Bollywood Duet by Kyle Minor & Dini Parayitam

New York Live Arts presents

Marjani Forte
Nov 15-19


Himmatwala Body

“Talk to your father.”

“You’re married.”

“It’s because I’m not Indian, right?”

“It’s because you’re married.”

“It’s because I’m not as good looking as your mother wants.”

“It’s because you’re married.”

“Would it be different if I weren’t older?”

“It would be different if you weren’t married.”

“What if it was seven years instead of fourteen?”

“How many of those years would you have been married?”

“What if it was four years?”

“Four years age difference or four years married?”

“Three years? Two? One? What if we went to school together?”

“What if you weren’t married?”

“What if I’d never had a child? Is that it? You would want to be the only mother of any children of mine?”

“What if you’d had the child but you hadn’t married the woman?”

“You want me to not have married the mother of my child?”

“You did marry the mother of your child.”

“Because I’m a good person.”

“Because you were a good person when you married?”

“Because I’m a good person now. Because I don’t want to hurt anyone. Because I’ve never been anything but honest with you about everything.”

“Have you been honest with the woman you married?”

“You knew I was married.”

“I knew you were my professor and you were married.”

“It wasn’t about that. You know that. Don’t say that. I loved you. I love you.”

“Did you love me while you were making love to the woman you married?”

“I loved you all the time. Didn’t you feel like I loved you while I was making love to you?”

“Did you love the woman you married while you were making love to me?”

“What do you mean when you say love? I know what I mean when I say love. I mean lovewhen I say love.”

“The kind of love that leads to getting married?”

“Yes. The kind of love that leads to getting married. That’s what I want. Why won’t you talk to your father? Can’t I at least talk to your father?”

“What will you say to my father? I want to marry your daughter and also right now I am married?”

“I want to marry your daughter because I love your daughter. I want to marry your daughter because your daughter loves me. I want to marry your daughter because your daughter wants to choose me.”

“Choose you over all her unmarried suitors? Choose you over all her Indian suitors? Choose you over the neurosurgeon? Choose you over the Brahmin engineer? Choose you over the businessman with a gold ring on every finger?”

“Don’t choose. Let her choose. Let love choose.”

“But you’re married.”

“I won’t always be married.”

“Maybe to my daughter you won’t always be married.”

“To your daughter I will forever stay married.”

“Will you leave the woman you married?”

“For your daughter I will leave the woman I married.”

“For whose daughter will you leave my daughter after you are married?”

“For no one’s daughter. No one’s daughter.”

“You will leave her to marry an orphan girl?”

“This isn’t fair. You don’t know what he’s going to say.”

“On the subject of marriage I know every word my father will say.”

“If you already knew every word your father would say, why did you let me fall in love with you?”

“Why did you let me fall in love with you when you knew you were married?”

“So you admit it, you love me.”

“I love you, I love you. What good is my love? Does my love change the fact that you’re married?”

“Yes. Yes. Your love can change the fact that I’m married.”

“I always wanted to hear you say that my love could change that fact that you’re married, but now that I hear you say it, the whole thing sounds so ugly.”

“It sounds beautiful. It sounds like love. Love isn’t ugly. Don’t make it ugly.”

“Maybe you can do this to the woman you married, but I can’t do this to the woman you married.”

“You did it already. You did it a long time ago. We did it together. We kept doing it and doing it. We did it, and it’s done.”

“We did it to her. We did it to us. Maybe neither of us deserves to be married.”

“We could do it fast. We don’t have to ask him. This is America. We could run off to Las Vegas. We could walk down to the courthouse. We could go to Paris. We could take a jet to Africa and have a private ceremony with the tribesmen of the Masai. We could dress up, dress down, wedding gown, tux, jeans, T-shirts, sandals, anything you want. Forever and ever: Anything you want.”

“I want to be married in front of my parents.”

“What if it’s impossible that we could be married in front of your parents?”

“Then you can’t really give me what I want, can you? Even if you weren’t married.”

“Because I’m not Indian?”

“Because you’re not a good man.”

“Because I’m married.”

“What do I know about marriage? Please, take this phone. Call my father. Call him.”

“What good would it do? I’m married.”

“All you have to do to get my mother to love you is learn my language.”

“Your mother will never love me. I’m married.”

“It doesn’t matter what they think anyway. I’m old enough to make my own decisions. It’s my life. It’s not their life.”

“It would be different if I wasn’t married.”

“It wouldn’t be different. I’d still have loved you for four years.”

“I’ve been with the woman I married for thirteen years.”

“How many of those years did you love her?”

“Enough of them to stay married.”

“Did you stay because you loved her or did you stay because you had a child with her?”

“You want me to say that I didn’t love the woman I married?”

“I want you to have loved her. I want you to be a person who loves.”

“You want me to have loved the woman I married while I was making love to you?”

“I know what I mean when I say love. I don’t think you know what you mean when you say love.”

“Because I’m not a good man?”

“You have never been anything but honest with me about everything. You didn’t want to hurt anyone.”

“I wasn’t honest with the woman I married.”

“I knew you were married.”

“You knew I was your professor and I was married.”

“It wasn’t about that. You know that. Don’t say that. We loved each other. We love each other.”

“The kind of love that leads to getting married?”

“Yes. The kind of love that leads to getting married. That’s what I want. That’s what we both want. Here. Take the phone. Talk to my father.”

“What will I say to your father? I want to marry your daughter and also right now I am married?”

“Tell him you love me.”

“He will say: You’re married.”

“Tell him you won’t always be married.”

“He will say: For whose daughter will you leave my daughter after you are married?”

“It is impossible to know every word my father will say.”

“On the subject of marriage you know every word your father will say.”

“Admit it, you love me.”

“What good is my love? Does my love change the fact that I’m married?”

“Yes. Yes. Your love can change the fact that you’re married.”

“You were right, you were right. The whole thing sounds so ugly.”

“No, you were right. It sounds beautiful. It sounds like love. Love isn’t ugly.”

“What could be more ugly to the woman I married?”

“It wasn’t something we did to her. We weren’t ugly to her. All we did was love each other.”

“Neither of us deserves to be married.”

“Everyone deserves to be married.”

“Marry a good Indian boy. Make your father happy.”

“What makes my father happy will never make me happy.”

“Do you think it will make you happy to be married?”

“Please. Take the phone. Talk to my father.”

Kyle Minor’s second collection of short fiction, Praying Drunk, will be published in February 2014. Recent work appears in the Iowa Review, Gulf Coast, and Best American Nonrequired Reading 2013.

Dini Parayitam is completing her second year at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She is at work on a novel and a collection of short fiction.

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