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....

16 May 2010

The love-gift of a fairy-tale

I love fairy tales not because the imagery I find in them conforms to what goes on within me. Also because— although a fairy tale gave body and content to all the angry, anxious thoughts in my mind — these stories always result in a happy outcome. What better than to wander discouraged and confused as Hansel and Gretel through a dark wood of witches! To strike the hot right way suddenly, but just as suddenly to mire, to drag, to speed, to shout Hurray! To fall asleep, to submit to revelations, certainly to curl a lip, to doubt, unnose a disdainful snort, snick a superior snicker, curse, and then at some point not very pleasantly to realize that the story I am living is the story of life itself!!!

Therefore, on one of my rambles, I got unnecessarily excited to stumble upon a gingerbread house. To look at it made me feel like I was 10 again. I looked at it with trepidation and a thumping heart. To walk up to it, to knock on its door, and perchance to have the Wicked Witch open the door... But no such thing happened. For one thing, I got lost in the woods, and had to make my hasty way out before dark fell. For another, when I did reach the house, it was opened by an unbearably sweet young lady who looked more like Gretel than the Witch.

Ah well... sometimes it is better let a fable stay in your head.

Here's the fairy tale:

Hansel and Gretel are the young children of a poor woodcutter. They have an evil step-mother who convinces the father to abandon the children in the woods as there is not enough food to feed the whole family. Hansel, aware of the plan, leaves a trail of pebbles back to the house so he and his sister find their way back home. The step-mother is angry and locks the two children up for the night with only a loaf of bread and water.

The next night, the woodcutter attempts the same plan again; this time Hansel leaves a trail of bread-crumbs but they get eaten by hungry birds and the two children get lost in the woods.

After wandering around, Hansel and Gretel stumble across a house made of gingerbread and other confectionery. They are very hungry and begin to eat it. It is owned by an evil old witch who lures them inside. She traps Hansel in a cage and forces Gretel to do the housework, continually sweeping the house. She feeds Hansel lots of food with the intention of eating him. Eventually the witch turns on the oven. Gretel comes up behind her and kicks her into it, shuts the door firmly and padlocks it.

They hang around in the house for a couple of days eating the sweets and they find some valuable gold coins. Once they are convinced that the witch is completely burnt they successfully find their way home and are met by their ecstatic father. He tells them that his evil wife is dead and they are now rich because of the gold coins' value.

They all live happily ever after.


Anonymous said...

I love how in your about me section you used the word "chary." I just discovered that word in a book I recently finished, and to see it used made me smile, as it is not a word that I've seen regularly practiced.

How exciting to come across such a house! I'm looking forward to catching up on your blog and looking at the rest of your pictures. I've never heard of Shimla, but I'm excited to learn more about the area through your photographs.


Gallimaufry said...

Thank you, Lauren, for stopping by; and for your kind words.
About using ''chary'', yeah, I'm old-fashioned that way :)

Ranjani Mitra said...

Incredible....amazing! how did you find this vision out of a 'fairy tale'. I envy you.....really I do...... :)))))
Thanks darling for taking us through a great journey with you....

Zeb said...

Cool shots! :)

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