I am a grandma. This year I will turn 77. I have lived in India my entire life and like other women of my generation initially I did not know anything about computers. About 10 years ago I came to know of a centre near my house where they taught computer courses for beginners. I joined the course and it gave me a starting knowledge of how to operate a computer and use programs like word and excel but I was keen to learn more.
I then found out about ‘blogs’ from my grandchildren. As I sometimes write short stories and articles, I decided to start my own blog. It has been a revelation for me, opening new doors as it were. I have now published more than 90 posts!
When Facebook became popular I too started an account. I was amazed to be able to connect with friends from university that I had not seen in 50 years. I realised that if I share my posts with my friends in Facebook I get more readership for my blog. It is also interesting to exchange views, greetings and news in Facebook.
The last decade has brought such a great change in communication and technology and made it possible for women like me who have never worked to learn new skills. For example the website ‘Duolingo’ - I had always wanted to learn French because when I read English novels sometimes I came across French words and phrases which were literally Greek to me! Now I regularly do French lessons on Duolingo and actually enjoy doing them.
As if these were not enough for an old lady, my latest discovery is Codeacademy. Coding is very exciting, learning about strings, booleons, modulos, concatenation and things like that. It is actually like learning a new language! I am now getting into Python and I have learnt a bit of Java as well.
When I get something right and I get a message saying “way to go!” I feel delighted like a child. When the message says ‘syntax error’ in red I try to find out what went wrong. Most of the time it will be a small punctuation mark like a comma, or a colon and when I manage to find and fix it I feel overjoyed. When I get stuck I try again and again till I get it right!
Coding takes me back to my college days when my main subject was maths and I used to love solving problems. It keeps my mind alert. I want to now complete the Python course and then move on to Java. Later on I want to try building something on my own.
Nowadays there is a vast amount of technology available at our fingertips and so much is possible. There are many more opportunities to learn. If I, an elderly woman can do all these things what can all of you, the young girls of today not accomplish?
Balam Sunderasan: Grandma, active blogger, music enthusiast, Indian chef and amateur artist.
Code First: Girls