Short stories based on the Mahabharata.

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  1. Hello Eric,

    Niyoga Conception – I think artificial insemination is a better option. Maybe the vidhuans came up with this idea so in their moment of deprivation, they have a release avenue, otherwise they will look as if they broke their belief in practising austerity. Then among themselves, they take turns. Sorry I can’t help being cynical, living in this modern day context where you can barely trust your religious leaders.

    The other thing that always amuse me is why should a person be foul smelling and filthy to attain enlightenment, LOL.

    1. Hi Windy,

      Thank you for your visit and comment.

      I doubt they had the technology for artificial insemination. But, and a big but, if flying machines in ancient times were a reality – then, yes, they would have that means.

      Your suspicions regarding ulterior motives borders on conspiracy theory, but I would like to think that some men captilized on the sheer ignorance of the people. Even now, we hear news stories of bomoks and god-men who promise to cure a woman’s fertility by sleeping with them. LOL. This happens even now – so, can we blame the people of old?

      With regards to foul smelling rishis – well, when people sink into deep meditation (coupled with astral travel) for extended periods of time, their physical appearance and personal hygiene does take a back-seat, so to speak. This is something I believe is possible. But you’re right – one can always take a bath before visiting others.

      Have a great week ahead,

  2. Hello Eric,

    It’s been a rather hectic week for me, with more challenges to come. But never mind, take it one step at a time.

    Vichitra Virya – I’m not sure if I pity or envy the guy. Other than being sickly and a short life span, he practically sailed through life with no worries – hakuna matata, Swahili for “no trouble or no worries.” He’s got the looks, over-indulged in feasting, drinking and carnal activities. Died with no lineage which is just as well, can’t have more of the same brats running around. If we explore the idea that people passed through life to serve a purpose, I cannot fathom the basis of his existence.

    Have a relaxing weekend, Eric.

    1. Hi Windy,

      These are trying times for most of us. But I believe our god will not give us challenges we cannot handle or place obstacles we cannot surmount. It’s within us and I’m sure and can see that you are coping well, one-step at a time. Proud of you 😊

      Vichitra-Virya: Tibetan Buddhists believe all of us come to the Third for a purpose. Sometimes the purpose eludes us. Perhaps, we could step back a little for an overview.

      Sometimes, our destiny is not only to satisfy our purpose in life but also to help others fulfill theirs. All of us have this dual role, some more than others and some accomplish more in one role than the other. This is my belief. I hope I made sense.

      By such reckoning, Vichitra-Virya helped to test Bhishma’s oath and loyalty. Bhishma could have usurped the throne, as Satyavati always feared. But he never deviated from his promise. He elevated the boy-king Vichitra-Virya and served him with a good heart. In return for coming down to the Third and testing such a highly evolved person, Vichitra-Virya enjoyed an earthly life, his “reward”, when he could have done much more in another dimension and time, and gained much merit. That was Vichitra-Virya’s sacrifice and his pitiful reward. Pitiful as in poor because all the earthly pleasures pale when compared to heavenly bliss.

      That’s one possible explanation. Vidhuans will have a superior, wiser and truer explanation.

      All good wishes,

      1. Thank you for your encouraging words, Eric. You are right, I survived.

        As for Vichitra-Virya – I can share your belief, however the thought of the useless burger occupying a space on earth just puts me off. Maybe I’m going through a bit of a hard time so I am less forgivable, LOL.

  3. Hi Eric,

    Congrats for hitting the 1,000 subscribers. These short stories are really awesome and not to be missed.

    Drupada’s son – From Amba to Sikhandini to Sikhandi, the revenge continues. Maybe it is not such a bad idea that we do not remember our past lives when we are reborn. So we learn new things instead of continuing past mistakes, and hopefully be a better person.

    You mentioned of the African reed frog that can change gender from female to male, this is interesting but I wonder why scientists did not exploit this discovery.

    1. Hi Windy,

      Yes, it’s a bit of a milestone – the first 1,000 subscribers πŸ™‚

      I agree with your observation. We need to learn and move on, instead of lugging around baggage and especially something like vengeance.

      Re: African reed frog – I recall they tapped this scientific fact for the Jurassic Park movie franchise. As for scientists exploiting this – we need to tread with care, I reckon.

      Thank you for your visit and comment πŸ™‚


  4. Hello Eric,

    Being a girl from South-India, Mahabharata has been a part of my life. I’ve come across many versions of the book and everytime, it had something to teach me.
    I just completed your 4th newsletter ‘The She-Devil’ and I’ve fallen in love with your narrative style.

    I thank you so much for these newsletters and I so look forward for the next one in my inbox.


    1. Welcome aboard, Thribhuvani πŸ™‚

      As you probably guessed, it takes time and effort to research, draft, revise and edit the short stories. In addition to keeping track of story continuity, character development, scene setting etc. Therefore, when I receive wonderful comments such as yours – it gives a boost and keeps me going. Thank you very much.

      Going forward, I hope not to disappoint you and my faithful supporters.

      Keep well, keep safe, and hope to see you return with more comments,

  5. Amba’s Quest – Though I admire Amba’s dedication in her quest, cannot help feeling it’s a foolish obsession. Even if it is ancient time, there should be others who shared the same fate of being rejected like her. Can’t imagine everyone goes into austerities and out on a murder task, LOL. My sentiment is, couldn’t she have used all that wasted time to beautify herself, call upon the God of Charm if there is one, and help her attract another warrior.

    Have a good weekend, Eric.

    1. Now, that’s a great idea, Windy – to invoke the God of Charm πŸ™‚

      In popular culture, the characters in Mahabharata tend to be portrayed as black and white but a careful study reveals that all of them are multi-faceted. I hope my short stories bring out the rich and often conflicting emotions, beliefs and actions of the players.

      Have a great week ahead πŸ™‚

  6. Hello Eric,

    The Mahabharata series never stop to enchant.

    Amba’s Travails – From ancient times till today, ego and pride get in the way of our rationale. Many poor decisions made which I believe some regret in time while some are not able to extract themselves from this folly. Even Bhishma momentarily gave in. Am glad that we have since evolved, so getting dumped or rejected is not such a big deal, life goes on, we pick up and find another mate. What unnerved me is the men came up with this protect your honour and chastity thing, Satyavati is no saint herself, yet she wants to impose this on Amba the minute Satyavati becomes the mother-in-law-to-be

    1. Hi Windy,


      You subscribed to my newsletter and consistently posted comments for the first 10 episodes. You’re the first person to support my endeavors with such perseverance.

      As I small mark of appreciation, I wish to reward you with a book gift – a paperback copy of my novel, Song of the Ankle Rings πŸ™‚ I believe you bought an ebook copy. If you like an autographed paperback – let me know via email. I’ve sent you an email and you can reply there. Don’t forget to Include your mailing address.
      Once again, thank you for keeping me company.

      Re: Mahabharata is an ancient epic and many of their customs might not sit well with our modern norms. The storytelling technique used hyperbole and portrayed larger than life characters with extreme motivations.

      Looking forward to your email reply πŸ™‚

      1. What a surprise, Eric. Yes, I have the ebook copy of Song of the Ankle Rings, but an autographed paperback is even better. Thank you so much. I’ve just sent you my mailing address.

        Reading your work, be it flash fictions, articles, short stories, novels or poems has given me great insights and I am sure you will continue to give us more of your inspiring stories. Thanks, again.

      2. Thank you, Windy, and my pleasure.

        Your address received with thanks. When I mail out the book later this week, will drop you an email.

        Thank you for your kind words and encouragement.

        Keep safe,

  7. Hello Eric,

    Saw the increase in your Newsletter subscription, congrats. These are amazing stories and I hope more readers will get to enjoy it.

    Amba, Ambika and Ambalika – I wonder why parents like to give their children names that sound alike. I had a colleague once who grumbled that he and his sister always answered at the same time because they could not make out whose name was called, LOL.

    Swayamvara seems to be a common practice, but I question the real intention. If the bride gets the final say on her choice of husband, why go through swayamvara? Am sure the courtiers can act as ambassador to broach the marriage interests to the future groom. Or swayamvara is a means to flaunt the king’s wealth?

    Every episode gives new insights.

    1. Thank you, Windy,
      For your comment. Yes, I hope to reach 1,000 subscribers by month end. A tough call but am keeping my fingers crossed.
      Many parents follow naming conventions – and come festival time, dress the kids in the same “uniform” – LOL. Even now…
      Swayamwara was practised by royalty and for various reasons: a chance to give the men an opportunity to show off their skills; a semblance of choice given to the women; and yes, to flaunt power and wealth; etc. etc. I suppose we could write a treatise on this topic.

  8. Satyavati’s Sons – the Gandharva’s approach towards marriage and allowing the apsara woman to choose her husband, is a broad minded approach. As much as men had several relationships before they choose their wife, the same privilege is extended to women. Those arranged marriages, marriage of convenience and women’s virginity is vital, I feel that such prudish views often affect the marriage. There is much to learn and adopt from past traditions.

    Thank you Eric. Another exciting episode here.

    1. Hi Windy,
      Always welcome your well-thought comments. Thank you.
      Back in the ancient days, the “norms” were diversified. One gets hints of the diverse cultures from many sources. The figurines in temples that depict various acts of coitus hints of a liberal culture in some societies during a given period.
      Over the centuries, the prudes gained ascendancy and now even in the 21st century we hear of honour killings in some backward communities.
      Thank you for reading the short stories and glad that you find them exciting πŸ™‚
      All good wishes,

  9. For those who may be interested in identifying the areas covering modern India now as described by you as Kuru Pradesh perhaps they may like to see the maps in Wikipedia.
    Kuru (Sanskrit: ΰ€•ΰ₯ΰ€°ΰ₯) was the name of a Vedic Indo-Aryan tribal union in northern Iron Age India, encompassing the modern-day states of Delhi, Haryana, Punjab and some parts of western part of Uttar Pradesh, which appeared in the Middle Vedic period[1][2] (c. 1200 – c. 900 BCE) and developed into the first recorded state-level society in the Indian subcontinent.[3][note 1][4]

  10. Bhisma’s Vow – seriously, i wish Devavrata had told Satyavati’s father to keep his daughter. Even the king, his father, is not “worthy” of her. Then I guess, Bhisma would not have materialised.
    Here you portrayed Bhisma’s confidence and knowledge of his existence surpassed the petty greed and wants of mortals, even the gods were closed to interfering with his decision.
    Getting Satyavati to marry Shantanu – I foresee troubles.

    1. Hi Windy,
      Thank you for your comment πŸ™‚
      I had a chuckle – tell Satyavati’s father to keep his daughter – LOL!
      Well, Satyavati comes across as a scheming person. But we all have our parts to play, I reckon.
      Have a great week ahead,

  11. Hello Eric,
    In Shantanu meets Satyavati, I like the way you captured the different side of Shantanu. He as a kind and caring father and a good ruler. But he also indulged in this endearing juvenile behavior, reliving his youth when in love. it is a pity that he allows his idle mind to be a devil’s workshop.
    As for Satyavati and her father, greed knows no bound. For someone who had erred in her past, both father and daughter are giving a tall order.
    I don’t think Satyavati is good enough for Shantanu, let’s see if he let’s his heart rule his mind.

    1. Hi Windy,
      In my Mahabharata episodes, I’m taking a novelist’ approach and, within reason and not taking the story in a tangent, am weaving in character development.
      Shantanu returned to learn lessons. He knows what he needs to do but gives in to human failings. Or did he? Imagine, if he did not pursue Satyavati.
      As for Satyavati, let’s see how her character develops.
      Thank you for the comment πŸ™‚

  12. Kripa means grace, mercy, blessings in Sanskrit and of course Kripi is the feminine version of the thought. Kripa has a role to play in the future story. Let’s see how you bring this out. πŸ™‚

    1. Thank you, Ian,
      For that brief re the meanings. Kripacharya is an important supporting character.
      Contrary to popular belief, there are several versions of Mahabharata. Some versions don’t mention him until he pops up at the tournament of arms. I’m taking a novelist’s approach and decided to include an introduction at this early stage. There are several story strands branching out and even scholars cannot always agree which incident/event occurred first.
      It’s a task to pull the stories into a coherent whole without losing continuity but at the same time, keeping the tension to engage readers.
      All good wishes,

  13. Hi Eric,

    Devavrata – finally the truth of the killings was unveiled. Must be tough for Ganga to live and act on such a decision. I like the way you said Ganga related the story to Shantanu through telepathy.

    A bitter sweet relationship and heart-wrenching. But I reckon all has their own tasks to accomplish in this world and once done, we will leave.

    1. Hi Windy,
      I can’t imagine any mother enduring such a tragedy. Must be devastating.
      Telepathy – well, I’ve wondered how an immortal would communicate with mere mortals like us. Glad you liked that touch of telepathy πŸ™‚
      I believe we come to earth or similar rough worlds to learn through mistakes and experience. Those who don’t own up, don’t learn, will keep returning. Now, that’s the real hell, I reckon.
      Have a great week ahead,

  14. I have read the originals a couple of times but that was years ago so it is nice to have your stories in summary form as a reminder. To our modern mind these ancient epics may seem strange in their philosophy from time to time, but even in today’s India people accept what is presented there as rational for the times and understandable for them today.

    1. Hello Ian,
      To borrow terms used in modern novels, the Mahabharata has many characters and subplots but only one primary plot.
      When we delve into the backstories of the various “supporting” characters, it gets interesting and even confusing as there is quite a divergence. It’s a a job to pick through the various strands and pull them into a cohesive sequence. Challenging but also fascinating.
      All good wishes,

  15. Hello Eric,

    The She-Devil – I got two views on this episode.

    The first one is: I wonder if crime was committed for the greater good. Was it to fulfill a destiny? Now you make me doubtful – is the killer the offender or the one who mete justice on the killer is the offender.

    The second one is, given the current context, Ganga would have been caught for murder on the first kill and there will be no more six killings to carry out, LOL.

    1. Hello Windy,

      1st: When reading one episode at a time, one does not see the full picture. That’s the drawback with serials. Perhaps the next episode holds the answers πŸ™‚

      2nd: With regards to Ganga’s guilt – how many guilty ones in our modern society, especially those with power/money/connections, get away scot-free?

      Instead of looking outside, let’s focus on Singapore. This book is an eye-opener >>>


  16. HI Eric,
    Lotus in the Mud – what an apt description. Ganga must be the ultimate beauty in Shantanu’s eyes. Their planned reunion on earth was supposedly joyful but does not seem to be the case. Waiting for the next episode.

    I feel that you deliver more details in all aspects when presented in a short story and I simply enjoy it.

    1. Hello Windy,
      In ancient times, the need to procreate and produce a male heir drives the royals and becomes an obsession. In this relationship, the tables get somewhat turned.
      Thank you for your visit and comment,
      Eric πŸ™‚

  17. Hello Eric,
    I got my 2nd Newsletter, Mahabisha’s Indiscretion
    It’s a beautiful story with a tinge of sadness that human frailty oftentimes prevail. The words you used, I can only describe it as “tug at the heartstrings”.
    As for my thoughts – in a way I am glad it is not just us mere mortals who are prone to make mistakes, even the gods of higher realms failed too. And the bitter-sweet of human love is difficult enough on its own, but we had to pile it more with all the social morality and implications. Led me to wonder if we were among the “cursed” ones who had to come down and pay our penance. LOL.

    1. Hello Windy,
      I’m glad you like the story. As you might know, the original version comes across as “preachy”. I’m taking a novelist’s approach. Establishing scenes, characters and dialogue that is more down-to-earth, so to speak.
      Thank you for sharing your thoughts.
      Much appreciate your input:-)

    1. Good to know, Ian
      Hope you like the read πŸ™‚
      With people working from home, the internet has slowed down bad. And I’m on one of the “highest speed” subscriptions. LOL.

      1. Sorry about your internet problems. We are on the highest speed too but with all these people working from home now we do get occasional buffering watching YouTube series on high definition.

  18. Hello Eric,
    Re: Mahabharata Introduction
    I am so excited to receive your email with the 1st short story of the Mahabharata. Enjoy is quite an understatement. I was totally immersed.
    Just to share my thoughts: the divine works through mystifying channels, perhaps Vyasa was the chosen vessel to link the mortal and the divine, as the story told by the divine may be beyond the mortal’s understanding. Thanks to Vyasa’s perseverance, to this day the world never stop talking about the Mahabharata.
    Can’t wait for the next story.

    1. Thank you, Windy,
      For sharing your thoughts. The epic lends to many interpretations. I’m glad the first installment turned out well for you.
      You should receive the next episode one week from the first.
      Enjoy your weekend at home πŸ™‚
      Keep safe, keep well,

  19. Hello Eric,
    I have successfully subscribed to your newsletter. The system confirmed I am not a robot, LOL. I am so looking forward to read the short stories on the Mahabharata. Am sure it is going to be captivating.
    Meanwhile, have a great weekend.
    Cheers, Windy.

    1. Thank you, Windy
      You’re my first newsletter subscriber πŸ™‚
      I hope not to disappoint with the short stories.
      Be well and be safe,

      1. Hello and welcome aboard, Dhanalakshmi πŸ™‚
        I see that you received and opened my Welcome email. Thank you. In 2 days time, you will receive another email with a surprise gift for signing up. If you like the gift, let your friends know too.
        Thank you for signing up. Keep safe and keep well,

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