exams, IIT, India

IIT placements – PLACED! – Part 3!

After a strenuous and exhausting week of first week of day zero and day one placement tries, IITs stepped into the second week of placements. The second week of placements began from December 8th and my son appeared for more tests. As usual he cleared many of the first round of tests and was shortlisted for interviews for more companies.

Some of the other companies that he was shortlisted for the second week of interviews were Achnet technologies, IFFCO, Contata, Nucleus software and Jungle software. Some of the companies were based in Bangalore and I was beyond all excited! πŸ™‚

Second week of placements:

This week of placements needed more calmness and determination. We gave him all the moral, emotional and physical support that was needed at that time. In addition, since the HR round was his bottleneck, he decided to tackle that one too. He gathered all the commonly questions in the HR round and figured out the best way to answer them (he was a pro at those questions since he had attended so many interview questions by then (face palm!))

Some commonly asked questions were:

1. Where will you see yourself in 5 years time?
2. If you have such a high CGPA(his CGPA was 9.3! :)) – why have you not gone into research?
3. Why do you want to work in our company?

These questions needed delicate and careful answering. After the first week debacle he was more careful in answering questions and judged things a little better.

The graveyard sessions were finally done with in the second week of placements. Now, the interviews were conducted on normal earthly hours! πŸ™‚ But still he had to do a written test between 3 and 4:00 a.m. in the morning. He was now used to this new schedule of getting placed.

There was another company whose interview went well and he thought he might be selected but unfortunately slipped yet again! 😦


December 14th 2022 dawned and he had 2 interviews the same day and almost at the same time. One was online and one was offline. Slack channels were already created and he learned to juggle both of them simultaneously (they are all supposed to do it that way)

He cracked the interview that came first and it lasted only for 15 minutes! πŸ™‚ So, where did he get placed finally? He got placed in IFFCO-TOKIO as Senior Executive !! πŸ™‚ (spelling varies as IFFCO – Tokyo in some places too) IFFCO-TOKIO is a joint venture between an Indian fertilizer manufacturer and a Japanese insurance company.

Once he got the good news of his placement at 5:00 p.m. all other interviews that he was shortlisted for was closed and he was not required to appear for any more interviews after that.

My thoughts on the whole process:

  1. The IIT placement process is an emotional roller coaster.
  2. While studying and getting good grades might be one part of the process, cracking the interview is shifting to a different part of the process(“Shift left” in DevSecOps parlance :))
  3. You have to get placed as quickly as possible else you will be physically and mentally drained.
  4. Getting placed in a recession year is tough for the students, parents, faculty and everybody involved.
  5. Competition is stiff is an understatement. Everybody is smart!!
  6. You have to do a lot of homework before the placements. You have to read about the company, be strong with the technical concepts and do smooth HR talking as well.
  7. You have to be confident and truthful. There will always be something that we don’t know and it is always wise to say “I don’t know”
  8. There will be companies who might do the full stretch of 5 or 6 rounds and still go back without hiring anybody! (face palm!)
  9. There are some companies who open placements exclusively for girls alone (yes – it is nice to see placements being open only for girls… now the parents of girls should be willing to send them anywhere they want ;))
  10. From what I could see, very few companies came for placements for non-software roles
  11. The IIT placement season runs from December to May the following year
  12. Alumni students are also allowed to sit for placements
  13. There are students who are passionate about their core subjects like Mechanical, Civil and Physics. Many might pursue higher studies in their core subjects and look for suitable opportunities after that.
  14. It is absolutely important to network with peers and seniors during the entire placement process (a skill which my son sorely lacked!)
  15. In a normal placement year, packages for most students start from 25 lakhs(we will not consider the very few who get the 1 crore package – they are a minority), but this year it might have dropped to 15 lakhs – 20 lakhs! 😦
  16. In a recession year, if bigger giants do not visit the campus at all, the startups will hire only 1 or 2 students or none at all!!

Good luck to the Class of 2023! Never lose faith and keep at it!

Do give the first and second post in this series a read if you haven’t already!

college, exams, IIT, India

IIT placements – Graveyard sessions – Part 2!

After having been shortlisted for 7 companies, my son was busy preparing for the impending interviews. He knew the interviews would be tough and there would be multiple rounds for most companies. He was decently technically sound and had gone through multiple sources of information preparing for the same.

There was one trouble though… he knew the interviews would be coming up but he had no idea when they will be scheduled. He was also extremely uncomfortable with the fact, that he might have to sit up all night for the interviews. That thought was more disturbing than doing the interview itself! πŸ™‚

The companies themselves did a mix of online and offline interviews(pandemic effect) Slack channels were created for all the companies that he was shortlisted and waitlisted for and there was a huge list of them on his phone!

November 30th, 2022: It was Day Zero for placements at all IITs (This fact was known to all IITians except for my son and he realized it only after a while! (face palm!)) Many companies had come for Day Zero placements and he was pleasantly surprised to see that he was shortlisted for a Day Zero(SquarePoint) company as well!

Online interviews were scheduled to begin at 11:30 p.m. and we were all excited for him. He was dressed in a suit and looked dapper! πŸ™‚ As the night wore on, the graveyard shift progressed slowly and at a snail’s pace. My son had never sat up that long and the night was hanging wearily on him. He was finally called for interview at 4:00 a.m. in the morning. He did the interview but was up against all odds and circuit branch students held the key and SquarePoint unfortunately fell away.

December 1st, 2022: He was immediately called for Oracle offline interview at 6:00 a.m. on December 1st. There was hardly any gap between the graveyard shift and morning shift of the next morning. He did the Oracle interview well as well but was unfortunately not selected again.

The pain of the interview process is that even though you finish your interview, you might have to actually wait for another 3-4 hours till the results are declared! In the mean time, other interviews might be slotted as well. So, it is quite a tiring and never ending battle till we get selected.

We wait and we wait and we wait, either for the results to be declared or wait for the next interview 😦 We figured that each interview goes for a minimum of 6 hrs and the entire 6 hrs is only stress and anxiety!

December 1st, 2022, 11:30 p.m. – After spending an anxious day, there was another graveyard session on December 1st, 2022 at 11:30 p.m. Sprinklr had 5 rounds of interview and he cleared three of them.

By now, he was clearly tired and exhausted and knew the effects of IIT competition.

MathWorks and Inito came close and he was almost selected for either but fell through at the managerial and HR round! 😦 It feels so painful, when you clear the technical rounds decently well, but fall short on the HR rounds.

By the time, Tata AIG and Deloitte came, there was little to no enthusiasm or energy for him.

Pulling through graveyard sessions needs tremendous mental and physical strength. You have to be resilient and pull up quickly if all does not go well. You have to be able to adjust your eating, sleeping habits and at the same time, prepare for the interviews well. Those interviews dig deep into Java, C, C++ and system design concepts and you have to be extremely good in competitive programming. In addition, you have to mouth your words carefully through the HR rounds.


When you have 6 or 7 interviews lined up on consecutive days in the first week of placements when graveyard shifts are the norm, the trick is that we have to crack the interview as soon as possible. If the interviews, stretch and pull, you will be pulled into a black hole of tiredness and exhaustion.

Week 2December 10 – December 14:

He decided to appear for more tests and try to finish off the placement process this semester, rather than pull it into the next semester(though I was bugging him to take a break and come home) Banks, insurance companies and other companies were continuously coming and there was no dearth of them. The only catch was that, many were startups and they might hire only one person or none at all after the entire interview process! (face palm!)

So, what happened in the second week? Come for the next post in the series! πŸ™‚

college, IIT, India

IIT placements – A Mother’s perspective – Part 1!

I don’t know about other college placements…but the current ongoing IIT placements at the different IITs across India for the Class of 2023 is a true test of physical and mental strength! If you have seen the Netflix series – ‘Alma Matters’ – you might fairly know what I am talking about…here goes my son’s IIT placement journey at IIT-R in greater detail:

If I could describe the entire placement journey in one word – it is “WAITING, WAITING AND MORE WAITING”!! Most of you might be knowing, but in case you didn’t know – my son is a final year student at IIT-R in the Engineering Physics stream. Final year began in July 2022 and we knew what that meant – placements during the end of the seventh semester!

July, August, September went quietly. Many companies started visiting the campus by end of September 2022 and first round of tests were conducted. The dreaded ‘R’ (recession) word raised its head out of the blue and many were wondering about the effects of the recession on the placements.

True to fears, recession hit alright and the Class of 2023 will never need a theoretical explanation of what a recession is(they lived through it)! Here is a timeline of events leading to the interviews:

Before that, a small personality close up of my son – he is a smart and silent boy who mostly keeps to himself. He would rather figure things on his own than knock on his neighbor’s door and ask for information! πŸ™‚ He had never sat up beyond 11:30 at night and never knew how to keep awake the entire night and manage life the following day!(the relevance of this information will be revealed shortly!)

Late September 2022: Companies start arriving at the campus and written tests are conducted

October 2022: More companies come but bigger giants like Amazon, Adobe, Cohesity, DE Shaw are distinctly invisible. Amazon had initially stated that they would be coming to campus – but announced that they were going back on their plans and would not be recruiting after all. All the major tech giants had given handsome PPOs(Pre placement offers) the previous year and they were not actively recruiting now.

The results of the tests were not available for almost a month and you have no clue whether you have done well in a test or not. The waiting game has already begun. What do you do in such a situation? We just continue to write more and more tests in the hope that we are shortlisted for interviews for at least some of them.

It is to be noted that 95% of companies come only for coding interviews. And some of them open only for circuit branches(EEE, ECE and CSE)

The helicopter mom, I am – I was also keenly looking at the companies that were coming for recruitment. No surprises there, software and coding rock the field even today!

So, what do students who are in non-circuit branches like Mechanical, Civil, Chemical do? Just learn coding along the way in your 4 year degree program and sit for placements! (unfortunate, isn’t it?)

November 2022: After having written multitude of test, the results of the tests finally start getting declared.

It was with sheer happiness that we saw my son had been shortlisted for not one or two but for 7 companies !! πŸ™‚ There were companies like SquarePoint, Oracle, Sprinklr, MathWorks to name a few. SquarePoint was a day zero company which means they were offering the highest salary of almost a crore! (yes!:))

So, what happened in the interview and where did my son get placed? Stay tuned for the next post….


My strong mother!

“Strong women aren’t simply born. They are made strong by the storms they walk through” Anonymous

This is probably one of the most popular quotes that I have seen on the Internet long ago and it fits my mother so well!

My mother:

My mother was the most softest and gentlest person on this earth. She had the longest hair and was just slim and beautiful as ever.

She and her family were the purest and purest of vegetarians and they had never even touched cakes or eggs. She always ate correctly and in perfect proportion all through her life. She was a Zoology graduate and her record books of those days were done with so much care and precision.

She was probably the only person in our house who could adapt to any place very well too. Born and raised in Tamil Nadu she became a banker’s wife and thoroughly enjoyed it. She had to move all over India and a few International destinations too and she adjusted easily. She could adapt to Hindi in Northern India, Kannada in Karnataka, Marathi in Maharashtra and more. As recently as last month and even the day before she passed away she was learning to read and write Kannada. She had almost mastered written Kannada.

She was an amazing cook and was a soft and innocent person and was quick to catch up with technology too!

Technology and my mom:

While my father was the initial person who showed all of us the technology path in our house, my mom was quick to grasp all the latest in tech. She was an expert in using Whatsapp, Google Pay and more. Though we never allowed her to use GPay on her own, she knew how it exactly worked and its pitfalls too.

I had also talked about Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to her and she knew them well though she was never on them.

Organized and structured:

My mother was the Queen of organization and structuring. Everything was done methodically in the house and she always planned ahead neatly. Groceries were brought well in advance and neatly organized. Medicines were methodically stocked. Bed spreads were neatly organized and everything was washed and cleaned on time.

Strong and Determined:

My mother was also probably the most determined person on earth. If she set her mind to doing something, she will ensure that she gets it done.

Life did not throw simple problems at her and she was forced to reckon with complicated challenges. But she was resolute and she finished all of them perfectly.

My father passed away in 2020 and she handled it very well even though I know that it must have been very, very hard for her. She was the one who gave us the strength with her quietness and resilience. And we were the ones who were visibly going through a tough time.

However all the beauty and innocence was lost in a single day suddenly.

November 14, 2022 dawned and nothing was amiss. Everything was running normally. I spoke to her in the morning(like I always do) and nothing was wrong. She was fine and had her breakfast.

Around 2:45 p.m. her physical therapist called to say that nobody was answering the door from her house. We were able to finally open the door at around 3:20 p.m. after a lot of frantic calls and tries. We saw that she had collapsed on the bed and the physical therapist immediately jumped in to give her CPR.

The physical therapist was a young lady probably in her mid to late 20s with a tremendous presence of mind and calmness. While I have been sharply critical of my father’s treatment and the doctor’s apathy when he passed away – this time, I was genuinely blown away by the kindness and sharpness of the young girl. She immediately called an ambulance with a nurse or doctor and that came in instantly. Oxygen was provided immediately in the ambulance and we rushed her to the hospital where all necessary treatment was given.

Though, nobody could save my mother, I was happy with the treatment and the sharpness and kindness of the young physical therapist and the doctors at the hospital. Hope there are more people like the young therapist who can show kindness and sensitivity in a very difficult situation!

Last rites:

My mother was supposed to have passed away on a very good and religious day in Karnataka. In spite of her being a very shy person and keeping to her self, all family members came to see her(no Covid excuse this time – sorry, had to take a dig ;))

All rites were done according to tradition and we laid her to rest exactly in the place where my father rests. I know she is happy with my father in heaven looking down upon us and guiding us!

Rest in peace Mummy and we will miss you forever!

Dedicated to my mother who passed away on November 14th, 2022.


16 years….

16 years of impishness!

16 years of sweetness!

16 years of giggles!

16 years of curls!

16 years of daredevilness!

16 years of coolness!

16 years of asking your brother questions ! πŸ™‚

16 years of mother -daughter disagreements! πŸ™‚

16 years of fun!

16 years of defiance!

16 years of being similar to your mother in personality!

16 years of having a never ending set of friends!

16 years of liking peculiar tastes(sour ice cream, any one? :))

16 years of making your brother smile! πŸ™‚

16 years of making cheeky remarks!

16 years of trying to like cats(based on father’s likes! :))

16 years of frankness!

16 years of outspokenness!

16 years of beautifulness !

16 years of shouldering the responsibility of the “second child” syndrome!! πŸ™‚

Sweet 16, my sweet girl!! Hope you realize your dream and buy Insta some day!! πŸ™‚


Amma, Daddy and anna


21 years…

21 years of happiness!

21 years of sheer joy!

21 years of raw brain power!

21 years of smartness!

21 years of brilliance!

21 years of sharpness!

21 years of intelligence!

21 years of being a “brain box”! πŸ™‚

21 years of quietness!

21 years of being a good listener!

21 years of never complaining about my cooking !! πŸ˜‰

21 years of listening to me implicitly! πŸ™‚

21 years of being a teacher to all of us on technical matters!

21 years of never grumbling about anything!

21 years of not being like your mother(appearance or personality! ;))

21 years of inheriting a lot of traits from your grandfathers!

21 years of helping your sister!

21 years of resembling your father !

21 years of being the best son!

21 years of being the best brother!

21 years of being YOU!! πŸ™‚

Happy birthday Bala! May you always have the best in life! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚


Mommy, Daddy and Maha!

Family, India, Musings

Miss Cool! :)

You know about Captain Cool, but have you heard about Miss Cool? πŸ™‚ Well, then you have to visit my home to see her…she is my lovely daughter who got 98% in her 10th grade results which were declared on Sunday! πŸ™‚

The pandemic enveloped the world 2 1/2 years ago when she was in 8th grade. Little did we know, the pandemic would keep us all guessing and keeping us on our toes about what would happen next.

As 2020 gave way to 2021 and then to 2022, we were still wondering the same thing:

When will school be able to open safely offline? Will the higher grades be asked to come to school first? Will the vaccines be available to the kids? Will the kids be able to take their vaccine?

Eighth grade went, ninth grade came and went and tenth grade was also here! But school was still online! Kids had to still study with a laptop and she adjusted beautifully. If I had to do so many online classes, I would have surely slept through them all! πŸ™‚ I personally don’t know how she did it and understood the various Math and Science concepts through online learning. There were no physical interactions with her friends – it was only online chats, online parties, online games and more! But I did not see her grumble one bit…she was just the usual laughing and goofy person! πŸ™‚

By middle of 2021 though, the two prominent Indian boards decided to conduct two semester exams instead of the traditional one board exam. Even though students did online schooling, they had to do two offline exams!

My cool miss of course made it look so effortless! πŸ™‚ She had two bouts of serious sickness but somehow she was always smiling, playing and studying through it all.

These are her reactions for different things:

One board exam – okay – I will do it

Two board exams – okay – I will do it

Portions cut – ok – not a problem

Sit at home all day with rest of family getting stressed – ok – not a problem! πŸ™‚

Of course, I was always behind her – telling her to study, but she had this sweet and smiling way of doing things!

She also had an in-house tutor at hand(;) – my son) who could clear her most difficult questions and queries about the various subjects. She will sit with her books, get distracted with her social media memes and platforms, get yelled at by me and go about doing her work in a totally nonchalant way(ha, ha)

My teacher:

All teens sit on Instagram with different handles and profile pictures, so that their parents cannot guess who they are! πŸ™‚ My Miss Cool was no different and I was behind her on Instagram as well to see what she was doing! She taught me various teeny-bopper things on Insta and I just admired kids and their creativity!

She also taught me different words and their meanings and I just blinked trying to understand it! πŸ™‚ These are some of her words:

“Amma, this person is so suss” (meaning – “This person is so suspicious”)

“Amma – Facebook is for old people”(ha,ha)

“K-pop is the genre and BTS is the band name”(me – face palming! :))

“Amma – you are always stressed” (Gosh, I was never stressed before I had kids!! ;))

“Amma – you are helicoptering me too much” (ha, ha – we mothers have to do it – don’t we? ;))

Miss Cool could also easily carry ethnic clothes without any squirming and grumbling. She was just as comfortable in shorts as in half-saree! πŸ™‚

She is also my first cyber security student who follows my cyber security teachings diligently. She never shows her face anywhere and is prudent in her social media postings(I hope! :)) She reads most of my tech and personal posts and gives her reviews critically! πŸ™‚ She has her own blog too and is a “trying poet”!! πŸ™‚

The only place when Madam Cool becomes Madam hot is if food is not to her like, composition and texture!! πŸ˜‰ Apart from that, all is cool!! πŸ™‚

My dear daughter, I hope you stay cool all your life and accomplish all the things that you want to do ! Good luck for 11th grade and beyond!

Lots of love and cheer,

Amma, Daddy and Anna!

Book review, Travel, Travel, Michigan, US

Book Review: The Indian Retirees guide to road trips in the USA

Title: The Indian Retirees guide to road trips in the USA

Author: Brinda Vijay

About the book: The author has covered numerous destinations in the US and has described them vividly with pictures and words. Having lived in the US from 1996-2010, I loved reading this book and looking back on fond memories. I was almost travelling with her from East coast of the US to the West coast of US and having a good time! πŸ™‚ I have visited most places along the East Coast of US from New York City to Mackinac Island in Michigan and this book made me go back 15 years! πŸ™‚ These places are a delight to visit and I hope everybody gets a chance to visit them some time.

I have not visited the West Coast of US as much and it was fun to read about the destinations there. It was exciting to read about the Bonneville salt flats, rodeo, skiing and the miraculous stairway at Sante Fe, New Mexico. I hope to catch all these destinations when I visit US sometime! πŸ™‚

I liked the fact that Brinda has provided good Indian restaurants at all the places that she has visited. It was also nice to read about why retirees should travel. “Travel broadens the horizons” is my motto and I totally agree with her reasons. I also liked the fact that there is a ‘Table of Contents’ hyperlink given at the bottom of many pages, so that the reader can easily navigate to another chapter.

A great book that is tempting me to visit the US again! πŸ™‚

You can download Brinda’s book from this link:


You can also download my book from this link:


Book review

Book review: Tales for Wise Living

Title: Tales for Wise Living

Author: Dr.V.Sowmyanarayanan

About the Author: Dr.V.Sowmyanarayanan is a Professor by profession, a blogger and also a mridangam artist, painter, and a music lover. He shares his works regularly through his blog titled β€œGOCARAM” means β€œperception.” He is a multi-linguist and his thorough knowledge and interest in ancient scriptures, enabled him to work upon an editorial assignments. He does programmes such as talks, quiz, stories etc., in All India Radio, Chennai to promote & propagate languages like Sanskrit & Hindi.

About the book: Ancient Sanskrit Literature is a treasure trove of information and I myself have been enamoured by it. Panchatantra and Hithopadesa are two popular Sanskrit works that are rich in values. While Panchatantra was supposedly written by Sri Vishnu Sarma, Hithopadesa was written by Narayana Pandita. ‘Tales of Wise Living’ translates these ancient works into simple readable format for the users.

‘Tales for Wise Living’ contains 28 little stories based on Panchatantra, Hithopadesa, Maha Bharatha, Markandeya Puraana. ‘Tales for Wise Living’ contains seventeen stories from the Panchathanthra, six from the Hithopadesa, four from the Maha Bharatha and one from the Markandeya Puraana.

It is quite interesting but I have read all of them before and enjoyed them all. Dr. Sowmyanarayanan simplifies all the tales and makes it easy to read. While I have read the translated works earlier, it was nice to see the moral of each story in Sanskrit written below each story as well. The simple values that these tales pass on to current and future generations is really wonderful. Some of the simple tales are ‘Hare and Lion’, ‘Tiger and Greedy Man’, ‘Wisdom is a boon’ and more.

‘Tales for Wise Living’ is a must read for this generation and re-read for older generation which will take them back in time!

Do download the book for free from this link:


You can also download my book from this link:



Why is it hard to write everyday?

I love to write but I cannot write everyday! πŸ™‚ Isn’t it an irony? I am sure many of my writer friends will be in a similar boat as well…why does it happen ?

Let us look at some reasons why it is hard to write everyday:

  1. Sometimes, the plain and simple reason for not being able to write everyday is just not knowing what to write at all! πŸ™‚ Once we have a topic that we can identify ourselves with, we should be able to write more easily…but that “topic” is usually, the most difficult one to come up with at times…
  2. The second reason might be that we might be in a writing slump – where we don’t feel the urge to write at all…
  3. As a technical blogger and author – the third reason why I cannot write everyday, is technical topics are hard to write about. It is not only about weaving stories and characters, it is about understanding the concept and expressing it in your way and correctly too
  4. Yet another reason might be that certain subjects and topics motivate us to write spontaneously and quickly while certain topics don’t motivate us to write at all…

So, how has it be going for you today fellow writers? πŸ™‚ Did you get to write ?

exams, Family, India

My girl!

These are not easy times…neither me, your father or brother have gone through such times at your age! The pandemic has made sure that you have not seen your school for the past 2 years and you have not seen your school friends in person for the past 2 years as well! There have been no in-person birthday parties, no sports day, no annual day, less in-person exams, no school bus rides, no bus gossips and no in-person fights… πŸ˜‰ There have been a lot of “no”, “no” and more “no” and “virtual”, “virtual” and “virtual” the past 2 years…..

But I love the way all of you children have taken the pandemic in your stride. You have adapted to virtual classes, virtual birthday parties, virtual art classes, online exams and virtual meetups. You have been in touch with everyone and have a gala time even though virtually! I love you all the more for this!! πŸ™‚

The ICSE boards suddenly decided to change the pattern of exam to two semesters at the last minute and you all adapted very well. All along, ICSE was only focused on “keywords” and now, MCQs popped up at the last minute. All the children adjusted very well and as parents we could only sit in awe and admire the children for their adjustment!

Today the 10th grade ICSE Semester 1 results were declared and I just love your scores. Congratulations for achieving such awesome marks(even though you could have done a tad bit better!! πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜‰ (After all, I am an Indian mother and I have to expect the perfect scores in any exam, don’t I? πŸ˜‰ ;))

You have undergone a lot more this academic year in addition to the pandemic. You had a nasty bout of physical sickness in October that had to get you hospitalized for 2 days. You sailed through it all with your giggly and joyful self(in sharp contrast to your brother! ;)) You appeared for Grade 10 semester 1 physical exams and had a good time in November and December(or did I have good time dropping you and picking you from school? πŸ˜‰ ;))

At 5 ft 3 inches you are the shortest in a family of tallies!! πŸ™‚ Yet, you don’t care about that either and are just happy with yourself!! πŸ™‚ You have a sweet mind of your own and we have our regular mother – daughter fights!! πŸ™‚ We always agree to disagree and have never ending dramas and arguments. If there is one person who never agrees with me in the house – it has to be you!! πŸ™‚ Yet, it is never in a bad taste and I am always surprised how the youngest person in the house never agrees with me… πŸ˜‰ πŸ™‚

It is also always amusing that you are my sharpest food critic as well! You have your own dressing sense and we both can never agree on clothing attire for you. We have been having attire battles from the time you were in grade 2!! πŸ™‚

You have been teaching me the meaning of acronyms such as “smh”, “idrk”, “yeet” and more…:) sometimes, I feel like I am in a Greek land !! πŸ™‚

Yet, you are one of two people who follow my InfoSec teachings diligently. You do not put your picture anywhere, use a safe and private browser and do not get carried away by social media sharing ! πŸ™‚ You know all the nitty gritty details about OTP, Single Sign on, and other basic InfoSec concepts. You also know that CISSP is a leading InfoSec certification! πŸ™‚ You dreamt of becoming a white hat hacker though that might have changed by now.

Whatever, you wish to be -be,my Girl! πŸ™‚ The world is your oyster!! And I will always be there for you!! πŸ™‚

Now, let us get started for Semester 2 exams of Grade 10!! πŸ˜‰


Amma, Daddy and Anna!

Family, Humor


Have you heard about the new Word game ‘Wordle’ that is supposedly creating ripples around the Internet?

Welcome to yet another addiction just as the third wave looms large! (face palm!)

For the uninitiated – what is ‘Wordle’?

It is the latest game that is rocking the Internet. You can find the game at:


It is a one player game wherein the player gets six tries to guess the five letter ‘WORD OF THE DAY

May be the most curious part about the game when I saw it for the first time for me was the yellow, black and green tiles and the they were arranged. It seemed to be some sort of cryptographic algorithm!! πŸ™‚ Why were they arranged that way and what was the reason behind their colors was my first thought….if you are as curious as me, read on to know more…:)

This is how the game is played:

  1. The player has to guess the five letter ‘WORD OF THE DAY’
  2. You get six tries to guess the word
  3. Once the player guesses the WORD OF THE DAY correctly, the tiles turn all green! πŸ™‚

3. You can type a word and if any of the alphabets typed is present in the ‘WORD OF THE DAY’, it will turn yellow similar to the picture below:

As an example in the above case, the alphabets ‘A’ and ‘B’ are present in the ‘WORD OF THE DAY’ but in different positions, so the tiles turn yellow….so the player goes for a second guess…

4. In the second guess, if the player types an alphabet and if it is present at the exact same position as the ‘WORD OF THE DAY’, it turns green…

As an example, the alphabet ‘B’ appears in the exact same place as in the original ‘WORD OF THE DAY’, hence the tile turns green…

The player continues to play the game and guess the 5 letter WORD OF THE DAY by making use of the yellow and green tile clues… till all the tiles turn green….

Once all the tiles turn green within the six tries, the player has guessed the ‘WORD OF THE DAY and is a winner!! πŸ™‚ The result will look like the one given below:

Can you understand this result? In order to understand it, you have to play it…:) come on and click the link below:


The primary advantage of playing Wordle is you will definitely improve your English vocabulary!! πŸ™‚

Points to note:

Everyone gets the same WORD OF THE DAY

The alphabet in the green tile can be repeated in the WORD OF THE DAY

You can play it on multiple devices to involve more people

You can share it on various social media platforms and have more fun with family and friends! πŸ™‚

Is it addictive?

I am not sure how addictive it is, but let’s just say that I am waiting for the next Wordle… πŸ™‚

college, IIT, India, Musings

Should we feel proud of Indians being successful abroad?

From the day Parag Agarwal became the CEO of Twitter, my timeline has various thoughts on whether we should feel proud of Indians being successful abroad or not.

While, everybody was pouring their thoughts out on the same topic – I knew it was time for me to empty my thoughts on this too! πŸ™‚

I just had only one thought when Parag Agarwal was crowned CEO of Twitter – “PROUD”! πŸ™‚ Why?


  1. It is an ode to the highly criticized Indian education system and being super successful after getting through it (Parag Agarwal did his schooling, college education in India)
  2. It is an ode to our higher institutions of learning(IIT in this case, but most colleges in India are goo too)
  3. It is an ode to successfully transitioning to the US college system from the Indian college system(yes, almost everybody does it, but still doing it is a great deal)
  4. Getting ahead in one’s own country and one’s own organization and surviving all the office politics is hard enough and to do it in a foreign country is no easy job
  5. The fact is, that individuals from India are highly respected all around the world and I am really proud of that! πŸ™‚ After all, isn’t that the aim of all who are leaving India – to shine brightly in a foreign country such that the home country is proud?

What do you think? Isn’t it amazing that Indians are super successful abroad?

college, IIT, India

Do all IITians go abroad and should they go abroad?

Many a time, most of us would have heard of the disdainful retort for any IITian “You will leave the country and go abroad and use your talent there”!! We have all heard of the word “brain drain” and how India’s top rated and best talent go abroad in search of better educational and business opportunities. Is it really true? Do, all IITians really leave India at the stroke of midnight in their final year? And once they leave, do they never come back?

Well, to be frank, I have seen many, many IITians stay back in India and start many fine entrepreneurial ventures.

Without taking the pandemic years(when student aspirations had to be put on hold) into account , here are some interesting statistics about IITians:

  1. Only about 40% of IIT Gandhinagar graduates are supposed to have received an opportunity to study abroad or pursue an internship abroad in 2019(Source: https://www.livemint.com/education/news/iits-to-hold-entrance-exam-in-us-with-eye-on-students-faculty-1568704075085.html)
  2. In January 2017, fewer than 200 of the 10,000 of the IIT graduates went abroad (Source: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mumbai/indias-brain-gain-fewer-than-200-iit-grads-went-abroad-last-year/articleshow/56578855.cms)
  3. In the year 2016 -2017, only 4 percent of IIT students opted for positions outside India( Source: https://www.businesstoday.in/latest/story/reversing-trends-in-placements-fewer-iitians-opting-for-international-job-offers-156506-2019-01-09)
  4. According to IIT, Tirupati, Director, only 10% of the graduates want to go abroad for higher studies. This can be compared with 70% of IIT graduates going abroad in 1984 (Source: https://www.edexlive.com/people/2019/aug/15/less-iitans-are-opting-to-study-abroad-they-want-jobs-iit-tirupati-director-7472.html)

From the above statistics alone, it can be figured that many IITians are opting to stay back in India and pursue ventures within the country(of course, this is only a small research done by me)

So, why are not many IITians leaving the Indian shores?

Some of the reasons are listed below:

  1. ‘Entrepreneurship’ is the name of the game for youngsters in India today. Many IITians do know what they are going to do once they graduate from college. They may already have a business idea and get to work on it as soon as possible.
  1. Many IITs do foster and encourage students to start their own company and achieve their business goals. As an example, IIT Roorkee has an entrepreneurship cell which is open to students to start their business venture(https://www.ecelliitr.org/)
  2. We all know of many successful ventures started by IITians. Some of them are Ola, Zomato, Flipkart, Snapdeal, Razorpay, Dunzo and more
  3. Salaries within India are as good as in foreign countries(and after having been adjusted for cost of living factors)
  4. Many also think of pursuing a higher education within India (IIM)
  5. In addition many also pursue UPSC exams as well

These may just be a few factors why IITians do not think of going abroad(now, many will go abroad – not everybody stays back but the proportion of students staying back might have increased)

In spite of all these factors, should IITians and other graduates go abroad?

My thoughts on this:

I would definitely say it is good to experience life outside India to have a 360 degree life experience. Staying abroad for 14 years had definitely made me see things in a better perspective!

It is also good to experience the foreign education system(US/UK) and other work practices as well.

After all it is one life to live – might as well experience it all and live it well!! πŸ™‚

Information security, Technology

‘Tech Bytes’

Here is a link to my new ebook ‘Tech Bytes’ which is free to read for a limited time on Kindle..through this book you can learn about privacy focused technologies like DuckDuckGo, Threema, Swisscows, Brave browser, Tor browser and more….you can also take the quiz at the end and test your knowledge! πŸ™‚

Here are some reviews of the book:

“The author discusses in the book the basic features and operation of both these apps apart from browsers like “Brave browser’Β  and search engine (DuckDuckgo) where the focus is on privacy. The book also provides information on the messenger ‘Threema’ which is also an open source app that gives due importance to security and does not collect user data.Β ” (https://rajeevianlinesandverses.blogspot.com/2021/05/book-review-tech-tales.html)

“I want to make special mention of the chapter on haveibeenpwned.com (Chapter 9). I discovered that my password had been leaked by a few websites that I use regularly. Following Jayanthi’s advice, I changed my passwords to protect further privacy invasions.

The last chapter on Whatsapp hacks is an eye-opener and many of us will be eager to try them.

Jayanthi has also thoughtfully included a quiz at the end to help you test your comprehension of the book. I am glad to report that I was able to get them all correct.” (https://satabdimukherjee.in/2021/06/05/book-review-tech-tales-by-jayanthi-k-manikandan/)

Food, India

Jackfruit truffle! :)

Cooking at home is one of the best ways to spend time with oneself and with others in the family. On the lines of the saying β€˜Family that prays together stays together’, I feel it is more apt to say that a family that cooks together and/or eats together stays together 😊 – especially in this challenging time of the pandemic. Cooking and/or eating tropical fruits/vegetables takes me down through memory lane. It brings back memories of my childhood with grandparents and cousins.

Not a summer passes without getting to taste the two exotic tropical fruits – mango and jackfruit. Despite being in a big city, mangoes we have aplenty – on pushcarts, supermarkets, organic stores and on roadsides too. Although the jackfruit seems to be elusive most of the time, we manage to get hold of one jackfruit every summer. This year too we got lucky and got one jackfruit from a known source. We were quick to clean and devour the delicious fruit and this time I decided to make good use of the seeds as well. I found a recipe was a dessert recipe instead of the usual stir-fry/curry recipe.

Known to be packed with healthy nutrients which provide remarkable benefits, I quickly took to the chore of cleaning up the seeds. Firstly, they need to be dried well before cleaning as they are very slippery and hence would be difficult to handle. I kept it out to dry in direct sunlight for a couple of days. Once it dried completely, the outer covering which is whitish was easy to peel off. Then what remains are seeds with a thin brown skin. I used a knife to scrape out most of the skin. Some prefer to use the seeds as it is. I prefer to scrape the skin. The recipe I was going to follow was, to present the powdered jackfruit seeds as a truffle. I was certain that my kids would find it appealing as they, like most kids are influenced by western dishes.

So after lightly scraping off the thin brown skin I toasted the seeds on the stove till the nutty aroma wafted around and the seeds started spluttering. One of my friends mentioned that in the traditional kitchens of Kerala these seeds would be toasted directly in the firewood stove and that would have a better aroma and taste as compared to the same procedure done in the modern kitchens. I did reminisce those days when I would watch and sometimes help my grandma to ignite and kindle the flame in her firewood stove using a thin long cylindrical hollow rod.

Then after I allowed it to cool a bit, I powdered the toasted seeds in a mixer. Next step was to make the caramel sauce which would help to bind and shape the powdered seeds into a laddoo. For this I melted the required amount of sugar with a little water and waited for the sugar to caramelize. Once the sugar started to caramelize, I added heavy cream and mixed it well and poured this delicious sauce to the powdered seeds and shaped the mixture into laddoos.

Now I just poured melted chocolate onto the nutrient packed laddoos and voila! It turned into a truffle. The seeds of an Indian fruit shaped into an Indian sweet and disguised as a western one was an instant hit.

I thoroughly enjoyed the entire process of making this jackfruit seed truffle. My kid’s approval of the dish in disguise indeed has motivated me to bring in more such recipes and has further deepened my passion for cooking. Looking forward to my next tryst with the jackfruit πŸ˜‰.

– This is a guest post by Dahlia Joseph!



Maybe the most difficult thing for many of us is to say ‘No’ to things we are not comfortable with. This includes saying ‘No’ to family members, friends and colleagues and at work. When I was younger, I could never say ‘No’ to anybody! πŸ™‚ Sometimes, I used to feel that I was getting arm twisted!! 😦 and made to do things against my will! I am sure everybody might have been involved in one or two(or many situations like this! :))

How do we say ‘No’ in the most gentle manner without offending the other person? here are a few things I have learnt over the years:

  1. Time is the most important factor here. We get more confidence to say ‘No’ once we get older πŸ™‚ These days , I can say “No” in any personal or professional relationships and wherever I am not comfortable!! πŸ™‚
  2. Seriously though, I think it is not wise to say a straight “No” in the beginning of your career
  3. Later, in the career with enough experience you can judge and gauge the situation and work accordingly
  4. Personal relationships are a whole other matter – it is very difficult to say ‘No’ if you are young and to your parents especially! πŸ™‚ If you are instructed to meet somebody or call somebody, you may have to do it for sometime but you can always tell politely that you cannot do it ….slowly! πŸ™‚ after you gather some strength and maturity!! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚
  5. Other family members might follow a similar trajectory – it is good to say ‘yes’ for sometime, but after a while as you get older, you can say ‘No’ to things you are uncomfortable about.
  6. The best way to say ‘No’ is saying calmly that you cannot do it or if the person cannot handle a “No” you can always say you will do it later!! πŸ™‚

How do you say “No”? πŸ™‚ has it been difficult ? But trust me, once you get older, you will not care about anybody and say a “No” very easily!! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

India, Musings

Indian luxury! :)

Most think the Western world is a land of luxury but India has its own hidden luxury particularly for women! πŸ™‚ When I stepped into India after a long stint, I had forgotten about this type of luxury! In fact, this type of luxury had taken more forms too! πŸ™‚

Yes, I am talking about the maids and other helps of India! πŸ™‚ These are various helps in India without whom the Indian home engines will grind to a stop!

Maids –

The maid in India is primarily supposed to come in only for cleaning, but does various other things too. In cities like Bangalore, the maids will give a lending hand to everything in the house like dusting, cutting vegetables, a little bit of cooking, doing the dishes, putting the dishes away, sweeping, mopping, making tea and many, many more chores. Since the maids will be from a poor financial background, the people who employ them will also help them in any way they can(like paying for their children’s education, paying for the vaccination and more)

Cooks –

We do not need to order food from outside all the time when one tired is cooking at home in India. Cooks will come and make the dishes that you require them to make. Some of them will in fact buy the things for you and make them at home for you! πŸ™‚ They can make rotis, sabjis, rice, grind the idli -dosa batter for you and more. This ensures that you eat healthy home food all the time! πŸ™‚

Drivers –

Do you not feel like driving in the crazy Indian traffic? Just hire a driver…:) There are experienced drivers who know the ins and outs of the city and can take you wherever you want to go.

Gardeners –

While the above three people are required in most homes in India, a gardener might be needed only in case of an independent house and if there is a necessity.

All these people are a blessing to many an Indian household and life would not be the same without them. The Western thought is always to do the chores on their own and since manual labor is expensive, machines are employed to get the same effect. The Indian luxury though is a world apart! and is easily affordable too πŸ™‚

Upon our return to India, I was initially amazed by the availability of so much of help and was trying to do things on my own. But I soon caved in and cannot do with my maid today! πŸ™‚ The lockdown of 2020 in India(when maids and other help were not allowed) showed that we could do our work if needed be(the American habits were still residing in us! :)) but I have embraced the Indian luxury and cannot live without it today!

P.S. I only have a maid, I like to drive and don’t mind the minimal daily cooking! πŸ™‚

This post is the 9th post for BlogchatterHalfMarathon

college, exams, India, Musings

How is remote work/learning going?

The pandemic struck and there has been one reality that has been binding the world. It is of remote work and learning. Remote work and learning is a reality in India as of today. With three laptops (and an almost working laptop! :)) and Teams meetings and Zoom calls in my home, it has not been an easy experience.

Prior to March 2020, I was the only one doing remote work and now, my whole family had joined in! πŸ™‚

What have we learnt from the whole remote experience?

  1. Small children can manage with phone/tablets but those devices are not suitable for older kids
  2. If older kids and working parents are involved, then, each will need a separate laptop(maybe some manage without the same)
  3. Bandwidth issues, network connectivity, dropped calls are all a reality
  4. Many had suggested a Wi-Fi extender, but we had shied away from it – but a Wi-Fi extender is a great boon! πŸ™‚ Even though phone companies advertise for great bandwidth, we realize it falls short, once we start using it! Hence the Wi-Fi extender is the greatest boon to help us.
  5. With meetings and classes in different rooms, different sounds from different rooms becomes a reality! πŸ™‚
  6. However good the laptops maybe, with time, they seem to crash! 😦
  7. The mic does not seem to be work or the camera does not seem to work or the unmute button does not seem to work or everything works great sometime! πŸ™‚
  8. School/college seem to get over by a certain time, but work never seems to get over! 😦
  9. Zoom fatigue or Teams fatigue is real
  10. Schools/colleges have figured how to conduct online exams after struggling with it for some months
  11. Teams is good IMHO! πŸ™‚

How has your remote work/learning experience been? Have you finally got the hang of it? πŸ™‚ How do you and your family manage?

Here’s to wishing that the end of remote work/learning is around the horizon! πŸ™‚

This post is the eighth post for BlogchatterHalfMarathon

Family, Festivals, India, Parenting

Joint family system vs Nuclear family system – which is better?

India is one of the few countries which has a unique family system – the ‘joint family system’. In a joint family system, it is not only the parents who stay with their grown children and their spouse but there may be other members of the family living together as well. There might be two or three generations of a single paternal or maternal lineage living together. There might be a single family head or a group of elderly family members under whose direction the family might thrive. In a joint family system – food, career, religious regulations, responsibilities, finances might all be shared.

The nuclear family came into existence under the Western influence in India. The nuclear family consists only of the mother, father and the children. Once the children grow up, they will embark on their own independent journey. In a nuclear family, the roles and responsibilities might be shared by the husband and wife.

While many think the joint family system is dead in India, it is not. The bigger cities might not see it as much but the joint family system still exists.

Advantages and disadvantages of a joint family system:

The advantages of a joint family system will definitely be the ability to live together with anybody. Caring and sharing might be the motto behind all joint family systems. Trying to live with one’s own family members might not be easy all the time. But the people in a joint family system have definitely mastered it! πŸ™‚ Learning to let go of certain things, adjusting to each other’s personalities, sharing the financial responsibilities are some of the advantages of a joint family system.

Children will be moulded better by learning to live with everybody. Adults will also get the companionship that they will miss in their old age. There might also be more events and celebrations at home. Children might learn the authentic way to celebrate religious festivals rather than Google it! πŸ™‚ In addition, child care and taking care of elderly will not be given to organisations and will be managed in the family only.

The disadvantages of a joint family system might be the same as the advantage of a joint family system(what an irony! :))

No one might be constantly be able to live with everybody all the time and one will feel like they need some “me” time and “alone time”! There is also a possibility that you might be able to take any independent decisions and act on it instantly.

Advantages and disadvantages of a nuclear family:

The advantages of a nuclear family might be:

  1. the ability to take independent decisions and act on it instantly without asking anybody
  2. Not having to manage too many personal relationships
  3. Just the freedom of doing things your own way
  4. Not having to listen to anybody! πŸ™‚

The disadvantages of nuclear family might be a little more different than other reasons. In a nuclear family, in many instances, the financial responsibility might fall solely on the husband’s shoulders. Thus, running a family, managing the household and the children has to be done only by 2 people (which is not an easy task) The husband -wife duo have to run to other people(baby sitters, day care centres, maids, cooks) to smoothly run their life.

So, which is good for whom? That just depends on each person and each husband-wife duo. If they are not comfortable in a joint family setting, it is better they manage alone and brave it all.

However, man being a social animal and we from India loving family and celebration – it is quite a possibility that most Indians cannot live away and alone all the time! πŸ™‚ and they will live in a bit of both families combined together…:)

This post is the seventh post for the BlogchatterHalfMarathon

Festivals, India, Religion

Six abodes of Lord Muruga

Did you know that Tamizh kadavul, Lord Muruga(or Lord Kartikeya) has six abodes in Tamil Nadu? Lord Muruga himself is known by different names in Tamil Nadu. They are Kandan, Kumaran, Karthikeyan,Subramaniam, Balamurugan, Murugan, Balasubramaniam and many, many more. My own father’s name was Shri. N. Kandaswamy which is also one of the names of Lord Muruga.

The six abodes of Lord Muruga are known as ‘aaru padai veedu’ (six abodes) Each abode has a story associated with it. I have visited three of them for sure. Here they are:


Tiruparankundram on the outskirts of Madurai is the first abode of Lord Muruga. The God is known as Subramanya swamy in this temple. According to legend, Lord Muruga is supposed to have defeated the demon king Surapadman here. He also got married to Goddess Deivanai, daughter of Lord Indra at this very place. Because of this significance, it is considered to be very auspicious to be married here.


Tiruchendur is the second abode of Lord Muruga. The temple is situated on the banks of the Bay of Bengal in Thoothukudi district in Tamil Nadu. The God is known as Sri Subramanya swamy in this abode.

Soorasamharam (victory of Lord Muruga over Surapadman) and Kanda Sashti are celebrated in a grand way in this temple.


Palani is situated in Dindigul district of Tamil Nadu. It is home to Lord Muruga in the form known as ‘Lord Dandāyudhapani Swāmi‘. This is the third abode of Lord Muruga. Legend has it that Lord Muruga was angry since he did not win the fruit competition and stood in this place as a recluse. You can find more information about Palani at this site: Palani.org


Swamimalai is the fourth abode of Lord Muruga. The God is said to be teaching his father the meaning of the word ‘Om’ in this place. He whispers the meaning of the word into his father’s ear and there is a statue depicting the same story.

Swamimalai is located in Thanjavur district in Tamil Nadu. There are 60 steps to reach this temple. The God is known as Swaminatha swamy in this abode.


Tiruttani is located about 100 km from Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India. This is fifth abode of Lord Muruga and the God is known as Subramanya swamy in this abode. Those who pray to the Lord in this abode are blessed with mental peace and happiness.


Pazhamudhircholai is located 25 kms north of Madurai, India. It is the sixth abode of Lord Muruga. The place is fertile and dense and is supposedly the place where the God’s other consort, Valli had lived. The God is known as ‘Solaimalai Murugan’ in this abode. Lord Muruga is seen with both his consorts Goddess Valli and Goddess Deivanai here.

The wordy duel between Tamil poet ‘Avvaiyar’ and Lord Muruga is said to have taken place here.

I have visited Palani, Tiruchendur, and Tiruparankundram for sure. Have you visited the other shrines? Which have you enjoyed the most?

This post is the sixth post for the BlogchatterHalfMarathon

India, Musings, US

Which is your favorite cuisine?

I am no foodie but do give into extravagant taste drives once in a while… πŸ™‚ Having said that, my tongue was led into an international expedition 25 years ago when I stepped into the USA! πŸ™‚

I think India itself had limited choices then and I was not exposed to all the International delights! πŸ™‚ Having a better half who loved to explore different tastes and cuisine, I soon learned to appreciate the different types of food! πŸ™‚

These are some of the cuisines that I have tried :

South Indian cuisine πŸ™‚ –

South Indian food is cumbersome to make and is definitely delicious when made with a deft hand! πŸ™‚ (which I don’t have πŸ˜‰ ;)) Idli, Dosa, the Pongals, Idiyappams, Puttus, the biriyanis, the kulambhus, the sweets and savories are just a small number of dishes that will take your tongue on an amazing journey!! πŸ™‚

Mexican –

Mexican food is definitely cooked differently from Indian food and is much less tedious to do it too. I do love the Soft tacos, Tacos, Chalupas, Taquitos, Burritos, Nachos,  Enchiladas, Fajitas, Quesadillas and more! πŸ™‚

Chinese –

I know two versions of Chinese cuisine – one is American Chinese and one is Indian Chinese! πŸ™‚ Chinese cuisine involves soups, noodles, chow mein, lo mein, orange chicken and more. I have not been a regular consumer of Chinese food , but suffice it to say, that I appreciated it as well.

Italian –

Maybe, the one cuisine that I really had a tough time getting used to was Italian cuisine than any other cuisine because of the lesser amount of spices used. Pasta, Pizza, Lasagna, Pasta salad are what come to my mind right away.. πŸ™‚

Thai –

It has been quite a while since I have had pure Thai cuisine, but loved the Pad Thai, Green curry, Red curry – all of which are sure tingle anybody’s taste buds.

American cuisine –

American cuisine might be a melting pot of different cuisines, but the Mac and cheese, bagels, waffles, fries, burgers, cheeseburgers, chilis, clam chowder, fried chicken and other dishes do give your taste buds a party! πŸ™‚

From all the cuisines that I have tried – which have I loved the most? I think I would be slightly more partial to the South Indian foods and Mexican foods more than other cuisines just because of the taste! (though I have loved all of them and learned to appreciate all types of food)

Which is your favorite cuisine? Is it different from the ones listed above? Do drop your answers in the comments below! πŸ™‚

Have a nice day! πŸ™‚

This post is the fifth post for the BlogchatterHalfMarathon


Quiz about my homestate! :)

I belong to Tamil Nadu, India and even though it has been 25 years since I have moved out, it is still a pleasant feeling whenever I visit it even today… the language, the conservativeness, the flowers, the saris, the dance, the music, the respect…there is nothing equal to that even today! πŸ™‚

Having said that, how well do you know my state? Take this short quiz and learn more about Tamil Nadu today!

Click to start the quiz

This post is the fourth post for the BlogchatterHalfMarathon

P.S. If you don’t know the answers, please message me! πŸ™‚

Health, India


“Have you taken the jab?” “Why haven’t you taken it as yet?”

These are some of the questions that non-vaxers have faced. While I can understand the concern it is quite annoying to hear it repeatedly. I can guarantee that 99% of the people would have encountered vaccine anxiety prior to taking the vaccine.

From the day the vaccine has been out in the market in the world it has been filled with controversy. There have been many who have been extremely eager to take it from Day 1, and many who have shied away from it and yet many who are on the fence and still deciding. Vaccine hesitancy and vaccine shyness is just an ordinary process that normal human beings experience. This is happening all over the world and in my view is just a normal human feeling.

Why vaccine shyness?

I know of many who have hesitated to take the vaccine(inclusive of me! :)) Even health workers may have slightly hesitated to take the vaccine themselves or give it to their family members.

Why does this happen? To put it simply – it is just a fear of the unknown. Nobody has taken the vaccine before and nobody knows its side effects (and really, no one can predict the side effects) And if you are in your late 30s and beyond, you may already have some health concerns which may aggravate your hesitancy(or any age for that matter)

A lot of articles and videos on the Internet do not help the vaccine hesitancy in any way either.

How to overcome it?

With time, vaccine hesitancy will come down as more people realize it is the need of the hour. They will see other people taking it and be motivated to take it as well (which is already happening in India) While I am not a doctor and never believe in forcing anybody to do anything – I do believe that most people will take it if you give them some time. In the mean time, it is good for all the vaccinated/unvaccinated people to remain safe!

My advice for all the vaccine hesitant people – “Don’t read too much…just do it” πŸ™‚

and my advice for all other people – Don’t keep asking the unvaxed about their vaccination status – most will do it!! πŸ™‚

P.S: My entire family got vaccinated after all the initial analysis! πŸ™‚

This post is the third post for the BlogchatterHalfMarathon

India, Musings, Religion

Is each state of India loyal to a particular Hindu God?

As my ponderings and observances continue, I have always wondered how each of state of India seems to be more loyal to a particular Hindu God. For those, who are unaware, Hinduism has a lot of Gods and Goddesses.

Some of them are:

Lord Ganesh

Lord Karthikeya

Lord Shiva

Goddess Parvati

Lord Hanuman

Lord Ram

and many other Gods and Goddesses. Each God may also be referred by different names across India as well. The mythological stories surrounding the Gods will also vary across India. For example, in Tamil Nadu, Lord Ganesh is considered to be the first son and Lord Karthikeya is considered to be the second son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati.

Which state is loyal to which God?

As I have observed, each of the Southern states seem to favour a particular God( which is not to say that the other Gods are not revered)

In Tamil Nadu – we have ‘Tamizh Kadavul’ Murugan (or Lord Karthikeya) though we can see little idols of Lord Ganesh adorning every little nook and corner too

In Karnataka – Lord Hanuman (every nook and corner in the state will have a little idol of Lord Hanuman)

In Kerala – I have visited Kerala only two or three times and I think Kerala might be favoring Lord Aiyappa (Sabarimala temple) and Lord Krishna

I am not too sure about Andhra Pradesh and Telangana – but I think they may be favoring Lord Narasimha more than other Gods

Maharashtra may be favoring Lord Ganesh more than any other God

Similarly, I think most of North India may be favoring Lord Ram and Lord Shiva

In West Bengal , I think Goddess Durga might be more revered than other Gods

In Odisha, Lord Jagannath might be revered more than other Gods

Why does this happen?

The only reason why it may be so, is because of the religious significance attached to each place. For example, one of Hanuman’s birthplaces is said to be in Hampi, Karnataka. Similarly, there are a lot of stories attached to Lord Karthikeya and his six homes(aaru padai veedu) in Tamil Nadu.

I am sure all other places have their own mythological tales which creates the God for the place.

What are your thoughts? Do you think each state in India is more loyal to a particular God?

This is the second post for the BlogchatterHalfMarathon

college, IIT, India

2nd year at IIT, Roorkee – A Mother’s perspective

And just like that we are done with the 2nd year at IIT, Roorkee too! πŸ™‚ Like last year, I would like to reiterate that I am not studying in IIT, Roorkee πŸ™‚ but my son is…. you can read my last year’s post here

July 2020 and beyond:

The pandemic struck in 2020 and India went through a grueling lockdown from March 2020 to June 2020. Once June 2020 arrived, hopes were high for a return to normal life. Could schools re-open, could colleges re-open and could people return to work? Unfortunately though, the virus was just getting started! 😦 From June 2020 to October 2020, India’s first wave was crushing everybody and with no vaccine then, it was not wise to re-open anything. Nobody understood the cycle of the virus as none of us had ever lived through a pandemic.

IIIrd semester at IIT-R:

IIT-R decided to physically reopen the college in July 2020, but had to scale back the plans as the virus was raging all over India. Online classes became the only way that classes could move forward. IITs have students from all financial backgrounds and from all over India(even North East India) It was quite unfair to assume that everyone would have a stable laptop with an even better Internet connection! Many had left their laptops in their rooms in Roorkee, in March 2020 when they left for their mid-semester break! (inclusive of us! :()

Surveys were conducted to assess the situation and how many had good devices through which they could attend classes. When it was felt that all students could attend online classes, remote learning started. The initial hiccups were there and everyone missed campus life and campus learning. All yearned to go back and do a normal living(which has not been possible even till today!:()

The staff and students slowly got used to this new way of learning. Mid-term exams had to be scrapped as most were figuring out the logistics of conducting exams. Those courses that had lab components were pushed to the next semester(in the hope that colleges would reopen atleast by January 2021….which could also not happen) Videos were shown of the lab experiments and students could understand it that way. Quizzes, tutorial sheets and presentations were introduced to grade the students.

There was hope that ‘R’ land could re-open at some point of time in the New Year and students could physically give their end term exams. January 2021 came and went but B.Tech 2nd year students could only give online exams.

Overall, the third semester was a learning experience for both the students and staff of IIT-R. All of them had to get used to this new way of studying and assessing the students. The third semester was not a gruelling experience academically but it was an uncertain one thinking that the college would reopen soon.

IVth semester at IIT-R:

The fourth semester at IIT-R started in February 2021 running almost a month behind. IIT-R battled pandemic chaos in its own environment.

In January 2021, when COVID cases had ebbed, few Master’s and Ph.d students were asked to come back to campus. A small set of COVID cases were detected in campus which soon swelled to a nearly 100 cases! Testing, isolation and treatment is not very easy in R-land. Many staff and students were impacted and the second wave was becoming more difficult for everybody. The second wave was touching more people and conducting the fourth semester was not an easy one.

Inspite of that, classes went on almost normally and there was more structure to the classes. Having gone through one semester of online classes, both students and staff knew what to expect. Quizzes, presentations , tutorials were given and this semester was definitely more academically challenging than the third semester. You could finally feel the IIT heat every once in a while with the son screaming “stressed”! πŸ™‚

Clubs and groups in IIT-R were also running online with new recruits and new activities.

Since the COVID second wave was affecting off-campus students and on- campus staff, the end-term exams for fourth semester was cancelled after a survey. Students were graded on their previous assignments and grading was tight! IITs were slowly learning the art of “continuous grading” instead of putting most weightage on the final exam(though most weightage was on the mid-term exam this time)

Overall, the fourth semester was a much more satisfying semester than the third one since many have accepted this new way of studying. It is quite a certainty that the next semester will definitely move ahead in the same way.

My feelings :

While, most of us were initially grumbling about this new reality that has been thrust on us, as a mother I felt content that my son was safe at home and did not get caught in the hostel in the 2020 lock down. Thoughts are always there about when he might be asked to go safely back, but I think that day is still a few months away.

Son though feels that he is missing a portion of his precious college life, but I am sure life will have a lot of good things in store for him for the future but for now though… we have to bow to the rules of the pandemic and stay safe!

Note: My son returned from IIT-R in March 2020 and has not returned back since then. Hopefully, the world will become safer for all us to return to the real normalcy soon!

This post is a part of Blogchatter Half Marathon.’ 


Writer woes

When I originally went through this post in my head, it was an absolute rant post! Now, thinking about it after a couple of days later, it is a much calmer post(hopefully! :))

I have been writing for the past 9 years, and there are several things that I have learnt over the years. Some of them have been nice but some of the them have downright been disgusting! (sorry for the language!)

Here is a list of things that I have learnt:

First and foremost is always the “pay” in the content writing field. Writing is such a beautiful thing and not everyone can do it (any genre is difficult and does take time) In spite of that, in the content writing industry, from what I have seen if you get paid 1 Re/word, it is a great thing! (I don’t know how this thing came about itself) There are people who pay 50 paise/word or even lesser!! And there are still some who will ask for “free writing” too!! I myself have been approached by many people to write for “free” for them. Now, these are not just startups but well established companies do it too(I have never understood the rationale behind this – if you can pay all other professions in a startup, why can’t you the pay the writers as well?)

The next thing that irks me is the way the content is freely attributed to somebody else. Initially, the articles written by me have my name on them but after a while, they get attributed to somebody else (why would somebody do that also, I have not understood)

The third thing that I always find annoying is when we are asked to write a sample writeup for every new company that we are applying(it is fine for newbie writers, I guess) There is so much of my content on the web, and I am still asked to provide a free write-up, why? And sometimes, after we submit the writeup, there is a deadly silence on the other end too!! (what? why?)

Yet another thing on my annoying list…. Many people think content can be churned like magic! 😦 No buddy, good content does not appear so quickly like that(which is why it is good to employ multiple writers or creators) Good quality content particularly in the technical field takes time(at least for me) I have to read, understand and then write(this is me, I am sure there are faster writers) For my Master’s degree program, in the US, we were asked to write several papers and we were given adequate time to finish all of them. I greatly appreciated that fact then and appreciate it even more now.

Last but not least, is the number of revisions that a writer is asked to do. While I have not been asked to revise my content frequently, after 9 years in the field, I unfortunately, cannot revise my content any more, once I have submitted it. I have as it is, revised, edited, re-edited and re-edited and cannot do it any more. Once I have submitted it, it is the best content there is πŸ™‚ English or any language is a relative language and unless you are a perfect English teacher it is fine as it is. And with tools like Grammarly, anybody’s English is just perfect is my thought! πŸ™‚

My experience:

My experience in the content field has overall been good. I have had interesting experiences here and there and fought to have my name redeemed in some articles(though I have left the others)

I have been paid well too and some of my articles have done very, very well. The key to an article doing well in my opinion is definitely the topic selection. If you are passionate about a topic, you will write it really, really well and it will show in your writing. On the other hand, if you do not feel a topic, you will not do well(quite interesting that I can write only on programming, Information security and privacy topics) If you write about a good topic and present it well, it should definitely raise a few eyebrows and get some extra clicks and will last long! πŸ™‚

The silver lining to the poor pay and other disadvantages to the content writing field, is that the world cannot live without us writers !! πŸ™‚

So, come on writers, write to your hearts content….the world is your oyster! πŸ™‚

P.S: I have done my Master’s in the US, but I am currently a freelance writer in India and I am mostly talking only about organizations

Book, Technology

My third book!! :)

I am proud and happy to announce that my third book has been published by Blogchatter… πŸ™‚ this book is a tech drive along Medium.com, Duckduckgo.com, Brave.com and other sites… do give this book a read and drop your reviews! πŸ™‚

It is free to download for a limited time only from this link:

PS: You do have to register at Blogchatter site to download the book


Family, India, Parenting

Boy vs Girl – does it really matter?

In 2021, the birth of a boy or a girl should not matter. But it does even today. India being a highly patriarchal society, the birth of a boy is still welcomed and the birth of a girl still evokes confusing feelings(even in bigger cities)

Bringing up, boys and girls – is it any different?

We mostly hear the cliched expressions “girls are easier to bring up” or “boys are easier to bring up” – but having a son and daughter, I have not seen any differences in the easier vs harder part!! Both of them were hard in some ways when they were young and both of them have been easy in some ways too. It is just that their personalities were that way.

Some kids just might be having more energy and might feel like bouncing off the walls πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ (but that is just a “child” thing to do and nothing to do with being a “boy” or “girl”, is what I feel!! πŸ™‚ )

Educating them: Should it be different?

Coming from a family with no brothers, I have never seen my parents having any confusing feelings about bringing us up. We were given all opportunities as any son in the world. We were encouraged to study and always do our best all through school and college ( and I don’t mind studying even today! :)) We did all the professional degree courses and were encouraged to never shy away from studying.

Again, having a son and daughter, I have never shied away from giving the same educational opportunities to both of them (and even if I remotely thought about such a thing, somebody would have definitely shredded me!! πŸ™‚ :)) Ultimately, it is their interest and choice.

Other things: should girls or boys be given different treatment?

My parents never shied away from keeping us away from this or that. We were always encouraged to do anything and everything. I could drive, stay away from home and study in a hostel, learn to play all sports in the world, travel and go on long trips with school/college friends and more. Ultimately, my parents knew that life will happen and we cannot stay protected in a cocoon all the time.

But dangers do lurk everywhere and we were always taught the importance of safety and how to recognize dangers anywhere. So, it is always wise to make the kids understand the risks before giving them the wings to fly.

So, then, why is a boy child still welcomed? Is it

  1. Because they carry the family name forward? (Lucky, us from Tamil Nadu , we don’t have surnames at all, we just use husband’s name or father’s name as our last name :), so, technically, in Tamil Nadu – they should not worry when a girl is born πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ )

2. Is it because, the wealth and other property assets were originally only given to boys ?

That has been altered, now, I think.

3. Is it because originally, sons stayed back as a joint family system?

That also has changed in most families with time. Now anybody stays with parents, – whether it is the son or daughter.

4. Is it because, mostly the sons were the primary bread winners in their house?

Again, that too has changed with the passage of time. Now, girls are equally well educated and can earn well to support their parents or anybody else!

So, what else is the reason for the society to favor boys more than girls? (at least in big cities) Any thoughts?


Where did humanity go?

Warning: Bitter post

After my father was admitted to the ICU on 27th September, 2020, we had to face a barrage of insensitive questions. Sometimes, in dark times, we see a glimmer of hope, a little ray of sunshine, hope and a good soul somewhere. Here, we could not find anything like that even remotely 😦

Looking back, I do understand that the entire medical infrastructure is under stress because of COVID turning all our lives upside down. But total lack of sensitivity to a patient and their family was shocking.

My feelings:

Initially, my father was in the emergency room in a critical condition before being moved to the ICU and my mother was asked questions like:

Do you have sons?”

Who will pay for his medical bills?”

I am not sure whether this is an apt question when a person is fighting for his life and is under respiratory distress. A doctor’s profession, I have always thought is a very noble one. Yes, I have heard many times, that doctors are also only human beings, but asking such questions definitely shocked us.

The only thought that crossed my mind when I heard these questions was whether all sons in this world are looking after their parents perfectly and all daughters are abandoning their parents totally? Is this an Indian mindset?

Anyways, coming to the question, they did not know about my father’s “independant nature”! (he paid all his bills on his own ultimately, he did not need anybody’s help)

The brutal questions and comments did not stop there and it continued as he was in the ICU.

My father was soon shifted from the emergency room to the ICU because his condition was critical. He stabilized after a few days and he needed to have a surgery to help him breathe on his own.

When we went to see different medical practitioners before the surgery, while some of them said they will do their best, others wrote these words in blunt terms;

Death on table can occur, internal bleeding can occur” and wrote all pessimistic things in the medical dictionary and we were expected to sign it, so that they were absolved of all their responsibilities! Saying such things was brutal enough, but giving it in writing was beyond words( yes, truth had to be told, but not in such a way)

I could not imagine if this was the way things were done now. Were we out of the medical loop? We didn’t know if the medical world was always like this or was it in a special avatar because of COVID stress.

While, all of us knew that my father was deteriorating – a little, calm, composed talk was all what we needed to hear.

“He is critical – but we will do our best”

Is what I was yearning to hear, but never heard.

In the 2 weeks that my father was in the ICU(we could not meet him in person because of COVID, only video calls were allowed), I was the person who was constantly motivating them to never give up hope! They were only preparing us for the eventuality. I almost felt that the medical team gives up hope once a person is aged and has co-morbidities. They immediately stop fighting for the person. We could not understand how a life could be taken so lightly without a fight.

Improvements in the ICU:

While he was in the ICU, after the initial rough days, my father’s condition stabilized and he was soon following people in the ICU with his eyes(that was big milestone for him) and showing small improvements.

With all the hope and constant video calls he learnt to recognize us and even spoke a few words to us through the video calls( his brain definitely started to work a bit more)

In the preceding evening before he passed away, he recognized all of us through the video call and when I asked him “How are you?”,

He said, “I am fine” (I could almost cry that day when he told me “I am fine” – when the doctors had given up hope and he was hooked up with tubes and wires and was in the ICU) Well, that was my father…never giving up hope and always saying positive things..

Unfortunately, he suffered a cardiac arrest the very next day morning and he passed away. Even then, I was called first as he was having his cardiac arrest and told to prepare for anything. I did not understand that either – why should one make a phone call when one is doing CPR on a patient? Is this the way it is supposed to be done?

The same evening, except for 2 rituals, we daughters also did all last rites for my father ( I am sure he would have not wanted it any other way)

Life after my father:

After my father passed away, I was totally mad. Why? Because – I felt more could have been done. We would have felt more relieved if there was more “try” in the picture.

A bit more calmer now, I do understand all doctor’s and their woes in these trying times. We are very thankful for him getting admitted at least in a hospital in these difficult days. But I definitely do not want to see anybody suffer the way my father suffered. To prevent it all, I could say a few things definitely for elderly parents:

  • Find a doctor who believes in you and whom you believe in
  • It is always good to eat a proper diet and manage whatever exercise can be done(that of course goes for any age, I guess)
  • Break the stereotype- whether sons or daughters – if you can and are nearby your parents and they need help, please look after them. Don’t wait for the brothers to go running to them.
  • Early detection for any disease is absolutely important
  • Any medication changes should be done in a careful way
  • Neurological medications are very powerful – use them with care
  • With today’s medical billing, fees will run high – be prepared for it
  • And you only have one set of parents – fight for them !
  • God is there!

As for us, behind all the social media smiles and emojis, everybody is learning to heal but in a different way. I always remember his teachings and propagate them to my children(they know it already!! :)) For me he is always my “Super man” who is always shining light on my path. I know what he will say for each of our actions as he is watching and guiding us in our journey. He will definitely be proud of how tough and strong we are in difficult times.

These 3 writings do not do full justice to the person my father was. It is just a small drop in my father ocean and I am sure he is proud of all of us and the way we are trying to move forward in life!

PS: The medical fraternity never found the reason for my father’s respiratory distress. It was just blamed on Parkinsons disease.

Love you appa!! There can be no one like you!!

Other thoughts on my father: The cruelty of Parkinsons disease

Celebration of Appa