Fiction Fragment: In his letter, was a Ghazal

His love letters survived longer than their relationship. He never quite mastered the art of sleeping during lectures, and hence subjected their tender love to mundane analogies, breathlessly articulated in his letters. He once used the word soliloquy. She had to go home and look it up in the dictionary.

But it wasn’t the sheer rant-like nature of his letters that put her off. It was this strange habit of aspiring lovers in the Hindi Heartland. That of suddenly quoting verses from ghazals. In the first few letters, it was slightly endearing. That a man was so overwhelmed that he turned to his mother tongue. By the third letter thought, it tired her. She pretended she couldn’t quite read the script. Diligent as he was, he proceeded to transliterate. She then explained that her linguistic skills didn’t allow her to appreciate his delicate offerings. He then insisted on paraphrasing the verses.

In another setting, had they been passionately in love, these ghazals may have made sense. But in an already lukewarm relationship, they managed to add a high dose of irony. In his paraphrasing, he used phrases like “burning with desire” and “the incredible, long night of separation”. As such, it was summer. The hot weather evoked no empathy in this “burning with desire” business. Better still, they saw each other everyday in class. What separation? Jobless fellow.

They broke up. Finally. She was filled with relief. She began doing all the things that lovers cannot. Like eating a proper meal or going for a walk without having to keep pace with someone. She even tried listening to ghazals. But she couldn’t. She would collapse with laughter. Once tinged with irony, passion can sound so ridiculously funny. And so it was, that she always thought of him as The Man Who Murdered The Ghazal.

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0 Responses to Fiction Fragment: In his letter, was a Ghazal

  1. ggop says:

    This feels like Postsecret but the hot weather/jobless fellow bit brought back memories 🙂


  2. prasoon says:

    loved this one Neha – and yes, like ggop said – it did feel like a long postsecret postcard 😀


  3. bhumika says:

    loved it 🙂


  4. Sri Harsha says:

    nice one …

    “The Man Who Murdered The Ghazal.” LOL


  5. IdeaSmith says:

    Ha! I loved the last line…and the description of course!
    I had too look up ‘transliterate’ to check that it wasn’t a spello….and now I see what you mean! 🙂

    And errmm..plizz to update the blogroll with my new link…


  6. Pingback: Lost in translation | DesiPundit

  7. tusharika says:

    “The Man Who Killed The Ghazal” ….LOL….priceless !!


  8. guruprasad says:


    it was only a couple of months and she was not yet bored with her new-found solitude when she met amar. he was not aspiring to crack the service exam like every other guy she knew.

    he introduced her to the world of jazz. she had never heard anything like this before. and she got hooked on to the piano and trumpet riffs that the greats played. he had many gigabytes worth of jazz on his i-pod. they share a ear-plug each while sipping a piping hot chai.

    but he didn’t share her love for the hindi film songs of the 70s. maybe it had to do with the fact that he was born in london and had only recently shifted here to do some work on his thesis.

    but she felt she would be able to get him to appreciate the music and more importantly, the lyrics. nobody wrote such beautiful lyrics any more. but he just couldn’t relate to it. even if she tried translating/ transliterating them to him. but she still had visions of similarly going to london to pursue her masters. and maybe even a doctoral. maybe she could move in with him.

    was she getting under his skin? maybe she should ease off the hindi film music appreciatio project. why didn’t he tell her that he had a girl-friend back home? but his hindu indian mother would never accept a white christian british girl as her daughter-in-law, would she? and she was sure long-distance relationships never worked.

    and she listens to frank sinatra sing to ella fitzgeral, ‘…but what else can you do at the end of a love affair’?


  9. rads says:

    LOL – am quite sure I know the feeling, don’t ask me which side though! 🙂


  10. The difference between bathos and pathos is a single letter.

    Great post. Also loved the line “She began doing all the things that lovers cannot.”



  11. Jam says:

    He he he,

    “burning with desire” and “the incredible, long night of separation”, who uses phrases like that anymore ???
    Looking back at it now, must seem as funny as hell!!!



  12. soliloquy…hmmm …even I had to look that one up 🙂

    nice story…i hope you ain’t planning to murder any ghazals yourself 😛


  13. Lekhni says:

    Why are the worst poets often the ones supremely confident about their poetic skills, I wonder?


  14. Sriram says:

    Kumudam “oru pakka kadai” madhiri irukku.


  15. I says:

    Ghazal is an Islamic influence that must be promptly be abandoned.


  16. Its a wonder she did not collapse with laughter when he was spouting his lines!

    Loved it!