Thursday, February 13, 2020

Week 5 Story: Shurpanakha

These events take place all during one detention period in a high school not unlike what we’ve known
As the camera tracks back we’re made aware of the fact that we’re observing this field from inside a room - camera holds on the glass
Hold on shot for uncomfortable amount of time
Door open, student enters and takes seat
(She’s superfluously dorky)
New girl glances around room, eyes resting momentarily on a boy, she then takes her seat near caddy-corner the boy of interest

All of this occurs through the same shot, we now get a tracking zoom on the new girl, Panny, who appears mortified
(quietly to herself)
Oh man, hope he didn’t see that
(Panny and Boy are positioned such that we can see them both clearly in this wide shot, opposite extremes)
(lacking enthusiasm)
This is what you all get for being deadbeats; we now get to sit around in this room together all day, because a sensible punishment for lack of attention in school is reinforcing the idea that school is boring. If we punish in the same space we educate there should be absolutely no subconscious cross-association, rather you’ll all simply learn to pay attention. Especially you Mr. Football, you’re not above the system.
(To himself)
This is ridiculous, all I did was act on anticipated preferential treatment because I’m a sports star.
Panny stands up and moves closer to Mr. Football
Hey, what’re you in for?
I skipped a test. It’s so stupid, I wouldn’t have passed anyway why is everyone acting like it’s important that I take it?
Maybe they just want to see what you can accomplish if you try? I’ve always seen you from the stands, if you can take a study with the same dedication you bring to sports, I’m sure you’ll pass.
Wow, you sure are smart. I never thought about it that way - I’m so gifted athletically, it only follows that this skill would transfer to academics.
You’re the most handsome man I’ve ever seen, do you want to date me?
Of course not, I already have a girlfriend, but maybe he’d say yes
Mr. Football gestures to a similarly unfortunate boy a few rows down
But wait, I’ll take off my glasses and you’ll see that I’m beautiful
Panny removes her glasses and takes her hair out of its whale spout
That didn’t change anything; why would you expect that to change anything? You’re still the exact same person, you have the same face it’s just not covered by your spectacles. I just don’t see why you thought that taking off your glasses would cause some massive shift in appearance, that’s a silly thing to think.

Author's Note:
I was having a really hard time finding a rhythm this week and couldn't entirely nail down what it is I should write. I ultimately decided to write the meeting of Rama and Shurpanakha, this time as a critique on the movies of John Hughes. This is an extremely heavy handed telling in this genre; the dialogue is very much on the nose, but it still fills the function of retelling this encounter in broad strokes. Rama spurns the advances of Shurpanakha, suggesting his brother as a slight to her, despite her altered appearance. Oftentimes these 80's movies have a moment where the geeky gal changes her hairstyle and removes her glasses and everyone has some shocking revelation that she's been beautiful the whole time and they were wrong to write her off as a dork. It's a tricky situation, but I believe these movies oftentimes make this moment hit hard as a result of characters' complete lack of effort to like people for personality; these moments are always rooted in appearance and as such are pretty superficial and hurtful when you get down to it. This motivated me to write this little deal, but admittedly it's not fantastic.

PDE Ramayana | Valmiki
Photo Source:
Rama Spurns the Demon | Warwick Goble

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Reading Notes: Ramayana Part B

The tale of Promila is interesting as we are given much more insight into the motivations of the opposition. The strengths the opening chapters on Sita possess, that of delving into character motivation, desires, and thoughts, are clearly mirrored here as we are given the reverse of the Ramayana. Oftentimes in epics we see the villains as very one-dimensionally horrific; they lack complexity as they're often underwritten in an attempt to make them seem more villainous. This shallowness is contrasted with the heros, who are often written to have a much more natural evolution, so that the reader may identify with them more. This telling of the Ramayana breaks from tradition it seems, as it gives equal attention to the adversaries, making their motivations seem much more justifiable and acceptable. Indrajit is motivated to slay Rama and Lakshmana as they've killed his brother, Lanka is very much a developed nation - rather than being simply a "strong southern fastness". There is grace and humility in Lanka, we feel the suffering at the loss of Indrajit - whereas the PDE Edition very much makes the loss of Indrajit unilaterally a victory. The chapter of Sakuntala is another example of this same development, as we're given a much more intimate telling of a known character.

Source Information:
Nine Ideal Indian Women | Sunity Devee

Photo Credit:
Indrajit after victory over Indra | Raja Ravi Varma

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Reading Notes: Ramayana Part A

This telling of Sita's tale in the Ramayana follows fairly closely to that which we've read earlier in this semester. However, there is a lot more explanation and emotional evolution in this telling. We see consistently throughout this writing that Sita is a much more self-aware character than we see in the PDE Ramayana. Additionally, we also see much more of the background happenings and emotional motivations in this version. We see the development of Sita's familial background, as well as the turmoil caused by Queen Keykaya and her wish for her son to be crowned king. This telling paints Sita as a stronger character than shown in the PDE Edition - she consistently implores Rama to be involved in his persecutions and trials, rather than simply guilty by association.

The general plot progression has already been developed in previous reading notes as this telling follows closely the previous iteration read.

Photo Source:
Idischer Maler | The Yorck Project

Nine Ideal Indian Women | Sunity Devee

Friday, February 7, 2020

Storybook Plan

For this project I'm hoping to adapt the following stories into a more accessible format. I likely won't lean very hard on era change, but rather just make the whole world of the story a bit more palpable. I intend to do this by way of screenplay, as I have with the writing assignments until now. In these retellings I'm trying to study the depiction of monkeys in a few key Jataka tales. The stories I plan on using are TAYODHAMMA-JĀTAKA, VĀNARINDA-JĀTAKA, ĀRĀMADŪSAKA-JĀTAKA, NAḶAPĀNA-JĀTAKA, and SUṀSUMĀRA-JĀTAKA.

I'm thinking this will be a bit more of a thematic link anthology, rather than linked as a singular story or narrator. I'm hoping to focus on the tendency of the monkeys to rely on wisdom and cunning to make the best of their situation. However, one of the stories portrays them as much more simple minded - which will be an interesting case study as it breaks from the norm.

Jakata Tales

Comment Wall

Return to Jataka Monkey Storybook

Photo Credit:
Mahakapi Jataka in Sanchi | 1st Century BCE

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Microfiction: Ice

Hint Fiction: Lubricus

One step further than the right amount, confidence of the most detrimental degree. One moment of peace, before all falls out; the feet once trusted fail the owner, as the ground becomes all too familiar.

Dribbles: Rickety

The ankle always trusted is now compromised; interest leads to downfall. As the body once strong falls to the earth, strength was the demise. We see pride leading into failure, but rarely do we see motivation touting surrender.

Author's Note:

This is my attempt at being somewhat succinct in writing; this is no small task for me as I tend to be somewhat flowery in writing. Both of these little 'stories' are centered in reality, as making my way to class today was somewhat terrifying. I currently don't have any stability in my left ankle as I tore the ligaments extensively in a climbing accident, so even the slightest slip on the sidewalk ice was problematic as I can't catch myself or balance effectively whatsoever. These stories use my current lack of faith in my body and more importantly the reason for this issue to explore the lack of confidence brought about by the loss of stability in walking. The stories vary in that the first is focused more on the walking material, hence the use of Lubricus, and explores a bit more the emotion of slipping and falling not due to the owner, but due to the lack of sureness in footing. However, the second story focuses more on the failure of the owner to handle the walking well, and as such is more self-deprecating and defeated in tone.

Photo Credit:
Grey Patch | Kurt Bauschardt

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Reading Notes: Ramayana D

This final episode in the Ramayana focuses on closing what has been opened in the previous entries. We open with Rama and his army closing on Lanka and needing to get across to the kingdom. Garuda comes to heal the army of Rama - who've been injured by Ravana's son Indrajit. There are numerous attempts at psychological warfare by both Ravana and Indrajit, but ultimately Lakshmana kills Indrajit, causing Ravana to ride to battle to slay Lakshmana. Rama uses his brahma-weapon and kills Ravana. Mandodari mourns the loss of her husband Ravana. We then turn to Rama and Sita, whose story doesn't come to a head as we've expected. Rama comes to Sita and puts her down, saying that since she's been living with another man for too long, and as the king of Ayodhya he can't take someone who's been loose as his bride. Sita, upon hearing this, insists of her purity and requests a funeral pyre to prove her faith - calling Agni to hear her. We see Sita enter the fire and hear her torment, the gods come down and speak to Rama clarifying his position. Rama takes Sita back to Ayodhya in Ravana's chariot. Rama returns just in time to prevent Bharata's suicide. Rama is coronated. Some time passes, then Sita goes into exile, Lakshmana fades into Heaven, and Rama decides his time is past as well - returning to heaven as Vishnu.

There's less of an emphasis on cosmic balance or weird theoretical extensions, rather we see more about resolution. This entry is centered on closing what's been opened, and the filling of the prophesied arcs. 

Photo Credit:
Rama and Lakshmana fight Ravana | Augustus Franks