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....

24 February 2008

An inescapable part of the Shimla scene:

Only you won't always find them in such supine poses!

Kipling wrote about them in the Civil and Military Gazette (May 1885): "The hillside is alive with their clamour, and presently they assemble in force on the lawn tennis court; despatching a deputation to warn me that the babies are tired and want fruit. It is impossible to explain to the deputation, that the sayings and doings of their descendants are much more important than theirs".

Don't get me wrong. I'm an animal-lover to the manner born. But I draw the line on our simian friends in Shimla. They're a menace. The walk to Jakhoo Hill used to be fun once upon a time, but now, the thought of being frisked by a monkey is a bit much! You cannot go food-shopping on the Mall without running the risk of having your bags snatched by a horde of monkeys. Walking to the Viceregal Lodge is an exercise in risking rabies, should, God forbid, a monkey scratch or bite you.

And I'm not the only one concerned. The 90-odd kilometre highway from Kalka to Shimla is dotted with hoardings put by the state government asking tourists not to feed the monkeys. If that is not all, even the Prime Minister has been briefed about this issue! The Chief minister has demanded that an amount of Rs. 1.5 crores be granted to his government to deal with the monkeys.

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