Blogging, Books, Learning, Poetry

Exceptional Ekalavya: Eb to Flow and Everything Great & Else

Today I move on from queens in history to mythological archers. And who knows, there might really have been someone like exceptional Ekalavya, for don’t all stories, including myths and legends, have a grain of reality in them? Ekalavya is a character in the Mahabharata and his story is something many of us in India grew up learning, for so many reasons. His devotion to his teacher, his determination to learn despite all odds, his passion for archery, and so much more.

Ekalavya sure learned to deal with the ebbs and flows of his life, and everything else that came with him, focusing only on his learning with passion and devotion.

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Exceptional Ekalavya

Exceptional Ekalavya
Ekalavya, an archer so bold,
His story of courage, is still retold,
Raised with the Nishadas, a mountain tribe.
To Ekalavya, writers do devotion and determination ascribe.

When denied a right to learn from Drona the great
Ekalavya persevered and choose to change his fate.
In the woods he loved, an idol of Drona he molded
And practiced his skills as the days unfolded.

Years went by, and fame followed his name,
His skill surpassed even his master’s game.
Curious about this archer so fine, the guru
went himself, and discovered a warrior true!

Upon meeting Ekalavya and hearing him say,
‘Dronacharya is my guru, to his idol I pray,’
Arjuna bade his teacher remember his oath
And Drona his vow to break was loath.
[Drona had promised Arjuna, his favored student
to make him the ‘greatest archer’ past and present.]

So Drona asked Ekalavya for his dakshina (his fee)
in the form of his right thumb, which is so key.
Ekalavya, without hesitation, he complied,
To his teacher’s words he did humbly abide.

And though he was left with a crippled hand,
His spirit remained unbroken, his resolve still grand.
Ekalavya learned anew the skill of archery
Earned his place in the annals of many a story.

Though his story may seem unjust,
His tale of determination and trust,
Teaches us to always strive,
To pursue one’s passion, and keep it alive.
To chose duty and honor above all,
and never let our spirits fall.
~ Vidya Tiru @ LadyInReadWrites

Every one is born with many a chance to succeed.
Find a great teacher, and ever forward proceed.
~ inspired by the words in the poem ‘Dawn has already broken

Day 6 Prompt: My Take

The NaPoWriMo prompt for day 6 is: Take a look around Poetry International for a poem in a language you don’t know. Now, read the poem to yourself, thinking about the sound and shape of the words, and the degree to which they remind you of words in your own language. Use those correspondences as the basis for a new poem.

My twist on the prompt: Random words in the second stanza of ‘Dawn has already broken‘ called out to me and reminded me of Tamil words actually, which I then put together to serve as sort of a postscript /addendum to my poem about Ekalavya today. The stanza that inspired is below with the words that I heard myself reading out loud in Tamil bolded. And a couple of them I switched to the closest English word I heard (italicized and bolded).

Põrandale ilmub vaip. Vaibale ilmuvad sussid.
Lauale ilmub klaas. Klaasi ilmub vesi.
Seinale ilmub tapeet. Tapeedile ilmub muster.
Riiulile ilmuvad raamatud. Raamatuisse ilmuvad kirjad.

  • piranthale in Tamil translates to ‘if born’
  • vaippu in Tamil translates to ‘chance’
  • seinthale in Tamil translates to ‘if you do it’
  • sussid above – I made it succeed
  • muster above – I made it master –> teacher

Sources and Additional Reading

  • Ekalavya (Wikipedia)
  • The Story of Ekalavya
  • Drona (Amar Chitra Katha) – read the story here (link takes you to the page with Ekalavya’s story within) or get a copy for yourself
  • The term Eklavya-ism inspired by this mythical hero refers to the concept of ‘self-learning’, of learning by observation, and perfecting our talents by practice.

My E Books: Eb to Flow and Everything Else that Comes Next

Eb and Flow

Eb & Flow by Kelly J. Baptist (Stories in Verse; 8 – 12 years, and up)

Description: A ten-day suspension has tweens De’Kari and Ebony seeing the world with a fresh perspective. Award-winning author Kelly J. Baptist delivers a novel in verse that follows Eb and Flow as they navigate their parallel lives. Single-parent homes, tight funds, and sibling dynamics provide a balancing act for the growing tweens. And whether they realize it or not, these two have a lot more in common than they think.

I have had Baptist on my reading list since I first saw Isaiah Dunn, and finally read her work through this book. This is a quick yet powerful read. The words and emotions literally ebb and flow taking the readers on a ride of feelings. I am not sure who I liked more in this book – Eb? or Flow? Both protagonists appealed equally, and I hope to read more about them from Baptist. After all, Isaiah Dunn made a comeback, right? Last, but not the least, that cover says quite a bit about their personalities!!

Everything Comes Next

Everything Comes Next: Collected and New Poems by Naomi Shihab Nye and illustrations by Rafael López (Children’s Poetry; 8 – 12 years, and up)

Description: Featuring new, never-before-published poems; an introduction by bestselling poet and author Edward Hirsch, as well as a foreword and writing tips by the poet; and stunning artwork by bestselling artist Rafael López, Everything Comes Next is essential for poetry readers, classroom teachers, and library collections.

I read Naomi Shihab Nye’s poems a couple of years ago in her book Voices in the Air and later as part of other poetry compilations as well. And her voice never fails to wow me. The poems in this collection are no different, and while the number of poems and pages might seem daunting, you will never realize the length once you start reading. But of course, you can choose to read it at leisure, savor it slowly too.

Poems so sweet and tender take spaces on pages between those that tug at heartstrings or empower. Words within Everything Comes Next are sure to stay with you long after you close the book.

And Now, the End of This Post

Linking up to BlogChatterA2ZBlogging from A-to-Z April ChallengeNaPoWriMo, and the Ultimate Blog Challenge.

9 thoughts on “Exceptional Ekalavya: Eb to Flow and Everything Great & Else

  1. A great poem to Eklavya. One of my favorite Mahabharat characters! I remember reading about him for the first time and just being so angry on his behalf and I always held a grudge that no amount of praise of the Pandavas or Dronacharya could overcome.

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