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....

31 August 2008

An interesting sight:

Last night, I was wondering about the words written on the plaque below. I could only guess that it said something about a building..... Hey, presto, this morning I have the answers ready!

The sign says: "Molem aedifiCii Multi. ConstruX erunt: ratIonem unus eXegit I. Begg."
It means: "This building was constructed by many, under the direction of I. Begg". Another friend suggests that it may mean "Many have built the mass of the building, but one has exacted the thinking (idea? concept? plan?). I. Begg".
The last word, however, rests with our heritage maven, Raaja Bhasin who says the words mean: "Many men erected the stonework of this building. The work was directed by J. Begg."
The "I. Begg" referred to here is John Begg, an architect of Scottish origin who designed several beautiful buildings in India; not the least of them, the fabulous General Post Office in Bombay.
Interestingly, the inscription is a chronogram. The enlarged letters, in Roman numbers, stand for MCMXIX = 1919, possibly the year in which this building was constructed. The word "chronogram" derives from the Greek words "chronos" meaning time and "gramma" meaning "letter". It is a sentence in which specific letters, interpreted as Roman numerals, stand for a particular date when rearranged. A pure chronogram, such as the one seen in the plaque above, shows all the numeral in their correct numerical order.
This plaque is placed on a discreet corner of the building you see below. In fact, right under that ugly vertical board that says "BSNL". Need I add that the building now houses BSNL (a state-owned telecom company)?

And here's a close-up of the really interesting clock that's suspended from the front wall:

Thank you, TT people, for your help.

1 comment:

Atoorva said...

wow!Passed through that building many a times but never noticed this DA BSNL CODE

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