Friday, February 3, 2017

My road to Ivy League University - Nothing comes easy in life!

Sorry, this is a huge blog. If you really want to find some inspiration in your life, read through this blog completely. I'm sure you won't regret it.

After completing my undergrad from Coimbatore Institute of Technology, in 2009, I had applied to a bunch of US universities.  Hell yeah, while I got the admits from majority of them, my dad became suddenly ill and bed-ridden. He had to undergo a heart surgery. I was torn between my responsibilities as a daughter, and my career ambitions. Alas, I gave up all the dream admits, and started working as Software Engineer. The only reason was to support my mom and sister personally.

After 2 years, as I have gained some work experience in telecom domain, I applied to 4 universities in US and UK all for MS in Telecommunications. All the struggle and the travel I made to and fro to my college, to get those "Letter of recommendations" signed and sealed by profs and universities. Yes those days, most universities needed LOR in signed and sealed envelopes. By the time, I was about to accept an admit, my dad fell sick again, this time with more dreaded brain stroke. The worst part of it was that my dad forgot who I'am. In fact he could not recognize anyone except my mom, and could not utter a single word properly, due to the after-effects of stroke. I gave up my admits and started working again.

Meanwhile my mom struggled to take my dad to hospital for weekly regular checkups, as he could not walk and someone had to almost support him to even stand. It was at this time, I met my man, he travelled all way home to help my dad in regular hospital visits. I married him 2years later(it's a another big story). He promised my mom to make me study after marriage.

Well yeah, God had another plans again, this time in the name of unexpected pregnancy. I was more devastated than happy on testing positive for pregnancy. I wasn't so cruel to abort my first kid, for no fault of his own. Hence, I postponed my study plans and proceeded ahead with pregnancy.

A wonderfully super-smart amazing kid was born. I loved him so much, but never had forgot all my ambitions. I was super guilty when I started working again, when my kid was 6months old. I ensured my kid is well taken care of, by working from home so often. The best part was I breast-fed him for 1.7 years all while working as Software Engineer. Not many do these days! I was so happy to just look at my son, all day long. Suddenly, my life took a turn. I felt I was so happy as a mom, and never rekindled all my study ambitions, though my husband kept pushing me to study year after year.

Finally, it was when my son went to nursery, he starting having home works. Yes, kids these days have home works, at the age of 2.5 years. God save them :P  I was making him do his homework, while I was watching television. My son was like "mama, why should I do my homework, while you watch TV. I will do my home work, only if you switch off TV and do your homework". It felt like a BOMB.

Then, I started preparing for GRE again. But once my son finishes his homework, he would ask me to play or sleep with him, saying "enough of your homework, mummy". Hence, I knew I never would study when a kid pampers you for your attention. So, I used to sleep with him at 8pm in the night, wake up at 2am to prepare for GRE. Finally, I decided to write my GRE, and somehow succeeded.

Next started the huge process of applying for the universities. I became a night owl. I wrote and re-wrote and re-wrote my SOP for umpteen times before I was satisfied. Next on line was resume and nagging of my professors, who fortunately remembered me on my very first phone call to get my LORs submitted on time.

TOEFL was a easy shot. Just a day's  preparation was good enough. And then, almost all Ivy Leagues asked for a portfolio website. Hence, I spent a week creating my first portfolio using google sites. Out came the results 8 admits, 2 rejects. I was torn between the  Ivy League and other universities, only fact being the tuition costs.

So then, I started looking for scholarships and kept applying one after another. Finally succeeded in getting one from JN Tata group. So there it goes the SBI loan process. It took a month of running to every government offices, to collect all documents SBI had asked for and finally to get them to pay my first semester at my Ivy League university.

There you go, then came the visa interview for US, with a huge queue standing in Chennai. It was terrifying, and tiring while I waited for my turn. After getting the visa, oh boy should I not be happy. But yeah, I wasn't interested in going alone abroad, leaving my little son.

My husband was the only financial support, so he wasn't sensibly interested in coming along in F2. Finally when I boarded my flight, all these rushed through my mind like never-ending story. Nothing comes easy in life, at least for me. Even my little son was so understanding. Boy, I can't be more prouder to have him as my son. I realize now, while I write this blog from an Ivy League university, anything can happen as long as you have the will power to do. Nothing is impossible!



How I designed my website in 2days


Here is my first portfolio.

www.aarthianbalagan.com

I had already purchased a domain for a month ago and was aiming to design and create my website on my own for a month during the winter break, whereas it never worked out. 

After the break was over, and when the career fair was about to begin, I started my marathon work of collecting all the images and all the pictures of images, which I had to put in portfolio. I organized them into group. Started with <html> </html>. Learnt about bootstrap, and font awesome and decided to use it. All it took was 2days of continuous effort, to complete it. 

At the end, it was about hosting. Hosting was so expensive, with I'm being a student, compared various vendors for safe, cheap and reliable hosting. I found bigrock, dewlance, ipage to be the lowest, but they had numerous people complain about them with customer care. Hence, I hosted it with the help of namecheap.

After configuring the DNS setting, there you go. BOOM. I'm online :)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A refreshingly cool journey from Bangalore to Coorg!!!

Everyone would have heard of the maxim, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”. Yeah, it’s cent percent true. After so much of non-sensible work at office, we had planned for a trip to Coorg, quite a few times which went futile. After so many hiccups, finally one of our plans came true; we started for a trekking trip to the highly refreshing and energizing natural coffee estates of Coorg Valley.

Here we go! Here we go! :):) The clock struck 3am, on Dec 3rd, 2010.Cock-a-doodle-do!! :) There we started enthusiastically, imagining the nerve-chilling coffee plantations of Coorg. We started proceeding through the Mysore road, sneaking our heads out of the cab, every now and then, to get a feel of the early morning freshness. Finally, it was time for a short break, breakfast time:):) We had stopped by a highway restaurant and had our breakfast along with some Buddhist saints loitering in that restaurant... Click!! Click!! The camera shutters, blossomed open for the first time, and remained for the next two days.

Again, we had started travelling towards Coorg. After a tiresome journey and there the cab stopped before a narrow lane, lowering so steeply, and we had started enquiring about the much awaited whereabouts of “Civet Creek camp” , the resort where we had plan to linger on for the next two days. The resort owner was waiting for us, to guide us to the Civet creek. At one point, the cab stopped as it can’t go any further, as we all started walking into the dense miraculous forest-like nature... Yahooooo!! Hoo Hoo!! Nature at its marveling best.. :):) “Nurture the nature for our posterity”!! Now, we all had understood the marvel of greens and greenery. By the time, we walked through the narrow pathway for about 15 minutes; we had the first look of our temporary home for the next day or two, the resort called “Civet creek” camp. Such is the power of the amazing creation of God that we were almost addicted to the place, and had the feel that we had already stayed there for a fortnight or so. The “William Wordsworth” and “Robert Frost”, hidden in myself started to fly and linger around, unable to control the happiness and fullness. :):) The hospitality and warmth of Uncle and Aunt of the resort, and the home made food much to the surprise of all of us, made us to dwell in Civet Creek, thoroughly with heart and soul. :):)

After a delightful luncheon, we had some kinds of play, an hour of volleyball or so, followed by cricket and then some shuttle. Since these games are common and can be played anywhere, I’m not digging deep into it. Somehow, it was much cooler to play these games amidst nature, and among friends. What more do you need in life? After some mind boggling play, we had some hot tea, and a small session of gossiping. Remember, all the cameras are with open shutters all the time, clicking, clicking and capturing to heart’s content.

Then it was twilight time for a trip to the estates whatever let it be, call it estate or forest. We had all our jerkins on, as temperature started to dip and dip and started towards forest with torches in hand. It was our first adventurous trip in Coorg with all the talks about wild life, say elephants etc among us. We were back to Civet creek around 7.30pm in the night. Time away from the hustle and bustle of this sedentary life at city, there was the other side of it, the most calm, nerve-wrecking chillness of the mountains of Coorg.

At around 8.30pm in the, we had a great “camp fire”, had a great time playing some funny games. The children in us, started to bloom and adults in us faded away. “Soup” and chicken was served to us, during campfire. When the fire was about to go out it was already time for dinner, nature feeding our eyes and heart and the home food, feeding our appetite. :):):) Then we had a taste of the famous Coorg Coffee.

At night we all had to sleep in “tents” of the resort, with only lanterns around to our aid. Just imagine. :):)There’s no proper electricity, meaning no proper charging facility for phones and cameras, still it was the most adventurous and fulfilling night. With all the jerkins, scarves, and socks around, we tried to make ourselves as warm as possible inside the coveting tents. Every one of us slept couching ourselves inside the tent.

At around 5.45am in the morning, we had only wakened to see the most chilling experience in our life. The cool breeze, the morning dew, almost everything was wet even our shoes, socks and stockings, with dew around, poor visibility due to the butter-colored mist, there we had a rope-walk in the early morning, bone-chilled ourselves. Cameras could cover hardly anything but mist. Just say the most romantic weather all around. :):) There we had went inside the coffee plantations, 5 minutes into it, we found ourselves in the middle of a small crystal-clear stream nearby. The water was so clear, that the multi-colored pebbles are clearly visible beneath 2-feet stream water. It was déjà vu, for me a dream come true :):)

After taking a refreshing bath in some hot water, and feeding ourselves with a hot breakfast, we started our trip to a nearby cascading waterfall. The trek to the cascade was the most adventurous trip, as we were bound to overcome some insects, leeches, etc. :) Every now and then, one or the other friend would have been bitten by leech, and we stopped then and there, to make a surgery to the leeches with lemon juice.. :):):)The first view of the cataract was most astounding, eye-catching and breath-taking one. At first, I never had any idea to get wet in the waterfall, as it was utter chill. But at the first view of it, and some first and fast moving enthusiasts within our gang, without a speck of doubt; we thought we would miss some of the exciting moments of our life, if we don’t drown ourselves in this pure water. As we slowly went to pose ourselves in front of the cascade, the water ran deep chill into us, as we were almost drowned in it. Had quite a nice play, sprinkling the ice-cold water on other friends. We had enjoyed in the water for almost an hour, and then started our way back, downhill. It was the most tiresome journey, nostalgic, longing for more and more. !!! :)

By the time of finding our way to cab, everyone was damn tired physically, but most refreshed mentally, with solemn peace of mind. Three Cheers to the wonderful organizers.. :):):)

Hope you guys had a small fascinating trip to Coorg, by reading this small work of mine. This was the end of journey of one of the more romantic places in the world.. :):):)

Nostalgic!!! Cheers mate!!! Keep rocking!!! :):):)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

My First Stint as Software Engineer

After bidding adieu to our cherish able memories of college days, one fine day, I got my call letter to join as a "Software Engineer" in a firm, in which I, like everyone else was looking up to, with much expectations, vying to carve a niche for myself.

After all, the transition from college to corporate, was such weird, I should say. Much hyped society to mingle with, thank goodness, the so-called college mates, all of a sudden, seem such intimate guys to hang around with. The intimacy grew by leaps and bounds, day by day, as we spend time, squatting hours together in front of a "man-made machine", brainchild of the homo sapiens, so called computer, so idiotic to be with, (remember the wrath, we get of sitting at labs in college days) yet mandating our companionship, more than a mere friend.

Finally, we have become a Software Engineer - welcome to the world of machine life, where people hardly have time to love others, than to love an idiotic box, the awe of super western culture, in the worst sense, the loss of our tradition. The awe of being paid and being independent to make both ends meet, the move towards westernization, suddenly seemed to have found an exit from our mind, with the same vigour and enthusiasm as it captured our mind, only to make us slaves of ourselves.

"Office politics" would be the first thing to graduate, from a corporate than technical /knowledge stuff. You just came to know, you are no more Mr/Miss/Mrs 'X', rather a mere resource to the people, using peers as machines :).. The person 'X' tends to loses valuable relationships, with a constant complain of 'where's time for this/that?', being so ambitious, aiming for the do's and dont's of their own posterity.

To arrive at a conclusion of "Life is no more the same and easy going as at college", it took nearly some six to seven fortnights, wherein I have prepared myself mentally and physically, to be so-called high-earning 'IT Professional', with a yearning heart and ambitious mind, toying with their future. Just say fate:)

If, anyone disagrees with me, I will just say Hats Off Man, you are damn lucky!! Destiny takes the final call :) Hope to come up with more, in the near future!!!

Cheers mate!!!!!!! Keep rocking!!!! :)