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....

13 October 2009

O, the thorns we stand upon!

Too often am I accused of only focussing on all that's pretty about Shimla. But that's not just my attitude to Shimla, I assure you. This is pretty much the sum of my world-view. The construct of my memories is the result of my personal aesthetic which rejects that which is ugly and painful, vexatious and noisome!

And yet, where would we be if it weren't for the sordid and the troublesome? A garden would be really boring if it had only roses and no thorns, a life so dull and lacking in challenge if it weren't for the vicissitudes that life throws at us! If the dress weren't occasionally caught in the thorns, would we stop to look at and smell the lovely flower that grows unseen? I am forced to agree with William Penn when he says "No pain, no palm; no thorns, no throne; no gall, no glory; no cross, no crown"....

Thorns, to me, have become reminders of that which I try to escape. Sometimes, it is the commonplace that I try to escape, other times, the bizarre. I retreat ahead of that which vexes me by manipulating my vision and thrusting an alternate dream within a dream. Often, I offer a prayer upwards , not for my own escape, but for someone I hold dear, almost as a ransom.

On a more prosaic note, thorns are a woody outgrowth with a sharp point, usually of a stem or a branch. Plants grow these as a protection against herbivores. On a walk near Ghumma last weekend with R, I discovered this peculiar spinulose plant with little prickles growing, of all places, on the surface of its leaves. A helpful person informed us that this plant is locally known as "foota kanda", which roughly translates as "broken thorn". I haven't been able to locate its proper botanic name yet, but promise to update this post as soon as I do.


Autar mota said...

Excellent to write on thorns . Possibly none dares to look at them leave alone putting them so beautifully in the blog. i see three blogs occassionally . This one i rate the best and original amongst them. Jigar sahib said about thorns .

Kaanto ka bhi haq hai Aakhir
Kaun Bachaaye Apna Daaman
Koi Quaide Gulshan Gushan
Laakh Balayein Ek Nasheman

Gallimaufry said...

Thank you, Autar-ji, for dropping by and for your very kind words.

Anonymous said...

Great philosophy,lovely pictures,and amazing eye for detail!

Gallimaufry said...

Thank you, Anonymous reader. Your comment is very heartening.

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