Category Archive Personal

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.

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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

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.

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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™‚

ByJayanthi

Digital Detox

With most of us(or is it ‘all’ of us?!) being being plugged onto electronic devices like cell phones, laptops, tablets, IPads all the time, it is but necessary that we need a ‘digital detox’ from time to time.  It will be one of my New Year resolutions for sure! What is a ‘Digital Detox’ you may ask…well, read on to find out more…

 

What is ‘Digital detox’?

‘Digital Detox’ is when we divorce all our digital assets and keep away from it at least for a day in a month.

Is anything even possible without our smartphone and the countless apps that are on it? From bill payments, to booking tickets and ordering groceries – there is an app for everything and we are completely dependent on them.

Considering that social media rules our life, and we are always in a crouched position at any place in life(it maybe the grocery store, in the car, in India – we are in a crouched position even in our scooters!) it could also mean keeping away from Facebook, Whatsapp,Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter etc.

It will also mean keeping away from emails and not responding to the millions of emails that clutter our office work space. 

What are its simple advantages?

Giving our self a ‘digital detox’ will definitely help us in the following ways:

  1. To sleep better
  2. To connect with people the old fashioned way
  3. The compulsive urge to ‘like’ and respond to queries immediately will diminish
  4. Kids will imitate their parents and they will be less digitally dependent too
  5. One will lead a much more healthier life without an app tracking every step of theirs
  6. Others will get used to the ‘digital detox’ routine too!

How do we do it?

  1. Keep the smartphones away for a day
  2. Do not check messages or update statuses on any social media platforms
  3. Keep the laptops, tablets, iPads away for a day too
  4. Do not check email messages or respond to them under any circumstances

Why not try it today? Happy New ‘digitally detoxified‘ Year, 2018!! 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

What is your social media personality?

 

With social media becoming a permanent feature of most of our lives, it has been  fun to observe the social media personalities of my world. By ‘social media personality’ – I mean, the ability to express ourselves online. Why, some of us are more social or and some of us are less social online, is very hard to pin point for me, for now, at least.

Our social media personality woven with existing relationships seems to be creating brand new ‘online personalities and relationships’!  While there is no right or wrong on this issue and it is only a matter of personal comfort, these are a few of the social media relationships that I have observed in a fun way!

  1. Sometimes, one spouse is more social than the other online
  2. Both spouses are equally social online
  3. There are also instances when the parents are more social than their grown children! πŸ™‚ (how and why – I have never been able to understand this?!! :))
  4. When the entire family just absconds from the Internet and social media(though very, very rare – haven’t found any family that way! – though am sure somebody does exist! :))
  5. When the entire family is online and everything is expressed online in full public view!! πŸ™‚
  6. When teenage kids are having a gala time on social media and the parents have no clue about their social media habits(or choose to ignore)
  7. When one parent or both parents are constantly tagging behind their teens online! πŸ˜‰

Where do you belong in the above list?

I am sure there are many other variations too – but these are the personalities that I have observed! Is there are any other social media personality that I have missed? 

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

Of Mothers and Daughters/Fathers and sons!

Just a few years ago(or must have been many,many years ago! :)) , I remember being mesmerized by my father.  It was like I was in a trance and there was an invisible magic wand giving me directions to do or not do things!  Such was our relationship, it seemed to resemble a Pied piper and his followers!! πŸ™‚

I am sure we see this in many houses – fathers being extra special to the little or(big!) girl in the house and the mother going the extra mile for the son in the house! Traditional thinking has it that daughters have a magnetic attraction towards their fathers(and vice versa) and sons are more inclined towards their mothers(and vice versa here too!) But is it really true that way or is it that we are brought up thinking that way?

While it may be true in many cases, not all relationships work that way. What will happen where when it is an all girl household or an all boy household? Will all the girls be clinging to the father leaving the mother alone or will all the boys be clinging onto the mother,leaving the father alone? It doesn’t sound fair, does it?

As I have grown and matured in parenting, I have seen many mothers being close to their daughters and many sons being close to their fathers as well. It really is up to each parent and their eagerness to take part in the parenting challenge. 

Mother-daughter:

Mothers and daughters relationship will continue to evolve over the years. As the girl transitions from a little girl into a teenage beauty and beyond, there are quite a number of things that can be taught only by a mother. Teenage years, ’empathy'(word picked from Satya Nadella’s ‘Hit Refresh’ :)) cooking, handling family relationships,finances may be some of things that the mother can share her expertise with her daughter. 

Father-sons:

Father and sons might not come off as the giggly, fun relationship but they will mature over the years provided there is ample input from the father’s  side. Finances, business and professional attitudes,care may be some of the things that a father can share with his son. 

But again, there is no hard and fast rule as to what is to be taught by a father and what is to be taught by a mother. 

Whether it is a son or a daughter, it might be quite fair to say, as parents – we all have the responsibility to bring them up well as we can. No passing the buck to mothers for sons and fathers for daughters!

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

Missing India?

I write and write about Indian and US life and I never get tired! πŸ™‚ Here is one more…

Most of us who move to foreign lands to pursue different interests, try and re-create the Indian magic in different ways. We miss India in more ways than one as we adjust to a new life in a new country. Having lived for almost 14 consecutive years in the US, and having seen numerous families, students, couples move abroad, I can recount  a few of things that one misses sorely about India:

  1. The beautiful social life 

          Going from a country of billion people – we see people everywhere in India. That might not be the case particularly in a foreign country  and that too if you are in a cold place. We seek solace in online relationships which keeps us going.

   2. The festive season

         The festive season is particularly hard because of the authentic way of celebrating it seems to be missing in the new land. This can only be replaced by replicating the exact things that were done in India(for example, for Diwali – get together with other Indian families are arranged and the culture of the Indian festivals is passed onto newer generations)

 

 

3. Missing Indian values and trying to pass them on

This is probably one of the toughest things to do in a foreign country, at least in my view.  Raising kids in a new land brings with it, its own challenges.

We do not want our kids to lose our own Indian values and heritage but at the same time, we want them to blend well with the foreign country’s values and habits too. Shuttling from ‘Bala vihar’ class and Bharatnatyam classes to soccer practices is the new norm for Indian kids growing abroad. 

They are expected to speak, read, write their own mother tongue with ease as well study languages in the foreign country too.

4. Healthcare is not so complicated

I am not sure whether missing healthcare in India is the perfect way to say it – but suffice it to say that simple healthcare in India is not very complicated. We do not need to carry our health insurance card for every visit to the doctor.  The most important distinction between Indian and a foreign country’s health system is that we can choose our own doctor!!

The insurance does not dictate whom we should see for simple ailments. 

Simple medicines are relatively cheap too(A strip of paracetamol only costs 30 Rs. – that is just about 50 cents!!)

5. Higher education is not so expensive

Actually, this can be restated as “education itself is not so expensive” – at least not for the middle tier and upper middle tier population of India. While school education is easily affordable, college education is manageable too.

Parents are never advised to start saving for their child’s education from the day they are born! πŸ˜‰

6. Cricket

There are very few individuals who don’t miss the gentlemen’s game in a foreign land. As it is said, cricket is a religion in India and even though other sports like basketball, ice hockey, baseball and American football are around us, the heart always seeks the religion that unites India! 

These are just a few ways that I have seen many families miss India. I am sure there are plenty more…

 

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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

The ‘Interview’….

Several years ago, a young lady wearing a salwar kameez, walked into a quiet place in a hesitant way. The environment was fairly formal and the people in the place made her feel quite warm and comfortable. This was the first time she was meeting them.

Her father had already hinted that this might not be the usual type of conversation. After the initial formalities, the conversation shifted its focus towards the real reason why she was there.

The interview process:

She was working in a computer training center then and the leading person in the situation asked a few questions along  these lines:

  1. “What computer language had she studied while she was in college?”
  2. ” What computer language did she teach now?”
  3.  “Was the concept of pointers in ‘C’ really hard?”

If you think, this was a technical interview, think again!

     There were also other non-technical questions such as:

  1. “Why was she not wearing any gold bangles – did she not like jewellery?”(all from first impression! :))(True – She had never liked gold jewellery!)
  2. “How would she like her future husband to be?”
  3. “Did she like to have an arranged marriage or love marriage?”

   I am not sure whether you are able to figure out the lead questioner in the above conversation…. it was a would-be father-in-law and a would-be daughter-in-law having a conversation! πŸ™‚

 

 

 

How did it happen?

Contrary to most other ways of getting married in India, this couple got married in a novel way. The parents, sister and the girl were called for an appointment to meet the prospective groom’s family! By a strange turn of events, they marched right into their house without thinking twice(normally, it is the groom’s family that marches into the girls house!)  The would-be father-in law, mother-in-law and the groom’s grand mother were all present and the casual interview began!! πŸ™‚

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Only one obvious  person asked the questions – while the two other members remained silent. A person of excellent mathematical and computer skills, it was not easy to get past the would-be father-in-law’s questioning. Word had it that he could crack integration problems with ease even at his age!

Most of the questions that he asked(like love/arranged marriage etc and the many technical computer questions absolutely threw the girl off! – who would go for a wedding discussion and answer questions about pointers in ‘C’?!! :)) It was the frankness and outspokenness of the father-in-law and the girl’s ability to answer them boldly that really sealed the interview. 

The girl did crack the interview because she did marry the boy just a few months later! πŸ™‚

And no prizes for trying to identify the characters in the above story! 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

Magic of ‘Belur’!

I have always been a fan of history and particularly Indian history. India is a glorious and old country with a rich heritage. There are numerous temples and other architectural monuments all around the country which are several hundred years old. While I have never had the opportunity to visit the monuments in the Northern part of India, the temples at Hampi, Halebidu and Belur(in the southern part of India) hold a special place in my heart. Words and pictures do poor justice to the exotic monuments.Join me as I try to recreate the magic of  ‘Belur’ in this post.

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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

Who talks more?

….Men or Women? πŸ™‚ Yes – I know, I know – Β the answer seems to be pretty obvious about who is more loquacious but still it piqued my interest to write about it… πŸ™‚ However, it is to be noted – that there is no scientific reasoning behind my blog post – just Β some honest observations around my world!! πŸ™‚

In my universe, “the fair gender” is the one who has to more to say at all times! (I am sure there are a few exceptions to this rule – though I would find it hard to believe that!! :)) We,women Β have a lot to say,express, state, discuss, rant, gossip, agree, disagree on a variety of topics about almost everything in the world! πŸ˜‰ which, is a good thing as effective communication is the key to success, I would say…There is a great deal of pleasure women derive from just talking and sharing ideas… 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™‚