The vengeful Ashwatthama

Ashwatthama in a Javanese Wayang shadow puppet
Ashwatthama in a Javanese Wayang shadow puppet

During the combat of maces, the Gadhayuddha between Bhima and Duryodhana, Ashwatthama was enraged when Bhima cheats to defeat Duryodhana. The act of Bhima striking his opponent’s thighs which was clearly a violation of the rules of the Gadhayuddha made him extremely angry and he swore revenge on the Pandavas for this.

This incident further fueled the fire that Ashwatthama had for the Pandavas when he had found out that the illustrious Yudhisthira had lied (or at least hidden the truth) about killing an elephant which bore his name, which led to his father, Drona, laying down his weapons on the battlefield [Link to my earlier post on this story]. This act of deceit by the eldest Pandava had led to his father being beheaded by Dhristadyumna and had given Drona a dishonorable death.

That night Ashwatthama went to the injured Duryodhana and made a vow to kill the Pandavas by any means. “This I will do to avenge my father’s death and also to avenge the acts of deceit committed” he swore.

That night when he was planning his vengeance, he noticed that an owl which had been attacked by a group of crows in the morning was now in turn attacking and killing the crows in the night. The owl was playing to its strength, the ability to see in the darkness. Suddenly an idea struck him and his plans for fulfilling the vow were formed.

He crept into the Pandava camp at night and first killed Dhristadyumna, Shikhandi and other Pandava warriors in their sleep, all the while muttering “This I will do to avenge my father’s death and also to avenge the acts of deceit committed”.

He then beheaded the Upapandavas, Draupadi’s five sons believing them to be the Pandavas themselves, once again uttering the same words “This I will do to avenge my father’s death and also to avenge the acts of deceit committed

It was only after he took the five heads to Duryodhana that he realizes that he had not killed the Pandavas and his vow was incomplete.

Ashwatthama who upto this point believed that his vengeance was valid as the Pandavas had used deceitful means to kill his father Drona and wrong his friend Duryodhana, suddenly realized the magnitude of his mistake. By attacking the Pandava warriors at night, when they were unarmed and helpless, he had broken many laws that were held sacrosanct by Kshatriyas of the time.

He therefore took refuge in Veda Vyasa’s ashrama and sought salvation for his sins committed on that one fateful night when his anger, passions and thirst for vengeance turned him into a lunatic.


This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda. We give out themes for creative writing each weekend for Indian bloggers.

The prompt was that the post had to include the same sentence repeated at least thrice and the said sentence has been highlighted separately in this post.


This post has been selected as one of Blogadda’s WoW picks of the week.


Good filter coffee


Santhanam Gopalakrishnan Iyer (let’s call him Sandy for short) was proud of his Tamil Iyer heritage. After all his grandfather (too long a name, let’s just call him Thatha) was Director General of Schools in Kerala. His father (another long name, let’s just call him Appa) was an IAS Officer from the 1976 batch and had a long distinguished service. Sandy was no less an achiever. He had completed his Chartered Accountancy when he was 22, his Cost Accounting credentials were proved when he cleared those exams when he was 23, and as if this was not enough he also became a Certified Company Secretary when he was just 25 yrs old.

Sandy was more than convinced that along with the wonderful gene pool which he inherited from his achiever grandparents and parents, the secret to his success was a strict regime that he followed on a daily basis. Getting up at 5 AM, brushing his teeth and completion of his morning ablutions, followed by a cup of hot filter coffee was the secret to his sprightliness in the mornings. Sandy was a worshipper of caffeine in its purest form, the decoction concocted by having the same filtered through a stainless steel coffee filter, and he had to have filter coffee in the mornings, no matter what condition the rest of the world was in. This and the fact that Sandy was a strict vegetarian as was the norm for all TamBrahms also reinforced his belief that filter coffee and vegetarian food were the secret of his success.

By the time he was 30 yrs old, Sandy was a globe-trotter in every sense of the world. His high profile Management Consultancy job took him to extremely offbeat places such as Bosnia, Ethiopia, Liberia and closer home, to the South East Asian countries such as Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia. And irrespective of whatever else he packed, he ensured that his faithful Salem Stainless Steel coffee filter made all these trips with him. In all the cities he went, he made it a point to taste the best local coffee, buy a couple of hundred grams of the same, and prepare and drink his early morning filter coffee without fail.  He also made it a point only to have strict vegetarian food in all these exotic countries as well.

And as fate would have it, his fortune and fame only increased, which reinforced the faith in his strict morning regime and vegetarianism.

On one of these trips to Indonesia, he happened to come across a coffee which was called Kopi Luwak and based on the recommendation of his local host, he bought some of it. And true to its reputation, the coffee was nothing short of extraordinary. In fact, Sandy liked it so much that he immediately bought a couple of kilos of the same and took it back home. And as if the stars were aligned in his favor, this Indonesian trip gave such a fillip to his already successful career that Sandy was soon ascending the stairs to stardom in his given field. He was made partner in his firm, the youngest person in the firm’s 300 yr history to make partner, he got married to the daughter of one of the country’s biggest automotive component manufacturer’s Board of Directors, his good fortune just went into orbit.

And all this time, he credited it to the wonderful effects of Kopi Luwak which his local host used to regularly parcel to him from Indonesia every two months or so. Sandy became a fanatic of the coffee and loved it so much that he modified his morning regime to include a second coffee after breakfast as well. He also gave equal credit to his strict vegetarian diet as well, for his streak of good luck.

His next assignment in Indonesia was with the Government department for Spices and Cash Crops. And when he reached there, by virtue of his assignment he was invited by one of the biggest producers and plantation owner to his coffee estate where his favorite brand, Kopi Luwak was grown. In the six years that Sandy had started drinking this brand, his fortunes had soared so much that at some levels he felt obliged to the coffee bean itself to make the visit to the plantation.

And when he reached the plantation, he was invited to the processing plant where all his notions about the brand and his strictly vegetarian diet came crashing down on his head.

Kopi Luwak in Indonesian local  dialect meant civet coffee, and these were beans of coffee berries that had been eaten and excreted by the Asian Palm Civet.

All these days Sandy’s fortunes were because he had been drinking animal shit. And that is why ignorance indeed is bliss, he thought to himself.


All the points in the above post about Kopi Luwak are true. Read this Wikipedia entry to know more about the coffee.

I first heard about this coffee in the movie The Bucket List starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman.

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.


This post has been selected as one of Blogadda’s WoW picks of the week.


Free, at last


The earliest sound that Django remembered from his childhood was the sharp and sudden foooootisssh, the sound made by a whip lashing on his and his mother’s back and obviously the ever present clink clink of the chains that they were both fettered to. Django and his mother were slaves on a plantation in Texas in the 1850s, and these were sounds that were common to their kind in those days.

Django had all but resigned to his fate of spending a lifetime in servitude and was one of the most obedient slaves on the plantation. But the last three days had changed all that. Three days ago, his old mother was tied to a post and brutally whipped to death by the supervisor for having tried to prevent him from raping one of the young slave girls who worked there. This incident awakened something in Django and things just couldn’t remain the same again.

As a precaution his supervisor had chained him to the wall of the deepest dungeon in the big house and tonight Django only had the drip drip sound of the water seeping down there for company. What the supervisor who was new, didn’t know was that this was Django’s favorite hangout as a kid and he and his friends had managed to saw away 3/4th of the hook holding the chains to the wall as kids as part of one of their crazy games.

Given that this was the deepest part of the house, nobody heard him break the rest of the hook and unchain himself. The next order of business for him was to locate the gunpowder kegs kept outside in the barn and strategically spread it all around the big wooden house of his masters. He chose the darkest part of the night to do this so that no one would notice him do this. He then set fire to the edge of the line that he had created using the gunpowder and quickly started running in the opposite direction of the fire. After a while the only sounds that he could hear was the crackling of the wooden walls of the big house. He had also ensured that nobody could escape from the inside by bolting all the doors from the outside.

Django ran across the plantation to the railway tracks at the far end. By the time he paused for a while and caught his breath, he heard the rumbling chug chug of the steam engine coming his way. He allowed the first few cabins of the train to pass him by before he ran and hopped on to a wagon which was loaded with logs. Exhausted with the night’s adventure, he lay down and started sleeping.

The next morning he was woken up by a sound he had never heard in his life. He was woken up by the gentle chirp chirp of a small blueberry which had flown and sat upon one of the logs on the wagon when the train had come to stop in a nice shady wooded area of the Texas landscape. He was free, free at last.


This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by Blogadda. The prompt was that the post had to include at least 5 sounds and that is the reason the related words have been specifically underlined in the post.

This post has been loosely inspired by the plot of the movie Django Unchained.


This post has been selected as one of Blogadda’s WoW picks on 15-Oct-2013.


The search for peace

Image courtesy :
Image courtesy :

This was a day that Diya had been looking forward for quite a few months now. Today was the day that she would finally get to meet her spiritual guru, Ghoosaram Bapu. Approximately 6 months ago, while flipping the channels due to absolute boredom, for whatever reason she stopped at the Aastha channel which was a 24 hr spiritual program channel. And that was when she first heard the guru speak.

His pleasant personality, his command over the holy books, his ability to simplify complicated concepts and explain them in layperson language, his elegant style of communication, his confident body language, his likeable demeanor, all of these immediately caught Diya’s attention and she was hooked. As somebody who had led a reasonably hectic lifestyle caught up in the rat race, her mind was on the lookout for peace of any sort for the past few months now, and Ghoosaram Bapu’s words seemed to have this calming effect on her.

Since that fateful day, she had devoted herself to regularly watching his TV programs, buying books written by him, reading up his words on the internet, and in general anointing herself an unofficial follower of the guru. However, it did take her all of 6 months to find that extended weekend to convince her husband, Raj to drive down the 280 odd kms from Mumbai to Surat where Ghoosaram Bapu’s ashram was located.

She had booked an appointment with him well in advance by calling up the ashram help desk and was all set to meet her guru in real life. Raj, on the other hand was not all that excited about this trip and Diya’s obsession with this particular guru. After all these were days when bigger Bapus were being arrested on charges of sexual harassment and were being investigated in land-grab cases and the like.

While not discouraging Diya’s spiritual endeavors in the last few months, Raj also ensured that she didn’t go overboard with this particular guru’s teachings and his influence on her. Despite his best efforts though, Diya seemed completely convinced that Ghoosaram Bapu had the answers to all the random ramblings and incessant irritation caused by her restless mind. And she was more than convinced that today was the day that her mind would finally be put at peace.

When they finally reached the ashram at Surat, they just had 10 mins to go before Diya’s appointed time to meet the guru. And in these 10 mins, Raj thought of the most appropriate things to tell Diya to warn her that her guru might not seem all that likeable and pleasant in real life as he seemed on television. And in his mind, the warning bells started ringing like crazy as each one of the remaining 10 mins started passing by.

Finally, one of the junior members of the ashram came into the waiting room and escorted Diya into the guru’s chambers. Raj did not accompany her and waited outside. The meeting itself lasted for around 30 mins by which time Raj had completely lost his cool and had started wishing that he had also accompanied Diya to meet the guru. That way at least he would have known what was taking Diya so long.

Suddenly the door opened and Diya came running out. In the time that she covered the 10 metres between the door of the guru’s chamber and the waiting area, Raj’s mind went into overdrive. More so because he could clearly see the tears streaming down Diya’s cheeks.

And then she uttered the words. She said “He is a God!” He mistook it to be “He is a fraud!”

His worst fears had come true, Raj immediately sprinted into the guru’s chambers and started beating up Ghoosaram Bapu. It took 4 of the ashram’s security guards and a couple of the guru’s disciples to finally break them up. While the guru or Diya couldn’t quite comprehend what was happening, little did Raj realize that his wife was now enlightened.


This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.

This week’s prompt stated that the post had to include “She said ___. He mistook it to be ___” and that is the reason that this phrase has been specifically highlighted in the post.


This post has been picked as one of Blogadda’s WoW posts for the weekend of 06-Oct.


History in the making


5..4..3..2..1..Take Off. The shuttle was on its way into outer space.

Creeper was so elated, after all his attempts at staying undetected in various nooks and corners of the shuttle had proven successful. He was creating history, but nobody would know of it.

Creeper was going to be the first cockroach in space ever.


Image courtesy:


This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda. The prompt was that the post should start with 5..4..3..2..1.. and that is the reason it has been highlighted separately.


This post has been picked as one of Blogadda’s WoW Picks of the weekend of 29-Sep-2013.