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....

30 November 2008

The Post Office

Oh, I love post offices!
The sight of this one on the foot of the Mall reminded me of our two legends: Tagore & Ghalib.
Originally written in Bengali in 1912, Tagore's play, The Post Office, narrates the story of a young boy. Confined to his house on doctor's orders, because of illness, Amal watches the people pass outside his window and greets all of them, and as he does, he teaches them and the reader some of life's simple truths. This is Tagore's allegory about a journey of spiritual awareness, written with his trademark gentle observations.

Here's a motley collection of Ghalib's sh'ers on letters.... As best as I could remember them.
लिखवाए कोई उसको ख़त तो हमसे लिखवाए
हुई सुबह और कान पर रख कर कलम निकले
Magar likhwaae koi usko khat to humse likhwaae
Hui subha aur kaan par rakh-kar qalam nikale!
(Should anyone wish to write my love a letter, they should approach me
Every morn I step out of home, with a pen stuck behind my ear).

गैर फिरता है लिए यूँ तेरे ख़त को की अगर
कोई पूछे की यह क्या है, तो बताए ना बने
Ghair phirta hai liya yoon tere khat ko ki agar

Koi poochey ke yeh kya hai, to chhupaye na bane.
(I see strangers walk about, your letter in hand
But if someone were to ask me, i may not be able to hide my emotions).

के ख़त मुँह देखता है नामाबर
कुछ तो पैघाम- -जुबानी और है
De-ke khat moonh dekhta hai naama-bar

Kucch to paigham-e-zubaani aur hai.
(Having delivered (your letter) the postman stares at my face
Is there also a verbal message (from you)?)

And as I started typing out this post, I was reminded of a rather graphic sh'er by Momin!
क्या जाने कह दिया उसे इजतिराब में
कासिद की लाश आई है ख़त के जवाब में!
Kya jaane kya likh diya use iztiraab mein
Qaasid ki laash aayi hai khat ke jawaab mein!!
(I know what I wrote to my love in a fit of passion
All I've recieved in response is the dead body of the postman)!!

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