Short stories based on the Mahabharata.

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83 comments

  1. Hi Eric,

    The Wax Palace – how appropriate the title. When you are riding high, evil lurks to pull you down from your pedestal. Greed and envy have no bounds. Riches of the world is but made of wax, yet we continue to hoard more.

    I love how you illustrate the tight bond of the Pandavas and their mother. Each of different talent and temperament, ever ready to defend and protect one another.

  2. Hello Eric,

    Karna, Parasurama’s Disciple – it’s the same old saying, when it was never meant to be yours, no matter how hard you try, you will not get it. Even when you get it, it will somehow goes away. I think the motive of wanting something also matters perhaps.

    It is now episode 29, how fast time flies when we are entertained by your beautiful stories.

    1. Hi Windy,

      That’s true is it not? If it’s yours, it will always return. If not meant to be, even the bird in a cage flies off when we open the gate to feed it.

      Yes, episode 29 and 4 more episodes to conclude Book 1 – The Beginning.

      Thank you for having stayed with me 🙂
      Eric

  3. Hello Eric,

    Guru-Dakshina – there is a Chinese saying: When will the gratitude and grudges of this world end. Those who enwrap themselves and live for this purpose, sadly may discover they have lost so much time in this pursuit. An act of kindness may not be repaid by the same person, and retribution may come in other forms too, I think that’s why it is called the circle of life.

    There is much to learn and sometimes re-learn, every episode has been very inspiring. Thank you, Eric.

    1. Hi Windy,

      I went “wow” when I read your comment. Insightful, to say the least. Thank you for the sharing 🙂

      Appreciate your encouraging words.

      All good wishes,
      Eric

  4. Sacrificial Flesh and Blood – sometimes people harboured and sought revenge for many years and when finally “justice” was dealt, they do not feel any joy at all. This contradiction may be what makes humanity meaningful. We wonder why God said to forgive and move on, maybe He knew the uncomfortable ending we will face.

    The vivid description in the scene of Karna’s act is deeply heart wrenching. What agony his father must have gone through to witness this. Your words immensely heighten the feat.

    1. Hi Windy,

      In my younger days, fed by media (movies/tv), I too believed in settling scores. Over the years, I discerned and decided to let go. What a great burden off my back. Of course, I did not accomplish this all by myself. Family and dear friends helped me to be a better person. Bless them.

      I raked my mind on how best to portray Karna’s sacrifice. It took several days of long walks before I arrived at a setting that pleased me no end. It was moving to write this scene but it is one my better pieces, even if I say so myself.

      Glad you enjoyed the read,
      Eric

  5. Hello Eric,

    King of Anga – happens quite often whether in ancient or modern times, regardless of your abilities and competence, your “caste” matter. When you have both of the same measures, then the family background is taken into consideration. That is how narrow our decision is based on.

    1. Hi Windy,

      Yes, “caste” does matter even in our current Singapore society. Take a look at the “class” of people holding high positions in government, GLCs, and government linked bodies (sports, cultural, arts, etc.) Sigh!

      All good wishes,
      Eric

  6. Hi Eric,

    Happy weekend once again.

    Champion of Champions – I can’t help but find the decision rather bias. Both Kauravas and Pandavas excel in what they do best. For me, it is not comparing apple with apple. If all of them can shoot on target, but Arjun took it to a higher level with his stunt, yes he is the champion. Kudos to Karna who dared to challenge this.

    1. Hi Windy,

      The decisions are based on caste and norms then prevalent. Given that, the decisions were correct. Society has changed now and we find those decisions unpalatable.

      Many decisions in our modern society are also biased – all under the guise of “rule of law”.

      The recent court case of the Indonesian maid in Singapore is a smear on Singapore that is yet to be fully resolved. The authorities let off the wealthy and well-connected family (who framed the maid) with a warning – no jail time, not even a fine. If not for the maid’s pro bono lawyer, she would have languished in jail for the so-called “thefts”.

      But things will change for the better when we have an alternate government – and it will happen in our lifetime, I reckon.

      Cheers!
      Eric

  7. Hi Eric,

    Drona, Drupada and Parasurama – oftentimes we are told to be careful of what we promised, when we have no intention or we are consciously aware it is impossible to deliver. The person who extracts such promises to satisfy himself has literally thrown the burden and responsibility to the recipient, which may not be totally fair depending on the circumstances. Personally I am not a strong believer of promises. As long as there is an element of sincerity in the help extended to me, that is good enough. In the same way, I will extend help within my power. Perhaps I am calculative, some may say. I like happy ending, so all may not prosper but at least survive to keep trying.

    Hope you have a nice break over the weekend.

    1. Hi Windy,

      Thank you for reading the newsletter and for your comment 🙂

      Promises are given away without much thought. Often, people are sincere when they make promises but fell by the wayside. This is forgivable, I reckon.

      But sometimes, people tell deliberate lies when they make “promises”. This type of betrayals are difficult to forgive. I’ve fallen victim to fraud committed by people closest to me – extended family. There will always be a price to be paid by such fraudsters – both by the victims and the perpetrators. For myself, at this stage of my life, I simply forgive and move on.

      All good wishes,
      Eric
      P/s. A bit of a personal revelation but it’s good to get it out of the system, I suppose.

  8. Hello Eric,

    I had been away for a while, piled up with assignments to complete. When I thought I completed it, new ones add on. There was a chap who once said to my colleagues and I that he tends to overwork; stretching more hours than the official time when working from home. I did not believe him then. Anyway, glad I managed to get back to my favourite short story.

    Regarding Kauravas and Pandavas, I truly believed that everyone is here to finish their task in life. The gift or curse are assigned accordingly. When one tries to greed for more or tries to avoid the issue, destiny will somehow veer you to take a step back. This is where your decision affects the course. So you see others who seem to have it all smooth sail while some struggle long. We are but the puppets on a string.

    Enjoy your weekend, Eric.

    1. Hi Windy,

      I’d been busy too. Working from home has its own set of challenges, including the lack of instant interaction with co-workers. It also requires discipline on the part of the staff and trust on the part of management. I can go on, I suppose, but you know better…

      Like you, I too believe we’re here to carry certain tasks and in the process acquire knowledge, experience and wisdom that will help us evolve to be better beings. To do so, we arrive here with certain tools – gifts and obstacles – which we believe will help us achieve our goals. Problem is, most of us don’t remember of goals. Therefore, we “muddle” through our lives and get distracted by the “shiny objects” on earth – which is a true hell.

      All good wishes,
      Eric

  9. Hello Eric,

    Happy weekend.

    Pandu’s Folly – well, what a pleasurable way to die, LOL. Who is to fault him. Ironically that curse sort of backfired, he died a happy man. Why live long to suffer when you can end with a big bang. He was a great warrior and brought prosperity to his country and people. Glad you give him a memorable ending, Eric.

    1. Hi, Windy,

      Trust the week is treating you well 🙂

      I know of at least one case of a man who passed away while making love – poor fellow suffered a heart attack. It seems like a happy way to go. Big bang, you say – LOL!

      Yes, Pandu was a great warrior and ruled well but also succumbed to his weakness. Most Mahabharata stories in popular culture (movies/TV series and even novels) give Pandu only a fleeting reference. He is more famous as the father of the Pandavas rather than in his own right.

      I’m happy to have given him a memorable ending.

      Cheers!
      Eric

  10. Pancha Pandavas (The Five Pandavas) – Believe many can relate to why Pandu behaved irrationally when it concerns Madri, someone so dear to him. Regardless of what relationship is involved: parents and children, teacher and students, master and disciples, even god and mortals, very often there is a slightly more favoured one among the group. The true self of the affected will be revealed; his decisions and reactions. An interesting observation.

    You explored and exposed Pandu’s weakness very well, Eric.

    1. Hello Windy,

      Thank you for your kind words.

      Yes, it is difficult to treat everyone in your life with equal favour and fervour – but it’s possible. Speaking for myself, I love and treat my three children the same. Hopefully, this equal love endures.

      In Mahabharata, the original authors have built in plenty of conflict situations. Pandu’s relationship with Madri and Kunti is a classic love-triangle of a man with two wives. Though the men usually reckon and promise they will love their wives equally, one wonders why even take a second wife if you love the first so much.

      Cheers!
      Eric

  11. Hello Eric,

    Pandu abdicates the Throne – I am curious to know why Bhishma proposed for Dhristarashtra to be the caretaker king. Would it be fair to Dhristarashtra that Pandu can come back anytime to claim his seat? What is it that Bhishma sees in Pandu which he deems will make Pandu a better king that Dhristarashtra? Is it just because Dhristarashtra is blind or Bhishma sensed the greed in Sakuni’s influence?

    This episode is packed with many questions on where the story will lead to. Delightful read.

  12. Hello Eric,

    Pandu’s Curse – what a conflicting situation, this is both a curse and a blessing in disguise, depends on what is of greater significance to Pandu. Again, we see Satyavati’s lineage discontinued.

    Most people allowed gossips to affect their lives, even when they know that gossips change swiftly. A hero one day and the next day a villain. Sadly the consequence of becoming a victim to gossips is usually unpleasant.

    1. Hi Windy,

      You’re right. His curse is double-edged. According to the plot-line, he is infertile. It is not stated in Mahabharata but I added this “twist” to the curse. It gives an excuse as to why he had not had children and renders the story plausible.

      Ultimately, gossip hurts the perpetrator more than the victim, I reckon.

      Peace,
      Eric

    1. Hello Jane dear,

      Thank you for popping in 🙂 Trust all is well in your neck of the woods.

      Going flat-out to meet several (self-imposed) deadlines, leaving almost no time for blogging for now.

      Keep safe, keep well, lovely buddy,
      Eric

  13. Hi Eric,

    Pandu weds Kunti Devi – regardless of race and period, people with position of power often choose a spouse whose family are of the same or higher stature, to strengthen their alliance. Outside this marriage, they will have their own secret lovers.

    I agree with you that Madri comes across as lively, genuine and forthright. Wish she had found a better suitor than Pandu.

    1. Hi Windy,

      Natural selection in the wild and the wild (:-)) is the norm for a species’ survival. The ancients resorted to a caste system which arguably worked well at one time – but not anymore.

      In modern societies, the wealthy and powerful marry within their circles but that does not stop a driven person from gaining entry into their exclusive club. We’ve many self-made people as role-models. By that token, many once rich and powerful people have also fallen by the wayside. Arguably, modern societal norms are “better”. But there remain a large minority who continue to cling to “class”.

      In most Mahabharata stories, Madri is treated as a poor second to Kunti. Hopefully, my stories give credit due to her.

      Cheers!
      Eric

  14. Hi Eric,

    Kunti Devi – the rishi seems to come in a standard package, foul smell and temper, maybe has got to do with all the deprivations, LOLOL. I would have thought the astral travels, divine learning and accumulation of power are meant to extend mercy and forgiveness, impart knowledge of the higher realm and show kindness. Perhaps they march to a different call. Just as well, Kunti extracted a valuable gift.

    I like the way you depict the scene on Kunti’s divine conception, her innocence is rather endearing and amusing.

  15. Hello Eric,

    The Golden Age of Hastinapura – just as well Dhristarashtra is blind, otherwise he will have a hard time differentiating a hundred sons and remembering their names, LOL. I am curious how the boon works. Believe that scientifically it is not possible for Gandhari to physically birth so many children. Now if the children were not of Dhristarashtra’s genes, then I reckon they are not biologically linked to the Kuru line, and what the modern days will consider illegitimate. Ironically they are not of Satyavati’s lineage. The true lineage should be Yuyutsu – conceived by a low born Vaishya woman and his daughter, Duśśalā.

    Oh, I love these complicated relationship, so juicy and meaty, hahaha!

    1. Hi Windy,

      Yes, a hundred sons and a hundred names to remember. Moreover, I’m sure each of them had pet names and titles too. Name tags might have helped 🙂

      One version of the boon states that Gandhari gave birth to a lump of flesh. Vyasa appeared and advised her to cut the lump of flesh into a hundred pieces and place them in a hundred jars filled with ghee (clarified butter). The lumps grew, the jars broke and a hundred sons ensued. In keeping with my style and story flow, I ignored these “details”.

      As for lineage, if we applied modern norms, many of the actors in Mahabharata cannot claim direct descent from their acknowledged mortal parents.

      You’re right, the relationships lend impetus to the conflicts that follow.

      Cheers!
      Eric

  16. Hi Eric,

    How are you? Before moving on to my praising to you, I would like to ask you “How did you develop the interest on Indian Epic The Mahabharath? Where did this thought emerge from?”

    Being an Indian I’m mesmerized the way you explained. I’m overwhelmingly happy to read your short stories.
    You nailed in explaining the Epic Mahabharath as short as possible. There are many versions of this holy book but your short stories are fantastic!!!

    Almost every Indian is connected with the story of the Mahabarath. It’s not just a story but it’s a guide on how to lead the human life. It’s a diversified book and gives almost all qualities what human should possess to reach the God.

    Out of the world facts, Vyasa took 3 years to complete this Epic. You are doing an amazing work and profoundly explaining every phase in just 3 pages.

    My best wishes for your work. Cheers on having more than 1000 subscribers!!

    Kudos to your commitment.

    Astonished to have many western enthusiastic readers committed to read your short stories.

    1. Hi Nikhil,

      Thank you for your visit. I’m well and hope and trust that all is good with you and your loved ones.

      When I was a teenager and working with an old Chinese mechanic (a rough but deep thinking man), he got me interested in Tibetan Buddhism. That triggered an interest regarding the connections between the corporeal and ethereal realms. I’d devoured books on spiritualism ever since. My search led me to the Greek epics and Mahabharata and Ramayana. Not too long ago, I started on the Puranas.

      I’ve always wanted to write succinct stories to cater to people who lacked time. Now that I’m retired from the corporate world – I’ve some time for my passion. So, I’m indulging myself with reading, researching, writing and editing – and book publishing. I don’t enjoy the publishing chores but it comes with the territory.

      Many of my blogging friends from Europe, the Americas and Australia/NZ have read/studied the Mahabharata in school. Imagine that! I first learned of this in 2014 when I posted some Mahabharata posts. The response from the west was unexpected.

      You’re very right. There are many versions of the Mahabharata and rightly so because the epic lends itself to many interpretations. The different versions, penned by gifted writers who had come before us, provoke thought, reflection and self-discovery.

      Compared to that sea of human genius, my efforts are woefully pitiful. In this regard, your high praise humbles me and gives me impetus to do better.

      Thank you for your kind words and wishes. Thank you also for subscribing to my newsletter. I hope not to disappoint.

      All good wishes,
      Eric Alagan

  17. Hi Eric,

    Vidura the Avatar of Dharma – whether it is ancient time or current days, some things don’t change. When a person is ill-dressed, he is often judged guilty of misconduct or banditry in this case, sigh!

    Next is the person in authority, when he feels the person pleading is at his mercy, he will try to brush off his poor judgement with some excuse, hoping the person will go away. And they call themselves the Dispenser of Justice, what an irony!

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