Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Famous Last Words For Week 13

This is going to be my final Famous Last Words post for this class.  I am ahead of schedule and should be finishing up Indian Epics this week!  People thought I was crazy when I spent the last week of winter break working on all the assignments I could before this semester even started, but look at me now. Haha.  I can't believe my junior year is almost over.  Time really does fly by.  What in the world am I going to do when I'm not going to school anymore?!  How can you just stop going to school for forever...

Anyways, to finish this class I just have to do one more revision of my storybook.  I'm so happy to complete it!  The entire story was just a tiny idea and then it snowballed into something I'm truly proud to claim I wrote.  (Because there are some writings I am not proud to claim that I wrote.)  If you're curious click on this link to check out my storybook.  It combines the Greek mythology character of Persephone with the story of Sita being trapped in Lanka! 

This past week I was so lazy I barely got any homework done.  However, I did have a lot of fun with my friends!  I can't believe I'm about to leave all of these people for an entire summer.  I'll miss them so much.  Below is a picture during one of the nights my friends and I went out. 

(Personal photo taken in April 2015)

I'm so glad that I made a bunch of these posts.  I know in the future I'll be happy to look back at them and see my old college days through my own words.  It's hard to keep up with a diary or something but these extra credit posts gave me the motivation to actually do them!  Hopefully, I will do some more of these posts next semester in Mythology and Folklore.  Until next time my friends. 

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Famous Last Words for Week 11

The eleventh week of the semester has come to a close!! Only a few more weeks to go before I finish my junior year at OU.  This week was absolutely beautiful!  However, during the weekend the weather turned pretty chilly and a little rainy. 

I came home this weekend to celebrate Easter and my mother's birthday with my family.  My older sister even drove up from Austin to see us.  I haven't seen her since Christmas!  Austin is about a 7.5 hour drive, if anyone was curious. 

I spent most of the weekend with my family since we don't get to all be together very often.  On Saturday we drove downtown to eat dinner at a trendy restaurant with a nice patio and then went to an old fashioned bowling alley! 

Even though my sister and I are pretty much adults now, our parents still put on an Easter egg hunt for us!  Except this time there was more than just candy in the eggs, there was MONEY!  This was the first time they had ever put money in them and let's just say we were a lot more competitive this year compared to last year.  Unfortunately, I wasn't able to pull off a victory like I did last year and my sister found more eggs than me...  Oh well I still got free money.  Below is a picture of my family enjoying Easter Sunday. 

(Personal photo taken of my family and me in April 2015.)

 The semester has started to wind down, so I haven't been slammed with nearly as much homework as I have had these past few weeks.  It came at just the right time because I got to spend a lot of quality time with my family. 

This next week I'll be trying to get ahead in my classes while also finishing up this class.  But I am already enrolled in Mythology and Folklore, so I will be with other students from this class next semester! 

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Famous Last Words for Week 10

SPRING IS OFFICIALLY HERE.  And the Oklahoma weather is proudly reflecting that fact.  It has been absolutely beautiful this weekend and even though I have spent most of it working on homework... I have gotten to slightly enjoy my homework since I worked on it outside in the sun :) 

I survived this past week of school and turned in multiple huge assignments!  And I believe that I did really well on my 20 minute Spanish presentation and my 20 page paper.  (Is 20 my lucky number for assignments?  I hope not.) 

Unfortunately, this week I also watched OU and the Thunder lose both of their games, which means OU's season ended during the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA tournament while the Thunder's season might as well be over since practically every member of the team is battling an injury. 

I'm getting closer and closer to finishing this online class.  I'm glad I got a head start at the beginning of this class to get me ahead of the game.  So who knows how many more of these posts that I'll do because I might not need the points!  This past week I finished up the second addition to my storybook and I'm conflicted on where to end it.  When I get it completely finished I'll be sure to post the link to it on this blog. 

Anyways, besides schoolwork (I feel like school is the only thing I talk about in these posts, but that just reflects how much it dominates my life) I went out with my friends and had a great time running into people on Campus Corner.  All my friends and I are finally 21!  So we have been having a lot more fun lately :) We also went out to celebrate my roommate getting accepted into Nursing School.  So hooray! 

(Personal Photo taken in March 2015)

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Week 10 Reading B: The War Begins

This is a Reading Diary that details my thoughts from pages 133-179 of The Mahabharata retold by R.K. Narayan. 

  • I hate Duryodhana.  He is the new Ravana. 
  • Is that really supposed to make a mother feel better?  Don't worry I'll only attack one of your sons.  
  • NOOOOOOOO. Bhishma.  Dang it Arjuna fight honorably.  
  • Oh Krishna sneaky sneaky.  Reminds of a scene in the movie Hocus Pocus where they trick the witches into thinking it's sunrise by shining car lights through the window.  
  • So I guess invincible weapons break after one use?
  • For Krishna who first wanted to make peace before the war, he's fighting dirty.  
  • Woah Bhima.  Early vampire?  
  • Should've listened to Krishna.  He is merciless.  
  • Does Krishna get karma for lying and killing everyone?!
  • Moral of the story: Never kill ANY animals. 
  • Well.  I guess being killed because you were mistaken for an animal is the perfect karma.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Week 10 Reading Diary A: Duryodhana's Embarrassment

This is a Reading Diary that details my thoughts from pages 85-131 of The Mahabharata retold by R.K. Narayan.  

  • How exactly is Duryodhana trying to embarrass the Pandavas?  By making a royal camp?  I can think of worse things.  
  • See the deer led them to the water.  Just leave deer alone and you won't die.  
  • Gift of unrecognizability?  I'm guessing this will turn out bad because it is their 13th year of exile and that's unlucky.  
  • Why is Draupadi not in disguises with them?  She's part of the family!
  • There is just way too many characters to keep track of in this story…
  • It seems whatever the Pandavas try and do they never seem to succeed at… 

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Famous Last Words for Week 9

Spring break is almost over :( NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.  I just find it cruel that all of my professor's have BIG assignments due the week after spring break, so on my last day to enjoy break I'm forced to work ceaselessly on homework.

Get this on the Tuesday after spring break I have: an 18 page paper due, a 20 minute presentation in Spanish with a group and then a big assignment due in my design class where I have to design a direct mailer on behalf of the OU Recruitment Services.

So if I can just make it Wednesday at 12:00 p.m., I'll have survived one of the toughest weeks of my semester.

Spring break was fun while it last though.  I visited Las Vegas with my parents.  This was the first time I had ever been and the trip was filled with so much excitement and adventure.  I have a friend from high school that moved to Las Vegas for college, so I got to see her and she was basically my guide around the city.  We had not seen each other in almost two years!  So I consider myself lucky to have been able to see her this past week and catch up.

The standalone craziest thing that happened to me in Las Vegas was getting pulled on stage with a standup comedian at the Laugh Factory.  Harry Basil pulled me out of the audience to reenact famous scenes from classic movies like Titanic, Dirty Dancing, Gravity and Ghostbusters.  It cemented this spring break as one of the craziest vacations in my life.  Below is a picture my mom snapped of the moment.  What happens in Vegas… may be too unbelievable for people to take you seriously without pictures.

(Personal photo taken of me on stage at the Laugh Factory in Las Vegas, Nevada in March 2015)

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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Storytelling for Week 9: And So It Began

King Shantanu let out a sigh of frustration.  He was exhausted from hunting all day and he had nothing to show for it.  Normally King Shantanu is a great shot when it comes to hunting deer but today something was different…

He was walking to a river to cool off when he noticed something.  It was a woman.  She had long dark hair that was tinted blue in the sun.  The beautiful woman sat up on the bank with her legs in the water and was humming a sweet melody to herself.  

“Maybe my luck is beginning to turn around,”  King Shantanu thought to himself.  From that moment the King knew that he would never encounter a more beautiful creature no matter where he ventured.  Before she finished humming the last stanza in her melody the King had fallen in love.  After professing his love to the beautiful woman with her legs still adrift in the river she had agreed to marry him on one condition.  

“It would be an honor to marry you and I will do so full heartedly, however I can only be wed to you if you promise me one thing,” said the beautiful woman whose name was Ganga.  

“Anything you ask you shall have,” replied the King. 

(Image of Shantanu and Ganga meeting from Wikipedia.)

“If you promise to never question me on any of my actions, I will be your bride,” she told him and The King quickly complied.  

A small part of King Shantanu’s mind told him this was a bit odd and that this could perhaps be a bad omen.  He shook the thought away and reasoned that he now had his whole life to get to know Ganga.  “Why should I ever question her about her actions when she will be spend an eternity living and confiding with me.  I shall soon know her beautiful mind and will never have to question her because I will understand her completely.”  

Their wedding was one that would rival Rama and Sita’s.  The kingdom embraced their new Queen and applauded the King on choosing a woman who encompassed such a benevolent presence.   It was not long until the Queen announced that she was pregnant with their first child.  

After nine short months Queen Ganga gave birth to a baby boy.  The King was overjoyed.   His mind went back to the first time he gazed upon his beloved wife at the river.  He could never imagine his life without her.  And to think that when he went to cool down from the water he thought he was having an unlucky day…

Author’s Note:  I chose this story because I thought what Ganga what was doing to her sons was a completely reasonable thing for the King to question.  I wanted to show that Ganga was one with the water and decided to portray her very mermaid esque.  This part of the story is not very detailed in our reading, so I wanted to show what King Shantanu might be thinking.  Him not having a good day out hunting could even be a bad omen.  I decided to title this story "And So It Began" because I feel that these events catapult the rest of the stories in The Mahabharata.

Bibliography -

Narayan, R.K. (1978). The Mahabharata.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Week 9 Reading Diary B: The Pandavas Live

This is a Reading Diary that details my thoughts from pages 41-83 of The Mahabharata retold by R.K. Narayan.  

  • I guess Karna is not very karmic since he wants war!
  • So the Pandavas got the Gandiva bow as a reward for trapping animals and burning a forest?! WHAT?
  • Dhritarashtra built an entire assembly hall just to play a game of dice...
  • Um what happened at this game of dice.  Thank goodness for Krishna.  
  • The second game of dice results in an exile.  Rama's exile is 14 years while the Pandavas is 13.  
  • Surya gives them an endless supply of food while in exile!?!
  • So living with women is a blessing in disguise?
  • This has been a very interesting section.  So much has happened and there' a lot of potential for the storytelling assignment.  

(The Disrobing of Draupadi from the Reading Guide)

Monday, March 9, 2015

Week 9 Reading Diary A: Starting The Mahabharata

This is a Reading Diary that details my thoughts from pages 1-39 of The Mahabharata retold by R.K. Narayan.  

  • I'm especially glad that there are reading guides to go along with this book because I just started it and I'm already getting all of the names mixed up!
  • This is a harsh punishment for stealing a cow…
  • Stealing the cow did not work out to well for Bhishma.  I don't know why he things stealing daughters from a swayamvara is a good idea.
  • They have a very strange solution to the problem of not having an heir...
  • First time that I've heard of a mantra for obtaining sons from gods…
  • Karna is one letter off from Karma.  I'm suspicious.    
  • Karna has a similar upbringing to Moses.
  • So now Pandu basically has the children of gods.  
  • Madri most be irresistible.  
  • Wow the sister of a dangerous rakshasa falls in love with the hero.  Influenced by the Ramayana?  
  • Draupadi gets 5 husbands!!!! Wow normally it's the men in this time who can have multiple spouses and not the wives!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Famous Last Words for Week 8

This is the last week of school before spring break and all I can say is, I'm ready more than ever for spring break.

Over the past week I had another snow day miracle occur where I did not have to complete an assignment that I had not finished since the computer labs would be closed on Wednesday (Heck yeah).  However, after the weather shift today I hope we will not have any more snow days, because I'm too attached to this beautiful sunny and over 60 degrees weather.  

Just yesterday I attended the OU Men's Basketball game against Kansas.  If you aren't familiar with college basketball, Kansas or KU is a top dog in the sport and consistently is one of the top ranked schools in the nation.  The game actually ended with an amazing last second shot and the atmosphere was unlike any game I've ever attended.  I remember always watching amazing buzzer-beating plays on TV and wondered what it would be like to be watching from the arena.  AND NOW I DO.  
Here's a picture that my family took while they were watching the game at home!  See if you can find me in it :) 

(Personal photo of me in the student section of an OU Men's Basketball game.)

After the game I went out with my friend to Campus Corner and ran into people that I haven't seen or talked to since freshmen year!  It's so nice running into people that you have lost touch with and when you see them you just pick up right where you left off.  

So this next week I'll be trying to complete as many assignments as I can before spring break.  Hopefully layovers during spring break will help me work ahead for assignments in this class.  I guess we'll have to see.  

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Commenting Review Week

I feel like the feedback I have gotten from comments has really helped me improve my writing.  Also, having this instant feedback motivates me to write when I feel swamped with other schoolwork.  I really appreciate it when my peers tell me what they got from my story.  This helps me to see if my message was received or can call attention to some details in a way that I had never thought of before!

The project comments from Laura are extremely helpful.  She knows how to correct or constructively critique stories in a way that does not damage a writer's ego.  Other people in the class do not have this ability…  And there have been times on my blog and other students' blogs where I feel our peers have been too harsh in the comment sections.

Overall, I feel that the comments I have received have helped me become a better writer.  So I will gladly take all of the helpful and harsh comments my peers can give me.

(Image provided by Flickr)

Writing Review

The writing assignments are the main reason I enrolled in this class.  I love writing.  Creative writing is so fun to me, I love creating or adapting a story and then making it my own.  So all of the past storytelling assignments I look back on fondly.  I really appreciate that this class lets us students write creatively but doesn't stress us out to the max.  I feel like that is something very unique about this class and I'm glad I have this opportunity in college, because I was really starting to miss the creative writing classes I took in high school.

Much of the feedback from peers is very helpful!  However, I feel that some students have become power-hungry and search your stories for any tiny error to bring up to you.  I appreciate it when anyone helps perfect my story by finding errors, but I don't appreciate people reading my story to basically grade me themselves.  Sometimes I feel like people lose sight of my story because they're too set on correcting me.

(Picture of a 1796 oil painting done by J.M.W. Turner (1775-1851) entitled “Fishermen at Sea.”  Source: Wikipedia.)

This is my favorite picture from my storytelling posts and it was actually my first!  I wrote my story and incorporated a big contrast between light and dark.  Then I found this picture that captured that contrast PERFECTLY and had a fishing boat and a stormy sea.  It felt like fate.  I feel like this image added a lot to my story.  

Monday, March 2, 2015

Reading Review Week

Well it's that midpoint in the semester and it's time to review the two readings we have covered thus far in this class.  Both readings were about the Epic of Rama with two different versions done by two different authors.  

Looking back over the past seven weeks at my reading diaries, I feel like my entries in the beginning were a bit more detailed than my past few entries.  This may be because Narayan's tales of the Ramayana were my first exposure to Rama's Epics and I jotted down more of an outline because all of it was so new and I didn't feel the need to be as detailed when reading Buck.  Also, I was probably able to add more to the Reading Diaries at the beginning of the semester because I was not super busy with other classes.  

I really like that there are Reading Guides that go along with the class readings because I feel that they can really help students get the main idea of a section.  One of the past readings that has stayed with is the battle with Ravana.  That part really was the climax of the epic and so much was going on so it was very entertaining to read.  I feel that this part of the epic was not long enough whereas in other parts (like Rama's journey into exile) went on way too long!  

This image of Rama and Sita at their wedding has definitely been one of my favorites.  I love all of flowers and they contrast well with the earth toned walls and background in the picture.  It's just so beautiful I wish there were more photos of them with these colors!!!! 

(Image Information: Picture of Sita and Rama at their wedding from Wikipedia.)  

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Famous Last Words for Week 7

Well it has been one of the most exciting weeks of my life.

Firstly, I turned twenty-one years old on Monday(!!!) and I was so happy to celebrate with my wonderful friends.  It was one of my roommate's birthday as well, so we got to celebrate together and we had a lot of fun.  Our apartment was decorated and there was a snow day and I got to miss my one class of the day.  My other roommate even made us a cake :)

(Personal photo of me and my roommate blowing out candles on our 21st birthday taken February 2015.)

Also, I experienced a birthday miracle.  My 10-page paper that was supposed to be due at 9am the day after my birthday was pushed back to Thursday because of the snow.  It was awesome to not slave over editing my paper on my birthday and was a HUGE relief to have more time to work on it.

Then the week really picked up and I had to catch up on assignments that I neglected to finish last week.  Thankfully, I got them all done and completed a huge assignment in my Publications class where we designed our very own business cards and letterheads from scratch!

After this week, the craziness is starting to die down and I'm beginning to have some free time.  I don't even know what to do with myself!  I guess this would mean that I successfully survived my Junior year midterms.

All I can think about now is spring break and how amazing it would be to get some assignments done before then so I can use the break to relax.  Most of my teachers have assigned their next big grades due the week after it!  Fingers crossed I can buckle down and work on my assignments ahead of time.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Storytelling for Week 7: Rocky Start

The time had come.  Every moment for the past few thousand years came down to this.  Ravana the undefeated Heavyweight Champion of the entire world would be facing a nobody, small-time boxer Rocky Rama.

This was the event everyone was talking about.  Ravana, one of the greatest ever who had never been defeated, agreed to fight a local boxer.  There were even rumors that Ravana in his earlier years made a deal with the devil to be the greatest boxer ever and that no boxing champion could ever defeat him.  However, there was a tiny detail that the great Ravana overlooked.  He had no protection against a boxer who was not a champion.

When his brother informed him of this teeny-tiny detail Ravana barked in his face, "You really think that anyone who has never won a bout of boxing and has never been proclaimed a champion could ever defeat me at my own game?! AHAHAHA."  He erupted with laughter and Ravana later forgot this conversation.

It wasn't until Ravana's sister, Shurpanakha, met Rocky Rama that this entire ordeal would get started.  After Shurpanakha had an embarrassing stalking incident she soon realized that Rocky Rama was not willing to give up his blossoming relationship with Sita/Adrien to run away with her.

She devised a plan to have Rocky Rama embarrassed in front of the entire nation in the perfect fashion, by getting pummeled by her brother.  Her initial idea was to just have Ravana assault Rocky Rama while walking down a dark alley one night, but that was not humiliating enough.  "No," she thought. "It should be on a grand stage.  And what is more grand than the World Heavyweight Championship bout."  

Her plan really took off from there.  All she had to do was bruise her brother's ego and then convince him to fight a local challenger who had never won a fight before and that's how it all got started.

Finally, it was Diwali and the two opponents were in the ring squaring off.  Ravana did nothing special to prepare for this fight and wears his arrogance as a cape, while Rocky Rama has been waiting his entire life to finally go the distance with the King of Boxing.

Immediately into the bout Rocky Rama unexpectedly knocks down Ravana with his first punch.  This embarrasses Ravana and the match turns tense.  Both fighters sustain massive injuries while the match lasts for 15 rounds, the longest Ravana has gone without knocking out his opponent in his career as a boxer.

Finally after 15 rounds Ravana just can't take it anymore and falls to the floor with a final punch from Rocky Rama.  The crowd goes wild and rushes into the ring to congratulate Rocky Rama who just screams for his loving girlfriend.  And so ends the epic tale of how Rama defeated Ravana.

Rocky poster.jpg
(Rocky theatrical poster from Wikipedia.)

Author's Note:  When I started this story, I had no idea it would turn into a Rocky Balboa fan fiction. haha. But it somehow did.  I think I wrote it this way because I originally wanted to write about Ravana and Rama's final battle and then I made an association between the battle between Rocky Balboa and Apollo Creed.  I feel like my stories have been a little depressing lately and have dealt with sadness, so I wanted to write something that was lighter and a little more fun.  Sorry if this was just super bizarre.  It's been a weird week.

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

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Week 7 Reading Diary B: Rama's Remorse

This is a Reading Diary that details my thoughts from pages 374-432 of the Ramayana retold by William Buck.  

  • Thank goodness for Hanuman.  Things would have turned out very different for Bharata.  
  • Manthara asks for forgiveness.  WHAT
  • Well at least Sita and Rama had a good 10,000 years...
  • Seriously.  Rama makes his brother deal with this situation.  HOW ABOUT YOU GO AND TALK TO YOUR LOVING WIFE.
  • I have a hard time believing this is a curse if Rama made the decision himself.  He parted from her himself, instead of it being an effect of karma. 
  • He invites Sita's father to the festival but not her..
  • My heart broke when Sita asks to prove her innocence.  
  • That's how Lakshmana dies :(
  • Sorry but I don't like that Rama gets a happy departure.  He disgraced himself in the end, I wish a stronger warrior took him down.  
(Sita Bhumi Pravesh from Wikipedia.)

Monday, February 23, 2015

Week 7 Reading Diary A: Rama vs. Ravana

This is a Reading Diary that details my thoughts from pages 325-373 of the Ramayana retold by William Buck.  

  • It's kind of sweet that Shiva, the destroyer god, took Malyavan away from the battle.  
  • I would actually like Mandodari if she wasn't married to Ravana.
  • So charioteers are like a necessity for gods and demons ?
  • The part where Rama cuts Ravana's heads as they grow back reminds me of the quote, "Cut off one head, Two more shall take its place."
  • I don't remember the part of Ravana turning into Indra in the other version.  
  • I feel like Ravana dies much faster in Buck's retelling. 
  • The letter is an interesting addition to the story.
  • Sita and Rama make me sad since I know what will happen in the end. 
  • And this section ends with a happy ending….for now.  
(Rama in the Pushpaka from the Reading Guide.)

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Famous Last Words for Week 6

Well it's just been one of those weeks.  A busy week would be an understatement.  There has been a lot of really fun and special events going on that have just added to the chaos of the middle weeks in the semester.  All I have been doing is studying + assignments + homework and it's not over yet but I can see the light!  

I got to take a much needed study break last night because my parents came in town and we celebrated my dad's birthday.  They also came up to attend my sorority's event, Red Dress Gala, which is a fundraiser for women's heart health.  This is an event where we sell tickets to the gala and have a silent and live auction to raise money for the American Heart Association.  My parents bought my tickets even though the date fell on my dad's birthday.  It was awesome to spend time with my parents while benefiting an awesome cause!
(Personal Photo taken at Red Dress Gala.)

Also, I got some presents from my parents because my 21st birthday is tomorrow!!!!!!!!!!  (And yes my dad's and my birthdays are two days apart.) I'm completely ecstatic if you can't tell.  The only thing raining on my parade is a 10 page paper and presentation due on Tuesday.  Oh and it's going to be a high of 25 degrees on my birthday.  If you know me, you know I cannot stand the cold.  The silver lining is that there's a possibility of Oklahoma weather bringing snow and possibly the best present ever of a school cancelation.  

This craziness is part of the reason why I'm a little behind in this class.  I didn't write a storytelling assignment this week but I hope to complete the second story of my project today!  This week has been eventful to say the least. 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Essay: Ghost Stories of Bengal

After completing the Untexbook reading "Folktales of Bengal" I noticed there were many different kinds of ghosts incorporated into a lot of the stories.  This motif made me curious about the culture of Bengal because as it was noted in the description there were many tales about ghosts and supernatural beings who were both friendly and fearsome.

I did some research and discovered that there is an entire Wikipedia article dedicated to ghosts in Bengali culture.  The article stated that ghosts are prominent in Bengali folk and fairy tales as well as modern literature.  I found that one of the reasons that ghosts might be so common in Bengali literature is because Hindu beliefs are popular in the country.  A reason there were many ghosts wandering the earth in the stories may be because if a person dies but the proper Hindu burial rituals are not complete the spirit cannot pass onto heaven and is left to haunt relatives until it is completed.

The Hindu influences also support the idea of an afterlife and many of the stories had karmic circumstances.  For instance, in The Ghostly Wife and The Ghost-Brahman the ghosts are punished after being discovered to be taking over the life of a human.

The stories that included ghosts from the Untextbook were The Ghost-Brahman, The Ghostly Wife, The Story of a Brahmadaitya, and The Ghost who was Afraid of being Bagged.  Depending on the tale the ghosts were either benevolent or malicious.  And often times they were great field workers.  The ghosts' characteristics reminded me of fairies from other folk tales.  Also, in more than one story the ghost took the place of a human, this is a tiny bit similar to the idea of Changeling (a fairy taking a human and leaving behind a changeling).

The humans in many of these folktales feared the ghosts, but making friends with them often lead to great riches like in The Story of a Brahmadaitya.  However, the ghosts were still a force to be reckoned with because they could take the life of a human with ease.  

(Image in The Story of Brahmadaitya from the Untexbook.)

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Reading Diary B: Folktales of Bengal Part 2

This Reading Diary details my thoughts from reading Folk-Tales of Bengal by the Rev. Lal Behari Day, with illustrations by Warwick Goble (1912). The Stories include The Ghost-Brahman, A Ghostly Wife, The Story of a Brahmadaitya, The Origin of Rubies, The Ghost who was Afraid of being Bagged and The Bald Wife.  

  • I'm confused.  I thought brahmans were the rich ones…
  • Talk about getting replaced… A ghost just took the brahman's place with his mother and wife.
  • The neat-herd king was very clever in tricking the ghost!  Very unexpected.  
  • Dang.  Never brush by a ghost… they might stuff you into a tree trunk hole.
  • These stories with ghosts are very superstitious.  I can't believe there are so many tales where ghosts can just simply take the place of humans.
  • The ghost kept the house warm by letting her foot burn in the oven… what…
  • I understand why the son and mother don't want to live with a ghost but it seems like they're much happier with the work the ghost performs than the woman herself. 
  • What is the deal with ghosts and their feet and shoes?  
  • Every happy ending has to include the woman bearing sons. 
  • "For to die of hunger is no better than to be killed by ghosts."  
  • This section should be called "Ghost stories of Bengal."
  • Well the Brahmadaitya is a very powerful and convenient friend.  
  • Well I guess ghosts can be nice too…
  • Wow this is a story where everybody wins.  
  • It's not very often that princes are jealous of the youngest brother.  
  • Well I too take fashion advice from parrots.  
  • Ok well I guess everything worked out for the spoiled prince…
  • Why is the ghost afraid of the bag?  I mean at least he would have company!
  • Wow he lived happy ever after by being rich and having sons and daughters.  
  • The bald woman's story is very karmic.  
  • Typical the man doesn't love her until she is pretty.  

(Image of the story "The Origin of Rubies" from the Untextbook.) 

Monday, February 16, 2015

Reading Diary A: Folktales of Bengal

This Reading Diary details my thoughts from reading Folk-Tales of Bengal by the Rev. Lal Behari Day, with illustrations by Warwick Goble (1912).  I read the stories The Evil Eye of Sani, The Boy whom Seven Mothers Suckled and The Origin of Opium.  

  • This is the first story that I've read where the gods go to a human to decide a problem.  
  • I already see some similarities to the Ramayana.  The wife wants to follow her ill-fortuned husband into exile.  
  • Looks like all of the couple's good luck draws a lot of bad attention. 
  • Another similarity to Rama, Sribatsa has his wife kidnapped.  
  • Thanks to her good luck she became ugly so she would not lose her chastity…
  • It seems that his wife got the brunt of all the misfortune in this story.  I mean she was prisoner for a VERY long time.  
  • Wow switch out the mangoes for rice and you have King Dasartha.
  • Ok this story took a very dark child-eating kind of turn.
  • The boy is very clever.  He does not act too hastily.  He carefully plots his opportunity to ruin the evil Queen.  
  • Wow I was very surprised with the happy ending.  I did not think every thing would work out!
  • Well the mouse is certainly working his way up the food chain. 
  • Well I guess the mouse/elephant is sexist.  
  • I feel like the opium tie in was just thrown in at the end… That did not make any sense.  
(Image used in The Origin of Opium from the Untextbook.)

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Famous Last Words for Week 5

Well week 5 of the semester is finally wrapping up and I am exhausted.  I feel like all I ever do anymore is homework!  I finished up a tough assignment in my Publications class and this next week I have quizzes and a ten-page paper to worry about.  I will also be attending the OU Men's Basketball team's rivalry game against Texas this next week.  Hopefully, they'll have a great victory that will inspire me to study hard for all the midterm assignments.

Yesterday was Valentine's Day and I spent the day with my roommate.  We cooked dinner together and had a lot of fun.  It was like having our very own "Galentines Day" (Parks & Rec reference).  I also watched Birdman this weekend with a friend of mine.  It was so refreshing to watch something so creative and original.   Nowadays, I feel that every movie Hollywood produces is a sequel, remake or book adaptation.  Birdman was none of those things and poked fun at a lot of those movies.  It was definitely a fast-paced movie but the soundtrack throughout it used only drums, which was really awesome!

Also on Wednesday of this past week I went to my sorority house to decorate cards for the Children's Hospital.  They said the cards would be delivered to both the children who had to stay in the hospital along with the nurses who work with them!  A lot of girls showed up to make cards.  I felt like this was a great way to celebrate Valentines Day, to show love and appreciation to people who might be overlooked.

(Image of decorated Valentine's Day cards from the OU Alpha Phi Twitter.) 

I feel like I should mention that there's only 9 more days until my 21st birthday!  The countdown to adulthood has officially begun :)

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Storytelling for Week 5: Ravana's Love Letter

Ravana's Love Letter

Dearest Sita,  

As I write this letter I am gazing at you from a window in my extravagant palace.  The fire is roaring and the servants are being most obedient.  The only thing missing is…you.  I gaze at you in the garden day in and day out, your courage and determination is unparalleled by any other human or asura woman in the entire universe.  (And I would know since I have lived quite a long time and have known  a variety of human and asura women.)  

I just want you to know that your point has been made loud and clear.  Whenever you get done moaning about how I should not have stolen you from the forest feel free to come inside the Palace of Lanka.  I understand how we did not get off the right foot but I am willing to make it up to you, if you give me a chance.  You know I would never intentionally hurt you, and you also know that I literally cannot physically harm you unless you give me your consent.  So please, my dear Sita, do not let our love story end before it even begins! 

I know the garden must be cold at night.  A woman like you was not made to live among shrubs and worms.  You should be here ruling over multiple universes beside me.  I want every king and queen from here to Timbuktu to look at us with envy.  When we are married, men will quake with fear of my incomprehensible strength but they will also marvel at how beautiful you look beside me on the throne.  

I hope to have ten sons with you, one to match each of my heads.  Our sons will bear my strength and women will line up to be their wives.  We will carve up the world and split it into ten pieces to give each of them a quadrant to command while both of us rule over its entirety.  I have done so much with my life but I wait here incomplete without you beside me.  

I know you still wonder about Rama, but you are destined to be next to me while the human world burns.  It baffles me how you have not thanked me for rescuing you from that life of peasantry.  The kind of life Rama made you endure.  You lived in a comfortable human palace before, but Sita you have no idea what I can offer you.  However, if a forest life is what you really want I will have Maya build you an entire palace in a garden.  

I hope after this letter I will see you at the gates of the palace soon.  

Your Most Humble Adorer, 


(Ravana approaches Sita during her captivity from Wikipedia.) 

~ ~ ~
Author's Note:  I wanted to write about Ravana's point of view after he kidnaps Sita because he must be absolutely astounded that she does not want to be with him.  So I figured with Valentine's Day just around the corner why not write about it through a love letter.  Ravana is very arrogant and I wanted to show how he really cannot grasp how this woman refuses to be with him.  I wanted the reader to take away that Ravana is so focused on himself throughout the entire love letter that he will never understand WHY Sita will not belong to him.  Just like at the end of the epic when he cannot grasp that he could be defeated by a human.  

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

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Week 5 Reading Diary B: Sita's Second Abduction

This is a Reading Diary that details my thoughts from pages 162-218 of the Ramayana retold by William Buck.  

  • Poor Maricha.  He wanted no part of this.  
  • She lets her jewelry fall to the monkeys?? Does Hanuman not visit her?! 
  • Again much more Ravana backstory. 
  • Monkeys and Mangos.  What can ya do. 
  • Buffalo demon?!?!?! WHAT
  • I can't imagine which is worse.  Plunging an arrow into my own heart or walking into a pyre.  Women from Indian Epics are tough.  
  • Oh ok.  Sita just throws down her jewelry to random monkeys and Rama still gives his ring to Hanuman for him to later see in Lanka.  
(Killing of Jatayu by Balasaheb Pant Pratinidhi from Wikipedia.)

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Monday, February 9, 2015

Week 5 Reading Diary A: Shurpanakha We Meet Again

This is a Reading Diary that details my thoughts from pages 110-116 of the Ramayana retold by William Buck.  

  • I guess if you were going to have your kingdom wrongfully taken away from you, Bharata is the best person to receive it.  
  • Aren't these people alive for like 60,000+ years?  14 years of exile seems pretty short..
  • Dantes was imprisoned for 14 years in The Count of Monte Cristo.  Ironic.  
  • Ooooh.  A warning about the dangerous demon Ravana.  Foreshadowing…
  • Is Sita just there to get abducted?  
  • A main difference between these two tales are the demons.  There are a lot more demon stories in this version.  
  • I can't stand Shurpanakha.  
  • I didn't like Shurpanakha in the earlier version, and this part of the epic is basically the same.  So I still don't like her. 

(Rama Spurns The Demon Lover from Wikipedia.)

Youtube Tech Tip

Here is a video of Heath Ledger singing "Can't Take My Eyes Off Of You" from the movie "10 Things I Hate About You."  This is one of my favorite movies and watching this scene always cheers me up!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Famous Last Words for Week 4

Well last week for this post I wrote about how I hoped the Patriots would win the Superbowl, and that came true!!!!!!!!  So maybe every week in this post I should write about something I hope will happen and if I'm lucky maybe it will.  So for this next week I hope the OU men's basketball team can beat Iowa State tomorrow night.  

I have OU basketball on my mind because I went to their game this past week where they beat West Virginia and it was one of the most fun games I have ever attended.  I am proud that OU is getting a very energetic student section to attend basketball games now, we need to be more of a basketball school!! 

I drove to my hometown for the weekend and went with my mother to my high school's performance of "The Addams Family Musical".  I was in the theatre program when I was in high school, l so when I get the chance I try to come and support their shows.  I am familiar with the Addams Family but never saw the musical when it was on Broadway, even though I heard great things about it!! Honestly, the musical is amazing.  It was so much fun watching classic characters that you already have an affection for in a completely new environment and story.  I recommend it to anyone who has the opportunity to see it!  

The semester is really starting to get busy.  A lot of my friends had their first round of tests and I have a ten page paper due in a couple of weeks.  I was too busy to even write a storytelling post this week, so I decided to just concentrate on my Storybook.  I hope all of this craziness dies down around my birthday, which is coming up in just a couple of weeks!  It probably won't, but hey I can hope.  

(Personal photo of the playbill and ticket from The Addams Family Musical performance.)  

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Week 4 Reading Diary B:

This is a Reading Diary that details my thoughts from pages 58-104 of the Ramayana retold by William Buck.  

  • The story of Rama's exile is pretty much the same.  Except Kooni changed to Manthara???
  • Oh I hate when the townspeople raise a river and it blocks my path.  Happens all the time.  The only other time I can think of this happening is when the water created a path instead of blocking one.  (Moses)
  • So Kaikeyi didn't use one of her wishes on learning the language of animals?  What a waste.  
  • It's crazy how diction and description can completely retell these stories.  
  • This section was fairly similar to the other version of Rama that we read.  
  • It's weird reading "Perfect Rama" over again, he really loses himself towards the end of his life.  
  • The priests they meet while in exile do not have much barring on the rest of the epic…
(Painting of Dasartha promising to banish Rama from Wikipedia.)

Monday, February 2, 2015

Week 4 Reading Diary A: Rama in Reverse

This is a Reading Diary that details my thoughts from pages 1-58 of the Ramayana retold by William Buck.  

  • This story begins where the other story ended.  
  • Valmiki becomes the first poet ever because of his outrage when a hunter kills a bird.  
  • Buck tells the story of Rama in a very unique way.  The other story cut out the ending where Rama exiles Sita because the author wanted to leave it on a happier ending.  However in Buck's retelling he opens with the sad ending and uses the lost sons to sing Rama's origin.  
  • There is an awful lot of description over how abnormal all of Dasharatha's sons look. 
  • Many parts that were not touched on in Narayan's Ramayana  are being told here.  For instance, Ravana destroying parts of heaven and the gods discovering they need a human to destroy Ravana.  It also gives more details on the birth of Ravana. 
  • This version really sets up Ravana as the villain instead of him just coming out of nowhere at the end and stealing Sita.  
  • Why does Buck go into SO much more detail but decides to cut out Thataka? 
  • Honestly now that I know what is going to happen, I just feel bad for Sita.  She basically HAS to marry him, then go into exile with him, be kidnapped because of him, be rejected by him and then be re-exiled again.  Her life sucks.  
("Hermitage of Valmiki" from Wikipedia.)