Once I had to go to Saudi Arabia from Karachi by a ship. My cabin fellow was a man short and sturdy built, Habib by name. His skin was rather dark and he was always clean shaven. His fat hooked nose and very large eyes had made hi a strange figure. His long black hair was sleek aand curly. He spoke English fluently but his accent was not English. Whenever he talked he made many gestures. He was proud of being a Pakistani and liked to travel with the Pakistanis. Too many labels on his suitcases showed that he was a much traveled man. Mr. Habib was the most interesting person I ever met in my life.
Mr. Habib was very sociable. He could mix with every sort of company. In three days he knew everyone on board. He was serviceable to all. He used no formalities and called the people by their names without using the word "Mr." He ran everything. He managed the sweeps and conducted the auction on board of the ship. He was hearty gavel and talkative. In short he was everywhere and always.
Mr. Habib was disliked by some people because he was in the habit of poking his nose in everybody's affairs. He offered to play cards with everybody and showed the card tricks. He thrust his company upon others much against their wishes. I could not walk around the deck without his joining me. It was impossible to avoid him. It never occurred to him that he was not wanted.
Mr. Habib was very proud of his knowledge. He was the chap who knew everything under the sun better than others. He discussed pictures and politics. He was argumentative. To disagree with him was a challenge to him.
One evening the conversation drifted to the subject of pearls. Mr. Habib asserted to be an expert in that line also. Mr. Asif a military officer along with his wife was also present. Mr. Habib pointed to Mrs. Asif's chain and declared that it was made of real pearls. According to him its price was 20 to 40 thousand dollars. Mr. Asif refuted to him and told that he bought it for 100 dollars. They bet on it. Mr. Habib examined the chain with a magnifying glass. His eyes showed and I guessed that the pearls were real. But to my great astonishment he admitted that he was mistaken. He lost the bet and paid the amount. The news spread and he was ridiculed. At night in the cabin I asked him if the pearls were not real. He told me that they were real. He explained that when he looked at Mrs. Asif's face there was a desperate appeal. He at once knew that the chain was given to her by her lover. The husband knew only that it was bought for 100 dollars. To save the honor of a lady he had accepted his defeat. I was full of admiration for him.