The Two Krishnas (Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender and Intersex)

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9781936833009: The Two Krishnas (Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender and Intersex)
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In the tradition of A Fine Balance and The Namesake, The Two Krishnas is a sensual and searing look at infidelity and the nature of desire and faith. At the center of the novel is Pooja Kapoor, a betrayed wife and mother who is forced to question her faith and marriage when she discovers her banker husband, Rahul, has fallen in love with a young, male Muslim illegal immigrant who happens to be their son's age. Faced with the potential of losing faith in Rahul, divine intervention, and family, she is forced to confront painful truths about the past and the duality in God and husband.

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About the Author:


Los Angeles-based writer-director-producer, Ghalib Shiraz Dhalla was born in Mombasa, Kenya. His work has appeared in various national publications including Instinct, Angeleno, and Genre, and celebrated at MIT (2004), the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts (2009), and the Yale Master's Tea (2011). Dhalla's critically-acclaimed debut novel, "Ode to Lata," was hailed by The Los Angeles Times as an achievement” and by the Library Journal as brilliant.” In 2008, "Ode to Lata" was turned into the major motion picture "The Ode," which was written, produced and co-directed by Dhalla. A passionate activist, Dhalla also co-founded the South Asian program at the Asian Pacific Aids Intervention Team and is one of the founding members of Satrang, a support group for LGBT and questioning South Asians in Los Angeles. In 2009, Dhalla joined the prestigious Humanitas Prize organization which recognizes excellence in TV and Film scripts.

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Chapter One

O Dhananjaya (conqueror), I bless you, my dear friend. There is none equal to you in the three worlds, as you know my secret. O Arjuna, you will curse me if you talk to anyone about the secret which you wanted to know and have experienced.”

-Krishna to Arjuna
Padma Purana (ca. 12th century)
The one and only wife should with internalized belief and total absorption, hold her husband as a God.”

-Kama Sutra (2nd Century B.C)
Desire is incapable of hypocrisy. The thought broke through Rahul Kapoor's mind as he prepared to tell his first lie of the day. Sitting at his desk, Rahul stared at the framed picture of his wife and son, their laughter trapped beneath glass. His finger ran over the surface and he touched them, almost feeling the planes and curves of Pooja’s beautiful face, the softness of her pink chiffon sari, Ajay's weathered leather jacket.

We can force ourselves to tolerate certain people, to acclimate to a job we detest, and for a while, even rein ourselves in with logic and common sense, he thought. But we are truly helpless against the heart and its obdurate desires.

Rahul’s finger trailed off the pane of glass, leaving behind an oily smudge. He looked at his watch. It was three-thirty in the afternoon. If he left now, he could beat the evening traffic. He stood up and absentmindedly packed his leather briefcase, threw on a navy blue suit jacket and called his assistant Amelia, sitting on the other side of the busy bank office, surrounded by her coterie of little stuffed toys.
He made his excuses about visiting important clients, about being unable to make it back in time due to traffic and she, in her typical, obsequious manner, assured him that everything was under control. Los Angeles, after all, was not kind to wayfarers or commuters.

Clutching his briefcase, Rahul left his corner glass office and cut across the lobby to pick up a few sales brochures for effect. A queue of impatient clients paying credit card and mortgage bills, making deposits, or just withdrawing money because they were untrusting of the ATM machine looked at him expectantly. He ignored them. He was a man in love, removed from the mundane. Rahul said his perfunctory goodbyes to a few employees, one of them too busy to notice, and made for the door like a convict for whom the prison gates had miraculously opened in the middle of the night.

As his Mercedes sped down the 405 freeway, the lane markers morphing into a solid line, Rahul thought about how naïve he had been in thinking he could wrestle with his urges, simply vaporize them. In the end, years of deprivation had only served to nurture them.

Before long, Rahul approached an army of red lights, and a wave of sickness washed over him. The solid white line broke down into halting dashes again. He came to a complete stop, felt the acid drip in his stomach. Walled behind a massive white truck, there was no telling what lay ahead. He was going to be late.

Rahul was not a cruel man. His disbelief in a higher power in karmic retribution did not make him apathetic to the pain of others. But entrenched in the heat of traffic, Rahul couldn’t help wishing that someone else also suffered. For this to cost him another second of delay there had better be damage, significant devastation, a bonfire of metal and flesh, not just some calm CHP officer completing a speeding ticket and throwing already paranoid drivers into apoplexy.

The heat surged. The digital temperature display on his dashboard reached the nineties and the gasoline indicator lit up. He restrained himself from cranking up the air-conditioner. He loosened the noose a deep burgundy silk tie, clustered with wisps of turquoise paisleys that his wife had given him some years ago to celebrate a raise and let it hang limply around his wet neck, granting him permission to unbutton the starched cotton shirt. His son thought the tie unfashionably ornate and Rahul often joked that one day he would pass it on to him as an heirloom.

The remnants of his Jaipur aftershave mingled with his sweat and produced the kind of pheromonal aroma that he knew would elicit excitement when he finally got there. The thought of it made him sweat even more. He rolled down the window and warm air barged in with the cacophony of traffic. Rahul’s eyes glazed behind his sunglasses, as they often did when the world around became too harsh and the visual had to be blurred momentarily: a kind of expeditious meditation. Then Rahul could hear the deep, throaty laughter, feel the gnawing of teeth on his stubbly chin, see bare limbs and torsos undulating in pure white sheets. And for some inexplicable reason he heard the faint crackling of electrical wires overhead.

He reached out for the telephone headset but the cord was tangled on the parking brake. His frustrated tugs only strengthened its hold. Calm down, calm down, he urged himself. You’re making matters worse. He uncoiled the cord gently, reminding himself to breathe evenly. An elongated press of 9” on his cell phone transported him to his destination. If only I could fly over all this. Leap over it all and be there with you. The answering machine came on, and then that voice filled his ear and made his heart jump. Rahul knew that preparations were being made Tuberoses being placed to crane out of vases to perfume the air; pungent powders in shades of earth and vermillion were being portioned out into bubbling pots of food; music being selected to set the mood, to score the soft moans of pleasure and grateful cries of release; and a volume of Rumi was being placed on the nightstand to celebrate the afterglow.

I’m on my way. I’m coming. I’ll be there soon,” he said. And then even after he had disconnected, he continued to say it to himself in a whisper, like a mantra, a reassurance that his life was waiting for him on the other side.

The barricade gave way. One by one, without rhyme or reason, the red lights of forbiddance were snuffed out and the cars began, almost with a moan of relief, to lurch forward. Rahul took a deep but shaky breath and stepped on the gas.

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