Tag Archive India

ByJayanthi

Is the Indian education system good enough?

Reading Time: 3 minutes

There are different ways to study – but the the Indian system of studying still relies mostly on memorizing (hopefully with some understanding! :))  Most schools in India have a textbook for each subject(or many textbooks might be prescribed for a single subject too) and there will be a notebook(s). These are some ways to study that is followed in a majority of schools in India even today:

  1. A chapter is completed
  2. Questions given at the back of the chapter will be discussed
  3. The answers will be written in the notebook
  4. In addition, ‘Fill-in-the blanks’, ‘Give reasons’, ‘Make sentences’, ‘meanings’, ‘opposites’ are some sort of exercises that will additionally be done.

Schooling in the US:

Now, contrast this with the US education system which we were a part of, for about 9 years. All my son took to his elementary school was just a simple folder and all he got as homework was just a Math worksheet till 3rd grade…!! 🙂 Now things might have changed after middle school but the US way of studying is fundamentally different from India’s and children are equally smart and intelligent here and there. The US and Western means of education rely predominantly on research and tabulating the findings by means of writing. Research, practical skills and writing skills are an important part of Western education right from a young age. 

Indian system:

Now coming back to the Indian system, there are several ‘naysayers’ and ‘ayesayers’ for the Indian education system which include the two main boards, CBSE and ICSE – while, which board you choose for your child depends on you, it is all but certain that they have to face the board exams at the same time ie. in grade X and grade XII.

With the Indian Xth and XIIth grade board exams currently underway in all of India – we always come to the ultimate  question:

‘How good is the Indian education system’?

Is memorizing way of studying good enough?

Are the students only memorizing or are they understanding and studying as well?

With this type of education system, how do they manage in corporate environments later in life?

The reality as I see it:

Interestingly most of them do well in life and corporate environments later in life. Most of the Indian students adjust very well to Western education system as they migrate to foreign countries for higher degrees too. Since the medium of instruction is English for many of us in India, most do research and write papers with ease. They acclimatize easily and get top grades too.

They also get good job offers from organizations abroad and most of them adapt very well there too…

 Now, our education system is not too bad…is it? 🙂 

Seriously though, learning anything new is hard and memorizing and studying it is even harder. The sheer volume to study by means of memorizing petrifies many students and creates an ugly feeling of learning.

The memorizing way of studying has to be overhauled as it is quite stressful for the children who go through it especially at higher grades.  But change never happens in an instant and is a constant and gradual process.. and I can already see a lot of changes with e-learning industry (like BYJUs) slowly creating its footprint to make the students understand the concepts much more clearly. 

Here’s to better education for India and making learning a much more pleasant experience for the students… 🙂

 

ByJayanthi

Why are arranged marriages in/from India successful?

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Before I start my talking on the above topic, let me refer you to my post on what are “arranged marriages“?  As you can understand, in arranged marriages – the boy and girl have no clue of each other when they get married… to sum it, in an arranged marriage:

a. we don’t know what the would-be likes/dislikes(apart from color etc)

b. perception towards life

c. his/her younger days

d. financial habits

e. how the family/family members are

I don’t know how this type of relationship works or why it works – but it works till this day… 🙂 

When we first got married and moved to the US, “our arranged marriage” was the first thought hitting people all around us….

This was one popular quote: “I heard in India, they get married in a different way called “arranged marriage” – did you get married that way?”!! 🙂 Even though I was pleasantly surprised to hear the query, I was proud that “our” unique way of getting married was world renowned…(and remember the Internet was in its infancy then)

So, why are arranged marriages in/from India so successful? (or atleast more stable than other countries)

It is not that India does not have divorces, but according to a report from India today, the divorce rate in India is less than 1%! (Source: https://www.indiatoday.in/education-today/gk-current-affairs/story/india-has-the-lowest-divorce-rate-in-the-world-1392407-2018-11-20)

For most couples, after the honeymoon phase of 2-3 years in any marriage, the reality of life will start. Maybe the biggest difference is always how we are brought up with our varied backgrounds. These differences will rise and fall but the Indian couple always stays together through it all! 🙂

So, how and why do arranged marriages survive? Here are some of my thoughts(not sure whether they are right or wrong)

  1. We are brought up that way and conditioned that way too. From a very young age, we know that our parents, in-laws, brothers, cousins all have only had an arranged marriage and it seems to work wonderfully for them – so it should work for us too! 🙂 To put it simply, we just accept it for it is…
  2. We just accept the changing personality of each other in a marriage…
  3. When we get married in India – we not only get married to the person, we get married to the “whole” family!! 🙂 Parents, in-laws, brothers, sisters, everybody will be part of the marriage and will definitely prod you along if things  are not working great(it works other way around too, unfortunately)
  4. Women not being totally financially independent might be one of the reasons too(many women continue to work after marriage – but very few can be totally and completely financially independent)
  5. Maybe the men in India are very adjusting to their wife and her family.. 😉
  6. Maybe the women in India are very adjusting to the husband and his family too… 😉

Bottom line, arranged marriages are working and still continue to work in India…if you can think of any other reason on why they work, do let me know!

 

 

ByJayanthi

Realities of life in the USA

Reading Time: 3 minutes

After writing about ‘Myths about US’ I thought I should write about realities of life in the USA before all my memories of my once “home” ebb out…after all it has been 8 years since we returned and my stories still continue! 🙂

  • Layoffs are real

         Oh, yes – they are absolutely and totally real… India also might be feeling layoffs but not as pronounced as the ones in the US. I have seen my neighbours in the US being laid off and waiting for their next job… which is why, in the US – one is always advised to have 6 months of living expenses on reserve (mortgage expenses, bills etc) White collar jobs, blue collar jobs, best education – anything can be axed at any point of time!

  •         Indo-Pak grocery stores are real too 

              This is always nice to see in a foreign land…

  • Many people get stuck in the USA for prolonged period of time too(like 5 years or more)

            They would like to come home and visit India – but there is always something coming in their way like visas, parents visiting, in-laws visiting, immigration issues and other reasons. Many cannot return back to India even for a small visit for more than 5 years or more!! 🙁

  • Many couples have their baby alone

          Maybe I was very old-fashioned but I found this very odd – I have seen plenty of couples have their baby with no parents and in-laws to support them. Either the parents/in-laws are too sick to visit them in a distant land or their visit is deemed to be too expensive – either way, many couples welcome the next generation with limited pampering and love and no family at all… (Of course, they take the baby to India when the baby is 4-5 months old)

  • You become independent

          Once we move outside India – we become more independent with our needs and wants. We learn to cook our own meals, clean our own house inclusive of the bathrooms, mow the lawn, shovel the snow, even do our own woodwork and construction! All in all we reduce our dependence on manpower as manpower is expensive or it is not there at all!  

  • We learn the names of our distant cousins and families in a foreign land! 🙂

       The saying “Distance makes the heart grow fonder” is absolutely true in a foreign land. We might hardly know our distant cousins and families in India – but once in a distant land, the very same distant families and cousins will be a good connect! 🙂

  • Politeness is a beautiful feeling 🙂

         “Please”, “Thank you”, “Have a good day”, “You are welcome” , “How are you” and politeness of every possible way is visible all over the US and you are always greeted with a smile, whether we know each other or not.. 

  • ‘Where do I belong?’ is an all too consuming feeling that overpowers you after you stay there for a prolonged period of time…

     After you achieve all of life’s goals in the USA and you have stayed for more than 10 years, it is the next question that comes automatically. When we visit India – we feel India “has” changed in a lot of ways and “hasn’t” changed in a lot of ways too. We feel we cannot fit in with families and the ways there.

When we stay in the US,  we cannot merge fully into American culture either. We become a new generation of “Indian Americans” who preserve a lot of Indianess and adapt to our new country too!

  • And yes, many do return to India after staying close to 19-20 years too! 🙂 (like us)

These a few of things that I could remember… have I missed anything?

Read the second part of ‘Realities of life in USA’ here

For more of my India-US stories visit the link below:

ByJayanthi

What is it that America cannot give and India can?

Reading Time: 2 minutes

I saw this question on Quora and as usual couldn’t resist writing about it… 🙂  This question is obviously aimed only at Indians wishing to move abroad or for the Indian population that is already abroad for a considerable time…So,what is it? what is it? 🙂 Read on… 

Most of us move to the US when we are young in our 20s to pursue higher education or career aspirations. Once all that has been accomplished and we have our dream education, dream lifestyle, dream house, dream car and finally understand what “America” is – we suddenly feel something is missing…what is that you may wonder? Those are family and relationships…

For most of the Indians in the USA, they might be the only member of their family who are there(with occasional extended families on the other coast)  After living in the US for 14 years and now living in India for the past 8 years – I can confidently say that not having your family close by is quite an interesting experience. 

family

Most Indian families in US, talk about their life’s ups and downs only on phone or Skype or Whatsapp or other technological advancements to their parents and occasionally their siblings. Most visit India only once in 2-3 years time to see their parents and families (though if you are in your 30s and beyond – you may visit every year)

Personal experiences:

From my personal experience, I realized we had missed a dozen family engagements, weddings and the next generation was here! Initially, it was alright to miss a wedding, but if we continuously have to miss all the weddings for 14 consecutive years – you definitely know we are living in another planet! We had missed the family outings and the fun conversations and the current family relationships! 🙂  Many people had passed away too and it was a pity to know about it just on the phone…. 

We missed our nieces/nephews/all our cousins and safe to say all of them knew only one thing about us – “That Uncle/Aunty is in America” 🙂

Maybe the most important thing that we miss is the change that time brings about in all of us… which cannot be expressed and which can only be seen and understood…What do you say?

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

My new e-book on Amazon Kindle!! :)

Reading Time: 1 minute

My e-book on my personal experiences travelling from India to US and back has been published!! 🙂 Buy it from Amazon today to read about our reasons for returning back, school education in India and US, the best place to return after a long US stint and so on…

Click the link below to buy the book:

ByJayanthi

Myths about the US

Reading Time: 3 minutesAs I start my writing again, I gravitate towards my pet topic of India and US again! 🙂

As I see the numbers swell outside the US Consulate to obtain a US visa, I recollect some of the myths that we dealt with when we were stepping into the US(many,many years ago!)

Shop from BigBasket!

  1. Rosy dream starts right away? Nope, the rosy dreamy takes time and patience… 🙂 I hear so much about people getting paid much better in US than in India – but that might not be true immediately. If you are in high demand states like California or New York in high demand professions like IT, it may be a possibility. But everybody goes through a settling phase of a new employer, new country, new prices , new car and so on. So, the magical six figure salary in US dollars might not arrive instantly for all.
  2. Cost of living in US is much higher than in India. Period. 🙂
  3. Even though we feel that “everybody” from India is in the US, the fact is that we cannot see “everybody” or “anybody” since everybody is in a different state and going from state to state to meet anybody/everybody is not feasible. So, in all possibilities you will see “everybody” in India, only! 🙂
  4. Will you earn better if you have a US degree? Nope, there too. It has always been the economics concept of ‘supply vs demand’ that has brought Indian professionals to the US. If you have the right skills that are in demand currently in the US, you don’t need a US degree to validate your experience(although pursuing higher education in the US is a delight 🙂 and a higher degree might prove beneficial later on in the career)
  5. Are jobs stable in the US? Nope, again! 🙂 Just as software professionals get paid astronomically they get laid off easily too. After all what is a company to do – when they themselves are sinking? And with immigration policies constantly changing, jobs are never a certainty. In addition, professionals ‘on the bench’ waiting for the next project is also a reality.
  6. “Can I start studying immediately?” might be another thought for those on dependent visas. Pursuing higher education in US is a wonderful experience but it does pinch the pockets. In order to pay for your graduate education, you may have to work as a research assistant or teaching assistant or do other eligible jobs(within visa conditions) Bottom line, US education is good but not cheap.
  7. Professionals get paid according to their location – it might not be so evident in India – but it is in the US. If you make $50K in Georgia, you need $81K in San Diego, California!!  For more information on cost of living calculators in the US, visit this link (Source: http://money.cnn.com/calculator/pf/cost-of-living/index.html)
  8. Health insurance is  an absolute necessity for all members of the family and for all visiting family members too. It can be quite tricky too. When living abroad, pray that you never fall seriously sick. Not only will you not have enough moral support, the physical support will be missing as well.
  9. Is driving hard in the US? Nope – on the other hand, it is quite a pleasure 🙂 One will definitely enjoy the perfectly regulated traffic and lane discipline. I know, I did! 🙂
  10. And lastly the spouses of those on H1 visas and F1 visas cannot work. This can be a real bummer particularly for women who were actively working in India.

Once you are done with all the ups and downs of finding the perfect employer and perfect place to live along with a good community, living in the US will be a dream come true! 🙂 (at least for a couple of years!)

ByJayanthi

India!

Reading Time: 1 minuteThe pitter-patter of rain drops. Seeing water in liquid form throughout the year. The sight of frogs jumping around. Seeing a double rainbow in the sky. Hearing the birds chirping throughout the year. Seeing millions of pigeons and parrots outside my window. Seeing honeycombs hanging from my balcony. Seeing the blue sky everyday. Having the sun rise and set at the same time throughout the year.

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

Where was I? India!! 🙂 

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

ByJayanthi

Why does each state of India have a separate language?

Reading Time: 2 minutesWell, almost, each state…

And sometimes, I feel like I am answering questions on Quora… 🙂 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!