college, exams, Musings

2009 – 2019 – A #decade of persistence and perseverance

Whew! A decade went by? I am so glad it got over finally!! Don’t get me wrong – it wasn’t all bad except for the beginning…but good to move along right?

So, what did I accomplish this decade? We moved to India after a long US stint(any move is hard but this was especially hard), I completed my Master’s degree after a long gap in education, I learnt to swim, I started writing, I made tons and tons of new friends, had umpteen number of social gatherings, made numerous remote and warm business relationships, did three mini marathons(more like walkathons!! :)) , ate out like there was no tomorrow πŸ™‚Β  and laughed and laughed…. πŸ™‚ …ALL IN THE PAST DECADE!!

Maybe the thing that really stood out, was trying to complete my Master’s degree with two kids in the past decade…and here goes that story…

Why was it so rough initially?

The initial part of the past decade had nasty surprises in store for me… No, I did not step into motherhood in that decade(I already two young children), nor did I have a new job either….but I had the desire to do something crazy – I wanted a Masters degree !! πŸ™‚ Now, most Indian wives in the US do their Master’s degree just as they arrive in the US… but , I decided to do it when we were planning to move away from the country with 2 small kidsΒ  !! πŸ˜‰ (in 2009)

Note: If you don’t entirely know me or a bit of my personal life, here goes… – I lived in the US for 14 years post marriage and returned to India for good. My US-India stories are chronicled in this ebook…do give it a read..

There were always thoughts as to “Why is she doing her Master’s degree now, after 2 children?” and more, but I don’t think I cared much… πŸ™‚ I needed to do it and I started it right away…

It is not easy to be a stay at home mom and do a degree(or any work from home for that matter) The US course work keeps you on your toes all the time. The assignments were quite mind boggling and very, very different from the Indian style of education. I had to complete “this” assignment by 12 a.m. and I had to complete “that” assignment by 12:00 p.m. and so on… there were tests, quizzes, papers and massive projects to be completed.Β  I enjoyed every bit of it and tried to get an ‘A’ in every subject! πŸ™‚ Those ‘A’s are tough to get… πŸ˜‰ Just a slight slip in one of your assignments, and there…………away went my ‘A’!!

As long as I did one course per semester, things were in control…but once, I did 2 courses per semester – I had to multi-task like a mad mom!! πŸ™‚ ( and with no maid and family help in the US , things do get totally crazy :()

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The good thing about my college was that there were many courses which were entirely online and only for some classes I had to meet in person. I drove in the rain and snow for my classes because I really loved it and learnt so much. This was also the time, I discovered a new passion in the subjects that I studied – Information security!! Now, just as a FYI – Information security was a brand new subject even in the US in 2009 and I lapped it up with full gusto!! πŸ™‚

September 2009:

In the middle of one of my semesters, I had a nasty accident for which I had toΒ  compulsorily have a foot surgery!! 😦 What did that leave me with? I needed to be in a foot cast for close to 4 weeks and even walking was a chore with those crutches – and driving and travelling distances was next to unthinkable…(and no Uber then)

I had already paid for the courses for that semester and if I had to quit, I would lose all my money(close to 3000$!!) and all my work would go waste too…

So, what happened then? I sat the very next day after the surgery in front of the computer(with cast and crutches) and started doing my assignments and trudged along till the end of November by working on my courses online, when the semester ended. I did have complete support that semester from all my Professors and college! (thanks to every one of them!! :))

So, degree over? Nope – not quite… there were other health concerns as well and it was quite an emotional roller coaster ride for close to 9 months after that.When, things start going hay way when you are close to graduating with just four courses to complete, you are completely at your wits end(and I had already put in close to $15,000 for my coursework till then !!)

July 2010:

All well? Yes, almost…. but we returned to India for good in July 2010 and I still had two more subjects to complete to get my Master’s degree!! (luckily, both were online)

So, did I complete it finally? Yes, I did…..Β  finally in March 2011, I completed all the course work and got my degree!! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

As you scroll through the story or skim through it, you might or might not be able to realize that there were many points in my degree where it looked very bleak – if I will be able to complete my degree. After all, the common retort might always be

“Why do you need to complete it now?”

But complete it, I had to…and I do have to thank my better half and all my Professors and most importantly the divine power who enabled me to complete it and realize my dream!! πŸ™‚

Rest of the decade:

For the rest of the decade we dove straight into Indian life after having lived away for 14 years. I learnt to drive in Indian traffic conditions, and learnt to manage a geared vehicle after a long time.

It was also a decade in whichΒ  I tried ethnic Karnataka cuisine (holige, ragi mudde, Maddur vada, Jolada Roti, Mangalore buns and more) They are yummy, I say… πŸ™‚

In addition, I also threw all caution to the wind and tried unconventional things and learnt to swim and did marathons(5K) much later after the surgery.

It was all in all a productive decade with a major lesson – when life just throws you around, you have to be patient and persistent and stand through all the storms to get what you want!

Thanks for getting this far and hearing me out!! πŸ™‚

Have a wonderful day!! πŸ™‚

Jayanthi

This post if a part of ‘DECADE Blog Hop’ #DecadeHop organized by #RRxMM Rashi Roy and Manas Mukul. The event is sponsored by Glo and co-sponsored by Beyond The Box, Wedding Clap, The Colaba Store and Sanity Daily in association with authors Piyusha Vir and Richa S Mukherjee

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IIT, India, Musings

IIT-R life!

“I may be an IITian, but my mom is the real GENIUS!!”:)Β 

goes a saying on a mug at the IIT-R souvenir shop…:) Now, that IITs themselves recognize moms,Β let us dive into more of this mom’s IIT-R tales!!

With the son living in IIT-R for almost a month now, it is time to recollect some more of my experiences at IIT-R and the small things that I really loved about my short stint there!! πŸ™‚

The subjects:

  1. Most first year students have a set of common subjects(as in most Engineering colleges – Math, Communication skills)
  2. The lovely part is they have a paper on ‘psychology’ (yes, engineering students have to study ‘psychology’ πŸ™‚ ) After all, most of us know that work life is not only about technical skillsΒ  – there are people skills and relationship skills that are needed to manage the work space too – so in my opinion good to study psychology!! πŸ™‚ though the students themselves might not be too happy studying it!!)
  3. Remember the IIT entrance exams do not test you on English? Well, the English testing is done once you join college and eventually there is a paper that is ‘Communication skills(basic)’ or ‘Communication skills'(advanced) in the first semester
  4. In addition, they are compulsorily expected to take one extra curricular activity( either a sport, Taek-wondo or NSS) which is also something that I liked. It is good to keep the students busy with sporting activities so that no one remains idle and gets into mischief! πŸ™‚Β  Making it compulsory is even better according to me!! πŸ™‚
  5. Mental health was seriously talked about in the orientation. If anybody was depressed or stressed they were urged to talk to the health counsellors right away!!(very nice!!)

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IIT-R lingo!! πŸ™‚

I remember we had so many words and code words for so many things in my engineering college and hostel too!! It was easy and fun to use them as well…

Now, coming to the lingo that is used at IIT-R, some of it has English and Hindi mix which is easier to understand. The other totally slang Hindi ones are totally beyond us!! Anyways, I am confident that the son will learn it all and enlighten me too, by the end of his degree…:)

At the beginning of the semester, all students got a ‘Campus dictionary'(forwarded) pdf file which listed all the code words used in IIT-R(which might be common to all IITs as well) Many of my North Indian friends might be able to decipher most or all of them… can you see which ones you can understand?

  1. Kholu
  2. Gaaon
  3. Bakchodi
  4. Chapo
  5. Ghissu
  6. Dulla
  7. Chaggi
  8. Despo
  9. Fachche
  10. Haddu

There are still more… can you find the answers to these?! πŸ™‚

Scroll down to understand these IITian words …..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. ‘Kholu’ is the person whose AIR opens the branch(“Branch ka kholu kaun hai?” is a popular question πŸ™‚ :))
  2. ‘Gaaon'(village) – is the area of ‘bhawans’ that is supposedly far from the main campus area and characterized by less interference with major campus affairs
  3. Bakchodi – Gossips with no conclusion, apparently!! πŸ™‚
  4. Chapo – shortened form of “Chai Pakoda” which means a treat or party
  5. Ghissu – are students with high CGPA and no social life!!
  6. Dulla – are dual degree students
  7. Chaggi – are students with light minded approach and a CGPA around 6
  8. Despo – obviously meaning, desperate!!
  9. Fachche – is an enthusiastic fresher!!
  10. Haddu – Delhiites calling people from Hyderabad or South India!!

I have learnt a lot today – reading this and writing about this.. did you? I almost feel I am in college again… πŸ™‚

 

 

 

 

India, Musings

IITs and their branches

Before my son entered IIT, we were doing a lot of research on the various IITs and their branches. While the choice of IITs was relatively simpler, the selection of the branch in the different IITs was a whole lot harder. Each IIT had a slightly different set of branches and we had lots and lots of homework to do to understand the whole process better.

We as parents understood the traditional Engineering branches like:

  1. Civil
  2. Mechanical
  3. Electronics and communication
  4. Electrical and Electronics
  5. Computer Science and Engineering
  6. Metallurgy
  7. Textiles
  8. Chemical

branches

But the IITs boasted of some new branches along with the traditional ones to keep up with the changing trends in technologies. These were the new branches that really made us research more:

  1. Engineering Physics
  2. Data Science engineering
  3. Mathematics and computing
  4. Agricultural and food engineering
  5. Mining engineering
  6. Manufacturing science and engineering
  7. Ocean engineering and Naval architecture
  8. Engineering science
  9. Artificial intelligence
  10. Bioengineering
  11. Biological sciences and Bioengineering
  12. Material science and engineering
  13. Polymer science and engineering
  14. Mineral engineering
  15. Petroleum engineering
  16. Ceramic engineering
  17. Pharmaceutical engineering and technology

Note, that – not all branches are available in all the IITs. For example, as of today, ‘Data science’ is offered only in IIT, Mandi and ‘Artificial Intelligence’ is available only in IIT Hyderabad.

It is also important to note that these are all 4 year B.Tech programs. There are 5 year dual degree and 4 year BS programs as well.

I am sure you are also stumped by the other branches such as “Ceramic engineering”, “Polymer engineering”, ‘Engineering Physics’, ‘Mathematics and Computing’ and many others. Yes, these branches do exist in some of the IITs!! While I haven’t researched the scope of all the branches – we did have to research two branches (‘Engineering Physics’ and ‘Mathematics and Computing’ )since they were close to my son’s line of interest(after Computer Science and other heavily fought traditional branches, which we couldn’t get our hands on)

What were they taught? And what was their scope in the future?

What is Engineering Physics?

From the IIT Bombay website, ‘Engineering Physics’ is “an amalgam of physics, mathematics and electrical engineering courses”. The core courses cover basic areas such as classical and quantum mechanics, electromagnetic theory, photonics, relativity, and thermodynamics along with introductory courses to the various fields.The courses include Mathematical physics, nuclear physics, Quantum physics, laser physics and more.

So, it is Physics, Physics all the way… πŸ™‚

It is offered by IIT – B(Bombay), IIT-M(Madras), IIT-D(Delhi), IIT-R(Roorkee), IIT -G(Guwahati), IIT – H(Hyderabad), IIT – M(Mandi) and IIT – Dhanbad

With so much of Physics in their curriculum, what is the scope of Engineering Physics students in the future? These are a few of my findings:

  1. Students can get placed in industries such as telecom, microelectronics, lasers and micro devices etc. with amazing salaries
  2. They can also get involved in research and development activities in future
  3. They can opt for higher studies in the same line or
  4. They can also choose an entirely new line of interest

What is ‘Mathematics and computing’?

While I was mulling ‘Mathematics and Computing’ branch I found that it is very,very difficult to get into ‘Mathematics and Computing’ branch in the traditional old IITs.

The ‘Mathematics and Computing’ branch is described by IIT Guwahati website as follows:

“The curriculum for this program is designed to meet the need of sophisticated mathematics in modern scientific investigations and technological innovations. The programme has three components: mathematics, computing and financial engineering which are perfectly blended so that the strong mathematical and analytical components that are in-built in the curriculum form the basis on which the technological aspects of computing and finance are developed”.

The MnC(Mathematics and Computing) branch syllabus however is also supposedly different for each IIT. While many IITs focus on Math – some focus on Computer Science concepts too.

MnC is offered byΒ  IIT-D, IIT-G, IIT-Kharagpur, IIT – Dhanbad, IIT – Hyderabad, IIT-BHU – Varanasi, IIT – Ropar and IIT Goa.

Scope of Mathematics and computing:

  1. These students have a bright future in computational careers which involve data science, statistics, machine learning, Artificial intelligence
  2. They can also opt for higher studies
  3. Many of these students have also been hired by companies such as Microsoft, Netapp, Zynga and more

Hope you liked the details of various branches in the IITs and the extra detail about the ‘Engineering physics’ branch and ‘Mathematics and Computing’ branch.

Stay tuned for more of my personal musings! πŸ™‚

India, Musings

Realities of life in India!!

Yes, this is another post about the ‘Realities of life in…India’ not ‘USA’… πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ This post is mostly applicable mostly for families, individuals, couples who return after a foreign visit that lasts for 2+ years or more…so here goes…

  1. We are warmly greeted by “Sirs” and “Madams” in our personal and work environments…I was pleasantly thrown off by this sudden respect…(I did not know what to think of it initially – except,”Please,please don’t call me “Mam” – I don’t mind being called by my first name, however older I maybe to you” πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ !!) In India, I had forgotten, if somebody was older to you even by two years, we automatically became “Mam” and “Sir”!! Luckily, most of my remote acquaintances have only called me as “Jayanthi”…
  2. Remember the “loneliness” that I had written about in my US-India posts? There is nothing like that here… we have friends from our school days, friends from our college days and more friends and still more friends and counting…:) And in a city like Bangalore which has a constantly moving population, the friends circle only grows all the time…and no shortage of family too… So, none of the loneliness business – if at all, we are swimming in a sea of humanity all the time which is lovely!!
  3. As I see it, most of us in India do very well financially and personally too…if at all, the only hitch might be too many people trying to influence others decisions. So, anybody going to the US or other foreign countries for better financial prospects – not to worry – life is good here!! πŸ™‚ ( for the middle and upper middle class)
  4. India, as I have observed after my US stay has a highly dependent culture. From the time we are young, children are dependent on parents and later in life, parents are dependent on children(again, no right or wrong here – just prefer the “independent” system so that we don’t stress the relationships around us) Consider these points:

a. In the US, children as young as nine months are taught to feed themselves and by the first year, they are eating independently with no help from parents. Contrast that to the Indian culture, where parents are continuously running behind the children with a bowl and spoon in hand helping them eat!!

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b. This continues to teenage years and beyond. As young teenagers, their Western counterparts are encouraged to step out of the house and start working at restaurants to understand the value of money. Is this even a feasible thought in Indian culture??(Plus,Β  it is absolutely unnecessary too – but there goes our independent thought!!)

c. Parents in the US are also encouraged to start planning for a child’s college education from the time they are born. Working professionals are encouraged to start saving for retirement once they start working, buy a house and finish paying the mortgage by the time they retire. This ensures that the child becomes independent when they enter college. Adults are independent and have enough money and own the house when they retire too!!

I am sure all this is prevalent in India of today – but up to what extent it is being done(or can be done) in India is highly debated…

d. Who can forget the maids, drivers, baby sitters, cooks of India? Every family’s routine relies heavily on the maids of India. We are heavily dependent on them for our daily chores and life is not same even if they are ‘off’ for a day… πŸ˜‰

5. Children grow more naturally and are not confused about which way to go – the Indian way or the Western way or grasp both ways…

6. I cannot resist saying this again – but just the freedom to be able to work or study or do what you to do in life without visa restrictions is indeed a huge blessing! I feel for all the women or spouses on H4 visas(H4 visa holders cannot work) who are languishing their lives abroad with fantastic degrees and not being able to put it to good use…

7. In India, we are not the first to receive the cutting edge tech products(like the latest iPhone or the latest iPad) but it does come to us eventually! πŸ™‚

8. Inter-caste and inter-religion marriages are better accepted now… I cannot imagine such a thing some 20 years ago…

9. India has a much more disciplined and meticulous life. I don’t think I have seen anybody coloring their hair, have interesting hair styles, wear different types of attire to school. Having a school uniform regulates a lot of things for school going kids. Women might try different attires but only in a city like Bangalore or other bigger cities – the smaller tier 1 and tier 2 cities expects women to be fully clad…

10. Engineering and medicine are still the most sought after professions in India! And getting into IIT is still the greatest dream of every Indian parent!!

11. And last but not least, cities like Bangalore, Hyderabad have considerable number ofΒ  children born in the US. These children have returned back to India with their parents and there are plenty of schools that accommodate them. Even colleges have a separate category on their forms for children born abroad – “OCI”!! So it is all not only “brain drain” …the reality is that there are parents who have decided to come to India for goodΒ  and India loves to accommodate these returnees!!

Cheers!