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....

25 February 2009

Of the visage of things.....

This post is for the anonymous reader who asked me about "Willow Banks" on 14th February 2009. I dug around a bit (admittedly, only casually) and was unable to come up with anything solid other than its year of construction (1871). I found no photographs of the older building, no facts.
To a lay visitor's mind, the term "heritage" has special meaning . It has come to indicate those properties which have been lovingly maintained and/or restored by their owners to their original glory. It tells us that these buildings are, at least in large part, the same as what they were when first constructed. It says to us, "come step in, and savour history".
The owners use the word "heritage" literally: as something that comes or belongs to one by reason of birth or something that has been or may be inherited by legal descent or succession! Yes, in that sense, they are right. It is a heritage property! But it is a bit tough to believe your eyes when you read that building was constructed over 130 years , for it has little to show by way of its undoubtedly rich history. If anything, someone should be prosecuted for having so completely despoiled the original in order to create this concrete horror. Looking at it is sheer visual masochism. One can only wonder what the interiors are like....

This is the frontage:

This is a view of the side that leads up to the Mall:

I'm tempted to quote Whitman when he says:
"Of the visage of things - And of piercing through to the accepted hells beneath
Of ugliness - To me there is just as much in it as there is in beauty"!!!

Aren't these two aspects seen below far more fascinating?

My apologies, anonymous reader, that I could not be of much help to you.

P.S. An unsolicited suggestion. Take a look at Chapslee Palace, if only to contrast.....


Shimlaite said...

Some portion of the present Willow Banks hotel is illegally built and there is a case against the hotel already registered. As the owners are influential people, no action has been taken against them. In the older wing, the right side one, there used to be a Super Bazaar earlier run by the govt. Getting all groceries under one roof before the Super store boom happened. Pity it has been closed down. There used to be a training center for learning stitching in the same wing. All this has closed down and just a few tea shops are left in the old wing now.

Gallimaufry said...

Thank you, Shimlaite, for your useful information. So we agree that the current building is a monstrosity? :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks a lot friends, for your views on the willow banks.

As Shimal residents, you MUST protest all such manner of mostrosities....and I am afraid, you town IS succombing to the pressure of commercialization..

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