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....

21 June 2009

What's bugging me?

I went walking in the forest of Sheogh with G, K, S, A and little M yesterday. These are deep woods located a little outside Shimla. For a paltry fee of Rs. 200, you can go up to the little rest house owned by the Forest Department, but no further. That pleasure is restricted to the heaven-born, such as yours truly. Be warned that the guest house has no amenities except a wonderfully pink toilet. You will need to carry your own food, water and other dire necessities. My fellow explorers and I spotted a group of the well-heeled, delicately sipping wine and eating little cucumber sandwiches with their pinkies raised. I can never help marvelling over the variety of people I get to meet on the road (or, as in this case, the forest)!
But, back to my group, a truly marvellous time was had by all. This was in large measure thanks to two of our companions: A who is an expert on forestry and pointed out all sorts of interesting details about the different types of trees which grow there; and S who is a scientist and taught us more in half a day than all Botany teachers in middle school could over several years.
It's incredible how the people with whom you journey can totally alter your perception and transform your experience!

We saw many varieties of trees, plants, flowers (which will make their way into this blog soon, I'm sure). But the best of all were the bugs! I wasn't able to identify a single one, but they were all fascinating, each of a different hue, each busily collecting nectar, taking off from this leaf, landing on that petal: the whole forest buzzed with activity.

I was reminded of an Aileen Fisher poem I'd read as a child. It went like this:

Don't you think it's probable
that beetles, bugs and bees
talk about a lot of things -
you know, such things as these:

The kind of weather where they live
in jungles tall with grass,
and earthquakes in their villages
whenever people pass.

You know what was so fascinating about the fat little spider in the picture above? He was the exact same shape, size and colour of the buds of the common broom plant on which he was building his webby home. The camouflage was so perfect that one of us nearly plucked him out, thinking him to be a fat little flowerbud!

A small, speckled visitor
Wearing a crimson cape,
Brighter than a cherry,
Smaller than a grape!

This little fellow reminded me of a senior colleague: someone who is great at punching holes into just about anything that's put before her!


Vinayak said...

You have a really beautiful blog!

Gallimaufry said...

Thank you, Vinayak. Mutual appreciation and all that jazz :)

Deep Sea said...

Visiting after a bit of a gap. Love the photos, as always, and the posts.

2..3 years more in Shimla! I hope so! I like seeing the city through your blog.

Bon weekend.

Gallimaufry said...

Thanks, Deep Sea. Seeing you after a long while!

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