When Father and Dastan Uncle left the fire temple, the young woman was still standing outside. A tall young man had joined her. Father and Dastan Uncle greeted the man with a friendly kind salutations. The young man returned their greeting and wished them well. Once more, Father and Dastan Uncle said nothing to the young woman. They left the temple and walked home.
“Is that her husband?” Father asked Dastan Uncle as they maneuvered through the busy walkway. “Is that the Hindu she married?”
“Yes, I believe so,” Dastan Uncle said, glancing back. “The priests won’t bless her child. They wouldn’t even allow her to attend her father’s funeral. She is understandably distraught.”
“It was her choice,” Father said.
Dastan Uncle waved his hand. “What if Bapsi had married a Hindu instead of Jahan?” He glanced around and lowered his voice. “Or a Muslim? The priests would call Adar illegitimate. Bapsi could not attend your funeral. Or her mother’s. She could never enter the fire temple again.”
“Perhaps it would be better to have no children,” Father said.
Dastan Uncle chafed. “Childlessness is a punishment from heaven.”
Father shrugged. “That is for Ahura Mazda to decide.” He stopped to give a coin to a blind beggar. “Your daughter is unwed,” he casually said to Dastan Uncle. “What if Goolrookh married a man who was not Zoroastrian? What would you do?”
Dastan Uncle walked a few steps ahead. “I love my daughter.”
Father caught up and pressed for an answer. “Only a fool does not cherish his daughter? But what would you do if she married outside the faith?”
“As you say,” Dastan Uncle said. “That is for Ahura Mazda to decide.”
Father stopped again to buy a newspaper. “This is dreadful,” Father said as scanned the headline. “Suicide bombing. A woman!”
“Another woman bomber?” Dastan Uncle said “Russia or Iraq?”
“Neither,” Father said, tucking the newspaper securely under his arm. “This one is different.”
Part One << Part Two >> Part Three