The last battle of Karna

On the sixteenth day of the Kurukshetra war when Karna was the commander of the Kaurava army, he single-handedly defeated all of the Pandava brothers with the exception of Arjuna. He stuck by the promise that he made to Kunti that he would not kill any of the Pandava brothers with the exception of Arjuna.

When he defeated Bhima, he leaves him alive stating that as Bhima was younger than him he wouldn’t kill him. When he defeated Yudhisthira, he leaves him alive asking him to practice all that his gurus and teachers have taught him. Similarly he refuses to kill Nakula and Sahadeva after defeating them in one to one battle on that day.

Finally Karna asks his charioteer to take him to where Arjuna was on the battlefield. In the fierce battle that ensues between these two great warriors, neither one budged or hesitated. When Karna shot the powerful Nagastra at Arjuna, Krishna gently presses Arjuna’s chariot downwards using his divine powers, enabling the Pandava prince to survive this assault. Not to be outdone, Arjuna showers Karna with all his arrows, but Karna manages to neutralize all of them with arrows of his own.

Finally when all of Arjuna’s weapons are exhausted and he is defenseless, the only thing that saves him on the sixteenth day was nightfall, and since it was against the code of war to battle at night, Arjuna managed to escape the wrath of Karna that day.

However, as a parting shot, Karna shouted out “Oh Arjuna, today you were saved from the powerful Nagastra due to the insidious tactics of your beloved Krishna. But mark my words Pandava prince, tomorrow will be your last day on this earth.

On the seventeenth day, both the warriors resumed their dueling, which was so fierce that it is said that even the Gods from heaven were witnessing this spectacle. Karna managed to cut Arjuna’s bowstring many times, but Arjuna managed to tie it back so soon that Karna had to acknowledge his rival’s skills with the bow as a weapon.

As the duel went on, Karna slowly began to forget all the divine incantations that were revealed to him during his training with Parasurama. This was the result of a curse of his guru Parasurama as a punishment for lying about his caste.

And suddenly his chariot wheel also got stuck in the wet mud of the battlefield. Descending from his chariot, when Karna was trying to pry open the greasy chariot wheel from the mud, Krishna reminded Arjuna of all the rules and etiquettes that Karna had violated in the past, by assisting Duryodhana in trying to kill the Pandavas in the house of lacquer, by encouraging Duhshasana to disrobe Draupadi after the game of dice. Krishna advices Arjuna that he would not get a better opportunity to kill Karna and that he should go ahead and kill him despite the fact that he was unarmed and the rules of war forbade attacking an unarmed warrior.

Reminded of these incidents, an enraged Arjuna uses the Anjalika weapon grievously injure Karna and leave him dying on the battlefield of Kurukshetra.

Thus, Karna, the charioteer’s son died on the battlefield tending to his chariot. Now, if that wasn’t poetic justice, what else is.


This post has been written for the Three Word Wednesday prompt where the post had to include the words greasy, insidious and reveal, and that is the reason that these words have been underlined in the post.

Jack and Jill


Hansel and Gretel always had a problem with Jack and Jill being the popular ones in the family. While they had survived the danger of a cannibalistic witch living in the forests, Jack and Jill were simply popular because they were blonde, chubby and cute. One fine day they decided to put an end to this situation.

Knowing Jack’s penchant for taking up challenges, Hansel presented him with a daunting task – Jack and Jill had to run up the hill behind their house, fetch a complete pail of water from the well atop the hill without spilling a drop of water from the pail. The bet was to be completed on the 10th day from now.

Given that the hill was rocky and the path treacherous, Jill knew that this was Hansel and Gretel trying to get them into a bet which they were bound to lose. However, Jack being Jack, accepted the challenge gamely.

Being the fastidious one of the duo, Jill would ensure that not one drop of water would spill out of the pail. Now all Jack had to do was to intensify his pilates workout sessions and his jogs to ensure that he had adequate stamina to climb up the hill and pull up the pail of water from the deep well.

On the 10th day when Jack and Jill climbed up the hill, Gretel who had closely followed Jack’s training routine for the last 10 days knew that this task was going to be a cakewalk for them. Given Jack’s cardio-callisthenic trainings, he would easily trek his way up the hill, draw up the pail of water which Jill would then easily carry down without spilling a drop on the way. Gretel therefore hatched up a master plan.

She hid herself in one of the shrubs on the side of the only path going up and down the hill and at the right moment stuck her foot out of the shrub tripping Jack up who in turn bumped into Jill who was walking in front of him. Net result, Jack fell down and hurt his head with a minor bruise on his forehead, and Jill also tumbled down the hill after him.

What then happened is the stuff legends are made of. Jack’s father in anticipation of this momentous event in his son’s life had already alerted the local media who were ready with cameras, pens and papers to record this moment in history. What they encountered instead was the sight of Jack falling down and Jill tumbling after him.

One enthusiastic journalist immediately coined this poem which till date is popular as a children’s rhyme –

Jack and Jill went up a hill

To fetch a pail of water

Jack fell down and broke his crown

And Jill came tumbling after


This post has been written for the Three Word Wednesday prompt where the post had to include the words daunting, fastidious and intensify and that is the reason that these words have been specifically highlighted in the post.

The story of Jayadratha

While it is a well known fact that Dhritarashtra had 100 sons, it is little known that he also had 1 daughter, Dushala and it is even lesser known that she was married to Jayadratha, the king of Sindhu. Jayadratha is probably more remembered for being instrumental in being the cause of brave Abhimanyu’s death in the Kurukshetra war, more of which have been discussed in these earlier posts of mine [A little knowledge and A little more knowledge].  But this post is the story of Jayadratha himself.

As mentioned earlier Jayadratha was the son of Vridhakshtra, king of Sindhu and was the brother in law of the Kaurava prince, Duryodhana. One day when the Pandavas were in exile in the forest, the brothers left Draupadi in the care of Sage Trunabindu and went into the forest to collect materials for a holy puja they were planning. Seeing Draupadi alone and enamored by her beauty, Jayadratha approached her and proposed to marry her even after coming to know that she was the wife of the Pandavas. When she refuses to comply, he took the hasty decision of abducting her and starts moving towards Sindhu. The Pandavas in the meantime learn of this ghastly act, defeat Jayadratha and take him captor. Draupadi prevents Arjuna and Bhima from killing Jayadratha as she doesn’t want Dushala to become a widow. Instead she requests that his head be shaved and he be set free so that he doesn’t dare ever commit an act of transgression against another woman.

To avenge his humiliation, Jayadratha conducts severe penance in order to please Lord Shiva, who granted him a boon in the form of a garland which will hold all the Pandavas at bay for one day. While this was not the boon that Jayadratha wanted, he accepted it nevertheless. Not satisfied, he went and prayed to his father Vridhakshtra who blesses him that whoever causes the head of Jayadratha to fall on the ground will be immediately killed by having his own head burst into a hundred pieces.

By virtue of these boons, Jayadratha was an able ally to the Kauravas when the Kurukshetra war began. Using the powers of his first boon, he managed to keep all the Pandavas at bay, except for Arjuna and his charioteer Krishna who were battling elsewhere on the battlefield. On this day, Jayadratha waited for Arjuna’s son Abhimanyu to enter the Chakravyuha and then blocked the exit knowing fully well that the young warrior did not know how to exit the formation. After being brutally and treacherously killed by the Kauravas, Jayadratha then goes on to kick the dead body of Abhimanyu and rejoices by dancing around it. The dreadful manner in which Jayadratha conducted himself on that occasion was shocking even to the most battle hardened kshatriya warriors who were part of the great war.

When Arjuna hears of his son’s death and the circumstances surrounding it, he blames Jayadratha for the same and vows to kill him the very next day before sunset, failing which he would kill himself. Hearing of this vow of Arjuna, Dronacharya arranges a complicated battle formation the next day to achieve two objectives, one was to protect Jayadratha who had till then proven to be an extremely good warrior to have in the Kaurava army and two was to enable Arjuna’s death which so far none of the Kaurava warriors had even gotten close to achieving in normal battle.

The next day, despite a full day of fierce fighting when Arjuna is unable to get to Jaydratha, Krishna realizes that he would need to resort to unconventional tactics to achieve this objective. Using his divine powers, he masks the sun thus creating a solar eclipse in order to create the illusion of sunset. Given the kshatriya dharma of not fighting after sunset, the entire Kaurava army rejoiced at the fact that they had managed to keep Jayadratha safe from Arjuna and also at the fact that Arjuna now would be forced to kill himself to follow his vow.

Elated and beside himself with joy, Jayadratha also appears in front of Arjuna and laughs at his defeat. At this moment, the sun appears in the sky and Krishna points Jayadratha to Arjuna and reminds him of his vow. In order to prevent his head from falling to the ground, Krishna asks the Pandava prince to use his arrows in a sustained manner so that Jayadratha’s head is carried over the battlefield and falls on the lap of his father Vridhakshtra who was meditating nearby.


Disturbed by the head falling on his lap, when the father gets up, the head drops to the ground and immediately Vridhakshtra’s head bursts into a hundred pieces thus fulfilling the boon that he had given his son years ago.

Thus ends the story of Jayadratha, the one and only brother in law of Duryodhana.


This post has been written for Three Word Wednesday : 3WW CCCXLV prompt where the post had to compulsorily include the words dreadful, hasty and sustain which is the reason these words have been specifically underlined in the post.

Bhima and Bakasura


During their exile, the Pandavas used to frequently keep changing the place they stayed as they didn’t want to be discovered by the Kauravas who were constantly trying to have them killed. During their travels, they lived in a place called Ekachakra for a while.

When in Ekachakra, they managed to find refuge in the home of a Brahmin. Life was going on peacefully with the Pandavas doing odd jobs and helping out around the house. For food, the Pandavas used to beg from the villagers and in the evening would give all their alms to Kunti who would then distribute it among the brothers. Since Bhima was fond of eating, she would give half the alms to him everyday.

One fine day Kunti found the Brahmin’s wife weeping. When she asked the woman as to why she was crying, the woman first refused to tell Kunti the reason. She told “You are our guests, and it is not proper or honorable for a host to share his troubles with his guests.” Upon being probed further by Kunti, she told the story of Bakasura, a demon who was terrorizing the residents of Ekachakra.

This demon used to come to the village every once in a while and take away men, women and cattle to eat them up. When the king of the region fought with him, he was defeated and ran away with his life barely spared. Seeing the plight of their king, the villagers then entered into an agreement with Bakasura that he would be sent a cart load of food everyday with a villager, and the demon would have to be satiated by eating the cart load and the villager.

Tomorrow it was the turn of the Brahmin’s only son to take the cart load of food to the demon and it deeply saddened the Brahmin’s wife that today was her son’s last day on this earth.

When she heard this story, Kunti immediately responded “Sister, you have only one son, but I have five of them. Don’t worry I will send one of my sons to Bakasura with the cart load of food today.” At first, the Brahmin and his wife refused Kunti’s offer as they knew that death was inevitable for anybody who went carrying Bakasura’s food. But Kunti was steadfast that she would send Bhima today with the cart load of food.

The next day, early in the morning, Bhima took Kunti’s blessings and then proceeded to meet Bakasura outside the village with a cart load of food. Once he had travelled a reasonable distance from the borders of the village, his stomach started rumbling due to hunger. After all, this was Bhima whose fondness for food was nothing short of legendary, and he therefore, stopped his cart and started gorging on the food.

In some time, he heard an earthy rumbling sound coming from behind one of the nearby hillocks. And in a few moments, he set eyes upon the most grotesque demon that he had ever seen – Bakasura.

The demon started roaring and told “How dare you eat the food that the villagers of Ekachakra have sent for me? Just who do you think you are?” To this question, Bhima nonchalantly replied “I don’t have the habit of sharing my food. So if you want any of this food, you will have to fight me for it.

Enraged Bakasura charged at Bhima and in the ensuing battle was defeated and killed by Bhima. Famished after the fight, Bhima then proceeded to eat up the entire cart load of food and then loaded the demon’s body on the cart and took it to Ekachakra.

On seeing the demon killed, the villagers celebrated with joy and would live in eternal gratitude to Bhima, Kunti and the Pandavas for having relieved them of the scourge of Bakasura.


Image courtesy:


This post has been written for the Three Word Wednesday 3WW CCCCLVIII prompt where the prompt had to use the words – earthy, grotesque, nonchalant which is the reason these words have been highlighted separately in the post.

The forgetful old friend


Brigade Metropolis in Bangalore was quite a maze for newcomers. Given that Sunita had moved in only last evening and was walking around the complex for the first time today, her German Shepherd Tim didn’t give her any respite at all. When she stopped to tie her shoelaces, which had come untied, Tim managed to free his leash from her hands and bounded away in the distance. By the time Sunita tied her shoelaces and looked up, Tim had jogged quite a distance and she had no option but to run behind him shouting out “Tim, Tim, come back here, sit, sit!!!”  attracting more than a fair share of curious stares from her fellow walkers in the 7.00 AM mist in the misty October Bangalore weather.

That was when she first saw him. He was the only person who actually did anything to help her out. The old man in his grey track suit briskly walked up beside Tim and grabbed his leash which was dragging beside him. He then went down on one knee and started scratching Tim below his chin and started talking to him. It turned out that Tim had taken a liking to retired Col. Stephen after all. By the time Sunita caught up and took Tim from him, the German Shepherd had started wagging his tail and was playfully running around the old man’s legs.

The colonel with a broad smile handed over the leash to her and asked her “Are you new around here? I am quite sure I wouldn’t have missed out on petting this wonderful friend of yours here all these days.” Sunita smiled and introduced herself – “Hi, I am Sunita, and yes, I moved in just yesterday.” The colonel took her outstretched hand, and with a firm handshake of a military man said “Retired Colonel Stephen Gonzalves. Welcome to Brigade Metropolis”.

That introduction was the beginning of a wonderful friendship between the single freelance technical writer, Sunita who worked from home all the time and the Colonel who also lived all alone. As luck would have it they were in the same block, although on different floors. However, it was convenient enough for them to drop into each other’s places every now and then to spend some time together chatting about common likes, watching World Cinema, cooking and eating lunch together and taking long walks in the lovely landscaped gardens of their integrated township.

For an ex-army man, the Colonel was fairly easygoing in nature. Although he did have a schedule that he liked to stick to, he wasn’t such a stickler to it. Every now and then he would break his own self-imposed rules to have a little fun on the side. And the fact that he didn’t take himself too seriously endeared him to Sunita quite a bit. For someone like her whose parents had died in a road accident when she was just 5 yrs old, he easily slipped into a fatherly figure and filled in a long-standing void in her life.

The Colonel himself had become a widower around 15 yrs ago when his wife had expired after a prolonged battle with cancer. He didn’t have any children, due to the fact that his wife had been diagnosed with cancer when she was barely 25 yrs old and the side effects of her treatment had affected her fertility. Despite that, they seemed to have enjoyed quite a fulfilling life, evidenced by the old photographs that he had kept in his apartment. In fact, staring at these photographs and playfully ribbing the Colonel was one of Sunita’s favorite pastimes whenever she came to his house. Although he couldn’t be classified as having Greek God looks, he was still handsome in his own way even today, and his old black and white photographs were strong evidence for the same.

One day when Sunita rang the bell, the Colonel opened the door and gave her a blank stare. It was almost as if he didn’t recognize her. At first she thought he was just playing a prank and she walked right into the apartment. He just blankly followed her into the living room and sat on the sofa. Almost a couple of minutes later, in which time Sunita had walked into the kitchen and started making some tea, he spoke up “Oh hi Suni, how are you?” She thought it was quite a funny joke and started laughing, and then forgot all about it.

And the frequency of similar incidents increased. Invariably she would find him searching for something or the other at home like his glasses, a particular photograph, the newspaper. And then she also started finding things in the funniest of places at his apartment like the day she found his Nike sneakers kept on top of his fridge. When she asked him about it, he seemed as surprised as she was and didn’t quite know how his shoes got there. By this time, she had also noticed small quirks in his behavior, the blank expression that he had on his face at times, the complete silence with which he used to stare into the distance at times.

At first she thought that the forgetfulness was due to his old age. What Sunita didn’t realize was that the Colonel was slowly but surely walking down the path of losing himself to Alzheimer’s Disease, the most common form of dementia.

On September 21, 2013, she noticed an ad in the newspaper for Alzheimer’s Action Day 2013 and read the symptoms. It was only then that she suspected that the Colonel might have started walking down a path which had no end at all.


Image courtesy :


This post has been written for Alzheimer’s Action Day 2013 which occurs on September 21, 2013. Requesting all readers to please go through the Wikipedia entry for this disease and equip yourselves with information about it.


This post has also been written for the latest Three Word Wednesday prompt where the post had to include the words, easygoing, fact and handsome and that is the reason that these words are specifically highlighted in the post.


This post has been selected as one of Blogadda’s Spicy Saturday Picks on 12-Oct-2013.