My sister, Lions, and A Guessing Game

I love my weekly visits to Ammi. I love it when she makes me tea, and calls me for lunch after setting the table. I love the feeling of not having to run the household: not worrying about meals, and laundry. I love the feeling of being a daughter.

Soon after lunch, just when I’m all settled to watch some T.V., Ammi hands me the phone. “It’s S,” she says.

S is my youngest sister. She has called from her office.

After the usual exchange of salaams, she says, quite excitedly, “I’m going on an official trip abroad!”

“Great. Where to?” I ask.


“How about a clue?” I don’t feel like guessing. Animal Planet is featuring an interesting show on lions. Our cable package at home didn’t include the Animal Planet, so I’m deprived. This is my once-a-week chance to catch up on the animals.

“Hmm, the country’s name starts with a letter T.”

“Tanzania?” I am, after all, watching lions. It’s but natural for me to think of Africa.

“Tanzania?! What will I do there?” She asks me to guess again.





“Toronto?” The lioness is about to jump over her prey, a huge buffalo. Look at the size difference!

“That’s not a country! Okay, I’ll give you another clue. It’s a Muslim country.” My sister is obviously getting impatient.

“Turkey?” This has to be it. I don’t know any other country that starts with T.


“Hmm,’s not a T. Sorry, my mistake. The country starts with a letter I.” She giggles.

I miss the lioness’ first attack on the buffalo.

“Iraq?” I don’t understand why her boss felt the need to open a real estate business there.

“No! Okay, you’ve got just one more try.”

“Islamic Republic of Pakistan?” I wanted to say Islamabad.

“Uff, it’s Iran! You’re so bad at guessing. Anyway, I’ll be flying to Tehran with my project manager on Sunday.”

Ah, Tehran. So that’s where the T came from!

And then she continues, “I’m learning a few sentences in Persian language.”

She spent days memorizing useful phrases, like:

Khayli mamnoon (Thank you so much)

Nemi danam (I don’t know)

Kart-e etebar ghabool milonid? (Do you accept credit cards?)

“You know, you actually didn’t need to put so much effort in memorizing those,” I tell her, “all you have to do is recite a few lines from our national anthem whenever you meet a local.”

The national anthem of Pakistan is, after all, entirely written in the Persian language, except for one Urdu word ‘Ka’.

So, armed with her Persian language handbook, a new abaya, and a camera, my youngest sister flies first class on a three-day official trip to Tehran.

In the meantime, I am watching Animal Planet.


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9 Responses to My sister, Lions, and A Guessing Game

  1. Ordinary girl says:

    LOL! That was funny! My monther also starts talking when I am doing something very important….important like blogging! πŸ˜€

    The national anthem of Pakistan is, after all, entirely written in the Persian language, except for one Urdu word β€˜Ka’. Wonder how many people still remember that? *sigh*

  2. Haleem says:

    Interesting. I thought Pakistani anthem was always Hindi.

  3. nadia says:

    Ordinary Girl: It’s our mother’s way to get back at us for getting on their nerves all these years πŸ™‚

    Haleem: It would have been very controversial if the anthem was in Hindi, hehe.

    In 1952, a competition was held to select an anthem. The current anthem of Pakistan, written by Hafeez Jalendhary, was selected from 700+ other competing songs. He won Rs.10,000.

  4. Laila says:

    Hehe nice post. a lot of suspense πŸ™‚

  5. nadia says:

    Thanks, Laila. Nice to have you around here πŸ™‚

  6. Aadil says:

    Very good! You moulded a simple conversation into a very nice post. I like the related pictures you add to your posts.

  7. nadia says:

    Thanks, Aadil!

  8. Fari says:

    Wow her Farsi is as good as mine!
    Did you ever see the true story, “Born Free”? It’s a film about lions and the woman who cares for them. We all cried and laughed as children, it really had an impact on us

  9. nadia says:

    Fari, welcome to my blog πŸ™‚

    I had seen Born Free as a teen, and it’s one of my favorite movies. And yes, I cried too πŸ˜€

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