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.) 

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Famous Last Words for Week 3

Just yesterday I did something that I have not done in over 10 years… LASER TAG.  The Student Union was offering free laser tag games on campus so my friend and I decided spur of the moment to partake.  The last time I played a game of Laser Tag, I was definitely still in elementary school and had a random kid following me around the whole time constantly tagging me out.  Needless to say, this experience did not have me itching to play more Laser Tag.

But yesterday I decided to go since I wanted to go out do something without spending a bunch of money.  Since I had not played in over 10 years, I definitely was not the best player on my team.  However, I think my Laser Tag ignorance aided my team's 43-41 victory.  Since I was no good at aiming, I would often distract the opposing team, while my friend would fire at them.  This strategy had to have been effective because we won!!! Hopefully, this is not the only high point of my week.  My favorite NFL team, the New England Patriots, will be playing in the Superbowl later today, so I'm hoping for another victory.  No disrespect to any Seahawk fans, but I have to cheer for my team.  

(Personal selfie taken just after our Laser Tag victory.)  

 School wise my week was pretty average.  Not too little homework or studying to have a lot of free time, but not too much to be stressed all week.  You could say that it was a Goldilocks school week.  Although, I did watch a very disturbing documentary on the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks in my Crisis Communications class.  I knew nothing about the attacks before watching this documentary, but now I will never forget any of the haunting images.  

Sita in Lanka: Styles of Brainstorming

Topic:  My storybook will take place during Sita's Captivity and will coincide with events in the Ramayana but from her perspective.  My goal is to do a Storybook with Sita meeting Persephone, and thus combining two epic legends of abducted goddesses.  The Story of Persephone is about a girl that is kidnapped by Hades, god of the underworld.  She is then forced to marry and live with him in the underworld 6 months out of the year.  Both Sita and Persephone were daughters of nature who were kidnapped from loved ones by someone who intended to marry them.  They were both forced to live in dark kingdoms with Ravana being a demon and Hades being god of the underworld.  

1. Sita in Captivity, from Rāmāyaṇam: As Told by Vālmīki and Kamban, by K. S. Srinivasan (1994).
2. Story of Persephone, from For the Children's Hour, by Carolyn S. Bailey (2006). 

Possible Styles: 

Sita's Experiences.  It would make the most sense for my Storybook to be told from Sita's point of view.  She could meet Persephone somewhere in the garden of Lanka and they could relay their tales to each other.  Sita making a friend and having something to bond with Persephone could add another layer to her abduction since Persephone ended up becoming Queen of the Underworld.  I hope to split my storybook in half with the two of them meeting in Lanka and each telling the tales of their capture and captivity.

Hidden Journal.  Maybe instead of both of the women meeting and discussing their lives, Sita could find out about Persephone through a lost journal.  Instead of making it about Persephone and Hades, the story could have Ravana fill Hades's role.  Sita could find a diary written by Persephone and be attracted to the similarities of their situations.  This would be something she would have to hide from the asuras because they would not want her to take any solace while she is still living outside the palace.  This could be interesting because Persephone has a very different ending than Sita's, so once she reaches the end of the journal it could be devastating to her.  

Queen of Lanka.  This Storybook style would do a combination character of Mandodari and Persephone.  Ravana's wife would appear before Sita in an attempt to convince her to leave Rama behind and come live in the palace.  I feel like Persephone's story could be used as a horror story for Sita to fear Ravana, but it also could be used as coercion since in the end it worked out for Persephone to give in to Ravana.  So maybe it could be Sita's best interest to forget about Rama and move on.  

Third Person.  All of the previous styles would be told from Sita's point of view, but this story could also be told from a third person narrative.  I would really want a third person narration to highlight the similarities of their birth and the parallels their lives lead.  This style would be very similar to the first style, but it would be told from a third person omniscient narrator.  
(Image of Hades and Persephone from Wikipedia.)