minute hoping I won’t like, trip or get the wrong coffee or something, and just blow my cover and have a full on meltdown.

I guess what I’m saying here is it has been an incredibly stressful past couple of weeks. The Campus Plague (aka the flu) put me out of commission for a few days and those few days have slowly crept up to make me almost a week behind in my classes.
Being so incredibly ADHD I have a routine and I stick to that routine. Not exactly by choice, but out of necessity and messing with that schedule is detrimental to my productivity…. And sanity…

Every time a deadline rolled up to my life I just wanted to sit on the floor and throw a temper tantrum about how life isn't fair and how I should drop out of college…. (And I may or may not have actually done that a couple times, but that’s not important, ha ha.)

I guess I say all that to say this: life is a roller coaster and I’m screaming my head off the whole time.

The past few weeks have made me question every aspect of my life, but times like this make me appreciate the little things, like getting a drunken call from my best friend, or going out to dinner, or eating a lethal amount of sadness chocolate. The little things become so much bigger when life around you seems to be crumpling to pieces.

Murphy’s law comes rolling through to prove itself once again, but this time I’m ready.
This week will be better simply because I can’t take any more bad.

And if anyone is questioning it… yes. I have a legitimate emergency chocolate bag, and it is now almost empty. SOS.
Almost Empty Sadness Chocolate Bag and I
Photo Taken by Myself 

And yes it is labeled... I live with a bottomless pit. I mean brother.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Week 5 Storytelling: That Darn Ravana

Chapter 1

“Heeeyyy Maricha!” Ravana called out, “Wanna do me a huuuggee favor?”
“What is it this time?” asked Maricha, rolling his eyes.
“You know about that dude Rama…?” Ravana began.
“Well, uh…. I want you to help me take his wife.”
“WHAT?” Maricha asked, certain he had heard his crazy nephew wrong.
“You want me to help you STEAL someone’s wife. Are you crazy? And of all people, Rama’s wife?! Don’t you know how powerful he is? He’d kill us all!” Said Maricha as he tried to convince his foolish Nephew
“He can’t hurt us. He’s only a human. I am THE demon god. I get what I want when I want it.”
“I will help you, but you need to know that it will end my life.” Maricha said with sadness.
“Whatever. You’re just being dramatic.” Ravana said as he walked out of the room. “Let’s go”!”
Maricha followed Ravana to his chariot in sadness, performing a little funeral on his way, accepting his fate.

Chapter 2

“What a beautiful day!” Sita said to Rama as they were walking in the meadow.
“It truly is such a wonderful day.” said Lakshama to the couple.
“Oh LOOK!” shrieked Sita with excitement. “It’s a deer! A golden deer!”
“Wow! That’s a really pretty creature.” said Rama as he inched toward it to get a better look.
“I don’t know….” Lakshama began, “A golden deer. That has to be a trap…”
“Oh quit being so negative!” Sita said, “It’s a wonderful, rare animal. The gods sent it to us, for us to keep!”
“No! Look at it. It’s like…… hazy. Last time I checked, animals weren’t supposed to be holographic.” Lakshama said, realizing the truth. “It’s a Rakshama. We shouldn’t get near it!”
“Catch it honey! I want it! It’s so beautiful!” Sita said over Lakshama’s warning. “It’s SOO Pretty. Let’s keep it as a pet!”

“It really is pretty; I’ll try to catch it. I’ll just be careful.” Rama said as he picked up his bow and arrow.
Off into the forest he went, after the beautiful golden deer.

Chapter 3

“I knew it would work!” Ravana said in excitement.
“My fate has come. I hope I die quickly.” Said Maricha as he ran further into the forest, enticing Rama
“Man, this deer is fast. He keeps weaving through the trees. It’s almost like it wants me to get lost!” Rama thought as he continued after the deer.
Maricha stopped, as Rama’s bow finally hit his side. He screamed in pain, but his voice was replaced by Rama’s.
“OWW! Help!” Maricha screamed as he took his final breaths.
“It’s Rama!” screamed Sita, “GO help him! He’s been hurt!”
“No, Rama cannot be hurt, it must be that stupid Rakshasha furthering his trick! Why can’t you see that!”
“HELP HIM!” Sita screamed, “How can you not help your own BROTHER. Go after him!”
“Fine, fine. You stay here. I’ll go make sure everything is okay like I’m sure it is.”

Chapter 4

Ugh. Sita is so stupid. It’s obviously a trap but whatever.” mumbled Lakshama as he walked into the forest.
“Dude. What are you doing here?” asked Rama as he bumped into Lakshama. “You should be watching Sita. You know how she tends to get into trouble.”

“HELLLPP!!!! NO! DON’T TOUCH ME!” Sita screamed in utter terror as Ravana captured her and carried her to his chariot. 

Image of Sita, Lakshama and Ravana with the Golden Deer
Provided by Wikipedia

Author's Note: I took the story of the golden dear in a more modern twist. In Ramayana, Maricha and Ravana plot to take Sita from Rama. While technically they succeed it causes death to Maricha, who has taken the form of a golden deer, and complicated a war against the Raksashas and Rama. In my story, I inserted dialogue between characters to add more personality, as well as modernize the story. I also incorporated a theme and message at the end of inevitable death and karma.

Bibliography: Buck, William (1976). Ramayana: King Rama's Way. 

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Reading Diary A: Rama's Battle

  • The opening quote on p. 110 “How could I have run with sheep so long?” is really quite insightful. Reality is so subject to perception
  • p.115 “In a kingless land there is no rain.”
  • So far I am a little confused. It might be because I am used to Narayan’s short stories, but I have no idea what is going on in this section.
  • The colorful imagry on page 125-126 of the forest with the description of the grass and leaves paints such a vivid image. I love that about Buck’s writing
  • p. 130 “Death is at last found to be part of all life, and never can we escape it, and Death does not change a promise made.”
  • Rama gets his magical bow!
  • Shurpanka is ugly??? I thought she was beautiful and deceiving
  • It’s nice to see that Rama is still a bad-ass in this version of the battle against the Raksashas.
Image of Rama and Sita in the forest
Provided by Wikipedia

Monday, February 9, 2015

Week 4 Storytelling: The Songbird's Fate

          Many years ago, in the heart of the forest lived a family of happy little songbirds. These songbirds were undeniably beautiful. Each bird of the family was a different vibrant color. Some members of the family were green, some yellow, some red; some were even a mixture of the colors. Other creatures of the forest argued that they were the most magnificent birds on earth.
          These birds were known throughout the forest not only for their beautiful feathers but also their song. They sang each day filling the forest with their warm, joyful songs. These creatures were exalted by everyone near and far. These birds were a blessing to the forest.
          Time went by and the songbird family continued to be loved by every creature in the forest, and beyond. One day, something strange happened. A mother was ready to have children. She laid her eggs, incubating them diligently and carefully, but one of the eggs was simply unlike the others. Unlike the usual bright, blue color of the eggs, this egg was a dark blue-purple. Some even thought it was black.
          This made no difference to the mother. She loved her children equally and incubated them all the same, until the day they hatched! The mother was so proud of her children as they each one by one began to break through their shells. Every single egg was beginning to hatch but the dark little egg. The mother, worried that she might lose a child, began to examine the egg. She gently rocked it in hopes to encourage this little baby songbird to hatch. A few days went by, and the mother mourned, assuming her child was dead.
          The mother few off to get food for her other children only to be shocked upon her return; the dark little egg was no longer, but instead replaced by a beautiful, multicolored little songbird. The mother rejoiced as she saw that her child was alive. This little bird was the most wonderfully beautiful bird anyone had ever seen. He lived its entire life being praised and loved, and all this praise began to get to his head.
          “I am the best bird in the entire forest!” sang the little bird, “There will never be anyone as beautiful and sing as perfectly as I do.”
          The gods heard this little bird, hoping he would someday realize how arrogantly he lived his life, but the bird did not change. He continued to live his life entitled and mean. He took things from others saying, “I am the most beautiful. I should have what I want.”
The corruption of his ways never once crossed his mind despite the warnings from his family. The gods could take it no longer. They took the bird's beauty away. He was cursed to die in a terrible, sudden way if he did not change his ways and humble his heart.
          The bird, while distraught by his new feathers, was not fazed. He continued to be a mean, terrible bird tormenting members of his family. His fate was coming for him, but he did not heed the warnings, even teaching his children to be as arrogant and selfish as he was.
          One day, as the bird was singing loudly and arrogantly to his family, he was shot. The hunter tip-toed upon him with no sound, no warning. His life ended suddenly, and tragically, just as his curse predicted.
          As the poor little bird took his last few breaths, he sang to his family above, “Let me be an example to you. No longer should you live as I did or you will see the same fate.”
Image of a Mountain Bluebird provided by Wikipedia 

Author’s Note: This story was taken from the introduction of Buck’s Ramayana. In this story, a songbird was going about its day, only to be maliciously killed by a hunter. It was a seemingly insignificant story as a rushed explanation as to how Valmiki became the poet. In the story, Valmiki saw the songbird's death and cursed the hunter. The words he used to curse the hunter came out in the form of a poem, and hence the beginning of his career as the poet of Ramayana. While it seemed that the bird was killed for no apparent reason by the hunter, I took a different approach to the story. I took the story to display a story of birth, death and also the circle of Karma. The bird was born different. He was given a gift of undeniable and incomparable beauty and song. He was exulted far and wide, and he let this interfere with his character. Valmiki only saw half of the story. The bird received warning after warning, but still did not listen. He lived a terrible life, and in turn received a terrible death. Karma and character are two very important aspects of Indian culture, and this story simplified that to the small, seemingly insignificant life of the songbird. I chose this image because it is such a beautiful picture of a wonderful native bird. This image captured the stark beauty of the songbird I was trying to convey through my description. In my story, the songbird's blue feathers were bright and extravagant much like that of the Mountain Bluebird. 

Bibliography: Buck, William (1976). Ramayana: King Rama's Way.

Week 4 Famous Last Words: H8 U Ochem

Being sick sucks. A lot. Last weekend I caught the Campus Plague, also known as the flu. Dragging my butt to class, when all I want to do is blanket burrito myself and eat soup was no fun feat, but I survived and this is what I’ve learned throughout the week.
Firstly, I really like this class, partially because I get the option to do my work when I want in my pajamas, but also because of the extra credit. It really is a life saver when you feel like death and don’t want to do an assignment every once in a while. I can blanket burrito myself knowing that it isn’t the end of the world that I missed something, which is hardly the case in any of my other classes.
Secondly, which is a piggy- back on my first comment; these stories are a lot of fun. Very rarely do I get the chance to write these days. I grew up as the “writer” in my family. I always had stories I had to tell everyone all the time, and that slowly died the further I got into school and science and math. Not only do I get to write my own stories but I get to read the stories others write that and get ideas and perspectives from my peers. These stories really let my creative side out again. It’s refreshing.
Third, Ochem sucks. Almost more than being sick. I had my first ochem 2 exam this Friday and needless to say, I’m a bit traumatized. My ochem 1 experience was less than desired and there were a lot of things I apparently was supposed to learn last semester that never happened. Playing catch up in ochem really is terrible. I have the feeling there are going to be a lot of dates with my ochem book in the near future. Its moments like this when I start to wonder if it’s too late to get out of my difficult classes…. And change my major…. And drop out of college…. Regardless I keep telling myself that the work will be worth it. It’s probably a lie and I’ll always question why ochem matters at all in my life, but that’s besides the point.
On a tangent, my parents came up to visit this weekend, which was great and annoying all at the same time. Let me explain.

Reasons its great:
1. They feed me.
2. My mom always feels the need to do my laundry
3. The burnt out light bulbs magically become functioning light bulbs
4. Did I mention they feed me?

Reasons it’s annoying:
1. I am a messy person. My mother is not…. Yes things get cleaned and put away, only to be found weeks later in the most random drawer I would never think to look in
2. They constantly ask me about school. I think that speaks for itself.

I do have to say, despite being sick, and fighting the ochem battles, it has been a pretty great week. Just a week, I never want to repeat (ha ha).

Image of my Parents Taken by myself
Look at this awesome picture of my parents when they came to visit me on 4th of July. When I asked my mom why they were matching her exact words were "We Old. We supposed to." 
And yes, ridiculousness does run in the family. 

Monday, February 2, 2015

Reading Diary A: The Beginning of the Ramayana... Again

  • So far the opening of Ramayana is quite unexpected. Sita has been exiled out of Ahyoda by Rama while she is pregnant with their twins. Valmiki is summoned out of his meditation to help Sita, or else she will die.
  • Valmiki, after being fixated on the death of a songbird, becomes fixated on his verse. Brahma urges him to sing the song of Rama’s story.
  •  Valmiki composes the song about Rama and teaches it to his twin sons Kusa and Lava, which ironically intrigue Rama as he wonders who these singers may be.
  • The description of Ayodhya is so beautiful. The colorful words really draw a picture of the greatness the capitol truly is.
  • The back story as to why Rama and his brothers came to be, as well as their power is so interesting. In order to finally defeat Ravana, Indra must be born into a man and Rama, was his vessel.
  • The quote on page 19 is so powerful. “Here I am born again to kill the Evil.”
  • “There were not many gods then among different men but only one” The pivotal point of humanity. The corruption of the world came upon man, by their own doing.
  •  Ravana tries to end his life for sacrifice, but instead Brahma makes him invincible. This is interesting.
  • The battle between Ravana and Manibadra costs thousands of lives and still, there is no victory over Ravana.
  • Page 34 “He plans in detail his own ruin and wastes all his strength.”
     So far, the biggest thing that has really grabbed my attention is the detail. Each and every character's story is told with just as much vivid detail and importance as Rama's. The descriptions paint a seamless image in the mind.

A Mask Representation of Ravana found from Flickr

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Week 3 Project: Storybook Styles

Death Stories and Birth Stories: Styles Brainstorm

Topic: The topic I am choosing is Death Stories and Birth Stories. I hope to find as many stories as possible and choose the most interesting ones for my project. I was immediately drawn to this topic with the opening of Ramayana, and the fact that Rama would have never been born without the help of “magic” rice. I really love that story about Rama and his brothers, and it was sort of rushed over in Ramayana. It was such an interesting way to start an entire epic and I would like to see other storyteller’s versions of their births. Maybe I will be able to get their birth stories in the perspective of their parents and their hardship as they struggled to conceive. I really find the information about Shashthi very interesting. While I may not do a story directly on her, her role cannot be avoided within other’s stories as goddess of children and childbirth. I am also interested into looking into the story of Ravana from the viewpoint other storytellers. I really would like to know if his death story is different from a different author than the perspective Narayan gave us.


  • Narayan, R. K. (1972) The Ramayana: A Shortened Modern Prose Version of the Indian Epic.
  • Shashthi: Websource: Wikipedia
  • Ravana. Websource: Wikipedia
  • Rama. Websource: Wikipedia

  • Styles:

    1. Mothers (or fathers) telling birth stories. Who would remember someone’s birth story, better than your parents? I like the idea of having a pre-birth story and conception as well as the actually story of someone’s birth itself. There are tons of stories about how gods, humans, and demons came to be but not necessarily a lot of stories told from the standpoint of their mother. A lot of times these individuals sort of just came to exist, so exploring their birth stories seems very interesting to me.

    2. Stories from an onlooker: I also really like the idea of telling a story from the view point of a god or onlooker that sees the whole picture, whether it be someone’s birth or death. Having the perspective of someone who sees everything instead of just the individual’s viewpoint is very interesting to me. This sort of goes hand I hand with Karma (which I almost chose) and someones death or birth may be because of a plan far bigger than they could ever see themselves. That may be a little more difficult to find with the aspect of the stories of everyone else around the individual but I’m willing to give it a try.

    3. Death stories in the viewpoint of a loved one: death is a very difficult thing to process as a loved one. Having someone taken from you is hard to understand, and I would like to see if there are any stories that have family members that tell the story not only of their death but also reminisce on their lives.

    4. And lastly the person themselves:  the last storytelling option I would like to explore is the viewpoint of the individual being born or dying. This may seem unconventional to us, but in such a setting with gods and goddesses, and past and future lives, those individuals may be more aware of their fate and purpose than those around them. I would like to see if these characters have a perspective of their own to tell about their birth or death.