Scene 1

(Shiva, Kumara and Ganapati.)

KUMARA: Father, I want to get married.

SHIVA: Why, my son? Why do you want to get married?

KUMARA: I need a woman in my life. I feel that my heart is barren. I need somebody to give me love.

GANAPATI: Father, I also want to get married. I also need love from somebody, from a woman. I need it badly, Father.

SHIVA: So both of you want to get married. It is a good idea. But we can’t afford to have two marriages performed at the same time. One of you will have to wait.

KUMARA: Father, I should get married first, since I made the proposal first.

GANAPATI: No, Father, I should marry first because I am older than he is, and as you know, it is the older child that gets married first. That is our Indian tradition.

KUMARA: Father, please listen to me. It is I who should get married first. All the time his mind remains in his books. I tell you, if you allow him to get married, he will neglect his wife. He won’t take care of his wife. He will ruin her, and you will feel miserable when you see your daughter-in-law come to you shedding bitter tears. Don’t allow him to get married, Father. It is I who should get married. I belong to this world. I know the ins and outs of this world. I will take care of my wife.

GANAPATI: Father, Kumara knows how to talk, and I know how to act. I tell you, he talks and talks and talks, but when it is a matter of action, he will not be seen anywhere. I shall please my wife. Believe me, Father. Give me the chance. I want to get married first.

KUMARA: Father, Father, it is always said that the youngest son in the family gets the first chance in everything. I am the youngest, Father, so I should get the first chance. I should get married first.

SHIVA: All right. I will tell you what you have to do. Both of you go and travel around the world. Whoever comes back first will be given the opportunity to get married first. I will wait.

(Kumara immediately runs away. Ganapati remains.)

GANAPATI (to himself): With this huge belly of mine, how am I going to run like him? Oh God, give me some wisdom. How can I outrun my brother Kumara? He is thin, swift, agile. For me even to walk, to cover a quarter-mile, is an extremely difficult task. I will die if I have to circumnavigate the world. I won’t be able to do it. After I have covered two or three miles, I shall return to God instead of returning home. Let me meditate and see if I can get any ideas.

(He meditates. After some time, a brilliant idea enters his mind.)

GANAPATI (to himself): My father! My father is all divinity. This world belongs to him. Naturally, if I go around him, that means I am going around the world. (To his father.) Father, please be seated, please be seated.

(Shiva sits down. Singing the glory of his father, Ganapati walks around him seven times.)

GANAPATI: Father, I have won.

SHIVA: How have you won?

GANAPATI: Father, I have won seven times over. You are the world. You are the Lord of the world, and you embody the world. You are the Creator; you are the creation itself. I have gone seven times around you. That means I have gone around the world seven times. Father, it is I who should get married first.

SHIVA (deeply pleased): Go and call your mother. (Ganapati goes out and returns with his mother.)

SHIVA (to his wife): Your son Ganapati has won a race against Kumara. This morning both brothers insisted on getting married. When I agreed, each of them wanted to be the first to marry. I said the first one to travel around the world would be the first to get married. Ganapati asked me to sit down. I sat down, and he walked around me seven times. Naturally he is the winner.

DURGA: I am truly happy that we have a son who is wise. The other son is strong and powerful, but he does not have wisdom, alas. He will run and run and run. God knows when he will come back. I feel sorry for that boy, and I am proud of this boy. Let us marry this son. It is my wish that this son will marry two girls at the same time.

GANAPATI: Two? Two, Mother?

DURGA: Yes, my son, two. I need two girls to help me. And who knows, when Kumara comes back, he may be disappointed, seeing that you have married first, and he may not marry at all. So the best thing is for us to get two girls for you.

GANAPATI (very happy): Oh, Mother! They will help you, so you won’t have to work any more. And I will be so happy and proud. Everybody else has one wife, but I will have two wives!

(Shiva smiles and blesses his son.)