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....

17 May 2007

I like weather rather than climate!

Remarked Steinbeck.
It is impossible to live in Shimla and not to mention - or rather, gloat over - its salubrious air. Shimla's British residents were, predictably, fascinated by its weather.
"Like meat, we keep better here [in the hills].", said Emily Eden.

Lord Curzon took the cake. In a speech to the Simla Municipal Committee, in April 1899, he proclaimed that "Simla is in a peculiar sense not merely the official residence of the Viceroy during the hot weather, but his country home. For here he divests himself if not of the cares of office—this is I fear never possible in India—at least of some of the trappings of State; and amid your beautiful mountains he may almost succeed in mistaking himself for an Anglo-Indian Horace retiring from the noise and smoke of Rome to the peace of the Tiburine hills."!

The weather was bound to affect its inhabitants. There was an atmosphere of revelry. The puruit of relaxation was a serious business. Social calls, amateur theatricals at Gaiety Theatre, picnics at Annandale, viceregal dinners, fetes champetre, races and racing balls, occupied residents full time. Shimla was variously defined as the "home of the heaven-born," "the abode of the little tin gods," "a place so overladen with officialdom that it left little room for people seeking a simple summer of leisure". One disgusted soul called it "an English watering-hole gone mad"!

The last word on Shimla must go to an unknown British bureaucrat who remarked that "Delightful as it was, it was not India."


Nivedita said...

I think HimachalTourism should appoint you as a brand ambassador. It may not be such a bad job too.

Manish said...

I knew that you were in love with Shimla but so intense! I almost felt that I was being an intruder while reading your blog.
Thanks for letting me in to hear the love story.

Anonymous said...

TAG: Simla


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