A/N: An excerpt from a fictional story I’m writing about life in heaven after the characters in the Mahabharata wind up their life on earth and go to the realm of the gods. Here, the characters are watching events unfold in the Kail Yuga, and in this particular excerpt, discuss the television shows that attempt to recreate their own lives. Most of their reactions are my personal opinions about the shows, though I have included general opinions based on what I’ve read or heard from people.
“I hear that someone has made a television show about us. Shall we go and crash it?” asked Krishna walking into Yudhishthira’s bedroom. Only Karna was present, he and Yudhi had been talking non-stop for three hours.
“They keep making these Mahabharata shows,” complained Karna as Krishna plopped on the divan. “I don’t look good in half of them! Besides they always mess up my character, especially my death scene!”
Yudhishthira laughed. “I liked the one recently made by Star Plus. Mata Kunti told us the truth before you died, in front of you! It was so sweet. I cried!”
Karna groaned. “That’s horrible. It never happened like that!”
“Give some points for creativity Karna!”
“Creativity! You call that creativity! More like unnecessary emotional drama!”
“You asked Arjuna to do your last rites. I wanted to do them!” said Yudhi sadly.
Karna closed his eyes in anguish while Krishna buried his face in the pillow to hide his laughter.
“Yes, my darling brother, you were supposed to do it, but unfortunately, I wasn’t consulted. But you’re right, I liked most of my scenes in Starbharat. Except that it was too dramatic and emotional.”
“Vrushali was cute,” said Krishna, throwing a cheeky glance at Karna.
“Let’s not go there,” said Karna, blushing a bright, tomato red. “My romantic life in the Dwapara Yuga was one big mess.”
Yudhishthira and Krishna chuckled but dropped the subject.
“I didn’t like my portrayal,” commented Yudhishthira, drawing his brows together in a frown.
“Neither did I. They made you a hapless soul, who tried to take firm decisions but was forced to retract so many times that I lost count. Moreover, they didn’t show you spearing Dronacharya in the battle!” said Karna.
“Arjuna, Draupadi and I were the stars in that show,” said Krishna laughing.
“When are the three of you not stars?” grumbled Karna and dodged a mocking blow from Krishna.
“Give some credit to Duryodhana,” said Yudhi.
“Of course, why not? He actually thought that I ditched him at the end. So much for creativity!”
“His hair, Karna, his hair,” laughed Yudhishthira, “Bhanumati couldn’t take her eyes off it!”
“Yes I know! She raved about it for a whole hour!”
“I loved Nakula and his little mouse,” said Krishna, dropping into a sleeping position on the couch.
“Paapa Nakula and Sahadeva,” said Karna. “They hardly got any scenes. Especially Sahadeva!”
“Well he knew what was going to happen so I told him not to divulge anything unless he was asked the right questions,” commented Krishna.
“True. But the way he killed Shakuni! The burning anger in his baby face! It was brilliant!” said Karna enthusiastically, pumping a fist into the air.
“How did you see that? You were dead,” objected Yudhisthira.
Both Karna and Krishna looked at him. “I’m talking about the TV show Yudhi”.
“Oh right,” Yudhi looked confused. “Sorry, I got mixed up.”
“I never understood your monologues,” said Karna turning to Krishna after pinching Yudhi, who squealed like a puppy, “This story writer of ours isn’t great at Hindi.”
“I know,” Krishna laughed. “But I’ve told her not to worry, ‘cause I’m sure the videos will have English subtitles soon. Or maybe she should watch the Tamil version.”
“There’s something else going on on a channel called EPIC. We should try that out.” said Yudhi flipping channels.
“No!” said Karna shaking his curly head vigorously. “I look horrible!”
“When are you ever going to realise that everything is not about you?” asked Yudhishthira in a resigned voice. Karna punched him again and the two fell on the floor, pulling Krishna into the fight by yanking his dhoti.
Krishna yelped but happily joined the turmoil. After a few minutes, Urvashi poked her head in. “Keep quiet will you! Indra’s having a nap!”
The three sat up and climbed shamefacedly on the divan. Karna smoothed his hair down while Krishna hurriedly retied his dhoti. Urvashi threw them a withering glance and went out, colliding with Arjuna. Arjuna bit back a yelp and gave Urvashi a sheepish grin. “Pongal?” he asked sweetly; Urvashi stuck her tongue out at him and walked away. Arjuna gave her retreating back a sly grin, and turned round, kicking open Yudhishthira’s bedroom door.
“Who wants sweet pongal?” Arjuna swung into the room, carelessly carrying a copper vessel steaming with syrupy pongal.
“ME!” shouted everyone, and Karna, who was the nearest, tried to grab the vessel from Arjuna.
Arjuna dodged cleverly, holding the pot above his head, “Uh-uh- no you don’t, you’ll share it like the good boy you are!”
Karna tried to assume the glare of an elder brother who has been insulted, but Arjuna merely grinned. “No use looking at me like that, my dearest brother! I’m immune to all that now!”
Karna grunted but was too caught up at staring hungrily at the pongal that Arjuna was lavishly scooping into bowls. Silence occupied Yudhishthira’s bed room as everyone, including Bhima, Nakula, Sahadeva, and Balarama, who joined them a few minutes later, gobbled up the sweet.
“We should finish watching B.R. Chopra’s version,” commented Krishna, licking his fingers. “Bala, hand me that tub of butter will you?”
“Where did we stop?” asked Yudhishthira, rolling on to the floor.
“At Vichitravirya’s death,” said Karna briefly, resting his head on Arjuna’s lap.
“Oh god!” groaned Nakula. Bhima was still finishing up his pongal. “Can’t we fast-forward?”
“Let’s ask the others when they come in,” said Sahadeva.
At that moment, Draupadi, Subhadra and Dushala bounced into the room.
“Oooo pongal!” exclaimed Subhadra.
“You’ve already had three bowls full!” said Draupadi.
“I have more! Come along Subhadra!” said Bhima, winking mischievously at Draupadi.
Draupadi shook her head and squatted next to Karna.
“Can we watch the Bhishma-Amba scene again?”
“We’ve watched that a million times. What comes after Vichitravirya’s death?” asked Nakula impatiently.
“Ummm…” Yudhishthira scratched his head. “Don’t look at me,” said Arjuna busy plaiting Karna’s curls. Sahadeva poked a sleepy Balarama in the ribs. “What comes after Vichitravirya?”
“Who?” asked Balarama, bleary eyed. “Oh Vichitravirya!” he said, after Sahadeva poked him again, “I have no idea. I don’t think I was born yet.”
“Our fathers were born,” said a gruff voice from the door. Duryodhana came in, carrying a huge plate of snacks, followed by his brothers and their wives.
“Let’s get to it then. Draupadi, Amba will reappear soon, don’t worry,” said Krishna.
Draupadi grinned and as soon as everyone had settled down, and Balarama had been shaken awake by the simple method of pouring water on his face, waved her hand. “So be it. The birth of Dhritarashtra, Pandu and Vidura.”
“The Force Awakens,” muttered Sahadeva and dived under the couch as everyone flung a bevy of cushions at him and jumped on him.
“Are you holding him?” demanded Draupadi, her forefinger poised in the air.
“Yes yes!” said Vikarna and Jarasangha, pinning a wriggling Sahadeva to the sofa.
“Okay,” Draupadi waved her hand for the second time. “So it begins.”