Ghazal 234, Verse 2


balaa se gar mizhah-e yaar tishnah-e ;xuu;N hai
rakhuu;N kuchh apnii bhii mizhgaan-e ;xuu;N-fishaa;N ke liye

1) what the hell, if the friend's eyelashes are thirsty for blood?!
2) I would keep some for even/also my own blood-scattering eyelashes!



If her eyelashes are blood-drinking [;xuun-;xvaar], then my eyelashes too are blood-scattering [;xuun-baar]. If I would give all the blood to her alone, then what would I keep for my own eyelashes? (265)

== Nazm page 265

Bekhud Dihlavi:

He says, 'What can I do? If the beloved's eyelashes are still thirsty for more blood, I've already fed them their share of the heart's blood. Now whatever amount of blood is left in the heart is the share of my own blood-scattering eyelashes.' (324)

Bekhud Mohani:

If the beloved's eyelashes are thirsty for blood, then let them be thirsty. I ought also to keep some of my heart's blood for my own blood-raining eyelashes. (503)



On the nuances of the idiomatic expression balaa se , see {58,1}.

This light and amusing little verse is a classic example of what I call a mushairah verse. It has all the relevant qualities in a clearly deployed form. The first line is exclamatory and even a bit shocking-- since when does the lover reject any demand of the beloved's? Her eyelashes are imperious, and their demand for blood is well-established in the ghazal universe. In fact, it can be said that the lover's blood really belongs to them, and that he only holds it in trust for them, as is made clear in {16,1} and {113,3}. So how does he have the nerve to deny them their right, with even a tone of indignation?

In mushairah performance style, we're of course made to wait as long as is conveniently possible before we're allowed to hear the second line. And even then, as the first part of the line unfolds before us we're still unable to 'get' it. Not until the last possible moment, when we hear the 'punch-word' ;xuun-fishaa;N , do we suddenly catch the meaning and the cleverness at the same instant: vaah vaah !

And then, the final quality of a mushairah-verse: when it's over, it's over. Once we've had that little burst of pleasure, we're entirely sure there's nothing more to come, no subtleties or further possibilities, and we can go on to the next verse.

The humor comes from the harassed lover's back-to-the-wall attempt at fairness; he's like a parent being pestered by two clamorous five-year-olds, and he's determined to give each set of eyelashes its due. But we also realize with amusement that the seeming fairness masks the huge one-sidedness of the fact that both batches of blood are destined for the beloved's delectation, and it's really only a question of exactly when and how they'll be presented to her.