Mouthpiece #44

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Vibha Sharma

January 21 · Issue #44 · View online
Weekly digest of Vibha Sharma

An art...
It is hard not to have come across any written/audio-visual piece on how the bygone eras, which were sans technological gadgets, felt like. Such pieces often trigger a nostalgic chain of thought. While I was watching a hilarious one on the subject recently, one thing led to another and in no time I was on the trail thinking about all those things that have just disappeared from our lives or are dying a slow death. Letter writing is one of those things which has lost its sheen, charm and viability in the age of whatsapp and instant messaging/chatting options (voice or text). Personally I have always considered letter writing nothing less than an art and I still regard it as the perfect way to give expression to one’s feelings and emotions. I do indulge myself in sending hand-written letters to dear ones even now but that is rare and far between, usually to mark special occasions or milestones. In keeping with the times, though in somewhat delayed manner, I feel writing mails comes very close to letter writing. Even though the handwritten aspect can in no way be replicated in mails but they compensate for it in many ways - convenience of editing any number of times before sending, ensured delivery and fast reach.
However, it is seen that even mails are not so much in vogue these days because who has the time and energy to compose long personalized mails when a simple one-line text message and receiving a smiley or thumbs up in return is considered sufficient conversation. Tech-age acronyms have made life so much easier and simpler - LOL, Ty, Gm, Gn are just a very few examples and add to them the ever increasing list of emoticons through which almost every human emotion is attempted to be replicated. All these shortest possible expressions of emotions have already acquired a significant place in our lives but no matter how much they try, they can never be rich with emotions.
I remember a letter that my eldest sister wrote to me when I was in hostel and my semester exams were about to commence in a few days. A couple of decades have elapsed since that time, but that letter(among many others) is still a treasured possession of mine and those encouraging lines written by her still manage to impart heaps of self belief and confidence on any day that I choose to pull it out. Let’s fast forward to current times, the best wishes, in all probability would be 1-3 ‘thumbs up’ emoticons conveying good wishes for the upcoming exams. At the end of the day, what have we actually gained? I personally feel there is serious bankruptcy of emotions these days and what we convey has just become so very mechanical that nothing gets stirred inside ever.
While some things stop being practical with time there is no harm in trying to retain those which make us more sensitive individuals than button operating machines. So pick up that pen which is gathering dust somewhere to write to a dear one or send a personal mail to a friend or a relative and I am sure the recipient would be overwhelmed with this gesture of yours. It is not just for the recipient, in fact, it is an extremely cathartic exercise for one’s own self to pour one’s heart out in words sometime. 
Gajar ka Halwa...
After having tried many recipes, I think I am most satisfied with this one, so sharing it here:

Carrots (red and juicy) : 1 kg
Milk (full cream) : 1 litre
Milkmaid : ¾ tin
Ghee : ¼ cup
Cardamom : pounded seeds of 4-5
Almonds, cashews, raisins : ½ cup

Peel the carrots and wash them thoroughly. Now grate the carrots (make sure only the red juicy part is grated and the inside hard yellow part is discarded).
In a thick bottomed pan(I use a kadahi), warm the ghee first and then add grated carrots to it. Fry the carrots till the juice gets dried up and ghee on the pan turns red in colour. Now pour boiled milk in the pan, reduce the heat to medium. Keep stirring in between and keep scraping the dried milk from the sides at regular intervals. When the milk gets completely incorporated in the carrots, add milkmaid to it and fry it more so that even that gets dried with the halwa. The halwa is almost ready. Just before switching off the gas, add cardamom and nuts to it and mix well. Some nuts can be kept aside for garnishing purpose. The halwa is ready to be served. 

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