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....

31 July 2010

Prayer is the world in tune, A spirit-voice, and vocal joys, whose echo is Heaven's bliss.

Of all duties, prayer certainly is the sweetest and most easy. A prayer sent from the heart's deep core is a sally of the soul into the unfound infinite. Prayer may be inaudible speech, bit it is necessarily a candid dialogue with that higher entity, it is an attempt to represent yourself, in order to go to the roots of action.

I love to give thanks in solitude. For me, it is wordless, and mainly takes the form of thanksgiving. Thanksgiving gives my prayer wings and it goes where it must go. My prayer knows much more about it than I do. I say my prayer without giving the Almighty reasons why he should grant this, or that; he knows best what is good for us.

Prayer is not necessarily sitting before an idol, or telling beads, or reciting shlokas... To pray is to pay attention to something or someone other than myself. Whenever I concentrate my attention something so that I completely forget my own ego and desires, I am praying.


Great God, I ask for no meaner pelf
Than that I may not disappoint myself,
That in my action I may soar as high
As I can now discern with this clear eye.
And next in value, which thy kindness lends,
That I may greatly disappoint my friends,
Howe'er they think or hope that it may be,
They may not dream how thou'st distinguished me.

That my weak hand may equal my firm faith
And my life practice what my tongue saith
That my low conduct may not show
Nor my relenting lines

That I thy purpose did not know
Or overrated thy designs.

Henry David Thoreau

30 July 2010

Hope likes justification, but can do without.

Ideas have been Gods for me. My consciousness a harmony of devotion to sanguine expectation. Hope, to me, has been that liar whose veracity I have never doubted even when belied. There have been times that I have despaired and, as the Bard says, "been at enmity with cozening hope". But such times have been few and far between, for I have found truth in what George Eliot says: "What we call our despiar in only the painful eagerness of unfed hope". The trick, I have found, is to confront suffering with hope. Hope triumphs every single time!
Hope has sometimes been fragile, and trembled like a harebell. Other times, it has been as solid as a rock and been my bulwark when all around me failure raged like a sea in storm. I have, however, refused to abandon what my friend HS calls my "pathological" belief in the occurrence of the impossible!
Here are some things which give me hope:

My faith, which is my anchor, my guide and the lantern which lights dark paths.

Children. Because they have two things in abundance: joy and a sense of wonder.

Dewdrops, which stand for all that is fragile and fast-disappearing and yet so essential in life.

Song of Hope

O sweet To-morrow! -

After to-day
There will away
This sense of sorrow.
Then let us borrow
Hope, for a gleaming
Soon will be streaming,
Dimmed by no gray -
No gray!

While the winds wing us
Sighs from The Gone,
Nearer to dawn
Minute-beats bring us;
When there will sing us
Larks of a glory
Waiting our story
Further anon -

Doff the black token,
Don the red shoon,
Right and retune
Viol-strings broken;
Null the words spoken
In speeches of rueing,
The night cloud is hueing,
To-morrow shines soon -
Shines soon!

~ Thomas Hardy ~

29 July 2010

Thousand feet of sparkling water -- the Milky Way pouring down from heaven.

They left their home of summer ease
Beneath the lowland's sheltering trees,
To seek, by ways unknown to all,
The promise of the waterfall.

Some vague, faint rumor to the vale
Had crept--perchance a hunter's tale--
Of its wild mirth of waters lost
On the dark woods through which it tossed.

Somewhere it laughed and sang; somewhere
Whirled in mad dance its misty hair;
But who had raised its veil, or seen
The rainbow skirts of that Undine?

They sought it where the mountain brook
Its swift way to the valley took;
Along the rugged slope they climb,
Their guide a thread of sound and foam.

Height after height they slowly won;
The fiery javelins of the sun
Smote the bare ledge; the tangled shade
With rock and vine their steps delayed.

But, through leaf-openings, now and then
They saw the cheerful homes of men,
And the great mountains with their wall
Of misty purple girdling all.

The leaves through which the glad winds blew
Shared. the wild dance the waters knew;
And where the shadows deepest fell
The wood-thrush rang his silver bell.

Fringing the stream, at every turn
Swung low the waving fronds of fern;
From stony cleft and mossy sod
Pale asters sprang, and golden-rod.

And still the water sang the sweet,
Glad song that stirred its gliding feet,
And found in rock and root the keys
Of its beguiling melodies.

Beyond, above, its signals flew
Of tossing foam the birch-trees through;
Now seen, now lost, but baffling still
The weary seekers' slackening will.

Each called to each: 'Lo here! Lo there!
Its white scarf flutters in the air!'
They climbed anew; the vision fled,
To beckon higher overhead.

So toiled they up the mountain-slope
With faint and ever fainter hope;
With faint and fainter voice the brook
Still bade them listen, pause, and look.

Meanwhile below the day was done;
Above the tall peaks saw the sun
Sink, beam-shorn, to its misty set
Behind the hills of violet.

'Here ends our quest!' the seekers cried,
'The brook and rumor both have lied!
The phantom of a waterfall
Has led us at its beck and call.'

But one, with years grown wiser, said
'So, always baffled, not misled,
We follow where before us runs
The vision of the shining ones.

'Not where they seem their signals fly,
Their voices while we listen die;
We cannot keep, however fleet,
The quick time of their winged feet.

'From youth to age unresting stray
These kindly mockers in our way;
Yet lead they not, the baffling elves,
To something better than themselves?

'Here, though unreached the goal we sought,
Its own reward our toil has brought:
The winding water's sounding rush,
The long note of the hermit thrush,

'The turquoise lakes, the glimpse of pond
And river track, and, vast, beyond
Broad meadows belted round with pines,
The grand uplift of mountain lines!

'What matter though we seek with pain
The garden of the gods in vain,
If lured thereby we climb to greet
Some wayside blossom Eden-sweet?

'To seek is better than to gain,
The fond hope dies as we attain;
Life's fairest things are those which seem,
The best is that of which we dream.

'Then let us trust our waterfall
Still flashes down its rocky wall,
With rainbow crescent curved across
Its sunlit spray from moss to moss.

'And we, forgetful of our pain,
In thought shall seek it oft again;
Shall see this aster-blossomed sod,
This sunshine of the golden-rod,

'And haply gain, through parting boughs,
Grand glimpses of great mountain brows
Cloud-turbaned, and the sharp steel sheen
Of lakes deep set in valleys green.

'So failure wins; the consequence
Of loss becomes its recompense;
And evermore the end shall tell
The unreached ideal guided well.

'Our sweet illusions only die
Fulfilling love's sure prophecy;
And every wish for better things
An undreamed beauty nearer brings.

'For fate is servitor of love;
Desire and hope and longing prove
The secret of immortal youth,
And Nature cheats us into truth.

'O kind allurers, wisely sent,
Beguiling with benign intent,
Still move us, through divine unrest,
To seek the loveliest and the best!

'Go with us when our souls go free,
And, in the clear, white light to be,
Add unto Heaven's beatitude
The old delight of seeking good!'

~ John Greenleaf Whittier ~

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