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The Stories of Man – Mythology 101 by Blank 101

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Blank 101 is a club that deals with almost everything outside the box but this time they decided to do something that they don’t usually do.’ Fortunately, they didn’t go ‘blank’ and came up with something unlike any other. The talk of the evening was ‘Mythology 101’. The purpose of the seminar was to give a brief insight into the creation myths and some popular yet bizarre stories occurring in different mythologies. As is the case with any Manipal event, (or by extension any Indian event) this event too was delayed by a good fifteen minutes and had the early birds grumbling in annoyance.

The question everyone awaited i.e.“What is mythology, ladies and gentlemen?” was instead replaced by “Are there any first years here?” as the organizing committee did not want any beef with the Student Council. A good amount of dejected freshmen left the room. Once that was over with, the right question was posed to the gathering. “Assumed History” opined one while some others said “Doctored beliefs”. A brief discussion erupted among the audience until the speaker silenced it by saying that the stories had originally been made up for a reason and that that was the specific area they would be pursuing.

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The first speaker started out with the Japanese creation myths and stories about the Sun and the Storm gods -which the ‘Naruto’ friendly crowd were already well aware of-eliciting a lukewarm response. “Everything is Naruto,” shouted a person from the back. The resilience of the speaker is worth a mention as she continued speaking, undeterred by the comments.

The second speaker began his presentation with a lot of ‘Game of Thrones’ references. The Norse mythology is second to none when it comes to gore, and the connection is obvious. A well researched series of stories followed, drawing parallels to the much-loved Marvel movies, stressing upon the influence that ancient myths have on popular culture today. The panel of speakers were probably mad at their tech support staff for changing the slides too early and ruining the speaker’s momentum. By then, the hall was packed again with all of the chairs occupied and people sitting on the floor as well. The Mayan civilization was next.

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The best speaker of the evening was the third speaker who, with his infectious enthusiasm, lost no time in bringing forth the ‘2012: Doomsday’ sham. Volunteering to speak for the Mayans (or Maya, ‘technically’) a system of counting was shown which proved that the year 2012 was the end of a cycle that began five thousand years ago and not that of the world. With that out of the way, it was time for the Maya creation myths and how most of them were destroyed by the Spanish Inquisition. For a civilization that had most of their texts destroyed, they did come up with some interesting explanations for ‘the Sun and the Moon’ and the game that they played called ‘a day’.

Before the fourth speaker could completely flesh out the intricacies of the Egyptian myths, it was time to wrap up the session and the presentation on Greek mythology had to be postponed to another day. “There was enough information left to fill a whole new session. It’s a pity we couldn’t complete it,” said Kartikeya Singh, a fourth year organizer at Blank 101. “This was something we left entirely for the juniors to do. Surprise us, we told them. And boy, did they do a good job.” said Rahul Kulkarni another senior member of the club who was evidently happy with his crew for the splendid show they put up. Blank 101’s first seminar was a huge hit and if this is any indication then there are bigger and better things that are in store for us this semester.

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