Category Archive Personal

ByJayanthi

For the love of ‘Reading’…

As I was pondering what to write for alphabet ‘R’ for my Blogchatter A2Z challenge, a recent conversation in my school Whatsapp groups – triggered me to write this post! πŸ™‚ 

The olden and golden days:

Reading paper books used to be such a beautiful past time for kids before the days of electronic devices. I remember us being curled up with our Nancy Drew’s, Secret Sevens, Famous Fives and Hardy Boys(they were the popular titles in India those days :)) Whether it was the summer vacation or the time after school –  books were our constant companions. Reading built our comprehension abilities, increased our concentration, improved our vocabulary and helped us make new friends too….. and we never bored! πŸ™‚ Those were such sweet innocent days! πŸ™‚

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Jayanthi Manikandan has an undergraduate degree in Computer Science from India and a Master’s degree in Information systems with a specialization in Information security from Detroit, MI, USA.

She has been passionate about Information security and has several years of experience writing on various technical topics. Additionally, she loves to pen a few personal thoughts here as well! πŸ™‚

ByJayanthi

Quiet

There were kids playing in the house. There were many others playing outside too. There were screams, yells, laughs and roars.

But he found a way to be away from it all, reading a book in the corner of the house. It was not a story book. It was a technical book!  He could be sitting in any crowded place, be observant and be quiet. Most of the time, his head would be down engrossed in a book. Or if he was at home he would be by himself playing the keyboard.

Even when he was alone with his mother at home, not a word would be uttered. The mother would feel the silence and the quietness. How could anyone be this quiet, was her thought all the time?! πŸ™‚ She was never that way…

It was quite interesting that even the chattiest person when seated with him would become quiet πŸ™‚ …was this even possible?  If the dictionary described the word “quiet”, he epitomised it…

He could talk amazingly well but it was not his personality to be a spontaneous talker. He could respond perfectly to questions asked to him. Inspite of being so ‘quiet’ it was not like he was not listening to things around him. He was a great and fantastic listener… but he was extremely reticent by nature. 

Who was this boy, who gave the word “quiet” such a huge spotlight?! It is my son!! πŸ™‚

For Bala – on his 17th birthday!! πŸ™‚ 

Jayanthi Manikandan has an undergraduate degree in Computer Science from India and a Master’s degree in Information systems with a specialization in Information security from Detroit, MI, USA.

She has been passionate about Information security and has several years of experience writing on various technical topics. Additionally, she loves to pen a few personal thoughts here as well! πŸ™‚

ByJayanthi

Palm tree fruit

Have you seen a small jelly like fruit sold by street vendors with a delicious taste? This is the  ‘Palm fruit’, Palm tree fruit’ or ‘Nongu’ (in Tamil) found mostly in Southern Tamil Nadu. During all my years in the US, I sorely missed this tropical fruit! I am sure it is available in other places too – with their unique names . The ‘Palm fruit’ grows on the ‘Palm tree’. 

So, what is this Palm fruit?

It is a jelly like fruit which is housed inside a black shell and is absolutely heavenly! This tropical fruit is a natural cooler and is one of the best and natural fruits to beat the raging summer heat.  The black shell houses three ‘palm fruits’. The shell can be broken with a sickle and the delicious fruit is taken outside. There is a white skin which has to be removed and viola! the jelly fruit is here to be relished! πŸ™‚

The above picture shows the palm fruit with and without their skins.

How should the Palm fruit be consumed?

The delicious fruit can be consumed as is or can be made into a ‘kheer’. It can also be blended with the ‘king of fruits'(mango) to give the taste buds an even better experience! πŸ™‚

So, if possible, try this tropical delicacy and enjoy summer with natural coolers!

This post is for alphabet ‘P’ for the Blogchatter challenge… 

 

Jayanthi Manikandan has an undergraduate degree in Computer Science from India and a Master’s degree in Information systems with a specialization in Information security from Detroit, MI, USA.

She has been passionate about Information security and has several years of experience writing on various technical topics. Additionally, she loves to pen a few personal thoughts here as well! πŸ™‚

ByJayanthi

‘Kulambu’

‘Kulambu’, ‘Kozhumbhu’ or ‘Kolambu’ is a delicious South Indian gravy with the correct amount of tanginess and spice.  While I never do a cooking post because of this reason – the alphabet ‘K’ for the Blogchatter challenge did kick me into writing about one!

My mother makes different types of ‘Kozhumbu’  like the ‘Vendakkai(ladies finger) kozhumbu’, ‘thakkali(tomato) kozhumbhu’, ‘brinjal kozhambhu’ and each one of them is lip smacking! πŸ™‚ The non-vegetarian kulambhus like ‘chicken kozhmabu’ , ‘meen kozhumbhu’ are equally delicious but they might need slightly different cooking methods. 

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Jayanthi Manikandan has an undergraduate degree in Computer Science from India and a Master’s degree in Information systems with a specialization in Information security from Detroit, MI, USA.

She has been passionate about Information security and has several years of experience writing on various technical topics. Additionally, she loves to pen a few personal thoughts here as well! πŸ™‚

ByJayanthi

India!

The pitter-patter of rain drops. Seeing water in liquid form throughout the year. The sight of frogs jumping around. Seeing a double rainbow in the sky. Hearing the birds chirping throughout the year. Seeing millions of pigeons and parrots outside my window. Seeing honeycombs hanging from my balcony. Seeing the blue sky everyday. Having the sun rise and set at the same time throughout the year.

Traffic trying to move in an totally unregulated manner.  Competition being real. Great history. Lots of festivals to celebrate in an authentic way. Lots of shopping places. Lots of ‘pattu saris’ πŸ™‚ Lots of color. Lots of variety. Lots of people. Lots of family. Lots of family functions. And even more friends. And never a dull or lonely moment. Full of life and cheer and a simple life!

Where was I? India!! πŸ™‚ 

This post is for alphabet ‘I’ for the Blogchatter challenge… the previous post is here... come back tomorrow for  the next alphabet…:)

Jayanthi Manikandan has an undergraduate degree in Computer Science from India and a Master’s degree in Information systems with a specialization in Information security from Detroit, MI, USA.

She has been passionate about Information security and has several years of experience writing on various technical topics. Additionally, she loves to pen a few personal thoughts here as well! πŸ™‚

ByJayanthi

Empowering women

I cannot think of a better word for the alphabet ‘E’ than “empowering women”. In a world, where girls play second fiddle to boys and boys are always the wanted “gender” – it is crucial to empower the girls. 

Growing up in conservative state(of course, most of India is conservative with the exception of the metros) of Tamil Nadu, studying Computer engineering(a long time ago! :)) was a big thing(that was empowering for those days)

What does empowering really mean? It seems that this word has been thrown around quite a bit. While empowering women and girls might mean different things to different people, my only thought is to “let women and girls do what they want in life” after teaching them good values. It is the thought of protecting girls(by the parents, husband) that leads to not empowering them adequately.

Because, I have always heard girls say

  1. That they were allowed to study – but only in some place close by
  2. That they were not allowed to study
  3. That they were allowed to study but not allowed to work(what if the man who married her sat and ate her earnings?! ;))
  4. That they “have” to work(this is the other extreme!!)
  5. That they are not allowed to drive
  6. And there are million other “don’t do this and don’t do that” rules for girls and women…. 

 

 So, how will we empower them?

  1. To start off, it is good to give them the best education in the college and in the field they would like to study. At least, the opportunity should be given. 
  2. The next step will be to make them financially independent. Having a career for themselves will make them mentally and physically strong.  Of course, once motherhood comes along, it is difficult to juggle between work and home and the decision to continue the career or not should be best left to the girl herself. 

So, what are the advantages of empowering the women?

  1. They are more confident 
  2. Can handle life in case, any calamity falls on the family
  3. With today’s soaring prices, it is always good to have two incomes instead of one…

Again, my thoughts on the subject!! πŸ˜‰

This post is for the alphabet ‘E’ for Blogchatter challenge…the previous is here…

Jayanthi Manikandan has an undergraduate degree in Computer Science from India and a Master’s degree in Information systems with a specialization in Information security from Detroit, MI, USA.

She has been passionate about Information security and has several years of experience writing on various technical topics. Additionally, she loves to pen a few personal thoughts here as well! πŸ™‚

ByJayanthi

A to Z Theme Reveal with Blogchatter!

This year I will be participating in my first ever ‘A to Z BlogChatter Challenge’. The challenge here is to blog everyday for the 26 alphabets starting from 1st April. Sundays are rest days!(Thank God! :)) More details about this blog challenge can be found here

A theme is thought to be a good way to approach the blogging challenge.  Keeping in tune with my blog, I will be choosing ‘technical blogs’ and ‘personal thoughts’ as my theme for this challenge!

Wish me luck as I embark on a new blogging adventure! πŸ™‚

Jayanthi Manikandan has an undergraduate degree in Computer Science from India and a Master’s degree in Information systems with a specialization in Information security from Detroit, MI, USA.

She has been passionate about Information security and has several years of experience writing on various technical topics. Additionally, she loves to pen a few personal thoughts here as well! πŸ™‚

ByJayanthi

Why I don’t have a cooking blog?

It was just around 12:00 noon on a Sunday afternoon, and she was doing her homework in her room with full enthusiasm. She had Math, Physics worksheets to complete and she was constantly having doubts about how to solve the mysterious problems. She would run to her brother to solve all her problems. He was her “demi-god” who knew the answers to all her questions. 

Suddenly, a beautiful smell seemed to be emanating from the kitchen(or so, she thought) She knew her mom was cooking lunch and there had to be some non-vegetarian dish, since it was a Sunday. What was it? She would soon know… and she continued studying. 

Finally, it was lunch time. As she sat down to eat, she was given some rice and some gravy was poured on it. She took one mouthful of it and as her mother looked at her eagerly for compliments – she exclaimed that “It tastes like spicy fish rasam,amma!! :)” All her mother’s dreams of getting good grades from her daughter went down the drain as “meen kozhumbu”(fish tangy gravy) was renamed as “spicy rasam” – which basically means that the gravy was too runny and watery!!

She had just turned 10 then, and …. as the days rolled by, every dish received critical comments.

  1. The one glass of milk that she had to have in the morning – could neither be too hot nor too cold. It had be the perfect temperature with the correct amount of sugar and health mixes.
  2. Idli was her favorite and it needed the perfect accompaniment like ‘sambar’. The sambar needed the correct amount of tanginess and taste. Unfortunately for the daughter, the mother found cooking to be a chore and one that she wanted to be done with for the day as quickly as possible! (But does that ever happen with four people in a house?!!) 
  3. Lunch had to be tasty and the gravies that her mother made were expected to be to perfection.The mother always added a lesser amount of salt marring the dish, once too often! πŸ™‚ And boy , was she not pleased!!
  4. Sending lunch to school was a different ball game altogether. The menu had to be chosen such that they were filling – yet tasty and retained their original appearance by lunch time.  Normally when the lunch was packed in the morning(usually, some variety rice) it had solidified by the afternoon!! The daughter would dig her spoon right into the tiffin box – only to get a big blog of rice stuck together!! (Yuck!!)

   In summary, Idli, noodles, pasta and biriyanis were her favorite foods. Dosa had to be crispy. Chappathis had to be the perfect circle shape(which the mother had never mastered! :)) Rajma chawal was ruled out as it did not have taste. Egg rice was too dry. 

Now coming to biriyanis – she loved biriyanis. The biriyani should not be too sticky and they needed the perfect amount of spice! The  biriyani from each restaurant was greatly analyzed. Was ‘Biriyani zone’ better or was it ‘Paradise’? She felt that meat marinated in some restaurants were better than the others. Had the mother mastered the biriyani that she wanted? The daughter thought so…(thankfully! :))

The daughter’s taste buds were in stark contrast to the mother. Where did the daughter get such smart taste buds from, she wondered? Had she inherited it from her grandfathers?

Only when she satisfies the food critic in her house, did the mother think that she will venture into food recipes… until then….it will be the technical blogs which the mother hopes she has mastered! πŸ™‚

Jayanthi Manikandan has an undergraduate degree in Computer Science from India and a Master’s degree in Information systems with a specialization in Information security from Detroit, MI, USA.

She has been passionate about Information security and has several years of experience writing on various technical topics. Additionally, she loves to pen a few personal thoughts here as well! πŸ™‚

ByJayanthi

Pinkathon 2018!

What began as a gentle whisper in our community, soon reached dizzying heights as more and more ladies joined in to run the Pinkathon on February 18, 2018, in Bengaluru, India. 

For the uninitiated, ‘Pinkathon’ is the run founded by Milind Soman and Reema Sanghavi specifically for women, primarily to give importance to women’s health issues particularly, breast cancer. It encourages women to lead a healthy life by running and doing other physical activities.

Get shopping with ‘BigBasket‘!! 

January 2018:

It was just about a month back that one of our “Pinkies” decided that she was planning to run the Pinkathon and was preparing for the same. I was always a bystander in earlier marathons and acted only as a cheerleader! πŸ™‚ I never imagined I would want to do it and neither did many of us “pink sisters” in our community. 

But slowly, but surely, more and more people signed up to do the marathon. I also finally signed up though I never thought I would have the motivation to do it. Motherhood had made me rusty and I was not too much of a fitness freak except for my slow paced walks daily. We were finally a grand total of 22 ladies who had signed up for the run. 

But once we signed up, the positive energy rubbed off on all of us! πŸ™‚  We encouraged each other for daily practice sessions. I also tried a new fitness app(never a fan of all these digital devices that track every breath of your life)  to keep track of my daily walks and calories. New shoes were bought, appropriate apparel was chosen for the D-Day.  Our whole community wore a fitness look and one could see women jogging or doing a brisk walk everyday!

For many of us, it was the first “marathon” in our life! There were 3K, 5K, 10K and 21K runs. Most of us newbie marathoners, chose 3K – not knowing how exactly it would be.There were the healthy stalwarts who chose 5K and 10K too! πŸ™‚

Will I be able to do it was the big question tingling in my head?! (3K is actually not much of a distance – even if you “brisk” walk the distance – we can complete it in 30 minutes)  But still doing it in a marathon setting is a different experience. And the thought of getting up at 3:30 in the morning for the 6:00 a.m. run was more grueling than the run itself!! πŸ™‚

February 18, 2018:

The big day was here and as I woke up at the grueling time( a big thing for a night owl like me!! :))  all pumped up and excited !! All of us traveled to Kanteerava stadium and it was amazing to see the electricity in the stadium. There were 11,000 women eager to lead a healthy lifestyle and running was just a starting point! The day started off with some Zumba to loosen up the muscles. I do not remember swaying to any of the moves as I just wanted to get started with my run/walk! πŸ™‚

At approximately 7:15 a.m., we , the 3kers zoomed off with great gusto and enthusiasm! My 3K was more of walk than a run(did not want to take any risks there!) and most of us were done by 7:50 a.m. The run was amazing in that it had women from all ages. One could see the determined young mothers with their babies, elderly ladies,sari clad women, ‘madisar’ clad women amongst us.There were runs for the visually impaired as well. 

It was a fantastic experience for all of us and a week post the marathon we are still pursuing our fitness adventure! The experience empowered all of us – who went from  “Can we could do it?” to ‘Yes – we could do it”!! πŸ™‚

Cheers to the all the Pinkies in my community to make this happen! πŸ™‚

Jayanthi Manikandan has an undergraduate degree in Computer Science from India and a Master’s degree in Information systems with a specialization in Information security from Detroit, MI, USA.

She has been passionate about Information security and has several years of experience writing on various technical topics. Additionally, she loves to pen a few personal thoughts here as well! πŸ™‚

ByJayanthi

Why does each state of India have a separate language?

Well, almost, each state…

And sometimes, I feel like I am answering questions on Quora… πŸ™‚ but I love to find answers for questions like these.

Now let us try to answer the question, first though some introduction. Each of the four(or is it five states, now?) southern states of India – Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Karnataka each have a separate language and there are other local dialects too… (amazing, isn’t it?! :))The Northern states mostly adhere to Hindi. The western state of Gujarat has Gujarati as its language and the eastern states of India have their own languages (Assamese, Bengali etc) India is stated to home to 23 official languages and another 1650 languages!! (can you imagine?)

India might be the only country in the world or one of the few countries that has so many languages. No sooner do we drive 5-6 hours(roughly – not perfect here) in India , are we in another state with a different language and entirely different customs and traditions. 

 

But how did so many languages come into existence in India? 

India is an old country with rich traditions and customs. It is shaped by a beautiful history from the Mughal empire, Ashoka empire, Hoysala empire and so on.  As each dynasty left, they carved out beautiful traditions and new languages. It mixed with local languages and new dialects must have been born. This might have passed down generations and ultimately that became the language of a particular area of land… till a new dynasty came to power. This is my thought to this question – what is yours?

The reason that the languages stayed for so many years and it is still living:

The only answer that came to my mind was that we could not move as much(new forms of transportation like cars, bikes, boats, air travel have been achieved only of late) – so the languages that mushroomed stayed where they were. Moving from one place to another is a chore even in this day and age – imagine how it would have been several years ago. 

So, if Tamil was spoken in the state of Tamil Nadu and if people could not move much, they stayed there and propagated the language there alone. The same might be the case for other languages too. This has been continuing till date and the beautiful languages of India have stayed, grown and have continued to embellish our lives!

 

 

 

Jayanthi Manikandan has an undergraduate degree in Computer Science from India and a Master’s degree in Information systems with a specialization in Information security from Detroit, MI, USA.

She has been passionate about Information security and has several years of experience writing on various technical topics. Additionally, she loves to pen a few personal thoughts here as well! πŸ™‚