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....

3 October 2010

The Shimla Class

Next in the series of guest posts on Shimla Gallimaufry is one by Varsha. 

Varsha writes a superb, deeply knowledgeable and really useful blog titled Wholesome Options. From Varsha, I have learnt to look at wellness as a way of life, learnt that healthy habits and fitness can be incorporated in daily life without any sacrifice or extra effort. Aside of being a full-time mother and wife, a wellness guru and a fitness maniac, Varsha also takes a wonderful Poetic Break from her bureaucratic life every now and then. She speaks here of lessons learnt from our common love, Shimla: 

The Shimla Class

Hills have a way of teaching you to slow down.
Of drawing you in the web of alluring sunsets, sun-dappled valleys and mist draped mountains. Of using that oldest means of transportation – your legs. And escaping at least partly from the whizzing world of honking cars and seething road-rage.
When I recall my Shimla days my best memories are about nature.
I was living with a bunch of strong-willed and rambunctious colleagues in extremely cramped quarters. Tempers frequently got frayed and patience wore thin. Walks were a way of escape-getting away from it all- initially. They became a balm and an addiction soon. A way of tucking in the splendid perfection of the Himalayas in different seasons and moods.
What did I learn in the Shimla Class (presided over by the old man Himalayas)?

Putting things in perspective.
I was incredibly lucky to be able to see the glorious Himalayas from my window on waking up each morning,
They always overwhelmed me. They gently reminded me everyday that I was not that important, my petty problems were not that important, nor were the shiny trophies of the rat race that important. The mountains would stand there even if the damned deadline was not met or if I did not ace some silly test.

The art of Appreciating beauty.
In Shimla, it was so easy to meet the perfect creamy rose-bud or a round, plump wild strawberry, a  sudden stream bubbling after the rains, an old friendly tree, clad  one fine day in magnificent bloom, a spectacular evening live show of the thrust and parry of the dying sunset and the ascending night. One had to stand and savour it reverentially. I learnt that when you see perfection – you must acknowledge it.
When we move in the bubbles of our own self-importance and obsessions, we become far too busy and blind to beauty around us. We must open our eyes, see it and savour it.

The art of inner Quiet.
Shimla also taught me to have a holy communion with nature. To get away from the noise around me I needed an inner quiet. I learnt being quiet with myself, by myself, for myself.

The art of appreciating History around you.
Any walk around Shimla is full of heritage and History. One keeps coming across rambling cottages with quaint names and distinguished ex-residents. There are majestic buildings scattered over the place. Steeped with tales of a faded era and set against the backdrop of the timeless Himalayas these gems of a bygone age taught me to appreciate History as well as the blip that my small lifetime is in it all.


Ranjani Mitra said...

"a spectacular evening live show of the thrust and parry of the dying sunset and the ascending night" - beautifully written Varsha, I also liked the part where you have compared humans with the mountains.......so apt.

Asha said...

Beautifully written, Varsha. You have blended the philosophy of life with living in a wonderful, picturesque place like Shimla. I love it.

Anonymous said...

Hey! thanks Ranjani and Asha !

Just saw this post-would not have looked Good without the AWESOME photos by Geetali.
The sunset picture is to die for G.
Geetali I learnt so much about the art of writing and speaking up on what matters to you.
Blogging is both directly and indirectly a result of inspiration from you.Thanks for everything.

Aparna Parinam said...

reminds me to appreciate nature everyday. Thanks for the nice post.
I came across you blog today, and liked your posts. I would like to follow your blog. I too write about my travels @
Can we exchange links. I occasionally like to write about ecoliving too.
If possible, please follow my blog.

With best regards

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