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....

14 August 2008


Walking yields interesting sights and sounds. These sights come in unique shapes and forms and can sometimes trigger an association in the mind that catches you totally by surpirise. Take, for example, the picture below. I was walking in the village near Koti, hoping to sight a few wild flowers I hadn't spotted before. There loomed before me this house, unprespossessing and quite ugly. A terrace jutted out of the first floor. On this terrace sat the sleepiest cow I had ever seen. Two dogs barked themselves hoarse close by. Flies buzzed around her nose. But there she sat, slumberous, somnific, somnolent. Almost as though under the thrall of some deep dream (or maybe drug?).
I shouted a friendly hello. No response. I chucked a tentative rock at her. No reaction. I offered her a fistful of sweet-smelling clover. More rejection. So I walked away, dejected.
This encounter reminded me of a poem by Austin Clarke titled "The Awakening of Dermuid"! Posted below is the part which came to my mind on seeing the sleepy cow of Koti. Do note the magical play of assonance and consonance and not-quite-rhyme in the poem.

She leaned and saw in the pale-grey waters,

By twisted hazel boughs,

Her lips like heavy drooping poppies

In a rich redness drowse,

Then swallow—lightly touched the ripples

Until her wet lips were

Burning as ripened rowan berries

Through the white winter air.

Lazily she lingered

Gazing so,

As the slender osiers

Where the waters flow,

As green twings of sallySwaying to and fro.

Sleepy moths fluttered

In her dark eyes,

And her lips grew quieter

Than lullabies.

Swaying with the reedgrass

Over the stream

Lazily she lingered

Cradling a dream.

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