Category Archive Personal

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

Detroit, MI

It was a beautiful day in June when we moved to this new place. The weather was so awesome, that one might be belied into thinking that this is the norm throughout the year! One could freely travel anywhere outside without the traditional layering of clothes. All outdoor places were buzzing with activity. Parks and fairs saw life.  So, what was this awesome place? This was the ‘Motor city’ or Detroit, USA.

Read More

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

Thinking of returning to India? Here is the best place to return to….

It has been a couple(or is it several?) years that you have lived abroad… you have soaked in the customs and traditions of a foreign country. You left India as a single person but you are married now and have kids. You may have procured higher education , had a successful career, may have bought a house in a foreign land and all immigration issues must have been sorted out. You have achieved all of life’s goals when staying abroad… what’s next, is the perplexing question? If you are thinking of moving to India…. read on…

For those that have made up their mind to move to India(with the mind and heart fully synchronized and with no confusion and after getting the assent from all members of the family!)  and those who are tired of searching for ‘India in US’, Bangalore or Bengaluru is the best place to return to(in my opinion)… why?

  1.  Unlike, other states of India, Bengaluru is language neutral. English, Kannada, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu and every Indian language is spoken and welcomed here. Hindi, Kannada are easily understood for those relying on any form of public transportation like Ola,Uber, Auto, Buses etc. (The language parameter is a huge factor when returning back. While the northern tier states rely mostly on Hindi and Southern tier states rely each on their own language, being language neutral brings a smile to any Indian from any part of India!)
  2. The weather in Bengaluru is fantastic when compared to other parts of the country and in fact other parts of the world! Mild winters and summers and a pleasant climate throughout the year are the greatest perks of living in the ‘garden city’.
  3. Bengaluru boasts of a good blend of Western and Eastern cultures. From having a variety of international cuisines to international schools, we have it all! πŸ™‚ The International schools follow IGSCE or IB curriculum enabling the NRI students to adjust better. 
  4.  Many international schools follow the American calendar system(having school from September to June) and also foreign boards to facilitate expat children’s education.  These schools are also good for Indians who are returning after a long foreign stint wondering whether they will readjust back to India or not(they can always run back! :))
  5. A return to any place is only feasible if there is a suitable job opening and finding a job is never a task in Bengaluru(though I have never been able to find an apt one!! :)) Bengaluru, being India’s ‘Silicon Valley’ is always host to a number of openings in the tech sector(in which the majority of the Indians are employed) and other sectors too. This enables the majority of returnees to find suitable careers.
  6. Cost of living is low when compared to foreign countries  and this a huge plus too(of course, it is still higher when compared to other Indian cities) 
  7. The different festivals of India and the world are celebrated in Bengaluru with the same authenticity and cheer. Be it Ugadi, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Diwali, Lohri, Pongal – all the festivals are celebrated with the same gaiety and cheer!

Living in such a cosmopolitan culture, enables one to get the best of the West and the East! πŸ™‚ and easily the best place to return to…. 

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™‚

ByJayanthi

Video or Text?

I am sure this question might have appeared in other forums – but after writing innumerable blog posts, I am always curious as to what should be the apt medium of communication for creating blog posts. Should it be videos or should it be plain text to get the point across? I am not going to be using any marketing terminology πŸ™‚ …but rather a layman content writer’s viewpoint…

Let us see the pros and cons of each type.

Read More

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

The toughest job in the world…

I think most women might know it and most men might have guessed it too… πŸ™‚ 

Every job is nerve racking and highly demanding with its timings and different styles of working but this one job demands you to be a super juggler and the stakeholders in this career tug at your heart strings more! πŸ™‚ 

THAT JOB IS THAT OF A ‘MOTHER’! πŸ™‚

The transformation:

Right from the time when the child/children enter a woman’s life, her life is totally transformed a complete 180 degrees! It is amazing how one’s life goes from being a totally in-control life to a super busy life(really, that kind of ‘busy’ has to be only experienced!!) by a small human being who might be only approximately 21 inches long! This transformation of course, is forever, and will last a life time and beyond.

And for first time mothers, in spite of what you have read and re-read from all mom’s diaries, and all mom-preparations, the surprise might be huge! πŸ™‚ (not to scare any first time moms, though)

From raising a child from a new born baby to adulthood, each stage requires different skills and patience. 

The chaos:

Let us look at one chaotic situation in a mother’s life:

While kid #1, demands attention in homework, kid #2, would have injured herself terribly at school demanding an immediate doctor consultation. In all possibilities, it might just be dinner time and food might be half cooked on the stove and hey… the husband might be travelling too! πŸ˜‰ (Now, isn’t this a fine example of a mother juggling all the duties by herself) 

And if you are in the western world, you can add a fine hint of disaster weather to above menu too( a snowstorm might be a distinct possibility!! :()

Chaotic situation #2:

I am sure most mothers have faced this. When kid #1 falls sick with fever, cold, vomiting etc etc, in all possibilities , kid #2 will be down too and that too after a few days. It might spread to other family members and seeing the doctor becomes the norm!

Re-entering the work force:

Let us look at the mothers and work too. Now, most mothers are well educated and most “were” working before they became “moms”. Trying to get back to work, is a thought most mothers have at the back of their mind.

Most new mothers take a short/long breaks in view of motherhood. Some might think of taking a short break which might become a looong break! While getting back to work is much easier in India(or in your own home country) because of the excellent support system(grandparents, cooks, maids, baby sitters, drivers etc) In the US, it is mostly the grandparents who are the most trusted “baby sitters” (or “daycare” if you have the heart to put them in one)when the kids are young.

And even after re-entering the workforce after a while, many women choose careers based on their kids schedule rather than their own qualification or  experience(odd, but true!) Many mother’s do not opt for the same corporate grind…(while there are some exceptional women who do that – and hats off to them!! :))

In spite of everything, it is a beautiful profession and I love the toughest job in the world!! πŸ™‚

And as I conclude, I am reminded of the saying “God could not be everywhere, so he made mothers!”! 

 

 

 

 

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

The drive

Years ago, a newly married girl in her early twenties stepped into the US with her  husband. After a number of tiring flights from India, she was finally at home in her new home in College station, TX. Life decently settled down after a while and  she had to master a few things before being comfortable in a foreign country. The first thing was to learn driving so that she could have her mobility.

Buy from Soch today!!

Unlike India, where one could learn driving from a driving school,  it was only cheaper and more sensible to learn driving from those around u in the US(friends, peers etc)  So, who else to teach the girl to drive but the husband! πŸ™‚ She had never driven any sort of motored vehicle in her life so, this was going to be an interesting experience! πŸ™‚ 

Most cars in the US were automatic but as luck would have it, the husband had a ‘manual transmission car’ or ‘stick shift’. She saw other newly wedded husbands teaching their wives on automatic transmission cars and they got licenses in a jiffy!(much to her misery!) 

The first day:

If anybody who knew the girl thought she was patient – the husband was patient++!! πŸ™‚ He was very methodical, there were diagrams for everything, from cars to family trees! πŸ™‚

On the first day, she was taught about the accelerator(“it was also called the ‘gas pedal’ in the US” – she was told! :)) , the clutch and the brake and their positions.  She felt her head totally spin – she could never remember the position of the clutch, the brake and accelerator.

He being a good Mechanical engineer wanted to explain all about the inner workings of the clutch, brake and the gas pedal – but the Computer science engineer would hear nothing of it! πŸ˜‰ Who really cared about the clutch, and other things when the mind was thinking about programming?!! 

It was decided that he would teach her driving every Monday, Wed, Friday for about an hour and the routine was followed in spite of a few emotional outbursts here and there! πŸ™‚

First day, First gear:

She was told to “press the clutch and then change to first gear”. Once she was in first gear, she was told to slowly remove the foot from the clutch and press the gas pedal….but once she removed the foot from the clutch and pressed the gas pedal, the car shuddered to a stop!! And she wondered why!! πŸ™‚ (any ideas?!) 

As the days went by the car was behaving erratically and understanding a newly wedded husband teaching you was even more amusing! (Was he pushy, was he slow in  teaching u, or was he harsh, she wondered!! )

Other gears:

A few days later, they moved onto the second, third and fourth gears and each gear change was an interesting experience!! The car never failed to unnerve her with its constant gasping, grinding and shuddering experience! πŸ™‚ The husband as methodical as ever, thought of appropriate routes for each change in gear(and corresponding change in speed too) in the tiny TX town. 

Soon, after a quite a period of time, she had graduated to fifth gear and what place to practice fifth gear, than the highway! They went to the highway just outside the city of College station, TX and practiced diligently. 

Finally!

Finally, after nearly 6 months(yes, this was an extremely patient couple!! :)) she had learned to change all the gears without the engine rumbling too much and all that there was to master was the ‘reverse gear’ and ‘parallel parking’. 

He would always praise   the “smooth change in gears of certain individuals” – but she wasn’t one of those “smooth changing individuals for sure!!” πŸ™‚

‘Reverse gear’ was equally nerve racking and she was told to strictly turn back and look and not just look at the rear view mirror before reversing! 

Parallel parking was a big story in itself and she was taught with the exact rules in the safety book. (In those days, the Internet was in its infancy and there was nobody else to teach her – but her husband!)

“Park by the side of the car, turn all the way to the left, and start reversing to the spot, and once you are in, start straightening and so on… “!! πŸ™‚ were the directions of parallel parking from him!

Finally, after a very, very loong period of 11 months, she was ready to take the driving test. She was given strict instructions on what to do and what not to do on the test and she did pass the test with flying colors on the very first try! πŸ™‚

And last but not least, I am sure you would have guessed the characters in the story! πŸ™‚

Dedicated to all husbands teaching their wives to drive or any wives teaching their husbands to drive too! πŸ™‚

Note: 

For those, wondering what is “parallel parking?” It would be good to read this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parallel_parking

 

 

 

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™‚