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....

3 July 2009

A divine ecstasy, an inexpressible delirium of joy.

That is how I would describe the evening that went by yesterday. Yesterday, I heard my favourite poet in person, in a building I love (though I often say rude things about it!

उठाये फिरते थे एहसान दिल का सीने पर
ले तेरे कदमों पे ये क़र्ज़ भी उतार चले

This morning, a friend asked me: "So, how did it go? Did you get his autograph? Did you click a picture of yourself with him? What did you say to him?" I told her "The answer is: it was wonderful. No and no and nothing!"

I ask you. What do you do when you suddenly find yourself in the same room as someone whose words you cherish beyond life.
Whose poetry courses through you like that other red substance.
Whose songs are.... in his own words... "तेरे बगैर दिन न जला, तेरे बगैर शब् न बुझे"!
Do you tell him,"I love your poetry. It has lightened many a dark moment in my life". Can you reveal to him that all that he's written about feels as though it has really happened to you and that when you finished reading what he wrote, it belongs to you and to you alone: the good, the bad, the rapture, the torment, the bliss?
Do you ask him: "What inspires you?"
Do you inquire if he had lunch and whether it was to his liking?
Do you demand to know how he met and became friends with Meena Kumari and how did he chance upon her poetry?
How do you pry into his politics?
Do you implore him to share the true nature of his relationship with Raakhee, his former wife, friend, permanent muse? Do you quiz him on how love dies, and yet friendship remains?
Do you beseech him to explain his love for "mojris"?
Do you probe into his signature quirky phrases which push the frontier of language, which hop and skip from Urdu to Punjabi to Hindustani to English, much as dragon-flies skip on the surface of a still lake?
Do you grill him on who this new young person in his life is, to whom he so laughingly refers in his poems?

With Gulzar, every question seems an intrusion. The man wears an aura every bit as shiny white as his trademark crisp white kurtas. To pose questions would be, in some way, to sully this purity. The peace that he carries within cannot but percolate to the lovers of his poetry. Each one seems struck as silent by his presence as I am!!!

नज़्म उलझी हुई है सीने में
मिसरे अटके हुए हैं होठों पर
उड़ते फिरते हैं तितलियों की तरह
लफ्ज़ कागज़ पे बैठते ही नहीं
कब से बैठा हूँ मैं, जानम
सादे कागज़ पे लिखके नाम तेरा

बस तेरा नाम ही मुकम्मल है
इससे बेहतर भी नज़्म क्या होगी...


Ranjani said...

Dear Geetali,

Wonderful, every sentence of yours is like what was on my mind. His snaps exude his tranquility and peace. How I wish I was there.


Vinayak Razdan said...

True...one can't ask him much. I remember reading a collection of his poems in English...can't recall the name but the first poem was about a neglected cardboard box.

Gallimaufry said...

Ranjani, it was a truly magical evening!

Vinayak, I was sort of goggling & was content to keep a safe distance from him and all those others who milled about, intruding on his space, begging for autographs, photo-ops and so on. Some things just don't feel right!

Blue Panther said...

Nice post!But, If I was in your shoes, I think I would have approached him. Somethings don't feel right, but some temptations are just too hard to resist. :-)

Gallimaufry said...

Arrey baba, Neela Sher, you're much too bold & beautiful. और शायद उम्र का भी तकाजा है! I get very shy in such matters!!

Autar mota said...

I have had a brief interaction with Gulzaar sahib. In fact i intruded in his space once .He knows everything about Kashmir . He knows the Ambri apple , the location of Aharbal Waterfallthe folklore of Heemaal and Nagrai( Serpent King) of kashmir . I salute the memory of the man and variety of his intellectual pursuits .

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