Sunday, November 25, 2018

Week 13: Famous Last Words

I wish we had a Fall break that comes earlier than Thanksgiving... but it is also pretty exciting to see all the people who are finishing up the class now thanks to that long Week 13. I didn't manage to finish up myself since I was in Austin this week, but the end is in sight: I'm at 380 points, so that is exactly one more week of work to do, and plenty of time to do it in with Week 14 and maybe some work in Week 15 also. When I decided to do the class this semester, I told myself that getting enough points to pass the class would be good enough, but I had so much fun with all the assignments that I'm going to finish up with the A... and most of all, I am really happy with how my project has turned out. I've got four chain tales in my Portfolio, plus four chain tales here at my blog in addition to those, and I really like them all. I also wrote one aetiological story here in my blog, and for next semester's India class I think I am going to make aetiological stories the organizing theme for my Portfolio; it will be a new angle to have in mind while I read through the epics again, looking for aetiological details.

And speaking of India, I got a chance to read Anand Neelakantan's latest novel this week, and it was AMAZING: Vanara: The Legend of Baali, Sugreeva, and Tara. Such good timing too: the book came out just last week, so I was able to read it on my travels. The book develops the life stories of Baali, Sugreeva, and Tara in the same alternate "epic universe" that he used in Asura about Ravana. I liked this book even better, though. Asura was so sprawling and huge, while this book was shorter and more focused, so that we could really appreciate the total intensity of the Baali-Sugreeva-Tara triangle. I also loved the way he set different kinds of philosophies and perspectives into conflict this way. Tara was a perfect heroine, and Baali also made for such a complex hero. I have new ways of seeing all the characters now (Vibhishana came off worst of all! imagine that!), and it is going to be so cool to re-read the Ramayana again in the spring while thinking about this new take on the epic story. Highly, highly recommended! I am hardly ever willing to pay as much as $18 for a Kindle book (that's what it lists for), but this was totally worth it. :-)

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