Last evening, a friend called to invite me to Dinner at her residence. I politely refused and disconnected the phone. My husband asked why I did not accept the invitation for the Dinner. (This lady is not at all popular in our house). We started a discussion about the ‘qualities’ of this lady. Within two minutes the lady called again on my mobile and told me that I had not kept the receiver properly on its base. She was, therefore not able to call any one from her phone. I apologized to her for the fault on my part. And then came the bomb shell. She said that she had heard the conversation we had. I was stunned. The bullet had already been fired. The arrow had left the quiver. There was no possibility of recovering it! I will have to make amends with my friend.
Everyone has faced such embarrassing situations some time or the other. Even though when you are in the midst of such a situation we feel discomfiture but in retrospect when we think of the incident we feel foolish and have a hearty laugh at our own stupidity. Once I was invited to a friend’s house for her brother’s first wedding anniversary. When I reached there I saw a huge hand painted portrait of a gentleman which could not but attract your attention. I remarked, “ Your brother looks very handsome. Who made this portrait?” From the expression of her eyes I knew that I had uttered something foolish, because the portrait was that of her father and not brother. The whole evening I felt remorse at my own foolishness.
I have been a witness to others’ chagrin too. I was working on a file in the office of my boss, when an elderly lady entered and smiled at me. I noticed her but I continued to go through the file. The lady took her seat and was continuously staring at me. After about five minutes she spoke out, “Pam, are you so busy that you are ignoring me?” I was confused and told her that I am not Pam. As if she did not believe me, she further said , “Don’t joke. Don’t you remember me? We were together in Chandigarh.” I again told her that I had never been to Chandigarh and it was mistaken identity. The poor lady’s embarrassment was writ large on her face.
The most embarrassing situation that I have faced is quite a nightmare. The thought of that day sends shivers through my body. I had been invited as the Chief Guest in a School function. I reached the premises at the appointed hour. The School Principal and Managing committee had assembled at the gate to welcome me. I was being escorted to the school hall. We reached the hall. All of sudden I tripped and fell down flat. I got up with the help of the Principal and put up a brave front, as though nothing had happened. More than me the hosts felt awkward at the turn of events. To this day I shudder when I remember that incident. I also feel amused at the happenings of that day.
My husband has also experienced awkward situations. Once we had gone for a movie. We were about ten family members. In the middle of the movie my husband fell down. The chair on which he was sitting had broken. Somewhat similar incident occurred on the day of his retirement, while he was handing over charge to his successor. The sturdy revolving chair on which he was sitting suddenly broke, and he fell down. Even though he felt embarrassed, he laughed it off, saying that the chair didn’t want anyone else to sit on it!
My husband has also narrated to me an amusing incident at the workplace. His subordinate officer was discussing a file with him when he drifted into deep slumber, to the discomfort of the officer present. After jerking awake, my husband gave a sheepish smile, and proclaimed that he had been thinking. The officer then realized his boss’ predicament, and politely withdrew.
My husband addresses me as ‘Begum’ at home. His boss also happened to be a lady officer. Sometimes, while at the office, he would realize that unconsciously he was addressing her as ‘Begum’ instead of ‘Madam’!
Incidents such as those described above have a comical flavor. Such awkward situations occur everywhere and are experienced by everyone. While they cause embarrassment, they also add spice to our daily, humdrum existence. So friends, when next you trip and fall in the marketplace, take it in your stride. It is just another anecdote to amuse your children with!