Week 5, Famous Last Words: I Do Not Suck

This week, I have found myself with a little more time to dedicate to this class. I am happy to say that I was able to do both parts of the reading and notes, the project and feedback, and the comments. With my major, it is very difficult to find free time, and sticking to deadlines and due dates is often a challenge due to late night rehearsals, meetings, and classes during the day. This weekend, I am working as the light board operator on a dance show, which has proved to be much less demanding than stage managing a show, and thus has offered me a few free moments.

I have found a lot of solace in working late nights at IHOP because it is open twenty-four hours a day. Last night, for example, I worked until 4am. It is a struggle for me to push through my heavy work-load, as far as classwork goes, because I am often so tired and so overwhelmed by the facets of my theatrical world. It takes nights like last night, when I find myself manically on a roll, for me to remind myself that I am, in fact, not a failure, not stupid, and not a bad student: I simply have a larger platter served to me than most. It is frustrating to feel down on myself, but I am learning ways to remind myself of my strengths. I really enjoyed working on some of the feedback assignments last night, and reading articles that placed emphasis on using the growth mindset and having a zero-tolerance policy for self-hatred.

Being a college student in today’s society is difficult; being a college student is difficult Image result for strength in womenanyways, however, I do believe that there are social and economic factors that have increased the stakes for today’s students. I hope that I can continue to look ahead to my final moments as a student, when I will walk across the stage for my diploma, and be reminded that my hard work will pay off in the long run.






Story: Kaikeyi the Good Queen

Kaikeyi was the youngest wife of King Dasharatha; she was not the fairest, but she was the most favored. In the midst of the rainy season, Kaikeyi and her two sister wives struggled to conceive heirs for the kingdom of Kosala, and the king’s favor for Kaikeyi declined. She and the other two queens wept in their chambers, much to the displeasure of the kingdom. They desired to hear their children laugh down the halls of the palace; they desired to bear strapping boys who would grow into men that would make the kingdom swoon at their looks and their talent. Alas, the rainy season passed into another, and there were no heirs for the kingdom once more, and so the queens wept with the sky above.

Kaikeyi was the daughter of Ashwapati, king of the Land of the Finest Horses, and he awarded Kaikeyi a fine golden steed on her wedding day. Now Kaikeyi’s father possessed the gift of telepathy with birds, and thus heard a great many things of love and wisdom from the creatures that soared high above the earth and witnessed many happenings. The conditions of his blessings, however, prohibited him from speaking to others of the nature of his gift, threatening to take his life if he did so. Kaikeyi never knew of her father’s blessing.

Kaikeyi and King Dasharatha had a beautiful marriage ceremony, attended even by the most prominent nobles of the neighboring kingdoms. There was dancing and song, and Queen Kaikeyi was overcome with joy at the beginning of her new life with Dasharatha and his first wife, Kaushalya. Despite the splendors of the evening, Kaikeyi found herself wrought with anxieties on her wedding night. As a child, she sought comfort in the royal stables, and thus ventured into the night to see her new steed. As she stood in the coarse hay, she stroked her horse’s fur and whispered her fears to him. The steed nuzzled against her, and Kaikeyi found herself overcome with emotion; her body was warmed like honey flowing, and there was golden music of violins that moved her to bittersweet tears. Her hands trembled as she petted the silken coat of her steed. She heard a voice in her head, speaking to her of the wonderful life that awaited her. He declared that he would be there to advise her in her toughest moments, as long as she could keep the nature of his magic a secret. Kaikeyi felt a sense of bravery, and after thanking her enchanted horse, departed back to the King’s bedchambers and was taken into his arms.

In the years following, Queen Kaikeyi’s struggle to conceive a son caused her to feel troubled. Again as before, Kaikeyi ventured out to the stables to visit her mystical steed and listen to his sage wisdom. Once again, she stroked his honeyed fur and her tears began to fall. Her horse advised her to perform a sacrifice in honor of the gods, and to use his enchanted body as the offering. He spoke to her of the great wisdom she would acquire from his freed spirit if she released him from his earthly body. She presented the instructions to her King, careful not to divulge the origin of the idea. Dasharatha proclaimed that the Ashwamedha would be held in offering to win the favor of the gods.

The next evening, Kaikeyi released her steed to wander, and the king’s warriors stalked him for a year, observing his majesty and protecting him from anyone who dared to challenge him. When the year passed, the stallion was led home to Ayodhya, and the chief queen Kaushalya slaughtered him. As the adhvaryu priest dismembered Kaikeyi’s stallion, the horse’s spirit was released and absorbed by the heart of Queen Kaiyeki. Overcome with joy and emotion once more, she felt a great wisdom enter her body. That night in their chambers, Kaikeyi told the King and her consorts that they would conceive a great many sons. This was pleasing to the King, and he rewarded Kaikeyi with two favors, which she held thenceforth close to her heart.


Author’s Note: I have altered a the details of the story of Kaikeyi and Dasharatha; in the original episode from the Ramayana, Dasharatha is moved to perform the horse sacrifice, the “Ashwamedha,” so that the gods will look in favor on him and grant him sons. The Ashwamedha was performed by releasing a stallion to wander for a year, while the priests perform certain sacred rituals and mantras. The ceremony is also very territorial, with the king’s warriors battling anyone that challenges the authority of the king as the horse wanders into neighboring territories. When the stallion was returned home a year after being released,  Kaushalya, the eldest and favorite queen, slew and dismembered the horse upon an altar, and the three queens sat beside its smoldering body for the night. There are other parts to the ritual, including the sacrificing of additional animals and the symbolizing of the birth of a new king, that you can read about here.  I changed the details of this episode, adding in Kaikeyi’s gift and relationship to her horse, in order to spotlight Kaikeyi, and to add some significance for her to the ceremony beyond that of the other two queens, raising the stakes for her as the protagonist of my story. I took the inspiration for this story from what I learned of Kaikeyi’s background upon further research. Her father had the gift of speaking to birds, and I wanted to see this gift manifest in Kaikeyi, using the horse in order to tie into the tradition of the sacrifice. I desired to see Kaikeyi portrayed as a strong heroine with a selfless nature. In the Ramayana, the two favors that Kaikeyi is rewarded at the end of my story were actually received years earlier and used to exile Rama after Kaikeyi’s nurse convinced her that her own son should be king. I wanted to use the favors as a reward for her helping the king through the suggestion of the ceremony and the sacrifice of her beloved horse because I thought Kaikeyi, as the most cunning queen, could also be kind, and would have shunned the words of her nurse.



Ramayana episode used:

Dasharatha’s Sons


Image information:

Queen Kaikeyi

Reading Notes: PDE Mahabharata: Part B


Bhima fighting with the rakshasa

I was very captivated by the episode in which a rakshasa woman, Hidimbi, the sister of the man-
eating rakshasa, had fallen in love with Bhima and offered to help him escape from her brother. I would like to take this story and turn it into a narrative from the rakshasa woman’s point of view. I think it would be interesting to do research on the rakshasa as it applies to Indian culture, and to perhaps delve into the life of this particular rakshasa woman and her thoughts and feelings as she crosses paths with Bhima.


In the episode “Bhima and Hidimbi” the Pandavas awake to behold the rakshasa sister’s

Gatokacha, the son of Bhima and the rakshasa woman. 

beauty as she keeps watch while Bhima fights the rakshasa chieftan. I am intrigued by the nobility and care of the rakshasa woman that she is so struck by love that she acts in the interest of Bhima and the Pandavas. Again, I would like to delve into the heart and mind of the sister and her character. The entire involvement of her character as it pertains to the Mahabharata, including the marriage to Bhima and the birth of their son, are very fascinating to me.


I already am enjoying the Mahabharata more than the Ramayana. I think that my stories in this section will reflect the strong female characters in the Mahabharata (shocker), such as Hidimbi, Queen Kunti, and Draupadi. I am both surprised and amused by Draupadi’s taking of five husbands and her past life; again, I would like to explore this narrative from the woman’s perspective. I am also curious as to how Arjuna’s time in exile would be in more detail, especially that of his time with Ulupi. I find it interesting that Arjuna would just take another lover and have a child with her upon departure from his wife.








Reading Notes: PDE Mahabharata, Part A

I find it very interesting that Ganga casts her children, the Vasas, into the river to return them to their celestial state. I do not find this action to be noble or just, however, it does remind me slightly of the biblical story of Abraham and God’s wish for him to sacrifice Isaac. I wonder what it would look like if there were to be a story in which Ganga falls in love with the King Shantanu by way of his compassion and soft heart when she drowns her children.

Again, I am reminded of biblical settings as Vyasa is born of the virgin Satyavati. I think it would be interesting to write a story in which Shantanu is driven by lust and does in fact disinherit Devavrata in order to marry Satyavati. In this narrative, the mighty Ganga could become driven by anger, or heartbreak depending on the direction the author takes, and seek her vengeance on Vyasa and the king.

Lady Amba


Obviously, I am not into the whole idea of the patriarchy, and would definitely alter some details in the story of Lady Amba. I would not have Amba submit herself to manhood because she believes that she is incapable as a woman. Additionally, I desire to see a story in which Lady Amba seeks her revenge on the king that turned her away, rather than on Bhishma. I also do not think it necessary for Amba to lose her beauty in order to become stronger. Perhaps as she seeks solace in the forest, she grows both physically and mentally stronger and more beautiful still. Women are absolutely allowed to be simultaneously strong and beautiful, and I do not wish to see beauty as a sign of weakness.



PDE Mahabharata