Puneral

Pun is a play on words. Sometimes pun is fun. Sometimes it is risqué. Some times it has dirty meaning.  It is considered to be a sign of wit. A mastery of puns is admirable. Is the person who makes a pun called a punner? And sin of making bad puns called punnery?  It makes meaning not literal. It adds a layer of meaning to the words, which goes beyond the literal meaning. But why would anyone want that? If the author wants to convey some other meaning why not write that but go about it in a circuitous way? Not everyone can make sense of puns. Perhaps some puns are too clever for anyone to understand! Maybe all sentences are pun but they are beyond our cognitive capacities to understand them. Sometimes the pun goes unnoticed or sometimes it is feared that one might be construed when there is none.  Then people say “Pun intended”  or “Pun unintended?!” Intending a pun is easy but how does one not intend a pun? At what cognitive stage do humans start to understand and appreciate puns? Are puns present in all languages? But nonetheless there are bad puns and good puns and then there are dead puns. 

When puns are killed, the resultant ceremony in its memory is a puneral. So a puneral is a funeral for puns. Sometimes puns are so bad that it is like murdering them in broad daylight. What are some examples? But is daylight always broad? I should say narrow night light? Or in medium twilight? Is light always needed for murder? How about a no light murder? Would it be heavy then?

News about murdering raisins is in the current affairs section of the paper.

Is this a bad pun? Does it qualify for a puneral?

But anyways. Puneral is the word to describe that event which is the procession for mourning the abuse of puns. It is just me coining new terms with some meaning and/or just writing some nonsense. Earlier I had coined cigol. Go fetch the meaning.

A Puneral Procession? – Owl and Pussycat by Edward Lear

But how would such a procession would look like? Can we at all visualise a puneral? Or it is an abstracted out event coming from nowhere and going to nowhere? Of no fixed address they say. But does a pun have an address? Is a pun always addressed to someone? Can a pun be self-reliant and self-referential? What if a pun commits a suicide? Or it commits a harakiri because it is ashamed at the sheer cheesiness of itself? What do grammar nazis feel about punerals? What about astute english professors? Sorry didn’t Capitalise the “E” in english? Was it intentional non-capitalisation? Does everything have intent? Is every stance intentional? Or is there random blabbering? (some might say just like this post! Is this a self referential sentence?) What can be other meanings of puneral? PUNE Roadways And Logistics? Keep guessing. Or is it PUNE feRAL for feral things in Pune?

Well, who knows about such things?

 

The Villain

Can’t but help post this little gem from an eleventh-century Sanskrit author by the name of Kshemendra. This is the first chapter of his book Desopadesa which is a satirical work on different types of base people in the society. One can’t stop from making the comparison of people around us, particularly those in power with what he describes.

The Villain

Salutations to the villain. He is like a mortar: full of chaff as well as grain, and always fit for crushing both. Friend and foe are the same to him, as are respect and derision, and he is practised at bypassing rules. Thus is he ordained for salvation/ but he is also vile, like a dog: greedy for crumbs, fierce in quarrels and always dirty. His tongue pollutes the worthy as the dog’s does the bowl. In tardiness, malevolence and harming good works out of ill will, he is like the planet Saturn. Strangely, he is also that planet’s opposite: a thunderbolt that strikes mankind. (5-8)

Though a fool devoid of sacred learning, the villain claims to be a scholar because of his past good deeds. In extolling his own merits he is like Shesha, the thousand-headed serpent, and in running down others, like Brihaspati, the guru of the gods.

His throat is so afflicted with jealousy that his tongue cannot utter words of praise for the good, even if it is pulled out with a pair of tongs; though in slandering them, he has eyes and mouths on every side. His ears, too, are everywhere, and he hears all as he bides his time. (9-11)

The villain is like the world: illusory by nature; afflicted by passion, hatred and craziness; deluding even great minds. Whom has he not corrupted? Like a person’s pubic parts, he is, in fact, a source of shame, addiction and infatuation, and an instigator of desire. (12-13)

Ignoring his own and another’s food, the wretch always sits close to his patron, whispering slander into his ear as if it were the cosmic science. Indeed, he talks of everyone’s faults. But who talks of his? For who will ever discuss the blemishes in a dirty garment? As if in sport, the trickster even creates pictures in the sky: But he is still considered base, for among the tall he remains puny: (14-16)

With a villain, influential,

mad for money, base and cruel,

holding high office,

O people, alas, where will you go? (17)

Yet, a villainous fool is preferable to a clever villain, just as a toothless snake is to a deadly serpent, black and winged. Pollution follows the villain as it did the ogre Khara. Both are spoilers of human habitation; arrogant and hostile to the learned; devourers of mankind. Should a villain tum, by some stroke of luck, into a sincere and good person, it would be like an ape in the forest turning to prayer with its arms upraised. (18-20)

To say that a villain will praise merit is questionable, that he will love, unreasonable, and that he will give something, quite meaningless. But to say that he will kill cannot be an untruth. Influencing the master by whispering slanders in his ears night and day, I believe he spreads his control everywhere. What is the worth of anything, in the course of getting which the dust from his chamber door will adorn one’s head? It can only be a defect, never a merit. Arrogant with a bit of money, given to grand talk, the villain is a strange invention of the Creator. With eyebrows raised, he maligns, in public gatherings, the reputations of good men, which are as radiant as the expanse of Mount Kailasa.

(21-24)

from Desopadesa by Kshemendra

Ghalib and communication…

Nawab Agha Khan Ashq wrote the following lines about Ghalib, which I think also applies to a lot of `intellectuals’.

अगर अपना काहा तुम अाप ही समझे तो क्या समझे?
मजा कहने का तब है, एक कहे अैार दुसरा समझे
जुबान मिर लिखे अैार कलाम सैादा समझे
मगर ईनका काहा ये अाप समझे या खुदा समझे.

(If only you understand what you have composed, what is one to do?
The joy of composing is when one composes and others understand too
When Meer writes and Sauda say we understand
But his couplets only he understands and God, its true.)