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....

23 August 2010

For through my lips may breathe adieu, I cannot think the thing farewell.

Those of you live in Shimla, or have visited it will have no trouble recognising this place: the Barista on the Mall.
How many friends have we met in this our most favourite of watering-holes in our little town? How many cups of cappuccino, hot chocolate and ginger tea did we down while waiting for someone to arrive, or someone else to leave before we could get cracking with the important business at hand: of catching up with friends? How many happy moments have we had doing the one thing our town excels at and which the world, in its hurry to win the rat race has forgotten, watching the world go by?
From here we gathered important tid-bits of what went on in town. Here we sat and wrote post-cards to people in a faraway places. Here it was that we read a book desultorily. This was the perfect place when you wanted to be alone but not alone. You need not have anyone sitting at your table: it was enough that there were people around: giving you that semblance of company without actually intruding. Barista was the pits-top before you walked on your way across town.
It was here that you first nodded to someone you had seen as a fellow Barista-addict. It was not about the coffee. It was never about the coffee! It was here that nodding acquaintance turned into introductions and sometimes, serendipitously, into firm friendship. It was here you escaped for a quick respite when the goings of the day got much and you needed a friendly face to smile at or a sympathetic shoulder to cry on. This was the place you headed to when you wanted to meet someone but felt too lazy to walk to wherever it was that they lived and the sentiment was reciprocated. It was here that you did the Peyton Place thing" "Hmm, did you see who is walking with who?"!


As a Bombayite, you understood the commercial maxim of ''location, location, location". Yet it was not just that. It was a whole package of friendliness, openness and warmth that brought people back over and over again.
Oasis. Asylum. Hideaway. Resting place. Retreat. Watering hole. Barista, you were many things to many people.

They say all good things must come to an end. And so it will be with Barista. Going by yet unconfirmed information (only about the date, not the event itself), as on November, this most friendly of coffee-shops will be downing its shutters. Its place will be taken, we are told, by some international clothing chain, selling stuff that we in Shimla neither patronise nor need, but such is the way of all flesh....
Farewell, dear little place. We shall miss you.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi SoulCurry ,
I visited Shimla last august...and actually quite liked a coffee shop which also teamed up as a book store. It was at the opposite end of the mall from Barista (don't remember the name of the cafe but all the books on display were of J. Krishnamurthy)... it looked like a picture out of a fairy tale!
Zashy

Anonymous said...

Hi ,
I had visited Shimla last august...and actually quite liked a coffee shop plus book store at the opposite end of the mall from Barista (don't remember the name of the cafe but all the books on display were of J. Krishnamurthy)... it looked like a picture out of a fairy tale!
Zashy

Gallimaufry said...

Hello Zashy! I think you're talking about Embassy Restaurant at the other end of the Mall, closer to Clarke's. It's a nice little place with lovely views. I've been dodging it because of the owner's penchant of delivering monologues on WW-2 history!

Dr Jonathan Miles-Watson said...

Sad about Barrista, why is it closing? We used to like to spend a lot of time in there. We also went to Embassy a fair bit (more for food than coffee) and ended up being talked into buying a book or two that I have still never quite got around to reading. Both great places in their own way.

Gallimaufry said...

Hello Jonathan, economics is the reason for its closure, I suppose. Shall miss it.

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