Shadow Realm

Shadow Realm

A San Francisco teenager finds out he has magical powers after falling through a fault in the earth and into the lands of Vedic mythology, and in Season 2, he learns his journey is far from over. Can Arya save his friends, or will his power plunge them deeper into danger?


October 5, 2021 2 mins
Shadow Realm is the magical, coming-of-age tale of Arya, a fifteen-year-old boy who is tormented by demons. Anything to do with his ethnicity, food, traditions or the fascinating mythological stories he has been raised with, has become the building block of unpleasant school experiences. In the wake of an accident that confines his once-vibrant mother to a hospital ward, kept alive by tubes and machines, Arya clings to the only rem...
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As a child, Arya’s dreams were haunted by Ravana, the demon king of the Ramayana, India’s ancient story of Rama’s battle against demons. It’s been years since he thought of Ravana. His dreams are now filled with monstrous interpretations of real-life bullies from school. Tonight’s dream, however, ends differently. Arya finds himself trapped in the dark lair of Ravana, with no hope of escape. Why had Ravana chosen to come back now? ...
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November 4, 2021 7 mins
Arya’s parents could have chosen any other school for him to attend but they chose the one place with no other South Asian kids. The bullies are relentless and anything to do with his ethnicity has become the building block of unpleasant school experiences. He knows better than to react with violence but today he just can’t take it anymore.   IN THIS EPISODE:  [00:01] Previously on Shadow Realm  [00:19] Arya responds to bullies a...
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November 4, 2021 10 mins
Arya is fed up with his family’s South Asian traditions being the reason he is bullied at school. He just wants to fit in. His Ma tries to help by giving him their family’s copy of the Ramayana, India’s ancient history text. Arya begrudgingly opens it and finds himself enraptured by the stories filled with powerful gods, heroes, demons, and epic battles. He is also reminded of his recent dreams of the demon king, Ravana and what th...
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November 18, 2021 11 mins
Desperate to earn the respect of the popular kids at school, Arya is willing to do whatever it takes to fit in – no matter how dangerous. He begins lying to his parents about his reckless behavior, convinced they wouldn’t understand why it’s so important to be popular. Ma tries to connect with him through the only common ground remaining: The Ramayana. Will its ancient lessons be powerful enough to help Arya, or will he continue to...
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November 25, 2021 5 mins
As Arya nears his 16th birthday, his parents decide it’s time to have his Thread ceremony, a sacred right of passage for boys in their culture. They also plan to invite his friends from school. Arya can’t believe this. It will ruin everything. He just recently stopped being bullied, but his parents just don’t understand. When Arya tries to convince them that other families don’t live like them and don’t care about their traditions,...
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December 2, 2021 14 mins
In a matter of moments, Arya’s world is turned upside down. A car crash, where Arya was driving, leaves Ma severely injured and in a coma. Weeks pass without any improvement, Arya and his Pa grapple with the reality that she may be gone forever. Unwilling to say goodbye, Arya begins to search the ancient text of the Ramayana. There he finds meaning and hope, but will it be enough to heal Ma?    IN THIS EPISODE:  [00:01] Previously...
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December 9, 2021 4 mins
Unable to sleep, Arya is startled when his bed begins to violently shake and the floorboards tilt and crack. Arya is used to earthquakes but this was no ordinary quake. Suddenly, a large fault opens in the middle of his room and he can’t resist the strong magnetic force that keeps pulling him further and further into a black unfamiliar abyss. Arya finds himself in a beautiful yet completely unfamiliar place. It’s clear he’s no long...
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December 16, 2021 11 mins
Arya discovers that he has landed in the Wild Woods, the mythical jungles described in the Ramayana. But how this came to be, is a mystery to him. Soon after Arya arrives, he meets a forest hermit known as the Rishiji, who speaks in riddles. He sets Arya forward on a journey through the Wild Woods to accomplish urgent tasks before he can go home to heal his sick mother. Before parting, the Rishiji gives Arya his first task which is...
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December 23, 2021 14 mins
Arya’s head spins with what he just heard: Ravana is alive? It can’t be! From the time he was a young boy, he had read stories of this demon’s defeat in the Ramayana. Yet the vanara tribe who have been threatened to near extinction and Rishiji, the wise sage he met earlier in the Wild Woods, all confirm it as the truth. For years, Ravana lay dormant but since his return, he has been seeking to destroy the Ramayana and rewrite histo...
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December 30, 2021 10 mins
Rishiji appears once more to instruct Arya in the ancient customs and history of their world. For many years, Rishiji and the vanaras have waited for a descendant of the Arya race to come and protect the Wild Woods from Ravana’s plot to erase their history. A detail in Arya’s family lineage confirms their prophecy and his name reveals his role in the Wild Woods’ fight against evil. His arrival is no mere coincidence. It finally cli...
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January 6, 2022 8 mins
With his new weapon in hand, Arya is eager to fight but soon learns he may not be as ready as he thinks. While walking through the forest helping the vanaras search for food, Arya and his friends meet the hideous and evil Baalachorni. As she begins to threaten to harm a baby vanar, Arya becomes angry and retaliates. His reckless actions create devastating consequences to the innocent vanaras around him and cause him to doubt whethe...
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January 13, 2022 6 mins
The aftermath of Arya’s recklessness leaves the vanaras homeless and Pandu badly burned. His wounds need Deep Medicine that is made by a mysterious Medicine Woman who lives further South on the outskirts of the Dark Side of the forest. Her exact location is unknown and dangerous. Desperate to help, Arya looks to the Ramayana to try to find the way. Using his imagination, he is able to interpret the story of Hanumana’s journey and f...
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January 20, 2022 13 mins
Upon reaching the edge of the forest, Arya and his friends find themselves surrounded by a series of waterfalls. The sun glistens off the water and they see a woman standing near the edge of the stream. It’s the Medicine Woman. Arya is drawn magnetically towards her as if they have met before, though he can’t seem to place where or how. Arya is convinced she can read his mind because she knows so much about his life. Instead of giv...
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January 27, 2022 10 mins
Arya wanders through the Coconut Grove looking for the non-medicinal plant as instructed by Medicine Woman. A beautiful spotted deer appears and Arya begins to follow it, thinking it has lost its mother. Arya follows it further and further into the dark forest and realizes too late that the fawn is a shape-shifting rakshasa sent by Ravana to stop his quest of saving the Ramayana. When the spell finally lifts, Arya is trapped and al...
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February 3, 2022 9 mins
Arya is stumbling through the dark forest trying to find his friends, having just escaped the sinister vines that threatened to silence him. The moonlight reveals a silhouetted image of the Medicine Woman but her words are interrupted by an avalanche of rakshasas barrelling down a hillside towards Arya. He is outnumbered. With only a single arrow left, Arya aims and fires the asthra. The rakshasas are hit and scattered. Another nar...
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February 10, 2022 9 mins
Arya was sure that he had failed his quest when he watched the Ramayana fall into the vast darkness. However, when Rishiji appears, Arya learns that all hope is not lost. Rishiji leads Arya into the sky and shows him a deep canyon filled with Rakshasas and much to Arya’s surprise, he sees the Ramayana intact perched on Ravana’s throne. With Rishiji’s instructions and the vanaras help, Arya may still have a chance to save the Ramaya...
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February 17, 2022 7 mins
Arya wakes to find his friends, the vanaras, surrounding him. There is an army of monkeys with them, ready to fight the Rakshasas and save the Ramayana before it is destroyed, erasing the history that good ever existed. Arya and Chimpu form a Shakespearean plan inspired by Macbeth to distract the Rakshasas while Arya sneaks into the canyon to retrieve the book. Knowing the Rakshasas are blinded by the sunlight, Arya and his friends...
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We interrupt our regularly scheduled Shadow Realm podcast to introduce you to my other podcast, True Fiction Project which is a podcast that explores the origins of fiction. This episode interview is with Dr. Kanniks Kannikeswaran, the composer and conductor of the Shadow Realm soundtrack. He is an internationally renowned music composer, educator, and scholar known for his sustained contribution to music and community for the past...
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March 3, 2022 15 mins
At first light, Arya and the vanaras begin their descent to the dark side. They reach the place where Arya has to plavang — jump, leap and fly, to get to the Ramayana. He is terrified but with the Rakshasas closing in he doesn’t have a choice. He digs deep into his being, seeking energy from Brahman Shakti, and before his own eyes, he is transformed into a powerful warrior. He leaps and soars from island to island, getting closer t...
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