Saturday, March 11, 2006

My tryst with IIM-A

Havent written anything for days and not much is happening except the interviews. So after all the hype and build up finally had my IIM-A gd/pi today.... So here goes:

GD was a case study on two parties. One wanting to build a spiritual gurukul and the other, an educational institute over some disputed land (the case was going on in a court for 40 yrs)... So what should the education ministry's advisor do.....

didnt perform well in the gd.. made about 2/3 interjections... summarized at one point... not much to talk about...

Panel consisted of 3 guys T (Techie), NT (Non Techie) and B (Bearded)

NT calls out my name and I go in

T: Good morning Atish
Me : Good Morning sir
B is browsing my data sheet and looking at my B tech + M tech gpa and seems a bit confused..
Me: Sir, actually I am in the Dual Degree program so i have split up my GPA .. Presently i am in my final sem
B: ok, Tell me atish , a lot of CS Dual students go on to startups . Dont u have any such idea
ME: No sir. i think one should not go for a startup just for the heck of it unless there's a good innovative idea. I do not have such an idea rite now. Its a good option and maybe if i have any idea then may do in but currently i do not feel i am ready
B:Atish, a lot of ur seniors have also set up startups in IIT Delhi as there is a incubation unit ( he knew a lot about IIT Delhi's startups !!).. can u name a few and what they do ?
ME: sir, Kritikal, Elfsys Embedded Solns, Virtual Wire, Genie Networks are a few.. set up by CS and EE seniors. Kritikal works in embedded and vision, genie in networks, elfsys in sensor networks , in fact i did a project with them last year on sensor nets . they develop both the h/w and s/w for it
B: name one prod developed by Kritikal
Me: Sir they have one device to scan the underside of a car to detect bombs. post the parliament attack they did this.
B: ok, what's its exact name
Me: (thinking for a while ) sir, cant seem to recollect it rite now
B: Vehicle underbelly scanner.. (laughs)
ME: (laugh) yes sir
B; what else can it be used for?
Me: sir other security..
B: no, something else
Me : think for a while but cant come up with any ....

T: Ok , do u know who the other Atish Dipankar was?
Me: yes sir, he was the first to spread buddhism in tibet and china in 10th century AD. In fact he was supposed to have crossed the himalayas on foot. He came from what we today know as bengal and his 1000th birth anniversary coincided with my birth year and so i was named after him.
T: ok, so u r from CS rite. What's a hard disk
Me: sir it is a magnetic disk with a cylinder and several disks mounted on it and a read write head. stores data
T: difference from floppy
Me: sir less storage . and floppy has only one disk . no spindle and cylinder.
T: how does the hard disk rotate
Me: sir ....
T: motor:
Me: yes sir a motor
T: what kind
Me: sir a normal motor
T: (laughs) so u mean to say there are 2 types of motors, normal and abnormal
Me: no sir (laugh)
T: have u heard of stepper motor, can it be used here..
Me: sir heard about it but dont know what it is
T: ok u said something about sensor nets. so whats Grid Computing and difference with distributed computing
Me: Sir grid computing is where we can use the computing facilities/ power of some servers/ machines remotely over a network. say some organisation has huge processing capacities and i in a univ can access it.......
T: how does it work
Me: sir uses RPC (remote procedure call)
T: so it would need a robust network. what kind of network would it need
Me: sir low latency, high bandwidth ..
T: more specific:
Me: (i am a bit lost)...blabber something about optical fibres...
T: satellites?
Me: sir may be but is costly
T: no there are so many . talks something about cable operators using them.. a grid of satellites.....See in a univ as it is u people clog the net downloading songs and movies (laughs) ...
Me: (laugh) sir may be it is an option
T: so u talked about sensor nets .. RFID cant we use satellites there and what about network issues there
Me: sir sensor nets are not the same as rfid.. sensor are used primarily for monitoring..
T: ok ok .. but the concept in the same
Me: sir in RFID the connectivity is wireless and the chips would communicate with a base station
T: but the network issues
ME: i talk something about cell phones increasing and clogging the bandwidth ...
T: satellites is a good solution i think...

NT: why is optical fibre better
Me: sir less attenuation than copper wire. uses total internal reflection
NT: give me one disadvantage of optical fibres
Me: hmm.............. cant think on one sir
NT: can it be bent
Me: no sir i think thats the disadv.. cant be bent around obstacles ...will create problems with TIR
NT: ok so i am a completely non tech guy . explain WLL to me
ME: sir it comprises of a closed area where end users have a handset / mobile which talks wirelessly to a base station which caters to the needs of all the end users and may be uses a different freq from other such loops....
NT: what's the "last mile connectivity"
Me: sir this very thing.. bringing the network to the end user from the last base station. coz beyond the BS the network is robust ( could be wireless or even wired)..

NT: ok atish lets' shift gears
(this is the part where it gets really gud for me !!)

NT: u have written in ur form that u are into indian writing in english. so what all authors have u read
Me: Sir, rushdie, amitav ghosh, rohinton mistry ( one book), william darlymple tho he aint an indian but writes about india. and also i have ventured a bit into others like I read this book Kite Runner by Khaled Husseini , the first writer from Afghanistan to write in english ...
NT: what did u like in that
Me: sir i read the Kite runner immediately after reading a rushdie. so whereas rushdie sweeps u off your feet with his word play, language skills , metaphors, husseini uses a very simple language filled with expressions. I mean the book is about redemption.. a guy commiting some sins while in afghanistan, going to US and then coming back to redeem himself... and is full of afghan traditions, history from the soviet invasion to taliban... it's a very poignant novel sir and some parts are fantastic...
NT: u know , Mistry and Ghosh both were from Stephen's. So can u sort of compare them...
Me: sir i have read only one novel of mistry. "A Fine Balance" it would be difficult to compare...hmmmm.. i think mistry pays more details to attention. ( i talk about an incident from the book).. his novel is based in bombay tho he calls it a seaside city in western india...
Ghosh's last novel that i read ( the hungry tide) is based in sunderbans. the other one was Shadow Lines and based in dhaka, kolkata and london.. they both explore the issue of identity crisis.. In hungry tide u have a us born and bred girl coming to india for the first time...
NT: so what is the fine balance in the novel
Me: sir between hope and dispair
NT: do u think it was a fine balance
ME: no sir , to me the dispairs of the 4 main characters of the novel were far greater than the hope that they had...

NT: ok lets change gears again Atish
NT: so u play the guitar... do u know vishwa mohan bhatt
ME: yes sir, i have even seen him perform in IIT
NT; what does he play .. he did something to the guitar ...
ME: he plays the Mohan veena, he invented this instrument.. He attached strings underneath the normal six strings of a hawaiian guitar which resonate with the above strings...
NT: whats the diff b/w hawaiian and spanish guitar
ME: sir spnish is played with the fingers and hawaiian is played with an iron /steel rod since there is a bridge at the end of the fret board
NT: u also play the tabla.....asks some term.. do u know this
Me: no sir i havent heard about it. may be the terminology is different
NT: do u know what "Nad" is
ME: sir heard about it but do not know
NT: so what do u play(taals in tabla)
Me ; sir mostly roopak, dadra, teental, keherwa. we had a fusion band in IIT .
NT: what did u fuse
ME: sir we had a guitar, base guitar, violin, drums, a mohan veena player coincidentally, vocalist.. we composed tunes in some rags and then had a alaap, a basic composition , fused it with base and elec guitar, then jugalbandi b/w drums and tabla , taan by the vocalist ....

and then suddenly he asks the other if they have any questions to which they say no and the interview abruptly ends...

NT: That's it Atish. Thank u. Take a sweet