Short Stories of the Indian Subcontinent
A Reading Life Project
No culture has older literary roots than that of the Indian subcontinent. Edmund Burke was right when he told the English leadership they had no right to rule a country whose culture was much older than theirs.
Salmon Rushdie (Bombay, 1947) is one of the very greatest of living writers. He has won many top literary awards. If he does not one day win the Nobel Prize it can be only from fear of the wrath of petro-dollars. I have previously posted on his 1981 Midnight's Children and The Enchantress of Florence. I love his rich prose and his blending of styles.
|"Nice Story, funny when I applied|
for a British Visa the Ambassador
expedited it"- Carmilla
"Good Advice Is Rarer Than Rubies" is a very entertaining easy to follow and understand story about a young woman seemingly seeking a visa to go to England and an old man who makes his living by preying upon Visa seekers. Visa application day at the British consulate is Tuesday and the old man is always there, looking for country women, the younger then better, coming to apply to a Visa. When he spots a likely mark, he will pull her aside with an avuncular manner and tell her of the horrors she may face inside the consulate. He tells his victims they will be asked many trick questions, that they maybe asked very personal questions and he tells them without inside knowledge they have little chance to get a Visa. He looks for women who have come a long way by bus, the more country the better. He tells them he can offer them some very good advise and he looks over their Visa application. Then if they have not offered him money yet he tells them their only hope is to pay him so he can get his "friend at the consulate" to approve their Visa. Many of the women are joining husbands or husbands to be from arranged marriages or family in England so they are desperate to go. The way the process works is one applies and then waits for the mail. He picks country women as he knows they are less likely to come back looking for him when they finally figure out he is a fraud.
He picked what seems like a perfect victim. A young pretty country girl who is applying for a Visa so she can join her finance in London. When she was nine her parents arranged that she would one day be married to a man thirty years older than her, she has no memory of ever seeing him. She turns the tables on the old con-man and I will let you discover the rest of this story yourself. It is really a lot of fun to read.
It first appeared in East, West: Stories, a collection of Salmon Rushdie's short stories.
I have on my TBR list and my IPAD, The Satanic Verses and The Moor's Last Sigh and hope to read them soon.