Good Advice Is Rarer than Rubies

by Salman Rushdie

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Why does Rehana visit the British consulate in "Good Advice Is Rarer than Rubies"?

Quick answer:

In "Good Advice Is Rarer than Rubies," Rehana goes to the British consulate to apply for a visa to England. Although her application ends up getting denied, Rehana is grateful for the outcome, as she gets to return home to the three boys she nannies.

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In the story, Rehana is one of the "Tuesday women." The term is used to refer to young ladies who go to the British consulate every Tuesday to apply for English visas.

Some of the women are successful, while others ultimately fail in their quest to immigrate to England. Regardless of their background stories, all experience an undue level of scrutiny during their visa interviews. This explains the high level of anxiety among the women.

Still, Rehana is unique in that she betrays little uneasiness about the entire visa application process. In fact, her self-possession impresses Muhammad Ali, a trickster who preys on the unsuspecting young women who procure his services.

Muhammad Ali informs Rehana that she will be asked intrusive questions by the "sahibs" at the consulate. However, she doesn't flinch at the prospect.

The story ends on a surprising note. Far from being disappointed in her failure to earn an English visa, Rehana seems rather pleased. She tells Muhammad that she gave inaccurate or wrong answers to each interview question.

This confuses the older man, and he's flabbergasted at Rehana's seeming lack of disappointment at her "failure." However, Rehana reveals that she's quite happy going back to her nanny job in Lahore. There, she has charge over three littles boys, who would have been sad to see her leave.

Rehana's composure and inner strength make a deep impression on Muhammad. He's not quite sure he's ever seen a more beautiful and enigmatic creature. And, as the story ends, it's clear that Rehana has upended societal expectations to chart her own course in life.

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