A ghazal is poem composed of five to fifteen couplets, often a meditation on love or melancholy or the metaphysical, in which each couplet stands independently yet offers another "puzzle piece" on the theme established in the first couplet. You might also notice that the last 'bit' - this could be a phrase or word - of the second line in the first couplet is repeated in the second line of all succeeding couplets.
It's a form that "has roots in seventh-century Arabia, and gained prominence in the thirteenth- and fourteenth-century thanks to such Persian poets as Rumi and Hafiz" (poets.org: ghazal). The form migrated - as so often happens - into neighboring lands and language communities over the centuries, so that today it's truly gone global.
What's Malayalam? It's the language spoken in Kerala on the southwest coast of India. Malayalam boasts an alphabet with the greatest number of letters of all Indian languages, and it can express all the sounds in both Sanscrit and Tamil, from which the language is derived.
I just read and reviewed Kerala-born cosmopolitan poet Jeet Thayil's first novel, and grew intrigued about his work. Hence this poem from Salt Magazine, and likely a few more soon.