Good Advice Is Rarer than Rubies

by Salman Rushdie

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How does Muhammad Ali intend to assist Miss Rehana?

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Muhammad Ali wants to help Miss Rehana by giving her advice and procuring the necessary papers for her visa.

The aged confidence man usually makes his living from tricking unsuspecting women out of their money. Often worried and stressed out with the visa application process, these 'Tuesday women' put their trust in Muhammad to guide them through the confusing questions and procedures.

However, when Muhammad Ali sets eyes upon the beautiful Miss Rehana, he is inspired to truly help her, despite the fact that she cannot pay him. He warns her that getting a visa is a difficult process and that she should put her trust in him. Relenting, Miss Rehana lets Muhammad look over her application. When he pronounces that everything is in order, she gets up to walk away. However, the infatuated, elderly man stops her. He frightens her with stories of the types of uncomfortable questions the officials will plague her with. He assures her that he knows where he can get the proper documents for her with the official seals, for a price. The implication is that, for a bribe, she can have what she needs.

Miss Rehana is horrified at Muhammad's advice and tells him so. The story eventually concludes with Miss Rehana confiding in Muhammad that she is happy to be denied a visa. After all, she has no desire to go to a strange land, in order to marry a man she has never met. Before they part ways, Miss Rehana flashes Muhammad a beautiful smile, the 'happiest thing he had ever seen in his long, hot, hard, unloving life.'

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