Miss, you’re not going to perform the pre-prayer washing ritual with such long nails, are you? Zarlashta was shocked at the new minister’s question, was overcome with shame, lowered her eyes and didn’t make a sound.
The minister stroked his beard and said: “Why you are not answering me, have you taken fright? What will you say to God?”
Zarlashta was as still as a statue. The minister asked her:
“Fro whom have you put on all this makeup?”
Zarlashta still remained silent.
The minister added:
“How can you expect me to leave you here in the office in such a state of sparking red and white – what official could resist you?”
He was silent for a second, but then continued: “former officials have so gone astray, but I don’t want our brother Mujahidin to be put in ham’s way”.
Zarlashta could no longer keep her silence and from behind her tears reported:
“In that case me, fire me minister.”
The minister was enraged and replied,
“Just yesterday I turned away lots of women. You are asking me to do the right thing and fire you.
“Fine, make my family my family responsible for everything, break my legs, the ministry can go to the dogs.”
The minister was infuriated:
“How does you’re your husband cope with putting all the responsibility on your, the what you think – did he drawn but soon achieve party? How would Kabul not be destroyed if you husband is in one ministry sitting with side by side with a woman and his wife, like you, is doing work in other ministry.
Zarlashta said quietly:
“I haven’t got a husband.”
Then he said:
“What does your father do?”
“My father is dead.”
“They are young.”
The minister was silent and then said slowly:
“Why have you remained without a husband? We Muslims will not marry you, and the other dirty ones won’t have found you.”
Zarlashta started crying, she wanted to say something but bit her tongue. The minister stopped asking tormenting questions and said gently:
“Very well, let us forget this matter, now tell me, if I find a husband for you, will you marry him?”
Zarlahst said from behind her tears:
“If you fire me and don’t take care of my family, I won’t have ay choice but to get married, will I?
The minister liked this remark and smiled.
“And so this will please God and will also free you of your troubles.”
Zarlashta said act of necessity.
“Like you say, minister, you are wise people”
The minister stroked his beard, looked around and said to Zarlashta:
“Close the door behind you”.
Zarlashta was shocked but went to the door and shut it as was already half closed.
The minister said slowly:
“Am I not a suitable man for you? Don’t be scared, I am forcing you. “
Zarlashta was shocked and overcome with shame, but still controlled her self (kept her composure) and said gently:
“But you are like a father to me, minister.”
The minister laughed:
“Such things will give a damned bearded man a white beard, I am not past it dear! I would only be ten or twelve years your senior.”
Zarlashta jumped at this news.
“But you do have a wife, no?
“You refer to one – I have two, but one is housewife, the other is an “outdoor wife”, but I haven’t got an office wife or a wife to go on walks with. I am mad for modern women, really.
Zarlashta laughed and said:
“But an outdoor, walking and modern wife also wants a modern husband, no?”
The minister laughed:
“He would have to shave his beard and he would act modern.”
The minister smiled:
“you call that a hard work? What’s difficult about shaving one’s beard? Okay, and from tomorrow I will wear western suit, what else do I have to do?
“What about may nails, lisp stick and eye shadows?”
“As you like, but you will have to remain from wearing it at work as it is God’s torture that I fired other women and also spare me from the gossip of others and my friends.”
Zarlasht said slowly:
“In that case, I will think aout it.”
The minister said seriously:
“Never mind thinking, just tell me that you will take time and go and see someone to let them know that you have decided.”
Zarlashta was again overcome with shame and ran out of the office.