I am sitting near a window with the blinds rolled up and looking at the yard beyond. Fall is in full swing with its brilliant colours. A leaf falls so gently in the dull daylight with a rain cloud hanging above.
I think of my friend who introduced me to e.e.cummings, who is not very particular about capital letters. In my University days when we were idling on the steps near the library and commenting on the students walking by, my friend held an anthology of American poetry and pointed out to this poem which of course, affected me and changed my thought pattern. We then read it together and tried to decode it.
[l(a] by e.e.cummings
This poem expresses an abstract message. If you read everything between the brackets it reads ‘a leaf falls’ and outside it ‘oneliness’, and adding the ‘l’ from the beginning, we get ‘loneliness’. Upon first reading I thought it was clever and whimsical. But this poem is endlessly intriguing.
Look at the structure of the poem! It is just like a leaf falling from a tree…sometimes horizontal and at times vertical. The leaf swirls in the lines fa/af and lands on the ground with its ‘oneliness’ or loneliness. Our eyes are forced to a movement from top to bottom as the leaf floats down alone. There is this strong image of solitude and a lonesome death. It is simple yet beautiful and profound. This poem touched me in many ways. At that time my nose was deeply buried in Sciences and this prompted me to turn to Literature. It is no wonder I think of it every time I see a leaf fall. I can never look at a Fall leaf without a trace of poetry in it.
So I did not miss a chance to go on a Fall drive and enjoy the solitary leaf falling and admire the sky with its ever changing moods.
Semolina sweet treatsI recently promised another friend of mine from Kenya, that I would visit her son studying in Boston. I asked her what was his favourite snack and she replied it is Rava laddu. I was surprised because Rava laddu is always considered a humble home made sweet and this young guy is very trendy and has a sophisticated sense of style and tastes so I did not expect it coming. I was more than happy to make a batch of these sweet balls and pack it for him. It was delightful to watch him smile at the sight of it. It made my day!
- 1 cup rava/semolina
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 tbsp ghee(clarified butter)
- 1 tbsp cashew nuts broken
- 1 tbsp raisins
- 2 tbsp milk
- 3 cardamom pods
- Separate seeds from cardamom pods and crush it in a mortar to a powder adding some granular sugar to make it easier.
- Heat a pan and add 2 tbsp ghee.
- Fry cashew until golden and fry raisins till they plump up.
- Remove them from the pan and keep aside.
- Fry rava adding the remaining ghee till it becomes aromatic but without browning.
- Add sugar, cardamom powder, raisins and nuts.
- Turn off the heat and let it cool down to bearable heat.
- Sprinkle heated milk and make the mixture into balls. (Pour the milk little at a time in the center and make balls so if it is watery soft it can be rolled in the dry mixture to firm it.)
- As it cools down the balls harden and are ready.
Enjoy these after they firm up. It can be stored for many weeks in the refrigerator. I made 14 medium sized balls with these ingredients. Desiccated coconut can also be added to the mixture before making the balls. I love these as a sweet treat to celebrate Diwali. When young, I was assigned the duty of taking sweets on a tray as gifts to our neighbours and I loved it. We get to enjoy food made in their houses in return. I remember eating this laddu during Diwali from a particular neighbour who made it without adding coconut and that taste is stuck in my mind. I have not eaten it for quite some time so I made another batch. It is easy to make and delicious with the flavour of cardamoms. These sweet balls surely bring memories of the festivities.