Wk 11 (Pt B) Reading Diary: Palace of Illusions

Divakaruni really stunned me with the inclusion of Draupadi’s (aka Panchaali) sibling. Mainly, because I was under the impression Indian society frowned upon sex changes and being stuck in a different body (men stuck in women’s body and vice-versa). This inspired me to tell the story of Sikhandi and the struggled to be who he/she really was. The disapproval from kingdom and father. All of this leading to the banishment to the forest. Trans-representation and struggle are both very real and heartbreaking things. By really

The Palace of Illusions, Source: Ankita KatDare

showing the emotions that they go through may give others an idea of what it would be like to be shunned by those who are supposed to love you no matter what. Also, the evolution of her sexuality causing her/him to become androgynous. I would love to really dive into Sikhandi’s story and see if I couldn’t give it more depth.

Another idea I came up with was inspired by the portrait reveals. In which, Panchaali must see her potential suitors before meeting them. I really liked the idea that Karna stirred something in Panchaali and even though he was not “of noble blood” she is still smitten with him. Instead of it being Karna I would like her to become in awe of a peasants that will make an appearance in a portrait. Basically, coming up with this forbidden love story inspired by what could have been between Karna and Panchaali.


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