Alifbehpehrian for extended family

By Amaan Hyder

ا

alif

And when they visit, where will you put them?

ب

beh

Bahut means many in Urdu.

پ

peh

Pareshan means worry.

ت

teh

Two of you will have to sleep in the lounge.

ٹ

tteh

Ten of you will be in a photo,

ث

seh

smiling by the Tower of London.

ج

jeem

Jegga means place and space.

چ

che

Chamcha means spoon and flatterer.

ح

heh

Hosting means keeping the house

خ

kheh

khamoosh while they stay. Quiet,

د

dal

don’t talk about anything controversial.

ڈ

ddal

Don’t think they will budge; they know you will

ذ

zal

zigzag, tethered to the diaspora.

ر

reh

Roll out the red carpet for your guests.

ز

zeh

Zinda means living, zindagi means life.

س

seen

Say we go to the mosque at Eid.

ش

sheen

Show them your school certificates.

ص

suad

Surrender the more comfortable sofa.

ض

zuad

Zaroor, of course, is your answer

ط

toy

to their requests. You want them to leave

ظ

zoy

with no upset to report to the wider family.

ع

ain

An epigraph for the visit might be:

غ

ghain

Ghazal for an in-law. Or,

ف

feh

Family means poorly matched.

ق

caaf

Can we all squeeze into a car,

ک

kaaf

keep to each other’s laps?

گ

gaaf

Gari is car, ghar is house, but don’t mention

ل

laam

land or who stole what back home.

م

meem

Mohabbat means love, mehnat is hard work.

ن

noon

No conversation is as precarious,

و

vow

verbatim, as it is with relatives.

ه

choti heh

How late they go to bed. How gently you tread,

ھ

do chasmi heh

heaving expectation.

ی

yeh

You must visit us next time. Inshallah.

When we see you then, no English, only Urdu.

© 2020 harana poetry

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