Ghazal 160, Verse 4

{160,4}

de ke ;xa:t mu;Nh dekhtaa hai naamah-bar
kuchh to pai;Gaam-e zabaanii aur hai

1) having given the letter, the Messenger watches the face/mouth

2a) there is some oral message that is {additional / something else}
2b) an oral message is, after all, something else

Notes:

Nazm:

That is, she has spoken and sent some abuses as well, which the Messenger hesitates to repeat. (172)

== Nazm page 172

Bekhud Dihlavi:

He says, the Messenger gave her letter to me, but from looking at his face it is clear that she has sent some message orally as well, and it is such that in repeating it the Messenger's tongue is unwilling to move. It seems that she's sent some abuses along with the letter. Mirza Sahib's mischievousness and humor certainly shows its gleams in every ghazal. (229-30)

Bekhud Mohani:

It can also be that after the secret of love becoming revealed, the lover insistently sends a letter to the beloved expressing his love, and in the letter he writes, 'come to us, we are restless'. And from this the lover's disgrace or pain or murder is intended. (307-08)

FWP:

SETS == AUR; FILL-IN
SPEAKING: {14,4}
WRITING: {7,3}

This is another one of those little Ghalibian delights, so irreducibly simple and yet so juicy with multiple possibilities. The Messenger has just delivered the letter. Now he is watching the recipient's face (or more literally, and perhaps more relevantly, 'mouth')-- and why? Perhaps because (1) he's preparing to announce that an extra oral message that has been sent along with the letter-- one which is 'additional'. Or perhaps because (2) the oral message he's about to deliver is dire and dreadful in some way, and he hesitates to inflict it without preparation-- it's a message that is 'something else'.) Or perhaps because (3) he expects the recipient of the letter to send (in addition no doubt to a written reply) an oral message, and is waiting to hear what it might be.

And then, of course, who is the sender, and who the recipient? The verse carefully doesn't tell us, and it carefully arranges the ambiguities so that the Messenger could be looking at the face of either lover or beloved, and conveying (or preparing to convey) a message from either one of them to the other.

Moreover, the clever grammar of the second line means that it can be read as (1) something thought by the Messenger about the immediate situation; or (2) something observed or imagined by the lover about the immediate situation; or (3) a general reflection by the poet about the special, unique nature of oral messages (2b).

The Messenger delivers the letter, and then just stands there, watching your face. It's as instantly ominous as the phone ringing in the middle of the night. This simple-looking little verse generates huge velocities of suggestiveness-- it harnesses the power of implication, which means that it can draw its high-octane fuel right out of our imagination.