Ghazal 97, Verse 4


qaa.sid ke aate aate ;xa:t ik aur likh rakhuu;N
mai;N jaantaa huu;N jo vuh likhe;Nge javaab me;N

1) while the Messenger is coming on his way, I would/might write and keep [ready] one more letter
2) I know what she will write in reply



This is a very eloquent [balii;G] verse. His being experienced in the affairs of love, and the fact that beloveds are temperamental, and the beloved's being false to her word and an excuse-seeker-- all these meanings are understood in the verse. (98-99)

== Nazm page 98; Nazm page 99


[The second line means that] she'll write nothing. The meaning is that if I had had any hope of any letter coming from her, then I would have waited for it before writing another letter. But since I know very well that she won't write anything, it's useless to wait to write an answer to the letter. (86)

Bekhud Mohani:

[Compare] {180,3}.... Whatever the beloved will write, I know. That is, I know her temperament. So whatever she writes, I ought to get an answer for it ready. (194)


In addition to these excellences, how worthy of praise is the clarity [.safaa))ii] of expression! (189)


WRITING: {7,3}

Isn't it refreshing to see a straightforward verse once in a while? The only open question seems to be whether the beloved will write nothing at all, as Hasrat opines, or whether the lover is ready for anything she might write. Her writing nothing at all is a distinct possibility, as in {27,2}. But the phrasing of 'what she will write in reply' suggests that some kind of a (hostile?) response is expected.

Either way, as Nazm observes, this simple little verse is the tip of a real iceberg of implication. We can judge that (1) this is one of a series of letters in a correspondence; (2) the speaker is obsessed with the correspondence and broods about it; (3) the speaker is confident that he knows the temperament and habits of his correspondent; (4) the speaker is sure that the expected reply will not be satisfactory; (5) the speaker is undeterred, and is already planning his next letter; (6) the speaker seems to have no special hopes or grounds for optimism.

The tone is entirely matter-of-fact. A letter-writer simply arranges in his own mind the timing of a letter. No whining, no self-pity, no sentimentality. All the grief, passion, and doom are not in the flat, plain words, but in the implications.

The kind of carrier in which rolled-up letters were hand-delivered: