Category Archive Personal

ByJayanthi

Idli or Dosa?

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Born and raised in Tamil Nadu, a state in Southern India, Idlis and Dosas  were always a staple at home. Idli for the totally unfamiliar, is defined by Wikipedia as “savoury rice cakes” that is made from fermented batter and which is had mostly for breakfast. Dosa on the other hand, is a savoury crepe made from the same fermented batter. Both of them are served with a huge range of accompaniments to suit the palate. While both idli and dosa are ideally served for breakfast, if you are from Tamil Nadu – you don’t mind having it at any time of the day! 🙂 

How do we make them?

While I will leave the exact recipe for making the perfect idli and dosa to Google, I can say that idli/dosa batter cannot be made in an instant unlike other foods. If we would like to make the idli/dosa batter (totally homemade),  tomorrow morning, the process has to be started 24 hrs earlier – if you are in a tropical climate and longer if you are in a colder climate. 

This because, the lentils have to soaked and ground in a special appliance called a ‘grinder'(or we can do it in a blender too) The resulting batter has to be fermented at least for 6-10 hrs(preferably overnight) .

Once the batter has beautifully fermented,  the idlis and dosas are ready to be made and relished with the different accompaniments! 🙂

Accompaniments to the idli-dosa duo:

Now, there are a variety of chutneys that can accompany the popular idli-dosa combo. There is coconut chutney, coriander chutney, mint chutney, tomato chutney, onion chutney( and my kids prefer all the colored variations! :))  and even more combinations to make this humble food even more tasty! 

There is also the very authentic Tamil Nadu ‘sambhar’ (lentil based vegetable stew as per Wikipedia) that can accompany the idli or dosa along with a a variety of chutneys to make the food super yummy! 🙂

How should it be?

Now, depending the quality of the lentils, the temperature and the duration of the fermentation and the proportion of lentils, the idlis and dosas might come differently. Technically, the idlis have to soft (like ‘malligai poo’ 🙂 aka ‘jasmine flowers’ and dosas may or may not be crisp. But the taste is definitely out of this world! 🙂

Idli
Idli

Can we order them from outside?

Oh…yes, we can and while other states might boast of pani puri stalls and chaat houses everywhere , it is the humble ‘idli’ that will adorn the streets of Tamil Nadu. Numerous idli shops will definitely pepper houses in Tamil Nadu and home cooks will even sell freshly made ‘idli-dosa’ batter for nominal prices.

A mother’s best friend! 🙂

Did you know – most of us mothers in/from Tamil Nadu will be at a loss if we do not have the idli-dosa batter at home in the refrigerator at any point of time? 🙂  The idli-dosa batter is definitely a mother’s best friend! When most mother’s are always at their wits end for “lunch box” and “breakfast” ideas, having the batter always saves the day. We can whip dosas and idlis in a jiffy and save the day! 🙂 

Dosa
Dosa

Now the great question – is it Idli or Dosa that satisfies your palate?

While each of them have their own taste and texture(obviously because one is round and soft and the other is crispy and flat), I have seen most having a preference for one or the other – but not both.

While the daughter in the house loves the soft variations and can gulp them as it is without any accompaniments 🙂 the son, can hardly get the idli down his throat without the frequent ‘eowws’ 🙂 His idea of the Tamil Nadu’s favorite food has to be the crispy counterpart lathered with a generous dollop of ghee that gives it an immensely wonderful aroma!

So, what is your favorite and how do you like to eat it? 🙂

ByJayanthi

Young India!

Reading Time: 2 minutes

As India celebrates her important day, I was mulling one important aspect of India that can easily stand out from other countries. This was the fundamental aspect that really stood out when we moved back 8 years ago…what was it? read on to find out more…

Youth:

The world all around me was/is very young (initially, I thought it was because I had returned from the US after 14 years  – that I had aged and the next generation had emerged! :))  But while that may have been one reason, India itself had gotten the title of being the “youngest country in the world”. According to Wikipedia, “50% of India is below the age of 25 and 65% of India is below the age of 35”!! Additionally, according to another report from ‘The Guardian’, India has 600 million people who are under the age of 25!! Cool, statistic don’t you think?! 🙂  It is hard to believe this statistic unless you live in a country with such a young population.

Every side and every corner you turn, you will only bump into teenagers, singles and young couples! 🙂 There hardly seem to be many with 2 kids tagging along like us! (ok, a bit of an exaggeration there – but you get the point,right – India is very “youthy”?! :))

How does it affect you?

It definitely rubs you the right way. You feel young and energized and can totally appreciate all the new and latest brain storms. In all my remote work experiences, I have always worked with people younger than me!  While I thought it was initially a one time thing or an occasional happening…it happens all the time – (while, what they think of me is for another blog post :)) –   and I am sure that is true for most of us from my generation…

 

Startups:

India and particularly Bangalore or Bengaluru is home to a number of ‘startups’. Makemytrip, Flipkart, Snapdeal, Ola cabs, Zomato, redBus and many more organizations are all shining examples of Indian startups. According to this report from Bangalore Mirror, the average age of startup founders is under 36! (Superb, don’t you think?) 

There are still a huge number of startups that are mushrooming at a rapid pace with extremely bright ideas. Now, how long these organizations will last and whether all of them do well in the long run, is anybody’s guess – but the feeling of entrepreneurship and moving from the tag of “employee” to “employer” is strong in India! So much so, that many start their own companies after a few years of corporate experience!

Here is to a young India making a positive difference to life in the world…

 

 

ByJayanthi

PSG Tech reunion

Reading Time: 3 minutesAs July 2018 dawned and dragged by, I could see a few of flurries of excitement here and there. There were subtle blips of happiness on the online radar too. Some of us were proudly announcing our itinerary to our happy destination on social media channels. We were all eagerly setting our plans for the big day and the planning committee was working in full momentum. There were invitations to be created and given, momentoes to be ordered, albums to be created, food to be ordered and oh, the list was an endless one. There were online meetings held regularly to plan and execute the things perfectly for the D-day!(Sitting inside the planning Whatsapp group was a special privilege(and one place I really managed to keep quiet! :)) and I could see the umpteen number of things that had to be done to make this day perfect and kudos to all of them to make it happen)

Where was this and what was happening?

This was the silver jubilee celebration for the Class of ’93/94 BE/BE(SW) of the alumni of PSG College of Technology, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, India on July 27th, 2018. Going back to one’s alma mater is always a warm feeling for anyone, and visiting it, 25 years after graduation is extra special!! 🙂 Many of the alumni traveled from as far as the US, UK, Mexico and other countries to be together and celebrate this special day. 

25 years is a long time in a person’s life. We had grown through highs and lows of personal and professional life. Many of us had become “Sirs and madams” 🙂 in our organization and had reputations that were hard to beat. But still, we all traveled to the one place that made us feel 17 again! 🙂 We could throw all our caution to the wind and experience 1989-1993/94 again for just a day!

July 27, 2018!

The morning of July 27,2018 dawned and I was as usual late! It was 10 a.m. and I finally landed at my alma mater. Who was there? There was everyone(who had promised to come) and after a while I could recognize most of them. It was an amazing feeling to meet the entire(or almost) Class of ’93/94 in person. Even though we all play peek-a-boo on social media and see what others are doing in their life, it is a special feeling to meet everybody in person. We had changed in predictable ways and it really wasn’t difficult to identify everyone after a while. Life hadn’t changed and we were still in 1993/94, right? Nope – unfortunately not… 

For those of us who returned to Coimbatore after 25 years, the changes within the college were phenomenal.  The college had grown by leaps and bounds and there were newer departments. The bridge was absolutely new and traffic in our college was totally new to us! (When we studied, there were only a few buildings near us) Some of our old Professors were still present and it was pleasure to see them and reminisce their teachings(whether they remembered us or not! :))

The morning routine took place with precision. Sitting in the auditorium, recognizing old friends,  and whispering to my friends was a really warm feeling. Prayers were sung, speeches were given, momentoes and the batch report were presented. As the batch report was unveiled, it showed the stellar strength of our batch mates. Each and every one of us had done exceedingly well in life and some had even managed to retire! 🙂

Nostalgia took over and and as were re-living 1989-1993/94 days, we tried to see if the shops we used to visit 25 years ago were still around and we also wanted to see the hostel that housed us for 4 years(though I did not finally get to see the hostel) We wanted to see and experience all things that were present 25 years ago when the only work we had in life was to “study”! 

The evening saw the very popular ‘Tech music’ (songs sung by talented singers) and as the night progressed, it was evident that the glorious day would soon end. There were many who had weekend getaways planned to celebrate the silver jubilee reunion, but for me it was back to routine from the very next day.

As I came back home and was reminiscing the days leading up to July 27,2018 and the very day, I keep thinking when it will be when we will meet again…

On a side note, I observed that the Western world grapples with not having enough women in STEM(Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), but we women in the reunion were light years ahead of our times. We, women engineers had conquered the ‘engineering Everest’ years ago and many hold high positions in the industry even today. 

 

 

ByJayanthi

Review of ‘A to Z of Mental Health’ By Arjun Gupta

Reading Time: 2 minutesAbout the e-book: A to Z of Mental Health tries to explore the various aspects of mental illnesses that are sometimes ignored.You will finish this book with richer and more meaningful knowledge about mental health and how it affects every person.

Review: Mental health plays such an important part in today’s life. It is heartening to see the world opening to such issues to help the sufferer. But it is even great to see such a mature topic been written by such a young author(he is only 20!) The author gives an insight into the mental health issues faced by forces in the army, navy, air force, colleges, the common triggers for many mental health ailments, diagnosis, technology and mental health and so on.

It is true that exercise also plays a huge role in healing all sorts of body ailments and and it is good to state that mental health is no exception. It is nice to see the author list the phone numbers in each city for any individuals seeking help on mental health issues.

Personally, I am not sure, if the Internet is a good place to seek any sort of medical advice for any ailment. The author correctly states that there are “no right answers” to be found on the Internet and it is better to talk your problems instead. 

A very good and purposeful book and I am sure it will help the individuals who are suffering. In addition, I also hope it motivates non-sufferers to help them and not shy away from the problem.

You can download Arjun’s e-book for free from this link:

 

 

ByJayanthi

Writing

Reading Time: 2 minutesWe writers are a lucky lot! 🙂 No, really…I mean it… what other profession allows you to don the multi-profession cape with the glide of a mouse?

Writing:

There are different types of writers – namely the medical writer, the technical writer, the travel writer, the poem writer, the master story teller but all of them share the pen that gives their thoughts a life. 

A writer can write about anything that he wants to – the butterfly, the cloud(technical and non-technical! :)) , the traffic (the web traffic as well as the physical traffic) , life of a chef, life of a programmer, life of a an engineer, the details of all the professions and so on… what a wonderful life! I have never enjoyed anything more in life than writing. It is the greatest boon to be able to write and write anything under the sun. And to think that I had never written anything major till my Master’s degree papers came along! 🙂

The difficult part of writing:

1.Unlike other professions, once you are done with writing about a particular topic for a period of time from different perspectives – I feel like “I am done” writing about the topic! And people are “done” reading about the topic too!! 🙂

For example, if I tell my son to read the other posts on my blog, after reading the one that has just been published (he follows my blog too! :)) he always says that he has finished reading them all! 🙁 

So, once I am done writing about a particular topic, I seem to be really “done”. And I think my readers are “done” reading the topic too! 🙂

The good part is that there are still plenty of topics to write about and even the littlest topic can evoke a great deal of emotions…

2. The second difficult part of writing sometimes is – that while writing itself takes a quite a bit of time with research and all(esp for my technical articles) but the reading hardly takes 3-4 minutes! 🙁 Sometimes, I feel like I should write a huge novel so that nobody can finish reading it quickly enough… 😉

Keep up with my pen as my writing adventures continue into the technical and personal fields! 🙂

 

 

 

 

ByJayanthi

Review of ‘Diary of a baby’

Reading Time: 2 minutesAbout ‘Diary of a baby’: “Diary of a Baby” is a candid, witty take on life from a baby’s perspective written as diary entries, followed by interpretation phases of baby’s life from the author’s own parenting experience

Review: ‘Diary of a baby’ by Mahak Wadhwani is a wonderful read for all parents, to-be parents, veteran parents and parents-to-be someday! 🙂 I picked this book to read as I was sure I could relate perfectly to every word written in this book, as I am a mother of two kids. My kids crossed the baby stage long ago(my kids are 17 and 12! :)) but still I cherish every one of those memories. 

I was reliving every chapter with my own experiences. The author has presented colic and separation anxiety very nicely. Yes – they are difficult times for the parents as well as the babies. Some chapters had me rolling in laughter(you have to read the book to know what they were! :)) Sleep regression, teething, falling, wailing, bawling, rolling , anxieties  and more are there in ‘Diary of a baby’. And presenting it from a baby’s perspective is the best!!

I cannot imagine that such a beautiful story could be created for the 26 letters of the alphabet around the ‘baby theme’!! Kudos to the author for this!! 🙂

Excellently written and the chapters move along flawlessly… must read for all parents!

It is available for free only for a short time from this link.

ByJayanthi

TOP SECRET MISSION

Reading Time: 1 minute

Ebook 1: I take on the Baton of Blogchatter Ebook Carnival from Rashi whose ebook ‘Mansa‘ is also part of the mix. 
About Rashi’s ebook: “मनसा” अर्थात मन से उत्पन्न कुछ कविताओं का संग्रह है ये पुस्तक। इसमें कवित्रि ने रिश्ते, देशप्रेम और अपने मन की भावनाओं को व्यक्त किया है।  
 

My ebook experience/learnings:

The BlogchatterEbook carnival launched e-books that converted us bloggers into authors.The whole experience has been exhilarating one and I have received more recognition in the field of writing!

I had written a series of posts around my life in US and my e-book contains all of my posts regarding that. I thank Blogchatter and the entire team for supporting me in creating an e-book around those posts!

You can download my e-book ‘India or US? The constant struggle for educated India for free here.  

About my book:A number of individuals in their 20s, want to go abroad and once they are abroad they start missing India. These individual posts grasp the see-saw of most Indian families trying to balance Indian values and American life.

E-book 2:  I would next pass on the Baton of Blogchatter EBook Carnival to fellow blogger Rohan whose ebook ‘Annoyed Thieves Amid Darkling Armies‘ is also part of the mix. 

About Rohan’s ebook: Stir something
Be it any emotion
Joy, Fear, AngerChannel it
Towards a path
That leads a changeIn yourself
In the surrounding you live
In the society These are the words
Fearless, bold, outspoken
To stir something in you  

 

 

 

 

ByJayanthi

Review of ‘Murder in the palace and other short stories’

Reading Time: 2 minutesIt is quite ironic that I am a writer but I rarely read fiction. But that may be because I do not write fiction. Having said that, I read ‘Murder in the palace and other short stories’ and this post just summarizes some of my feelings as I read it. It is written by Priya Bajpai for the ‘Blogchatter E-book Carnival’ season three. 

About the author:

Priya U Bajpai is a short story author and poet who has been published in mainstream newspapers. A versatile story-teller, she is adept at writing fast-paced and layered tales across genres. A voracious reader, Priya is a mother of a nine-year-old.

Read More

ByJayanthi

Are you a ‘helicopter’ parent? :)

Reading Time: 2 minutesI am sure most of us are guilty of this in today’s world. And rightly so…I know, I  definitely am!! 🙂 Even as there different parenting styles and unique children, there are some parenting feelings that come by intuition. One of that may be “helicopter parenting”!! 🙂 

What is ‘helicopter parenting’?

We see so many atrocities committed all around us and more heinous crimes against children. This automatically makes us more protective of our children. We shield them more and more and we “hover” over every move of theirs which leads us to the term “helicopter parenting”. So, “helicopter” parenting is hovering over the kids too much and monitoring their activities and lives most of the time. This over protection is so much that sometimes they are not able to take many decisions on their own.

The problem partly arises, because they may grow but in our eyes, they are still the same “small child”! 🙂 and we worry wherever they go.  We may never have been brought up that way but in today’s world, “worry” comes with parenting. We cannot allow them to freely walk outside, cannot allow them to cross the road on their own(even if they are 15 years old!! :)), cannot allow them to travel by city buses, cannot allow them to do any house work and on and on. We smother them and shield and it sometimes continues all through their lives!! Parents remain as parents – “the all knowing ones!! :))” and children remain “children” – the “all unknowing ones”!! 🙂 (This continues even if you are 30 year old child and 60 year old parent!! ;))

Is it wrong?

I am sure there is no perfect right or prefect wrong in parenting. What might work for one might not work for another. However, I don’t think there is anything wrong with “helicopter parenting” at a young age when the child does not know right from wrong. But after they grow, too much of hovering might impede a child’s ability to be independent(all said and done, after a while they will be independent – just the path will be harder)

How do we solve this?

As I ponder “unhelicoptering” I have started to let them take decisions on their own and encouraging them to be free outside(at least one of my kids is eligible for that) It is a fine line to teach them to be independent as well not neglect them entirely either. I am still learning the ropes of dealing with “unhelicoptering”… Wish me luck!!  🙂

 

ByJayanthi

What is the appropriate age for kids to get a social media account?

Reading Time: 2 minutesRemember the age you got into social media? With Facebook being launched in 2004, Youtube in 2005 and Twitter in 2006, it is quite a possibility that you might have been in your 20s or 30s or older(or definitely younger! :)) Social media was a new phenomenon at the start of the new millinieum and kids born in the 90s might have established their digital footprint much before their parents could even understand this new concept.

As the first decade of the new millennium gave way to subsequent years, new social media sites emerged. What was this new concept – was the parents only question? Kids had learnt it faster and parents of young adults were lagging behind.  Was it good or was it bad?

Finally, as parents learnt the ropes of social media – they got hooked onto it(well, not all – but many did like it! :)) Social media was looked as a new way to get in touch with old peers and the very concept grew by leaps and bounds as more people endorsed it. Soon enough,  social media changed its avatars and it became evident that, it was not what it looked like on the top(which was – as a medium for sharing jokes and pictures! :)) It became a data collection tool, it became a tool for making money, it became a tool for snooping and more!

With so much going into social media, what really is the correct age for kids to get into it?

Kids observe as we parents spends a few minutes(or is it a few hours?! :)) on it everyday. They see the joy on our faces and think it must be some ultimate destination to be attained. With so much riding on it, I would think the perfect age to handle social media pressures would be around 17 years and up. At 17 years of age, kids will have some amount of Internet maturity. Further, they might need a social media account for their school and college work as well. 

Once on it, they need to be educated about ‘hygienic and safe Internet practices’ (if you are thinking what is that? 🙂 – I will write a separate post on that as well :)) This will ensure that they have a safe, good and productive social media experience. On the contrary, if they do not want to get onto social media even as a young adult, that is probably the best!! 🙂

What do you think – what is the correct age for your kids to be on social media?