Rolling in the Deep, Long Before Adele.

Sure we have Adele (and her 6 grammy wins).

Her songs speak of deep, pure, passionate love fraught with extreme highs and plunging lows. That rolling in the deep kind of love that lifts you to a place of divinity, where you experience the beauty of perfectly loving someone – until it ends and you plunge into the depths of despair…and a gallon of icecream.

You’ve been there. And it isn’t pretty.

But long before Adele shared the raw details of her love life in song, there was – the ghazal – the most perfect expression of the pain of loss and the beauty of love, all delivered in poetry.

The rock stars of ghazal; Persian poets Rumi (13th century) and Hafiz (14th century) and Indian poet Mirza Ghalib (19th century), spoke of deep, soulful, passionate, all-consuming love, sometimes divine and often unrequited and ill-fated. The range of love’s pleasure and pain was often condensed into two beautifully spoken lines.

Even if your Urdu is rusty – or nonexistant – the emotion comes through in the words. And there seems to be a lot of talk about a fire in the heart.

There’s a fire out here in my heart. (Adele)

From the fire of love in my heart, my chest got consumed in the grief for the beloved. (Hafiz)

The hidden heat of love burned my heart unkindly; Like a smoldering fire it withered away to ashes. (Ghalib)

In any century and in any language, unrequited love sucks. Ghazal poets were rolling in the deep long before Adele.

Jagjit Singh sings Mirza Ghalib’s “Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi”

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