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Those Who Boast...

Shan's boasting about his heroism results in an embarrassing situation.

Those who brag end up in trouble

Scene: Shan, aged 29, is a good-looking man. He belongs to a middle-class family but is in a habit of boasting. Whenever someone tells him about his or her achievement, he goes a few steps ahead to brag about his achievement on the same topic. Recently, he came in contact with Hanna on social media. Hanna, aged 22, comes from an upper-class family in the Northern areas of Pakistan. Most of her relatives are well settled in the States. After communicating with each other for two months, they decide to meet. Today they plan to meet. Rendezvous is a posh restaurant in Islamabad. When the curtain rises, the love birds are seen sitting on a corner table in dim light. It is about 5 p.m. of a day in May and only a few tables are occupied. Instrumental music at low volume is being played. A couple of waiters are seen serving the customers who are randomly sitting at various tables.

Shan: You look gorgeous in this turquoise dress. It perfectly matches your fair complexion. The golden earrings are stunning.

Hanna: Really! Thank you for the compliments.

Shan: Pleasure is all mine. The evening has become so fragrant with your presence. (A waiter arrives with a menu to pick up the order)

Waiter: (with a broad smile on his face) Sir, Madam (he hands over the menu to each of them. takes out a notepad and a pen, and waits for the order)

Hanna: A Swiss Roll, Cheese balls, and orange juice, please.

Waiter: Ok. And you, Sir. What would you like to have?

Shan: Fish and chips, please.

Waiter: Sir, tea or coffee or cold drink.

Shan: Blackberry juice, please.

(Waiter takes the order down and leaves )

Shan: I reckon you are from Chitral or Gilgit. Aren't you?

Hanna: What makes you think that I'm from the Northern areas?

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Shan: Well, your features, your accent, and the way you carry yourself.

Hanna. Wow! Your guess is quite right. I'm from Hunza. Do you know Amina, the mountain climber? She is my cousin. I accompanied her many times to climb mountains. Once I climbed with her as far as to second base camp of K2. Last year, she took me along to the states on an invitation from a renowned American mountain climber. We traveled as far as Alaska. I enjoyed snow surfing, skiing, and dog sledding.

Shan listened to her carefully and thought he doesn't rate with her, but at the same time considered it a good opportunity to bring out his own story to impress her

Shan: That is great! Last year in February, I also spent a few days in quite uncomfortable surroundings.

Hanna: Really! How was that?

Shan: You know my sister lives in Denmark and her husband, Sarmad, loves adventure. Last year I paid her a visit and her husband took me on an adventure trip to the North Pole. It was morning when Sarmad and I were mushing toward an observation post. Suddenly Sarmad fell and got his arm fractured.

Hanna:Oh! Such a situation results in horrible consequences. What happened next?

Shan: About fifteen minutes later, the stretch of ice broke loose and we started drifting to the sea.

Hanna: That is terrible. How did you cope with the situation?

( waiter arrives with the tea, coffee, and snacks. He serves the order and leaves)

Shan: I realized that Sarmad would soon freeze to death. Why don't you help yourself?

Hanna. It is Okay. I'm so thrilled to listen to your story. Tell me what happened next.

(to give a dramatic touch to his story Shan stands up, puts up his foot on the chair and tries to replay the situation).

Shan: Only solution to defy imminent death was to start a fire. Alas, I was unable to find any matchbox. I opened Sarmad's instrument kit and found a magnifying glass. I tore magazines, newspapers, and files and laid them on the steel instrument box. By focusing the sun rays through the magnifying glass onto the paper, I started a good fire. Fortunately, a boat picked us up in the evening. The captain of the boat appreciated my efforts.

Hanna stared at Shan for a while then stood up from her chair. The restaurant echoed with the sound of a slap on a fleshy cheek followed by the sound of feminine steps moving towards the exit.

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