On my recent trip to Pakistan, I happened to drop in a ladies beauty salon for a few minutes. Both of us had just been to see a doctor who also happens to be an old acquaintance, On our way back to home, she said she wanted to make a quick and brief stop at the neighbourhood salon and I happily agreed. After all, even if you don't need anything done, what can be more fun than seeing other fellow beings tormented in the name of beauty?
Anyway, just when we were getting ready to leave this prettyish young lady stepped in with her younger sister. As soon as she caught sight of me and little Zubair, she went into raptures and began to hug me and fuss over Lil Zee. Then she bombarded me with question like"Ah, so this is the little one..what's his name...when did you come to Lahore...how long will you be here" etc. I put on a civil smile and mumbled appropriate responses.
Once outside, I turned to my cousin and asked her, "So, who was she?". She was flabbergasted, "I don't know her at all.Judging from your warm response I thought you knew her". Then I mulled over the question for a long time, who could she really be? I dismissed the suspicion that she was the girl who I used to see occasionally on the bus stop, because I recalled that girl's face. Then I narrated the incident to my chachi and gave her a detailed description of the girl, she is fair and slim, had a tiny nose pin etc."Aha, that must be miss K."she said. Hm...yeah I had also wondered briefly that she may be miss K.
Today, I related this incident to A.and his response was, 'but why didn't you ask that girl who she was?" How could I, that would have been kind of rude and of course it is very embarrassing that I don't recognize my neighbour. .I have never been to her home, and have only briefly conversed with her standing on the rooftop: she lives across the street and we can see right through their window because they haven't put up any curtains etc.Whenever we look, she is ironing a huge pile of clothes. So am I really to be blamed for not recognizing the girl whom I have always seen ironing the clothes form across a street?(and my eyesight is kind of poor too).
The reason for not asking her who she was is quite obvious, and not. Well, many years ago when I was just 11 or 12 years old, I went to a wedding in my chachi's village. A girl came up to me, she was pretty excited to see me and yapped on and on about how we used to play and have so much fun when we last visited. And stupid me not only stared at her with a blank look on my face but actually had to contradict her and say, "oh but I don't remember anything of the sorts". She was crestfallen and kept on relating things that we did last time. But I kept on insisting that I couldn't remember any of it, I didn't remember her face or even her name. For rest of the wedding she kept at a distance, even though I later felt bad for inadvertently hurting her and in order to make up for it, I tried to start conversation with her.But she just never was the same again to me. In fact, after that day I never saw her again. To this day, I don't remember if we really did have all that fun she claimed we had had,and I still don't remember her name. Yet I often recall that incident and feel really sorry,both for her and for myself as well.
Maybe I make too big a deal out of small thing, but to this day I regret not pretending to her that I did know her. I could have feigned recognition and could have had fun and saved her from hurt and embarrassment.
Such is life.