Why this blog is called "Gallimaufry".

gal-uh-MAW-free\, noun.

Originally meaning "a hash of various kinds of meats," "gallimaufry" comes from French galimafrée; in Old French, from the word galer, "to rejoice, to make merry"; in old English: gala + mafrer: "to eat much," and from Medieval Dutch maffelen: "to open one's mouth wide."

It's also a dish made by hashing up odds and ends of food; a heterogeneous mixture; a hodge-podge; a ragout; a confused jumble; a ridiculous medley; a promiscuous (!) assemblage of persons.

Those of you who know me, will, I’m sure, understand how well some of these phrases (barring the "promiscuous" bit!) fit me.

More importantly, this blog is an ode to my love for Shimla. I hope to show you this little town through my eyes. If you don't see too many people in it, forgive me, because I'm a little chary of turning this into a human zoo.

Stop by for a spell, look at my pictures, ask me questions about Shimla, if you wish. I shall try and answer them as best as I can. Let's be friends for a while....

28 March 2007

I think I’ll be homesick for you, even in heaven.

Said Beth to Jo in Little Women.

This sentiment comes alive as you walk past Shimla's old bungalows.
Chimneys. Mullioned windows. Little gardens with primrose creepers. The old occupants of Shimla's bungalows gave them names that revealed the degree of their owners' homesickness. These houses were meant to be a symbol of their owner's position in the local pecking order, but sometimes unwittingly also said a lot about their personalities and aspirations. For example, Allan Bank was once called the Nunnery since its three female occupants were all single. Rothney Castle gives away its landlord's ambition while Walsingham points to its proprietor's patriotic beliefs! It is clear that Corner House was occupied by someone down to earth!

Name me no names for my disease,
With uninforming breath;

I tell you I am none of these,
But homesick unto death—

21 March 2007

Daffodils / Jonquils / Narcissi

The reason why I'm waxing lyrical over this flower is because, aside of a few sad clumps of candy tuft and a solitary Arum Lily, our garden is pretty much bare of flowers. Spring, this year, seems to be in a "to be or not to be" mode! Cloudy one day, sunny the next... At this rate, how am I to go about planting my favourite flowers?

And, no, I refuse to quote Wordsworth or Herrick when the word "daffodils" is mentioned. That's just too predictable!

Here, instead, are two old favourites:

One is from Shakespeare's "A Winter's Tale"

That come before the swallow dares, and take
The winds of March with beauty.

The other's by Philip Larkin. When asked if he ever thought about becoming poet laureate, he said "Deprivation is for me what daffodils were for Wordsworth"!

This flower is named after Narcissus. Legend has it that for the Greeks Narcissus stood for vanity and insensitivity. He died, it seems, because he could only love his image at the expense of himself.

To balance to poetic with the prosaic, daffodils or narcissi belong to:

Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Liliopsida
Order: Asparagales
Family: Amaryllidaceae
Genus: Narcissus

My favourite's the golden yellow variety.
Today's post is respectfully dedicated to Ms. S. Chandra, my Botany teacher in Std. VI, Sophia School, Kota.
Bless you, Miss, wherever you are.

13 March 2007

Stormy skies

Shimla saw such glorious weather last evening.... A mad wind, darkening skies all purple and blue and black, an indecisive patter of rain.

All sounds of all changes,
All shadows and lights
On the world’s mountain-ranges
And stream-riven heights,
Whose tongue is the wind’s tongue and language of storm-clouds on earth-shaking nights....

said Swinburne in his poem "Hertha".

This poem echoes in Vedic ruchas (poems), especially the sonorous sounds of "The non-existent was not; the existent was not at that time. The atmosphere was not nor the heavens which are beyond. What was concealed? Where? In whose protection? Was it water? An unfathomable abyss?"


"Darkness was hidden by darkness in the beginning. All this was an indistinguishable sea. That which becomes, that which was enveloped by the void, that alone was born through the power of heat".

10 March 2007

My second favourite post office

I shall make a post about my no. 1 favourite soon.
But first, this one, located on the edge of the Mall.
At one time, it actually boasted of ink-wells & little bottles of thick glue, with a little pencil-stub that you used for sticking up your letters. This post office had the unique (to me) distinction of selling *pink* inland letters. Never saw those before I entered this post office & never saw them again anywhere else.

I'm reminded of Christopher Morley's "To a Post-Office Inkwell":

How many humble hearts have dipped
In you, and scrawled their manuscript!
Have shared their secrets, told their cares,
Their curious and quaint affairs!

Your pool of ink, your scratchy pen,
Have moved the lives of unborn men,
And watched young people, breathing hard,
Put Heaven on a postal card.

5 March 2007

Lucky me!

Edwin Arlington Robinson (1869–1935). wrote this about Boston, but I like to apply it to dear old Shimla:
"My northern pines are good enough for me,
But there’s a town my memory uprears—
A town that always like a friend appears,
And always in the sunrise by the sea.
And over it, somehow, there seems to be
A downward flash of something new and fierce,
That ever strives to clear, but never clears
The dimness of a charmed antiquity."

Yup. Gallimaufry is now a resident of her beloved Shimla.
Who'd have thunk...?
Related Posts with Thumbnails