Never have more vehement emotions been exchanged than during a lovers quarrel.
Far too many poems have been written on ‘hijr’ or separation from your lover and about ‘ishq’ or romance and its sweet overtures. Witnessing a lovers quarrel earlier this week, led me into an expedition to find Urdu poetry about this very important aspect of love that is shared between two souls.
A couple who share a powerful bond for 40 odd years, is seen in the middle of a scene with flared nostrils, inflamed earlobes, and pursed lips, making the onlooker gasp in surprise. But is it so odd?
When the poets write about the lover, the all encompassing , the soulmate, the center of their universe, they might at times imply that it’s going to be perfect and acrimonious all the time. They might simply leave that part out; because just like no one wants talk about dirty laundry or farting and cursing, (although all poets do it and so do their lovers), it is something that won’t seem very elegant, and wont go in tandem with Urdu adab(manners) and its nazakat (elegance), something very central to its culture and its nuances.
A lovers quarrel has a different kind of alchemy at play. Fueled by the complete opposite emotions that make their bond so powerful, the raw feelings of pettiness, impatience, pride and most importantly expectations enter the arena.
“The quarrel of lovers is the renewal of love” said, Jean Racine, referring may be to the making up after the fight.
But it isn’t just the making up, rather about how long a time elapses before they decide to make up. Lingering around in a pool of hurt, as pride doesn’t allow you make the first move; each one waits for the cloud of anger to subside, not being able to decide whether the other is ready to start a conversation.
It also isn’t just in the after-a-fight embrace, but whether there will be acceptance of the hurt caused, or will defense of one’s actions cause further damage. No matter who was wrong, pain was caused by both, words were exchanged and soft spots uncovered. Apologies plagued with defensive explanations, never seem to help the cause.
After the harsh experience, simple moments that were so ordinary like sharing a cup of tea, sleeping in the same bed, eating a meal (mostly in silence), seem to have a cloud hanging over them.
Both sides would like the moment to lighten again, the comfort of being in each others company to be restored, but an unexpected visitor doesn’t allow them to start the discussion. As their eyes meet across the table, they can feel the hurt they have experienced, instead of words they choose to touch their hands, and smile.
The next morning, worldly commitments force them to travel part, carrying with them the hurt of last night. Too much time would be consumed in peeling the layers and asking the other to respond.
But as this poem by Ahmed Faraz says,
even if it causes anguish, do return to me,
for the sake of the pride you have in our love, come back,
Or just to turn off the lights, come back.
A lovers quarrel …..
Ranjish hi Sahi… by Ahmed Faraz
ranjish hi sahi dil hi dukhane ke liye aa
aa phir se mujhe chod ke jane ke liye aa
If it is grief so be it, come to break my heart again
Come, if only for the act of leaving me again
pahale se marasim na sahi phir bhi kabhi to
rasm-o-rahe duniya hi nibhane ke liye aa
Our relationship may not be the same now, but even so,
Come to fulfil the rituals and traditions of the world
kis kis ko batayenge judai ka sabab hum
tu mujh se khafa hai to zamane ke liye aa
To who all must I explain the reason of separation
Come, despite your displeasure, at least for the sake of the world
kuch to mere pindar-e-muhabbat ka bharam rakh
tu bhi to kabhi mujh ko manane ke liye aa
Respect a little the depth of my love for you
Come someday to placate me as well
ek umr se hun lazzat-e-giriya se bhi maharum
ae rahat-e-jan mujh ko rulane ke liye aa
Too long have I been deprived of the pathos of longing
Come my love, if only to make me weep again
e rahat-e-jan mujh ko rulane ke liye aa
My peace-of-mind please do come back if only to make me cry
This amazing video by button poetry called When love arrives, performed by Sarah Kay and Phil Kaye is a must watch.