Ghazal 323x, Verse 3


jaa;N lab pah aa))ii to bhii nah shiirii;N hu))aa dahan
az baskih tal;xii-e ;Gam-e hijraa;N chashiidah huu;N

1) the life came onto the lips-- even then, the mouth did not become sweet
2) to such an extent I have tasted the bitterness of the grief of separation


chashiidah : 'Tasted; experienced; having tasted; having experienced'. (Platts p.434)

Gyan Chand:

Usually jaan-e shiirii;N is said. He says, 'My life came onto my lips-- even then, the taste in my mouth did not become sweet, to such an extent have I tasted the bitterness of separation'. For the 'life to come onto the lips' means to be near death. Ghalib, out of mischievousness, has taken a tidbit of Hindi [hindii kii chindii] and searched out sweetness.

== Gyan Chand, p. 513


FOOD: {6,4}

For more on Ghalib's unpublished verses, see the discussion in {4,8x}. See also the overview index.

By pointing to the conventional expression jaan-e shiirii;N , Gyan Chand has given us the key to the verse. Ghalib often uses such expressions in ways that unpack or deconstruct them. Here, he has pushed the process even further. He doesn't use this particular petrified phrase at all, but simply evokes it through the presence of its separate parts. And as a final touch, the first line seems to reject it-- the speaker's whole supposedly 'sweet life' is not 'sweet' enough to overcome the bitter taste in his mouth.