This ghazal I present today is an all time favourite of mine. I had picked up an audio cassette, during a college trip to Jabalpur, called Meri Pasand by Pakistani popular singer Nahid Akhtar. I liked this ghazal so much because it was the first time that I had heard a love poem in the voice of a woman. And she was being an active lover- passionate, persuasive and hasty. It was such a refreshing gust of air- I was completely blown over. I was an independent girl and I was in love too! And I couldn’t find a poem which expressed quite how I felt. All the love poetry I found till then was full of patriarchal metaphors and imagery and the feminist poetry I had encountered till then was dark, angry, ominous and about women being at the receiving end of unjust treatment.

So when I found it, it kind of validated what I felt being in love. I was the one who wanted to throw all the restraint to air, being afraid of no one. But Nasir was cautious, hesitant… Sighting couples in love together was not rare in Jamia, but shuttling between our departments everyday in attempts to spend as much time together I would be too tired with all the walking for much else! Nasir wouldn’t share a cycle rickshaw ride on campus with me. That would be like publicly defying some unwritten code of on-campus conduct! But one day I made him do it and did we get stares?!! I loved it!!

So I present my friends this ghazal to you, dedicated to the memory of what was probably the first rickshaw ride of a girlfriend-boyfriend together in the Jamia’s history. To love’s abandon and defiance. I can’t remember who had written the ghazal may be some reader can help… ?

Agli hi gali mein rehta hai
Aur milne tak nahin aata hai
Kehta hai takalluf kya karma
Hum tum mein to pyar ka nata hai

Kehta hai ziyada milne se
waadon ki khalish badh jaaegi
kuchh baatein waqt pe bhi chhodo
dekho who kya dikhlata hai

khud usse kaha ghar aaney ko
aur uske bina mar jaaney ko
aur ab jo who kuchh aamada hua
dil reh reh kar ghabrata hai

kehta hai tumhara dosh na tha
kuchh hamko bhi apna hosh na tha
phir hansta hai, phir rota hai
phir chup ho kar reh jata hai

heres my quick translation of the ghazal.

right in the next street he lives
but doesn’t even come to see me
whats the use of being formal, he says
when we share the connection of love

he says, meeting too often
lends promises more insistent
leave a few things to time
and see what it has to show

I asked him myself to come home,
or else I’ll die, I told him.
And now when he’s inclined himself
my heart is anxious over and over.

He says it wasn’t your fault
I ,too, had lost my wits
He then laughs, and then he cries
after that he goes quiet