Of Nose Pins and Reading Glasses

Last time I had my nose pierced, I was eighteen, living in residence at Kinnaird College, Lahore, and a bunch of us decided that having an extra hole in the nose was a great idea, and so we trotted off to Liberty market and had the piercing done. I don't remember the actual piercing. Did we take turns or line up and have it done together? I do remember the nightly ritual-post showers- of removing the pin, cleaning the area, and the painful reinsertion. If it wasn't for my friends lined up in front of those mirrors at the residence washroom, I swear I would never have put myself through this daily torture. I am not one for any type of discomfort or pain.

A few months later, I returned home to Karachi and proudly displayed my nose pin to my Nani. (My mother had bought me a delicate, diamond beauty of which I was rather proud.) But my normally loving Nani, was disdainful. She announced that only women of "a certain type" wore nose pins. Present me, would have hung onto that nose pin for that remark alone, but my younger self was hurt, and discarded the nose pin. All I have now, is the minutest of scars, a dot, in the spot of that first piercing.

I mentioned this story to a friend recently, and with some encouragement, went in for another piercing. This time, sadly, alone with no one, but the lady doing the piercing to witness my eyes tearing with the shock of the brief pain. The daily cleaning was also a similar lonely venture, minus the drama of removal and subsequent reinsertion.

Yesterday, I decided it was time to remove the nose pin used for the piercing and replace it with an actual nose pin, but after repeated failed attempts, I finally gave up on the project. More than two decades have passed since that first piercing, and my numerous friends have now all been replaced by my sole room mate and depository for all my positive and negative emotions; enter Mr. Husband.

Mid-afternoon, he finally agreed to insert the new nose pin. First attempt was without the benefit of his reading glasses and he got yelled at for jabbing my nose at random. Second attempt with glasses resulted in the nose pin making it halfway in. There was some bleeding, which made him decide that it was time for him to bail out, and for me to complete the job myself, but once I get my hands on a good man, I don't let go. Finally, the deed was done. Nose pin successfully in place, I unwound my arms from around his waist. Thankfully, my room mate and I are still on talking terms, despite my tantruming like a two-year-old and swearing like a forty-three-year-old with a few words at her disposal.

Sometimes, heroes come with reading glasses.



Tehmina Khan