It is rather a luxury to have someone describe heartbreak to you in a way that is hopeful. This is the part of the year when all poetry reminds us of warmth and the arms that we have always had the yearning for. Ali Sethi and his song “Chandni Raat” have gathered a cohort of unbeknownst siblings that know only the pain they have endured in this season. Ali Sethi pulls out the casket of memories for all those that still have a longing to confront. It’s the kind of song you play when after a long day you rest your tiring muscles in the arms of an empty bed and feel only the emptiness and not that there is still space to be filled. I find a scent of grief interspersed with hope in this ghazal. It slowly unfolds in your chest like a love note we never gave to our lovers. “Chandni Raat” serves no concrete hope but several openings. The symphonic longing is the sound of all our hearts when they are left alone. It goes without saying that Sethi along with his team have created something that we can all sleep with through the winters & that which can keep all of us warm. It also goes without saying that the art direction caters and even elevates the beautiful heartache that breathes through this. Hashim Ali felt the song and we can all see how much. I find a scent of grief interspersed with hope in this ghazal. It slowly unfolds in your chest like a love note we never gave to our lovers. ‘Chandni Raat’ serves no concrete hope but several openings. The symphonic longing is the sound of all our hearts when they are left alone The direction of the music video is both aesthetically beautiful and heartbreaking and I think both of which Sarmad Khoosat knows the interior of. Sethi’s understanding of the architecture of love and heartbreak is what makes the song so painful. Each misra that he sings cuts more and more close to the bone. His voice seems as a prolonged echo, a call out for all those that have broken hearts. You can almost feel this constant pain floating in the air when you listen to this song but an arc protects us for as long as Sethi sings. There are many reasons to love Sethi and this song birthed a new one. Perhaps for him, the romance is before the romance and perhaps these are the romantics that we should inherit after all the heartbreak. The video, which was directed by Sarmad Khoosat and Awais Gohar, shows a rundown glass house with broken windows and many stranded figures waiting inside it with their luggage. As the song progresses, we learn that these characters represent diverse segments of Pakistani society and have their own personal stories that echo the ghazal’s classic themes of Wasl (Union) and Firaaq (Separation). The project has already received a lot of praise from Pakistani as well as Indian audiences, who have interpreted it as a call for togetherness and peace in a time of conflict. The writer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org Published in Daily Times, March 5th 2019.