Play upon words


I love art forms which engage the attention of the readers ( called grabbing eye balls these days) through play upon words. English and Hindi, both have enriched me with their word play creativity. It is both creative and witty !

Today I will try to jot down my random thoughts on this subject.

1. Poetry:

One of my favourite “shers” from my late father’s collection was as under:

  ” Uss pari key zakhm par, marham lagaaney ham gaye,

  Woh pari zindaa rahi, muft mein mar hum gaye ! “ 

 Marham” in line 1 means an ointment to be applied on the wound (zakhm).

Marham has ben split into two “mar” and “hum” in line 2. “Mar” here means to get entangled ( “muft mein” means for no fault of mine…just like that ) while ” hum” stands for ”me” (myself) .A rough transliteration of above “sher” would be :

To show sympathy towards that angel (pari) (girl)

I went to apply ointment on her wound.

(caused probably out of a failed affair ?) 

That pari recovered (became OK) and lived long,

But it was me who got ensnared with her beauty  

And suffered from pangs of love (just for nothing) .

Isn’t that lovely play on words dear readers ? If you have some more examples of such word play, do share them with all. Thanks.

2.Proverbs :

A really enchanting proverb that I heard from my late father was in Hindi. It was also a good one, as far as play upon words was concerned. Here it goes :

” Jab sona na tha, chain sey sona milta tha !

 Jab sey sona mila hai, chain sey sona nahi milta !! “ 

Delightful isn’t it ? ‘Sona’ here has two meanings;” Gold ”(meaning wealth) and “Sleep” is the other meaning. A rough transliteration of the proverb means: 

“When I did not have gold (wealth) I could sleep peacefully.

The day since I have got gold (wealth) I have never slept peacefully !!”  

In case readers recall some more of such proverbs do share them with me. Thanks.

3.Prose :

I recall one nice play upon words (though strictly it cannot be termed so ) which I came across recently. It is quite funny so I am sharing it with you all. 

A teacher asked the students to make a sentence using the same word 4 times in the sentence. An intelligent student (Santa Singh as usual !) came out with the following gem :

“Lara Dutta married Brian Lara and became Lara Lara “

On that cheerful note, I leave you to your musings on the subject……. 

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12 Responses to Play upon words

  1. At school we were taught this doha of Kabir in Hindi:

    Mala ferat yug gaya, fira na man ka fer
    Kar ka manka dari de, man ka manka fer.

    (Ages have passed, moving the beads of the rosary but without effect on the mind.
    Throw away the rosary in your hand, and move the rosary beads with your heart.)

  2. bharat trivedi says:

    “Sat Sri Akaal”, Verrrrry, verrrrrry Funnnnnnny! Witty ‘Pun’ or ‘Play of words’.
    ‘Pun is Fun’ if ‘Singh is King”.

    Bharat B. Trivedi, K.O. Bahrain
    Jun 13, 2009

  3. gautam nadkarni says:

    Dear Jatinder jee, Lovely article about play on words. Here is one senryu of mine where I have used a play on words. I would like to share it with our readers. Here it is:

    notice at a buffet:

    God helps those

    who help themselves

    Hope our readers like it. Warm regards,

    Gautam Nadkarni, Mumbai
    Jun 13, 2009

  4. kumarendra mallick says:

    Nice, Jatinder saheb. A language is considered rich when there are more scope for play on words. And Sanskrit stands out in this matter. Best regards

    Kumarendra Mallick, Hyderabad
    Jun 13, 2009

  5. J S BROCA says:

    Dear Bharat ji and dear Gautamji, thanks to you both for your valuable and appreciative feedback.

    J S Broca, New Delhi
    Jun 13, 2009

  6. GSP Rao says:

    Broca ji, I am reminded of the following doha from my boyhood days (Kabir’s?):

    Poot kapoot toh kaa dhan sanchai?

    Poot sapoot toh kaa dhan sanchai?

    ‘Poot’ is for putra or putar (son) here. The doha is an advice to all parents:

    If the son is of bad character, then where is the point in accumulating wealth for him?

    If the son is able and of good character, where is the need of accumulating wealth for him?

    The only difference in the two lines are the words ka (generally the prefix for ‘bad’) and sa (the prefix for ‘good’).

    G S P Rao, Hyderabad
    Jun 14, 2009

  7. t s chandra mouli says:

    Dear Jatinder ji, Wah, Wah. I remember Shotgun Sinha’s one liner in ‘Jaggu’ … Jaggu apni nazar jis daali pe daali, woh daali daali na rahe. cheers.

    T S Chandra Mouli, Hyderabad
    Jun 14, 2009

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  10. nilouffer says:

    I used to love reading kabir vani when in school;One such writing that I remember vaguely is Dheere dheere re man, dheere subkuch hoye, mali seenche sau ghara, Ritu aaye phal hoye;9 True isnt it0 Go slow o mind everything happens at its own pace, The gardner may water a 100 buckets, fruits will only grow seasonally.
    My other favourite used to be `akath kahani premki, kuch kahi na jaye, goonge keri sarkara, baithe muskaye`
    You really bring back memorable thoughts in all who read you. God Bless

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