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!

Musings

No

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™‚

This is the last post for the BlogchatterHalfMarathon !!

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