Prelude: I have been trying to write my lived experience of a heart attack for over a month now. But words didn't flow. I felt choked. Finally, last night I opened an old diary and picked up a pen.

It was like opening my heart. There were random entries from 10 years ago. As I read, I felt a release. After a few minutes, words began to trickle, then flow from my pen. I wrote and scratched out sentences. I began to like the messy look of the page.

I did miss the ease of looking up synonyms on a computer, but my words on paper danced. I was gripped with energy. There's no shame in sharing that I had a heart attack. I couldn't believe it at first. Now I am learning to listen to my heart.

This morning, I decided to share the state of my heart on social media. I had been tweeting, but my tweet persona is different. For example, I'm a newly minted grandmother, but I didn't share that on Twitter. You might understand what I mean. Emotions are to be kept in check. I have resorted to Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib, my dear friend and companion, to help in navigating my experience.

The heart has a special place in classical ghazal poetry. It is a mirror where God's (Beloved) presence is reflected. The heart is the receptacle of pain. Pain is a cleanser. A wounded heart suffers pain, but pain opens the heart to receive the pain of others. Love is a wound. Think of love's arrow, that pierces the heart. What is love? It is the source of creation, the reason for existence. Love is both universal and personal; it transcends time and space.

The heart has a special place in classical ghazal poetry. It is a mirror where God's (Beloved) presence is reflected. It is also a mirror of the self.

The heart is also a mirror of the self. The analogy of the mirror-heart is carried to great lengths in the ghazal. The heart's depth cannot be fathomed, but the heart can also be narrow or constricted. Why and how is it perceived as narrow? Maybe because the pain of love is greater than the space in the heart? Because the heart is filled with emotions.

In the classical ghazal we also have the jigar, or liver, that is equal to the heart in being the locus of love. The heart and liver are often in sync; they speak to each other, they are equally affected by love. But the liver is perceived as the locus of life, while the heart is the locus of Divine Radiance.

I am navigating the tangled emotions of my heart through Ghalib's poetry.

On an unseasonably cold November night, I...

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