Tumhari, Saffo

Following is a part of letter written by Safia Akhtar to her husband Jan Nisar Akhtar! Read it, and feel the longing…

My love, I cannot bear to be separated from you in this way and travel in foreign lands for almost two years! You are a poet. And if you can say, “I won’t love you if you don’t want me to,” then you can love in the manner of Shelley, that is, love me not in flesh and blood but only in your imagination. But I am not made this way. I am in love with you and for that reason I need you in my life. How can I put myself to such a test for my career? Akhtar, if you were to go away from me for fourteen years I would live by the strength of my faith in you, but I cannot wrench myself away from you, beloved!

My love, what is this you have asked me? For that I do not have the will to comply. Akhtar! It is enough for me to pass through this life at your feet. This means everything to me. There cannot be greatness waiting for me now without you. If I have a job it is not for the sake of honor or to add to my dignity, but rather to make our lives easier. The day your financial situation becomes stable I will leave this job and devote myself wholly to serving you. My M.Ed. degree will be of no consequence then. Think about it once again from my perspective, feeling the way I do, and if your decision is irrevocable, after that I will have no misgivings about striving for the fellowship.

Savera arrived at the college address yesterday. I will write to Taban and to Bhai Zafar too, though he must be angry with me for not going to Khairabad. The weather here has turned exquisitely sensual. Nights are crispy cold and days so pleasant! Being in Bombay you can’t imagine how it feels here. The hills are lush and green and the fields are verdant whichever way one looks. “If you were here why would the eye wander.”

Come Akhtar! Let me flow in your veins. I have prayed long and hard to make you mine. Seven years have gone by and for the most part we have been separated. My yearning grows with every passing day. I cannot live away from you much longer. Akhtar, I desire your companionship and you want to send me a million miles away! I am truly scared of your lyrical style of love. My very own Akhtar! Come, take me to you, hide me within you in such a way that I may not exist outside of you. Let there just be you and me within you.

Your Saffo,
21 January 1951

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