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....

7 February 2009


Today I'm going to break my self-imposed one post a day rule.... No special reason, except that I just feel like it!

''Hawaghar'' (हवाघर) literally translated from Hindi would mean ''a house of air'' or ''an airing house''. The Andamanese use this term to denote their local Met. Department office! In Shimla, we use this term for little structures that dot our town. These structures have been christened ''varsha shalika'' (वर्षा शालिका) or rain shelters by the local government. but no one uses the official term. Instead, the old one ''hawaghar'' still rules. These little structures are mighty handy in a town where almost everyone walks if they can help it. They not only act as shelters from the sun or the rain, but also as a resting place when you're out of breath or as you can see from the pictures below as a meeting point!

Other towns and cities would do well to emulate Shimla's example.

#1: the prettiest hawaghar, on the Ridge:

#2: the quaint hawaghar on the Mall:

#3: the little hawaghar near Oakover:

#4: the ugliest hawaghar in town, near the Chota Shimla crossing:

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