Family, Humor

Wordle

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:

https://www.powerlanguage.co.uk/wordle/

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:

https://www.powerlanguage.co.uk/wordle

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?

Because:

  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™‚

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!

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:

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:

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:

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:

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.

Thiruthani:

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:

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