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....

27 August 2009

Windows. (No relation to Gates).

Funny how some things can exist right under your nose and you never notice them! This sweet, crumbly little building stands on a road I have criss-crossed more times than I care to remember. I've looked at it while walking past. I've gazed at it from a car window. But it was only last Saturday that I actually stopped to look at it properly. Little did I realise that I was in for a treat.
This old structure - the annexe to Hotel Cecil - built in the typical dhajji-style (wood, plaster and hay between them for insulation) has the most incredibly embellished windows. They're made of a tin cover for the chajja (the little slanting cover which protects the window panes from rain) and wood. Supporting the chajja are gorgeous little arches carved from wood. The patterns are a mix of the floral and the geometric. Some of these are cut into the tin, forming extremely attractive shadow patterns. The windows are, as Baudelaire would say, profound, mysterious and dazzling.


i go to this window

just as day dissolves
when it is twilight (and

looking up in fear

i see the new moon
thinner than a hair)

making me feel
how myself has been coarse and dull
compared with you, silently who are
and cling
to my mind always

but now she sharpens
and becomes crisper
until i smile with knowing
- and all about

the sprouting largest final air

inward with hurled
downward thousands of enormous dreams

- e e cummings -

1 comment:

Vishwa Nath Sood-Shimla said...

The architecture of Cecil Annexe has one parallel in Shimla and that is BANTONY cottage as well as main house near Grand Hotel.Unfortunately this private building under occupancy of HP government for a long time has met negligence of vast magnitude by the occupants who are so adamant that even after vacating it,they would not allow the owner to restore it quoting those rules which can not be found in any book

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