A buddy tells me a Whopper of a story14 june 2013, 15:26
My friend Ben thought for sure it was the end of his relationship with his girlfriend Marzhan.
“One day Marzhan and I stopped by Keruen after swimming,” he told me. “I had worked up an appetite from the exercising, and asked her if she was hungry. She said yes.”
The two agreed on a Thai dinner.
Suddenly, without warning, Marzhan blurted out: “I want a burkha.”
This declaration alarmed Ben.
He and Marzhan had been comfortable from the start precisely because she was a modern Kazakh girl, Ben said.
She wasn’t worldly or wild, but she enjoyed many of the things he did – listening to live music, dancing, having a drink or two.
And she liked to be fashionable. Ben loved her taste in clothes – chic but elegant.
So the words “I want a burkha” chilled him like a snowstorm roaring down on Astana from Siberia in mid-January.
He envisioned his beloved undergoing a religious conversion that would change her – and their relationship – forever.
“If she’s ready to wear a burkha, then she’s ready to cast aside everything we’ve enjoyed doing,” he thought.Hecould feel the nightlife he savored slipping away from him.
Next he envisioned Marzhan donning loose-fitting robes along with the burkha, eliminating the curvy figure he admired in the classy clothes she wore.
Trying not to show the alarm that was rising in him, he asked her: “What did you say you wanted?”
“A burkha,” she replied.
Yep. He’d heard it right the first time. At least he thought so.
Feeling as forlorn as a guy whose girlfriend has just batted her eyes at his best friend, he didn’t say anything for a moment.
Then he decided to try to make the best of a bad situation.
“Sugar, I don’t know where to buy you a burkha,” he said. “Why don’t I give you the money for one, and you can buy it yourself. How much does a burkha cost?’
Marzhan looked dumbfounded.
“What do you mean you don’t know where to buy a burkha?” she demanded. “There are several burkha places right here in the Keruen Food Court.”
“The Food Court?” mused a perplexed Ben.
Then a light went on, and hope replaced the gloom he’d felt about Marzhan undergoing a religious conversion
“Sweetheart, I want to understand exactly what you want. Can you say it once more?” he asked her gently.
She looked exasperated. “A burkha! A burkha!” she said, pointing at the counter of the new Burger King in Keruen.
Ben exhaled in relief, then started laughing.
“I thought you were saying ‘burkha,’ like a hijab,” he said. “You really had me worried for a moment.”
“You know my English pronunciation is not perfect,” she sniffed. “Don’t be so stupid.”
Then a full appreciation of the anxiety he had been feeling dawned on her, and she started laughing, too.