Category Archive Personal

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.

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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…

 

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

School education in India and US

When we moved to India, 7 years ago – the first thing that stumped me when we were looking for our kid’s admissions,  were the different boards in India. Even though we had done our schooling and undergraduate education in India, staying away for 14 years, totally erased the Indian school system from our minds. We were used to the US elementary school system but the Indian system was a lot different. This post lists the differences between the Indian and US school system.

The US education system:

The US has only two school systems – the public school system or the private school system. In the public school system – education is absolutely free from kindergarten up until 12th grade! (very,very difficult to think  of the term ‘free’ for good school education in India! :)) 

 

 

Private schools in US charge for their education system.

If you are in a good school district, we are fairly certain that we will get good,free school education up until 12th grade in public schools of US.

The Indian system:

Now, the Indian system of school education involves many boards. We as parents are constantly trying to navigate the different boards comparing, analyzing and contrasting the different boards.  The two pre-dominant boards are CBSE (Central board of secondary education) and ICSE (Indian certificate of secondary education)  While I do not have not much experience with the CBSE board, I can safely say a few points regarding the ICSE board:

  1. It is a thoroughly exhaustive syllabus(read – extremely vast!) with the curriculum increasing in thickness as you go up each grade.
  2. You have to appear for 10 subjects for the 10th grade board exams(yes – 10 subjects! )
  3. This serves as a good spring board for the 11th grade syllabus and eventually the other competitive exams. 

Now, each city and each locality might be more inclined towards a particular board. For example, I suspect the city of Chennai is more inclined towards the CBSE and State boards. The city of Bangalore is more inclined towards the ICSE board. 

In addition there are the IGCSE(International General Certificate of Secondary Education) and IB boards as well. IGCSE and IB are the boards that offer international curriculum. 

As parents we are constantly navigating the board maze in India which constantly changes. No sooner do we think that we have understood a board, that a few changes crop up, confusing us again! πŸ™‚ 

Good luck on deciding the perfect board education for your child if you are in India and deciding on a private school or public school if you are in the US!

 

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

Should I or shouldn’t I?

After having written about the ‘Beauty of life in India’    and the reasons why we returned to India, I thought it would be a good idea to put the reverse into perspective too.

Most of the students in colleges all across in India (undergraduate or post graduate education) are always wondering the same thing throughout their education – “Should I go abroad for higher education/career option or not?” This has been an age old dilemma for those in their early 20s. They see their friends and seniors make the decision and they wonder if they should also pursue the same opportunity too. Some are able to make the decision quickly and have everything beautifully crafted out. They have written their GRE, GMAT, TOEFL and have their college admissions,scholarships, assistantships,visas  and financial details neatly ironed out.  Still others, might have offer letters and visas from prospective companies in their hand with great joy! 

For others, it is still a very confusing decision. While new lands seem to hold promising new opportunities, one is still not able to come to a concrete decision. Of course, while the decision is entirely yours and yours alone, some of my personal thoughts on this:

  1. It is fun to travel and see new places! πŸ™‚
  2. It is always to good to explore new opportunities(education, career) particularly in the 20s with new educational institutions and employers
  3. Travel does broaden one’s horizons and we do get to know the different viewpoints in different continents
  4. We become more “family independent” (all said and done – staying within one’s family circle in one’s own country makes us all dependent on each other)
  5. We understand the meaning of financial independence too(managing finances in a foreign country where the cost of things is exactly the reverse of the home country is interesting! :))
  6. It is nice to experience the cutting edge technology of most things
  7. We also get to meet new friends, new food, new festivals, new experiences!(what is not to like?! :))
  8. And last but not least, every experience enhances us and better not let an opportunity to travel abroad slip by!

But given the chance and opportunity and everything else is fine and the stars are perfectly aligned for a stint abroad, do it today! πŸ™‚ You will enjoy the experience…. πŸ™‚

On a side note, I am sure there are plenty of other reasons like health conditions of family members or financial constraints or any other reason for one to not move abroad. 

Again my two cents thought on the topic! 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

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™‚

ByJayanthi

Why do we Tamilians not have a last name?

Frankly, I have no idea!! πŸ™‚ If you do please comment below…

But I can share some thoughts regarding our first and last name business! While for most of the world specifying a first and last name is the easiest thing to do – it is not so for us who belong to one particular state in India, Tamil Nadu!! Specifying first and last names is Greek and Latin to most of us who are Tamilians. I used to be petrified of applications that asked for

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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™‚