Karna-The Warrior of The Sun Chap 1: A Mistake

Karna

siggie credit- Sunshine

Anyone who dares to delve into the study of Hindu mythology would not only find it complex and confusing, but also an extremely intriguing amalgam of colorful characters and their stories. Mahabharat, the longest poem ever written, is one such epic. It is replete with tales of glorious courage as well as treacherous deceit.. And perhaps the character whose story is most compelling of all is Karna, a great warrior much extolled for his exploits, but who unfortunately never got his due.

The following is an attempt to retell his story from his own point of view. This is a work of fiction, hence is bound to have several errors. Please ignore them and read on. This story is penned by a young and very talented guest writer Emrys. :)

THE WARRIOR OF THE SUN

1: A Mistake

 

Eons ago, on the banks of the river Beas, Sage Vyasa continued narrating the story of the Mahabharatha to his scribe Lord Ganesha, who wrote—

Princess Kunti of the kingdom of Kunti was asked to rest in her room, as apparently she had had a very long day. She obeyed, for she wouldn’t dare argue with her father, King Kunti-Bhoj. Absently lowering herself onto the bed, she recalled what had happened earlier that day.

For the past several weeks, Kunti had been tirelessly attending to the Sage Durvasa’s needs and unreasonable demands. Her father had entrusted her with this task, as the powerful Sage, known for his quick temper, could not afford to be angered. Pleased with her dedication, he awarded her the Atharvaveda Mantra, which enabled her to beget a son blessed with the qualities of any God she invoked.

I wonder if there is any truth in the spell or if it’s just a whole lot of mumbo-jumbo, the young princess thought, staring unseeingly at a pair of peacocks dancing deliriously in the rain just outside her window.

Later, when the showers had stopped and the sun had sunk low in the skies, Kunti snuck out of the palace. Fortunately no one saw her as all were engaged in the preparations of a grand farewell feast for the great sage. Taking cover of the growing shadows, she ran into the dense thicket of Ashoka trees that lay to the west of the palace. An accomplished horsewoman and huntress in her own right, she felt no fear navigating her passage in the semi darkness.

She emerged at the bottom of a tall cliff, on the other side of which was a river whose waters sparkled like gold in the rays of the setting sun. Panting, Kunti wiped away the beads of sweat from her brow, feeling a strange sense of foreboding hang over her. After a slight hesitation, she recited the mantra, calling for Surya, the Sun God. Moments after she uttered the last word of the prayer, blinding rays of light hit her, making Kunti shield her eyes and stagger a few steps backward. And indeed, it was Surya, with a small, wailing child cradled in his arms. She smiled–so the sage had meant what he had said. That was all she wanted to know.

“All right, my lord,” she told the Sun God.”You may now return to your heavenly abode. I am sorry for causing you trouble, I only wanted to test the mantra.”

“Unfortunately, Kunti, I cannot. I am bound by the mantra, so I must give you this child.” Surya smiled, holding forth the baby.

Kunti was horrified. She couldn’t have a child! She was still a single woman! “Wh..what? N..no, you can’t, my Lord!”

“But you must! The mantra cannot be reversed.”

“I am not prepared for–” Before she could complete her protest, the Sun God was gone, and the child was in her arms.

With the beautiful baby boy pressed to her chest, Kunti slowly walked down to the river. She weaved a basket out of reeds while watching the child, tears brimming in her eyes. The princess noticed with awe that he was covered with magnificent golden armor, and dangling from his ears were beautiful, diamond-studded earrings. Planting a light kiss on his forehead, Kunti set the baby in the basket, then proceeded to place him in the water with great reluctance.

“Goodbye, my son. I love you so much, but I cannot take you with me.” She murmured, choking back tears as she watched the basket float down the river. I hope that you will forgive me.

tbc

PS: Please share your thoughts.

An Incurable Insanity Chap 23: Reactions

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Chapter Links

23: REACTIONS

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“Well, well…” Sunshine sat back in her easy chair after propping her cane carefully against the fireplace. “How wonderful to have two of my favorite young people in the same room together.”

Displaying a fine set of dentures, she beamed at Shaan and Ruhi who stood in front of her, both struggling with consider- able mental agitation while striving valiantly to assume an air of collected nonchalance.

Wonder what diabolical plot the old gal has hatched. Ruhi must sure think I too have a hand in this! Shaan thought restlessly, stealing a quick glance at her. She was grappling with the roses with an obvious motive of decapitating them.

Since when did these two become best buddies? He doesn’t seem to want to let me be on my own even for a single day! “Sunshine, why don’t I find a vase for these?” Ruhi asked.

“Yes, we can’t let these blooms wither, can we? You will find a vase in the kitchen. Thank you, my dear.” She smiled gratefully.

“Uh…Do you want me to make you some tea? You did tell me you liked it the Indian way, didn’t you?” Ruhi inquired again.

Now what has got into her? Shaan wondered.

“Oh, yes, I would indeed. But won’t you also inquire our guest as to what he would like to have?” Sunshine suggested, looking like a saint.

Don’t work too hard, Sunshine, this girl would rather string me to the ceiling! “Coffee will do fine, black,” he volunteered.

Sunshine nodded her approval. “You’ll find a tin in one of the cupboards under the counter.”

Ruhi dipped her head and scurried to the kitchen with Shaan cheerlessly following her progress unaware of the keen scrutiny of a certain spectator.

Her brain rumbled. Haah! They can’t wait to get their paws on each other…wonder what’s holding them back? Anyway, no challenge is beyond Sunshine! What say JJ? Sunshine almost rubbed her hands in glee while the parrot vocalized with utmost sincerity.

“Beat it!”

Shaan nearly jumped out of his skin, his eyes darting to the bird cage, happening to notice it’s presence for the first time. All the while his attention being entirely engaged by his feckless wife, hoping she hadn’t taken upon herself to spike his brew with some kind of toxic waste.

“Sunshine! You didn’t tell me that you were into cantankerous creatures of varied kinds!” He blurted out impulsively, wishing Ruhi had an ear trained in his general direction.

“Oh! What are you saying, my sweet boy? Cantankerous! You should have heard me in my heyday. I could make gangsters blush!” The grey-haired treasure replied with pride.

“You’ve turned out to be quite the fast worker. I hope you didn’t reveal our rendezvous earlier today,” he said in a conspiratorial whisper, bending close to the aged ear.

“Indeed I did not. As for not wasting time…when one reaches my age, every moment is precious, and I want to make each one count and what better way to do so than bring two loving souls who are already straining at their leashes together? That would for sure assure me a place in God’s heaven!” She blushed as he gazed at her with unconcealed adulation.

“Nothing is hidden from these old eyes, my boy. Now don’t tarry, go get her before she bolts away.”

“Scoot!” JJ croaked, bobbing his head wisely.

“Atta boy! Sometimes he picks the right words!” Sunshine squealed with pride.

The girl in question had driven herself to distraction while awaiting his approach. Shaytan! Cuddling up to the unsuspecting old dear! What does he wish to do, break her heart as well?

“Hmm! Do I smell something burning? I guessed right. Thought I’d steal the old gal from under your nose, Ms. Haughtiness?” he murmured in an intimate undertone, despite which the sound appeared to reverberate off the walls of the tiny cubicle.

Her palms tingled sensing his proximity, so close that his breath filtered through her hair and pricked the delicate skin on the back her neck. She shivered, yearning his touch. Go ahead, Shaan, what are you waiting for?…Ruhi! Are you out of your mind? She shot back a glance full of seething disdain. “Can you hand me a couple of cups, your lordship?”

He obliged, remarking with mock fear, “I hope you keep your homicidal tendencies at bay for this old lady’s sure not going to spare you. She is crazy about me you see.”

“Well if I do, you can always consume some more burnt toast as an antidote.” Her eyes sparkled with frolic while her lips twisted into a beauteous smile.

He stared smitten. Clever witch! What wouldn’t I give to envelope her in my arms right now and…Stop it, Shaan! Don’t let your mind run amok. This needs to be done right. But how long can I wait? His eyes screwed shut in agony.

“Something’s not right, Grey?” she asked, appearing concerned.

“God, woman! How can you act so chaste and innocent when you know exactly what I’m going through! And if you call me by that name once again…then watch out!” He snorted, bunching his fists.

She trembled taken aback at the sudden outburst. She tried to squirm out of his way but ended up backing into the counter: a nerve-racking reminder of what had happened earlier that day.

“I’m sorry I shouldn’t have,” he applied in earnest and with what seemed to be genuine remorse and then in the same breath said, “but lately I’ve started to act just as wacky as you.”

“Wha…at?” She stared at him wide-eyed.

“Any suggestions for remedy, my dear? I feel quite distressed.” His lips settled a bare inch from hers. Her vision began to fog up as her breaths turned disjointed.

“If you are both done smooching, can I have my tea please!”

Craassh!

tbc

Happy Janmashtami! Birthday of Lord Shri Krishna

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The 8th of the Dasha (10) avatars of Lord Vishnu,

Ananta- The Endless Lord

BalaGopal- The Child Krishna

Bihari- The Travelling Lord

Chaturbhuja- The four armed Lord

Dayanidhi- The Compassionate Lord

Dharmadhyaksha-The Lord of Dharma

Govinda- The Finder of Cows

Gopala- The Protector of Cows

Hari- The Lord of Nature

Jagannatha-The Master of the Universe

Krishna- All Attractve

Madhava- Husband of the Goddess of Fortune

Mohan- The Enchanter

Muralidhar- One who Holds the Flute

Mayura- One who has a Peacock Feathered Crown

Shyam- The Dark Complexioned Lord

Upendra- The Brother of Indra

Vishnu- The All Prevailing Lord, Lord of the Universe

Vishwatma- The Soul of the Universe

Nandlal- The son of Nand

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HARE KRISHNA HARE KRISHNA

KRISHNA KRISHNA HARE HARE

HARE RAMA HARE RAMA

RAMA RAMA HARE HARE

(THE MAHA MANTRA)

Fatehpur Sikri- A Must See Marvel of Indian Mughal Architecture.

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The Imposing 55m tall BULAND DARWAZA (victory arch) stands at the entrance of the palatial complex.

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The Horseshoe Gate, where horseshoes were nailed for good luck.

Salim Chisti Tomb

Jali, the exquisite stone screens that are a feature of the tomb of Salim Chisti in the center of the complex.

Jama Masjid courtyard

The Jama Masjid (Mosque)

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Panch Mahal by Bruno Girin

Located a stone’s throw away from Agra (the home of the TajMahal), in the North Indian state of Uttar Pradesh is Fatehpur Sikri (Fateh Arabic word meaning victorious). It served as the capital of the emperor Akbar (of the famed Jodha Akbar) from 1571-1585.

Designated a world Heritage sight, it is a prime example of India’s Mughal Architecture and is not to be missed particularly if you make the effort to visit the Taj Mahal in Agra.

Built in the honor of the Sufi Saint Salim Chisti, it is a walled city with a series of palaces, courts, harem, a mosque, private quarters and so on.

Constructed almost entirely from red sandstone, this essentially Islamic edifice has many Hindu and Jain embellishments. Spend about an hour or two and wander around the complex and sink your teeth into some juicy history by availing the services of some readily available local guides.

Accommodations to suit all pockets are available in Agra or if you want to make it a day trip, you can choose to stay in New Delhi which is only a 6 hr commute away. But be sure to start early so to avoid the hellish traffic.

Whenever I see these pictures, I’m reminded of the beautiful Qawwali ( a style of muslim devotional music) from the movie Garam Hava (Scorching Winds) which was shot at this place. The movie is perhaps the most poignant depiction of India’s partition which occurred in 1947 when it gained its independence from the British Raj (rule) and is a must watch.

The Hilltown of Coonoor, one of India’s Hidden Gems

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Whenever I travel back to my homeland, I prepare for a culture shock. The crowds, the noise, the pollution have all increased several fold as the country races forward at breakneck speed to catch up with the rest of the world. But I’ve come here to relive some beautiful memories, to catch up from where I left off–I’ve come to reconnect with the past. How do I do that and where?

There are some places left in the country where it seems that life still goes on as it did a few decades ago, where people are laid back, where nature is not at war with mankind–

COONOOR- is one such place. It is located in the Nilgiri Hills, about 56 kms from the Coimbatore Airport, in the southern Indian State of Tamil Nadu. It is part way from its more well known cousin Ooty which I will advice you to avoid if you can.

Known for its tea plantations, Coonoor is a lovely, rustic little town, which with its abundance of greenery and quaint architecture, is a throw back to India as it used to be. The temperate climate and serene environment helps the restless soul to relax and take a few breaths of peace.

There are several wonderful places to stay in this place. I recommend the Gateway Hotel on Church Road, — a historic hotel which is a wonderful blend of colonial charm and modern amenities and yes, the food is great! :)

When you are there, don’t forget to take a ride on the Nilgiris meter gauge train, as well as a personalized tour of the tea estates.