The Irony: Part 1

 

Ironic. That’s how my life is now. Ironic. Amid the clash of maces, clang of swords, whiz of bowstrings, all I am trying to do is remove the wheel of my chariot from the ground. It’s sad that I, the greatest archer in the world, am going to be killed by my own brother in this fashion.

In these last few minutes of my life, I guess you people deserve to know the truth. Before it is too late.

As they say, let me begin from the beginning.

I am Karna, the one born with the armour and ear-rings. My parents are Radha and Adhiratha, a charioteer couple. I was raised near the banks of the river Ganga.


 

I was always fascinated with archery. The sturdy bows, sharp bowstrings, and the keen arrows always had me stare in wonder. While my brothers employed their rough, coarse hands in lubricating chariots, I was busy utilizing my long, thin and nimble fingers for crafting rough bows made from the bark of trees. Whatever happened, I wanted to become an archer. The best archer in the world.

I didn’t need anything else except a good teacher. I am already born with this amazing golden armour that appears and disappears with my will, and nothing could penetrate it. Not to mention my earrings, which makes me glow like the Sun itself. Yeah, I know. I’m incredibly lucky.

Anyways, seeing my deepening interest in archery, my parents took the utmost pains to take me to a good teacher, who would teach me the complex skill of archery. Alas, it was a hopeless dream.

Every single guru we met, every single one, from Guru Drona to Guru Kripa, all of them rejected me. They stung my heart with their words, “You have great potential, my boy, but we cannot teach you, ah, for you are the son of a wretched charioteer. We do not accept suta-putras as our disciples.”

When honesty and sincerity fail, there is only one way left: trickery and deceit. I went to Guru Parashurama, the guru of Drona himself, and posed as a Brahmin to him. He had taken an oath to teach only Brahmins, and this was the only way I could learn from him.


 

One day, towards the end of my training, Guru Parashurama was sleeping, resting his head on my lap. Suddenly, a scorpion appeared from nowhere, and stung my thigh. Not wanting to disturb my guru’s hard-earned rest, I bore the pain. But I guess the warm blood trickling down my thigh could not be controlled, for my guru woke up, and started scolding me.

“Oh Vasusena, what have you done? You told me that you were the son of a Brahmin, but no one, not even I, can bear the pain of a scorpion sting without even a whimper. Surely then, you must be a Kshatriya, for only a person with royal blood in his veins can bear it.”

I was startled. I had expected him to respect my effort of not to wake him up, and here he was, calling a suta-putra a Kshatriya. Slip of the tongue, I guessed.

“You fool, knowing my hatred of Kshatriyas, how dare you come here in the guise of a Brahmin? I curse you, oh Karna, that in the hour of need, may you forget the use of the divine weapons!”

Great. I spend all my life learning the use of divine weapons, and here my great guru is, cursing me to forget all of them.

I couldn’t bear my guru being so disappointed in me. He had once told me that I was equal to him in all skills of warfare. My guru love me deeply. I couldn’t let this happen. I couldn’t disappoint him in this way.

I’ll ask for his forgiveness. There must be something, something I could do to be pardoned. But deep inside, I knew it was impossible. Nothing could change my guru’s mind. There was practically no hope that he would show me even an iota of pity for the crime I have knowingly committed.

“However, being the excellent and diligent student that you were, I give you a boon too. Here, take my bow, Vijaya.The string of this bow cannot be broken by any kind of divine weapon. Every time an arrow is released from this bow, it will create a terrible twang as loud as thunder, causing terrible fear in the hearts of your enemies, and will produce flashes of light, as brilliant as lightning, which will blind your enemy.

This bow cannot be broken by any weapon or anyone, and it is so heavy that a normal person cannot even lift it. Every time an arrow is aimed, the energy of the arrow is amplified by multiple times, as this bow is charged with sacred mantras.

Bowing down, I received the celestial Vijaya, the last show of affection to me by my guru. I will preserve this bow for future use, I thought.

“Take this bow, and show me not your face again,” my guru said with rage.

I reeled. I had thought of telling him the truth and begging his pardon before I left the gurukula, but I never expected it to come off this way.

(to be continued…)

 


For Writing 201, Intros and Hooks.

 

 

A Friend Like You

“You stood by me,

When I was suffering…

You consoled me,

When I was crying…

You supported me,

When I was struggling.

What would I do,

Without a friend like you?

 

You know my darkest secret,

And my worst moments.

Even though you know me completely,

You always discover something new in me.

You have contributed to my success,

And helped me overcome my failures.

What would I do,

Without a friend like you?”

These are the first stanzas of the poem written by Krina, my best friend, and I last year for our school magazine (which never got published). We brainstormed this one, spending only one week for drafting,writing, editing, rewriting, and submitting the poem. I am proud to say that it received much appreciation from our jealous classmates.


 

Krina and I were more like best frenemies, I guess, We both had incredibly conflicting personalities – she was an extroverted, pretty, social butterfly; and I, an introverted, reclusive bookworm. We were not meant to be an example of perfect friendship.

Every other day, we’d yell at each other (okay, she’d rarely yell, I was the one who did all the yelling). Stuff like hearing “Don’t judge me, okay! Do you know ANYTHING about my life?” and “You…You used me! You used me completely like…like a tissue paper!!!” were common to our classmates. Often, these things sounded so stupid and cliched to ourselves that as soon as we said it, we’d forget our argument and start rolling on the floor with laughter. Such was our friendship.


 

Despite all our conflicts, we both had a common dream: to grow up, do well in our respective careers (Krina wants to be a vet while I want to be a lawyer, yeah, I love arguing), become rich, and then build a free school for poor kids with a pet shelter attached. Odd as it may seem, the school idea was Krina’s and the pet shelter idea was mine.

We have already designed the uniform, wanting it to be modern and snazzy, unlike our current uniform (which looks like something out of a 1940’s black-and-white TV). Our modern ideas don’t want to trouble kids with books. Solution? Use tabs!!! The school won’t have the same, old, boring model making – it’ll have cool, virtual 3D models. And most importantly, we won’t have the boring, drowsy teacher-student school – we’ll redefine the meaning of school. And we still hope that we will become rich enough to implement all these ideas – for free.


 

One vivid memory I cherish with my friends is the day I gobbled Krina’s lunch. She had brought this delicious aloo paratha to school. Hindi, the (then) most boring subject had just gotten over, and my friends and I were starving. I had brought a banana (ugh!!!) and my friends had fared no better. So when Krina opened her box of deliciously warm aloo paratha and sauce, it was too much to resist. Provided that her mom was an excellent cook. Suffice to say, I went home with a full stomach and an empty mind, thanking Krina, while Krina went home with an empty stomach and and a full mind – plotting revenge.


 

 

 

Our tastes vastly differed in music too. While I desired melodious pieces by Arijit Singh, Krina preferred Yo Yo Honey Singh’s rap. As a result: conflict. However, we overcame these differences very soon, and started liking the other’s faves. Now, I love Blue Eyes and she loves Milne Hai Mujse AayiIn fact, it is more than that, we both are avid followers of both Arijit Singh and Yo Yo Honey Singh.


All said and done, we both are inter-dependent on each other. We live in a symbiotic relationship. Even now, whenever I am incredibly upset, I call her, have a good cry, get consolation, start smiling, and keep the phone. The same goes for her too.

What would I do without a friend like you, Krina???

For Writing 201, Finding Your Angle and Mystery Ending.

Dentists : A Pain In The Tooth

I have ALWAYS been scared of dentists. Who hasn’t???

And I’ve always been the unlucky one in my family forced to visit them every now and then. No, I don’t eat chocolates. Nor do I eat all those mouth-damaging sugars. But cavities were always attracted to me. And so were dentists.

Their thin, long, instruments; their smiling faces as they prepare to torture the patients; the fake look of understanding and sympathy as they say “Everything will be all right”, when everything will NOT be all right; all these and more freak me out.

Yes, I really, really hate dentists.

Once you enter their ice-cold clinic, they’ll smile at you, and seat you on the torture seat, and tell everything’s gonna be alright, while thinking of the best way to cause you as much pain as possible.

They inject you with some tooth numbing liquid. It pains a lot and you wince. They smile at you, and say everything’s gonna be alright.

Then, they spray your tooth with all those disgusting sprays that is supposed to make your tooth ‘stronger than ivory’. You scream due to the shock and force of the spray. The dentists smile at you and say everything’s gonna be aright.

Finally, with sharp instruments, they fill the cavity with cement, and accidentally poke your gums. You cry out in pain. They STILL smile at you and say everything’s gonna be all right.

Sadists.

After the torture is completed, they charge you an exorbitant fee. No, you say. I didn’t get the tooth pulled out, I just came for the free oral health check up. Sorry, the now-unsmiling dentists say. That offer has expired.

Yeah, they are right, since the offer didn’t exist only.

So, dear dentists, please don’t pull our pockets on the pretext of pulling our teeth.

For Writing 101, Day SeventeenWriting 201, Finding Your Key Moment.