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....

15 August 2008


"You are fond of poetry", someone said to me the other day, almost accusingly.
Yes, I am. I love poetry almost as much as I love beautiful landscapes, pretty flowers or funny cloudshapes. No, I cannot explain how much I love poetry ("shall I count the ways?"). I don't think I love poetry, so much as I need it; needing it the way other people need caffeine or sugar.
And then, this morning, S posted a poem by Pablo Neruda on his page on another site. Reading that poem was like being punched in the solar plexus. Because, when my love affair with poetry began all those years ago, there was Pablo Neruda. Neruda, who strode across my young heart like an angel with flaming wings. His words, melancholic, sensuous, silken, lacerated me, caressed me. I soared with them on a magical flight on a moonlit night. Back then, I hadn't yet fallen in love. Through Neruda, I was to prepare myself for the ecstacy, the pain, the magic and the despair.....

And it was at that age ... Poetry arrived
in search of me. I don't know, I don't know where
it came from, from winter or a river.
I don't know how or when,
no they were not voices, they were not
words, nor silence,
but from a street I was summoned,
from the branches of night,
abruptly from the others,
among violent fires
or returning alone,
there I was without a face
and it touched me.

I did not know what to say, my mouth
had no way
with names,
my eyes were blind,
and something started in my soul,
fever or forgotten wings,
and I made my own way,
that fire,
and I wrote the first faint line,
faint, without substance, pure
pure wisdom
of someone who knows nothing,
and suddenly I saw
the heavens
and open,
palpitating plantations,
shadow perforated,
with arrows, fire and flowers,
the winding night, the universe.

And I, infinitesimal being,
drunk with the great starry
likeness, image of
felt myself a pure part
of the abyss,
I wheeled with the stars,
my heart broke loose on the wind.


Velu said...

Pablo is king. Have you seen "Il postino", the italian movie that won the oscar so many years back. It is neat.

Also we must have chai the next time I am in mumbai. I went to Pablo's house in Valparaiso Chile. It is yellow.

Gallimaufry said...

I saw "Il Postino" wayyy back. Lovely film, that.
As for for getting together for a cuppa, I'm game. We'll have to coordinate our respective visits to Bombay. (I wonder if you know that I no longer live there full-time).

Scribbler said...

Not sure what to say. It was this poem that made me fall madly in love with poetry too, though it was Browning who got me interested in the first place. :)

Hi velu! You know me even if you don't recognise me.

Gallimaufry said...

I dare you, Velu, to identify Scribbler. Not here though!! (Since Scribbler obviously wishes to be anonymous!)
Free cuppa tea for Velu if he succeeds.

Velu said...

Yes well I am aware of your move, but know that we will have to meet in Mumani, as I don't see either of us going to the others current place of recidence.

My favorite Neruda peice has to be "The saddest poem" ( http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/saddest-poem/)

I'd guess that scribbler was the girl who got herself injured on the mountaintop.

Cheers all.


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