Acknowledgements must go to the following individuals for their inspiration for this tale…
Allan Aldiss for his fantastic erotic harem novels
Valeriya Lukyanova, the living Barbie doll from Ukraine
New Delhi, India
The moment that Mastana Ahmadzay realised that her life had changed irrevocably was the moment that she switched on her mobile after her Financial and Monetary Economics lecture. Although she generally kept her mobile on silent, it vibrating when someone was trying to contact her, for that lecture she always switched it off because without her full concentration, she always lost the thread of Prof. Singh’s arguments. However, when she switched it on that fateful Wednesday, she saw that she had ten missed calls and twenty-three texts. She opened the first. It read simply: Mastana, put on the news. That she did and with horror she saw the tragedy that had engulfed her homeland. The king had been assassinated and not just the king but all his family and all the leading figures in the country. The annual Loya Jirga had been targeted by the Taliban and they had been more successful than they could ever have hoped. Her Uncle Saeedullah, the head of the powerful Ahmadzay clan had been amongst them. Immediately she typed in the website of Ariana Afghan Airlines and booked herself on that evening’s flight to Kabul. Islamic funerals after all, have to take place within twenty-four hours of the death.
The Ahmadzay Family Home
Immediately after the funeral, they returned home her father took her to one side. “Mastana my darling, we need to talk,” he said. She nodded and they went into his study. Once inside she sat down and he began to speak.
“As you know my daughter, our beloved country of Afghanistan used to be one of the most wretched on earth. We had decades of war, first with the Soviets, then with the Taliban, then with the Americans. They thought Karzai was the solution but no man chosen by foreigners could ever have united the Afghans. We needed to choose our own and so we did, King Muhammad Nadir Khan, and an inspired choice it was. He gave us twelve years of precious peace before his son took over and granted us eight more before his son ascended to the throne three years ago, but as we know only too well, King Mir Ahmad Khan was treacherously murdered yesterday.”
There was a moment of silence as the tragedy was recalled yet again.
“But we Afghans will not permit a return to the old ways of hate and slaughter. A new king has already been chosen for Allah has blessed us by causing our late monarch’s young brother to have been absent from the Loya Jirga yesterday. Muhammad Akbar Khan was praying at the shrine of Khwaja Abu Nasr Parsa. His faith saved him.”
“Subhan’allah indeed, my daughter, subhan’allah indeed! Afghanistan has a future again, those perverters of His Divine Will shall not succeed. But as you know, having a king alone is not enough. King Muhammad Nadir Khan only managed to bring about peace because he united the tribes and he did that by honouring them all. On the day of his coronation he divorced his previous wives and married the most prominent virgins from the Durrani, Barakzai, Hotaki and Ahmadzay families. We all remember the great honour bestowed upon your cousin Huma when she was married to King Mir Ahmad Khan on the day of his coronation. By uniting the families and giving all equal honour, then the peace, stability and happiness of Afghanistan is guaranteed.”
“I know all this father well, so why are you telling it to me again?”
“Because my darling daughter, you now have a role to fulfil. With the death of your uncle and cousin, I am now the most prominent Ahmadzay in the land and as such, you are the most prominent eligible virgin for the role of queen…
“What?! You mean for me to marry Muhammad Akbar Khan! But what about my MBA, I have only a year left and then I planned…”
“I know, I know, my darling, and I am sorry, for we always intended you to become educated, work in the West or India or China perhaps and to choose your own spouse, but this is a great honour, to wed a king and…”
“As his third or fourth wife!”
“No Mastana, you know the rules; all wives are equal under Afghani Law. Instead of numbers they may retain their names and…”
“But Muhammad Akbar Khan is so religious and I am not. We are not suited!”
“It is not about being suited personally, it is about you suiting your country! Do you wish a return to war and strife? Do you wish to have the blood of thousands on your hands Mastana?”
“No father but…”
“But nothing, this is politics my darling. The coronation is scheduled for two weeks today and thus that is when you shall be married as well. But before then there is much to do. The queens of Afghanistan have to be specially prepared for their role you know.”