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....

20 March 2009

Art and poetry: on my walls

This morning as I set out for work, I happened to glance at the walls of my home. Right before me lay so many sumi paintings. Created by the waltz of light with the leaves of the rhododendron tree that leans over my roof - a tree that leans lazily like a cowboy leans on the counter in a western bar....
This sight reminded me of delicate sumi-e paintings...

Sumi-e is a style of painting that is characteristically Asian, and has been practised for well over a thousand years. Literally ink painting, it is an art form that strives to distill the essence of an object or scene in the fewest possible strokes. In its purest form, black ink on white paper is considered sufficient to convey the "chi" - the essence or the spirit of an object.

I fell in love with this form of painting because of its emphasis on minimalism. A few, carefully -placed broad strokes that fade off abruptly - these say a lot more than an elaborately-detailed work. The sumi-e style uses what it calls "the four treasures" - an ink stone (as a container), an ink stick (made of pine soot), a brush called hake or fude (made of bamboo bristles) and paper.

In its turn, the thought of sumi-e lead to memories of some beautiful haikus....
Incidentally, for its similarity of minimalism, I am also fascinated by the haiku. This is a seventeen-syllable poetic form that has been created in Japan for over three hundred years. It is a lightly-sketched word picture the reader is expected to fill in from his own memories. He adds his own associations and thus becomes a creator of the poem alongside the poet.

Here are examples of favourite haiku poets:

Good evening breeze!
Crooked and meandering

Your homeward journey


Mirror-pond of stars...
suddenly a summer
dimples the water


Mountain-rose petals

falling, falling, falling now...

waterfall music


Windy winter rain
my silly big umberella
tries walking backward

Buddha on the hill
from your holy nose indeed
hangs an icicle

1 comment:

d gypsy! said...

i have read a bit abt haiku's and read them too...

but nvr knew abt sumi-e

thanks for sharing

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