India, Musings

My Thoughts, My Way!

My new e-book on Amazon is here! πŸ™‚ Do read the book and drop a review…

Here are some reviews for my book:

I enjoyed reading the book majorly due to the thought provoking ideas Which also had me clinched to it throughout. ….

After reading this book, I must say that I have enjoyed reading the author’s thoughts. I got to know about America, why Tamilians have no last names, and that there are more people who can’t decide between an Idly or a Dosa :D. My recommendation for everyone is to dive deep in these thoughts with the author’s creation that is β€œMy Thoughts My Way”

– RightPurchasing(http://www.rightpurchasing.com/my-thoughts-my-way/)

…..this is a personal account of life experiences that the Author has shared with the readers. She had been to the US for fourteen years and gives a first hand account as to how life slowly changes around us and in many places she has compared the life in both the countriesΒ Β 

Her thoughts are very simple yet strike a chord because of the relevance of the topic. For ex topics like the debate between ICSE & CBSE or start ups in India or the bond between mother,daughter, father and son might seem very normal and trivial. Β But I really enjoyed seeing it through the eyes of the Author.Β 

– Chinmayee (https://chinmayeecreations.wordpress.com/2020/06/22/book-review-13-my-thoughts-my-way/)

Looking forward to great reviews!! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

college, exams, IIT, India

Ist year at IIT Roorkee

And just like that the first year at IIT Roorkee is over. For those of you who don’t know me might think I am studying at IIT, Roorkee( I wish, I was though πŸ™‚ :)) … but that is not the case, it is my son who is doing his B.Tech at IIT Roorkee!!

It has been quite an amazing ride to be a parent and watch your child compete and clear one of the most toughest competitive exams in India! It was just 1 year back that we heard the news that he had cleared the JEE advanced and we were busy selecting the college after various rounds. We finally locked our college selection at the 3rd round with IIT, Roorkee(though if we had waited for a few more rounds, he might have got into IIT, Delhi which is ranked higher)

IIT, Roorkee:

I have never lived above the latitude of Mumbai in India and the son had never moved anywhere apart from our beautiful southern states in India. We were curious about the new North Indian adventure and how life would treat us/him.

Roorkee is a small and simple town(from my first impression) located about 3 hours from Dehradun. As I have already written in an earlier post, IIT, Roorkee is one of the oldest educational institutions in India. Being an old institution, guarantees that everything is settled and everything is in its place. Professors know how to conduct classes, they know the student mindset very well and most of the things move like clock work. Life as with any undergraduate course work is hectic and students are always kept on their toes.

We initially thought crossing the geographical distance from Bangalore to Roorkee was painful. We didn’t know the correct path to arrive at Roorkee – but who is a better teacher than experience, right? After 2 or 3 times of travelling, we knew the correct flight/train/bus to take from our origin to destination.

Academics:

Now, like I have already said those IIT kids are total “brain boxes”. The sheer intelligence of kids(can I call them “kids” at 18 or 19 years of age? :)) blows you away. If we think we are smart in an IIT, there is always somebody smarter than us!! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ The Computer Science kids in IITs are just mind bogglingly brilliant .. there is no doubt there(of course, smart kids doesn’t mean immune to the disasters of life!! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

Of course, with that kind of immense competition also comes stress. To handle that kind of stress and increasing number of suicides in IITs, IIT, Roorkee has come up with its own “Wellness center”. The first year in college is always a tough time for kids and parents to adjust. It is the first time that kids are leaving their nest and it is the first time that parents are letting go.

IInd semester:

Just as we were warming up to Roorkee and were happy to see the son getting settled in his second semester, the pandemic struck! 😦 Luckily, the son was home by then- but the question now for colleges in India was how to complete the second semester. Online mode of education was tried but it was difficult to achieve it completely since students in IITs are from remote corners of India where basic power and Internet problems persist.

Even as it looked( and it still does) more and more bleak for colleges in India to reopen due to the pandemic, it was finally decided to wrap up the current semester through various grading means. The semester has finally been completed and first year at IIT, Roorkee for the son is done! πŸ™‚ (it was quite a bummer that it couldn’t be completed in the traditional way, but we have to have to bow down to the pandemic rules, right?)

Some tidbits about IITs:

  1. There are many economically challenged children who make use of the education at IIT and that is always heartening to see
  2. In IIT, Roorkee, all students get a single room from the second year
  3. Some students get a single room in the first year too
  4. Many students have their own YouTube channel which flourishes
  5. Many write technically awesome content on ‘Medium’ and more
  6. And many students do feel the academic pressure in IITs and will get lower scores
  7. And unlike private colleges, we have to clean our room on our own! There are no maids to sweep and dust our room! πŸ™‚

Here’s to looking forward to a better 2020!! πŸ™‚

Note: All these are a mother’s perception alone – a child/students’s perception might be different…

Food, India, Musings

How do you manage?

She was set to cook for the day. As usual, the same thoughts were running through her head. What will she make for breakfast, lunch and dinner today? As with most women and mothers, it was the same perplexing question everyday and it was the same puzzle every morning. If she didn’t have the mind map for the food menu for the upcoming week.. it was a much more exhausting time in the kitchen.

What to cook? What to cook? was the thought that was constantly running through her head again that morning too.

She was amazed by the gazillions of drool worthy Instagram food pics and YouTube videos but could never make one such video or post! She was unfortunately one of the few people, who could never cook with that kind of passion or skill. She was amazed at the whole world’s culinary skills too. Her idea of kitchen was to be in and out of the kitchen ASAP!!

Kitchen shortcuts:

Being in the US for a long time taught her a lot of kitchen hacks. For all the glamour of staying in the US, there was/is no maid and no cook in the US – only machines and kitchen hacks rescued her.

Anything that was a paste or powder was welcomed by her!! :)(call it lazy or taking shortcuts, that is the way she was!! :))

For Tamarind rice – get the powder or paste

For Pasta sauce – get the sauce from store

For all the variety of biriyanis – just use the store bought biriyani powder

For garam masala and other powders – don’t go nuts making them all at home – just use the store bought ones!! πŸ™‚

Ginger garlic paste – just buy from store

Small onions are supposed to add an awesome taste to South Indian dishes. But peeling them and dicing them was another work altogether. Her idea of working with the cumbersome products such as small onions was to avoid them altogether and stick with big onions entirely!! πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜‰ ( and hers was quite an understanding family except for one member whom she had to cajole every now and then!! :))

Now, being from a Tamil family(a state in South India) there was always one magic ingredient that was needed in everyday cooking. Families from South India couldn’t imagine cooking without this lovely ingredient. Most families except for hers used this produce lavishly in their everyday cooking!! πŸ™‚ And most in South India cannot bear to think of any shortcuts with this produce either – it had to be extracted from scratch and used. Chutneys, gravies and almost every dish on the table needed this product.

What was this magical ingredient, you may wonder or some of you may have guessed it as well… but of course, it is the ever trending COCONUT!! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

COCONUT:

Families, in South India go through an average of 3-4 coconuts per week and this is just an average…many families may consume more!! Now, coconut breaking and scraping is not very easy for the amateur. With time, one acquires the skill to do it fast and with finesse. It is definitely quite a ritual for most families from Southern states to start the day with breaking and scraping the coconut. It then makes its way into different dishes to create an absolutely magical concoction!! πŸ™‚

Most families cannot even think of a dish without this ingredient. Now, how does the lady in our story manage the star ingredient in her house? πŸ™‚ It is just simple – she avoids it altogether for as long as possible and thinks of innovative ways to manage the kitchen without it!! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

She had enough cooking ideas which enabled her to procure the coconut for only one day a week!! (can her Tamilian friends imagine that?!! :)) She had always been asked how she manages without the magical coconut in everyday cooking and she would only respond with a smile…and rattle off her secret recipes without involving coconut πŸ™‚ – all the rice varieties, pasta, noodles, tomato chutney, sambhar and more. Believe me, there are plenty of recipes in the South Indian domain that do not need the humble coconut!! πŸ™‚

So, what do you think? How many coconuts do you need on an average per week? Can you manage without it? Can you give some more kitchen hacks for this lady to reduce her time in the kitchen so that she can write more? πŸ™‚

Β Culnilarly yours πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚