Yayati, Girish Karnard's first play, was written in 1960 and won the Mysore State Award in 1962. It is based on an episode in the Mahabharata, where Yayati, one of the ancestors of the Pandavas, is given the curse of premature old age by his father-in-law, Shukracharya, who is incensed by Yayati's infidelity. Yayati could redeem this curse only if someone was willing to exchange his youth with him. It is his son, Pooru, who finally offers to do this for his father. The play examines the moment of crisis that Pooru's decision sparks, and the dilemma it presents for Yayati, Pooru, and Pooru's young wife.
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