Thursday, June 28, 2012

Yaksha Prashna - I

(A drama adapted for Glitter, based on the 'Yaksha Prashna' from the Mahabharata)

Time ~ 800 to 5000 BC, depending on whom you ask.
Place – Deep in the forests of ancient India, by the side of a pristine pond.
Chief feature – Everyone has a smart phone and is on Glitter. That's right, what we knew as Twitter was acquired by Google in 2014. They renamed it Glitter. They have THAT then. Glitter is very similar to Twitter except it has circles.

A Yaksha in the form a crane. He is also the quiz master who quizzes from @quiz_Or_die
Pandava brothers - @Yudhistira, @Bhima, @Arjuna, @Nakula, @Sahadeva, their wife- @Draupadi,
Krishna himself - @Krishna
@Karna - The King of Anga aka Sutaputra.
@Kauravas – The 100 Kaurava brothers (yes, they share the same handle). 

Background: The Pandava princes are in the last part of their 14 year exile in the forest. One afternoon, a hermit came by and asked for help. My andriod charger got accidentally entwined in a deer's antlers, which then ran off. Please bring back my charger, he requested.
Bound by Kshatriya duty, the Pandavas put aside surfing the web and followed the deer. The deer panicked and ran off deep into the thick jungle. After a long chase, the Pandavas got tired and thirsty. Pausing the search, @Yudhistira, the oldest, asked @Sahadeva, the youngest, to fetch some water.

Act 1. @Sahadeva approaches the pond.

A crane is relaxing in the pond, laughing, for he is ROFLing to a gleet. But his mood darkens when he spots @Sahadeva.
Halt! he thunders. O son of Madri! You cannot drink water from my lake unless you answer my questions. Or else you will die.
@Sahadeva is shocked. But he quickly recovers and thinks, duh, talking crane is all is interesting but a crane is a crane is a crane. I've got to gleet about this later. Hehe. He ignores the crane and drinks some water. Boom. He falls dead on the spot.

Act 2. @Nakula approaches the pond.
(After waiting for a while @Yudhistira had sent @Nakula in search of @Sahadeva and water).

@Nakula sees the water and moved by intense thirst, takes some in the cup of his palms.
Stop! O son of Madri, he hears. He turns and sees a crane. Then he sees his twin brother lying dead. The water spills from his trembling hands.
@quiz_Or_die: You have to answer my questions before you can drink. Or else you will die like your brother.
@Nakula is shocked. The whole thing feels surreal, right out of a sci-fi palm-leaf book. He decides to go along.

@Nakula: Can I use Glitter, can I gleet the question if I don't know the answer?
@quiz_Or_die: Yes, but only once and to only one Glitter circle/person. One lifeline only, said the crane. Use it wisely or die.
       (background music starts, then pauses dramatically, spotlight on @Nakula)
@quiz_Or_die: What is heavier than the Earth?
@Nakula: Mother.
       (claps from background)
@quiz_Or_die: What is taller than the sky?
@Nakula: A cellphone tower?
       (a hush in the background)
@Nakula falls dead on the spot.

Act 3. @Arjuna arrives on the scene, sent by @Yudhistira.

Despite being very thirsty, he is cautious and is shocked on seeing his brothers lying dead. When he tries to drink the water, he hears a voice.
Halt! O Partha! Do not drink my water without answering my questions. You will die like your brothers or if you don't answer correctly.

@Arjuna: Shoot! (no pun intended). But say, can I seek help via @Glitter?
@quiz_Or_die: Yes, you can use up to two gleets. To one circle or person only. Be wise or die.
       (background music starts, then pauses dramatically, spotlight on @Arjuna)
@quiz_Or_die What is taller than the Sky?
@Arjuna Father.
       (claps from background. @Arjuna takes a bow)
@quiz_Or_die What is faster than the Wind?
@Arjuna Lifeline please. I'll choose @Draupadi

(@Arjuna goes his Glitter circle of Wives and gleets to @Draupadi).
@Arjuna ---> @Draupadi Dru dearest, quick, do you know what is faster than the wind?

(@Draupadi is back in their ashram, brushing her long, lustrous, silky hair. It is much work, she does not have help and her arms are getting tired. But she responds)
 @Draupadi ---> @Arjuna 5 husbands and not one can help me. Pray tell, when can I put my hair up again.
@Arjuna ---> @Draupadi Soon dear. My life is at stake here. Lifeline this is. “What is faster than the wind?”
@Draupadi ---> @Arjuna Whaa? Why are you being strange? Is it about another wife?
(One can say that @Draupadi is a bit possessive of @Arjuna's affections after the Subhadra episode)
@Arjuna ---> @Draupadi No, no, this is a real crisis. @Nakula and @Sahadeva are already dead.
(@Draupadi nearly faints. But being a sharp woman, she quickly reads the situation)
@Draupadi ---> @Arjuna Two answers. 1. Wifi connection 2. Mind

(@Arjuna thinks for a second and picks “Mind”. He is right!)
          (claps from the background)
{We have to digress here for a bit. You may wonder, rightfully so, if Arjuna's gleets to @Draupadi were not seen by others, even inadvertently by his brothers who were still waiting for water and relaxing with their smartphones. No, they didn't. Because a. They were bound by the dharma of Glitter and marriage – the brothers currently not dwelling with Draupadi cannot look into her personal gleets. See, how it all works out?)

@quiz_Or_die What is more numerous than grass?
@Arjuna Gleets! (excitedly)
       (a hush in the background)
And so the valiant Dhananjaya falls down dead. 

**** Will be continued in Part II. **** Stay tuned! ****
****** What will @Bhima do? ** What will @Krishna say? ** Stay tuned! ******

Saturday, June 9, 2012

My Persimmon Tree

The Persimmon tree came home with us as a plant from Home Depot when it was a year old. We planted it on my son's first birthday. They are both nine now.

It grew fast, by itself. It did not need any attention at all. The fruit came early, within 2-3 years. Since then, every Fall I have had a basket of beautiful, sweet Persimmons to distribute. “I love Persimmons!” is the usual response I get. 
But once when I decorated Halloween muffins with an orange Persimmon topping instead of the icing, the children in my son's school did not fancy it. I in turn, learned a lesson.

My co-workers had introduced me to the fruit, it is only found in California in the US, they said. Some of them had trees in their homes and had brought the fruit to work. I was hooked to the fruit. There are two kinds of Persimmons- soft or firm in flesh. We have the latter.

About two years ago I fell in love with our tree. Just like that. I was walking past it on a hot summer day and felt the coolness that a only the full shade of a tree can give. Tranquility and stillness. The tree wasn't just a tree anymore, it seemed to exude a character. Sturdy, faithful, forgiving and ever giving.
The tree is right outside my bedroom window, so every season brings a different hue, mood and meaning into the room.

Spring 2011

Summer 2011

Fall 2011
Winter 2011

Spring 2012
Summer 2012

This cycle is quietly repeated every year. Everything is on time but graceful, like a ballerina in a dance act.

This year the tree has a problem. 
Falling buds
The buds are falling off. I wonder if it is a pollination issue what with the honeybees dying off or an infestation striking at the seat of the bud. It is systematic. I need to find out more.