Tuesday, July 20, 2010


Its a great experience being at IIT Kharagpur. I came here yesterday afternoon(19th). Buses of IIt were waiting for freshers at Kharagpur railway station. We reached the campus and entered in through the main gate. The we went to Hall Management Center(HMC). HMC is an organisation of Iit which decides the Hall of Residence(Hostels) for students and other Hall related things. I was alloted the hall called Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya Hall of residence. I got room in fourth floor of Daulut singh Kotari Block(E). My room mate is from kolkatta.
There are a lot of malayalees around here. Today I met with many. I have got a friend from my nearby place kottarakkara. He is in civil engineering department here. He studied in TKM. There are 3 or 4 more students from kollam district itself. I met with one of the student of my class also student. He is from tamil nadu.
Today there was registration process which consisted of depositing fees (0ny 13 counters for more than 1000 students), verifying documents, creating a ERP login etc. The registration process was in Vikramshila and Thakshila complex. Classes will start tomorrow
Today only I got net connection( settings). I will keep bloging.
I would like to express my hearty congrats to Siddhi and Rakhee for getting first and second ranks. best wishes to all of you.

Friday, June 25, 2010


I have accepted the offer letter from iit kharagpur. I have send rejection of offer email to iit kanpur.
I am going to kharagpur on 17th july. I will be going by shalimar express. My parents are coming along with me. As per schedule, will reach there on 19th by 12 noon. Registration to first semester is on 20th. Classes will start on 20th.

Saturday, June 5, 2010


We (me and father) went to Kanpur on 18th from home. We went to Kollam railway station and went by Kerala express. We were on RAC and were allotted upper and lower births at window side. The journey through Kerala and Tamil Nadu was pleasant even if there were large number of stops. Andhra Pradesh had only a stop at Vijayawada. The journey was through hot areas and the wind blowing into the train was also hot. The journey through Andhra was almost one day long. Later the train passed through Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and finally reached Uttar Pradesh on third day morning. Jhansi was the first stop. Train reached Jhansi by almost 7 am(20 may). We were not aware at that time Kanpur was nearer to Jhansi. We alighted at Agra Cantonment station by 11.30. Gwalior was only station between Jhansi and Agra. We got a ticket for Toofan express which left station by 1 pm. We reached Kanpur central railway station at 8pm. We went to IIT by hiring a prepaid auto-rickshaw. IIT is almost 15km from railway station. I showed the call centre at security post and obtained a pass to enter. We went to Hall of Residence 2 (boy’s hostel 2 of 5). We were offered a room (room no 107) and we were guided to it. Since it was almost 9:15 pm we were advised to go to Hall of Residence 5 and have food (mess at hall 2 was not running. Hall 2 is almost empty and only those for interview were there). We had food and returned back and took rest.

On 21st may I reported to the BSBE complex at 8 am. The complex comprised of BSBE (Biological Science and Bioengineering) Department building, a lecture hall and Faculty building. We were taken to the lecture hall and were seated there. The written test started exactly at 9am and was for 2 hours. The written test consisted of 51 questions. It was of multiple choice types for first 50 and one essay. Each multiple choice question carried 1 mark and wrong answer -0.5 marks. First 10 questions were to test the verbal ability. Two paragraphs were given and 5 questions followed each. The first paragraph was to find a word which has similar meaning. The next was a normal to answer questions followed. But those questions were a bit difficult for me. The next seven questions were common data questions. Data regarding export of a product for different months were given and it was used to find percentage and related quantities. All those were simple to calculate but time consuming (as calculators were not permitted). But I could answer all those questions properly (Even if all the questions of English section were answered, I was not sure about those answers). Next three questions were all logical reasoning type. A paragraph was given and four choices. We have to select the statement which must be true for the paragraph to be true. Next was chemistry section. There were questions regarding isomers, polymers, organic chemistry, etc. All questions of this section were also easy. There were also questions from physics and biology. These questions were also easy. One of the questions was full form of AIDS. There was an essay question (Q 51). There were four choices. We must write essay on any of the four given questions. One was “How CO2 gas causes global warming?” There was another question, “Biocon is a success story in pharmaceutical sector. But these success stories didn’t spread to other cities like IT industries. What would you do to make your venture a success?” The written test finished at 11 am as scheduled. We were informed that results will be announced at 2 pm. After that we went to the BSBE office and applied for TA. Then I went back to hostel and took rest. By 1 pm we went out to food and reached BSBE office by 1.45pm. The list was already displayed there. I was short listed and my interview time was at 5-6pm. We went back and took rest till 4pm and came back to BSBE lobby after a tea by 4.30 pm.

There were two interview boards A and B. My interview was at board B. By 5:10 I my turn came. There were four persons on board. One of them was Pradeep Sinha, Head of BSBE dept. He is specialized in genetics. There was another from Chemical dept, one specialized in developmental biology and one in evolutionary biology. I was asked my name, degree, college and state. They asked me to list out subjects studied for degree. I do mention almost 20 to 25 subjects. He (chemical one) inferred by asking you are from Kerala na? I replied yes. On January 15th 2010 Kerala witnessed a rare event, annular solar eclipse. How does a solar eclipse occur? I answered; when earth moon and sun comes a straight line eclipse occurs. During solar eclipse the moon is in between earth and sun. This prevents the solar radiation from completely reaching the earth and hence we can see moon’s shadow on the sun. I was asked to draw it. He asked how this can happen, sun is larger than moon na? I replied sun is larger than moon but the distance between earth and moon is smaller than distance between moon and sun. Moon is earth’s satellite and hence it is closer to earth than to sun. He was satisfied and he asked about shape of earth orbit (elliptical), inclination of earth’s angle (240). We have summer and winter seasons in a year due to revolution of earth in its elliptical orbit. Why don’t we have two summers a year even if the path is elliptical? The earth is nearer to sun at two stages due to elliptical path, then what might be the reason for occurrence of one summer only. I replied that sun is not at the center of the elliptical path. So the distance between earth and sun is smallest only once and at that time summer occurs. He said that the answer is correct but there is one more reason, any idea? I replied that earth rotates on its inclined axis. He was satisfied as he said that inclination is also responsible for the occurrence of single summer.

Next question was asked by Pradeep sir about my favourite subject. I said preliminary genetics. Pradeep sir said that genetics is his subject but the developmental biologist said no he said preliminary genetics which is mine. Hence he (developmental biologist) started to ask questions. He asked what meiosis is. I replied that it is the process of gamete formation. A single cell splits up into four different cells. The daughter cells are haploid in nature having only half the number of chromosomes than normal cells. The 2n cells splits to four cells each having n chromosomes. In oogenesis how many egg cells are generated in single meiosis? I replied one. Are all four cells produced by meiosis similar? I replied no, the cells are not similar as the two sets of chromosome in 2n condition are from different parents. Also recombination occurs during crossing over process.

Again Pradeep sir started. He asked me can ampicillin resistance be given to cell which doesn’t have gene for resistance. What is that process called? I replied that the gene can be transferred to the cell by recombinant DNA technology. I then explained the process. He then asked have studied about plates and growing of cells in plates? I said yes. He then said I will draw a picture for you. I am not good at drawing. He drew a plate with cells having ampicillin resistance gene and media with ampicillin and labelled as day one. Then he drew similar plate with colonies surrounding the colonies and labelled as day three. He asked what these are. They were satellite colonies. The interview was over with this.

We started our return journey. We reached Kanpur railway station and got train to Jhansi. The Pushpak express left Kanpur at 9:15 pm and reached Jhansi by 2 am. We waited till 1pm to get a train from Jhansi. At 1pm we got H.Nizamudin-Yashvanthpur express and reached Yashvanthpur by next day 8pm. The we came to Bangalore centre and caught Island express which left by 9.45pm.We reached back next day evening


My interview was on 13th may 2010 at GATE OFFICE, IISC Bangalore. My reporting time was at 1:30. The interview was conducted by the interview board B3. There were two interviewers in the panel. They were friendly and welcomed me with a smile. The interview was inside a class room. They occupied the front bench of class room. I was offered a seat at teachers table and chair (there was no platform as in our college). They asked me to submit the call letter and self attested verification form (Both were provided from site to all who were called for interview. It was downloaded on 5th May itself and had it filled by me.).

They asked me the name of college, university and year of degree.

They showed me list on the blue-board (instead of blackboard in our college) asked if they were the subjects we exactly studied. But some subjects were alien to me. I informed that all those subjects were not in our curriculum. The list was written by one candidate who was interviewed by them. So I was asked to write the list of subjects on board. I listed almost 13 subjects instead of the 6 on board and they were impressed by seeing the chemical subjects like CRE we studied. I wrote Biochemistry, Microbiology, Molecular Biology, Enzyme Science and Engineering, Bioprocess, Plant and Animal Cell Technology, Chemical Reaction Engineering, Heat Transfer Operations, Mass Transfer Operations, Process Dynamics and Control, Transport Phenomenon, Mathematics. They interrupted me asking its enough and they were happy with this list.

Next was about my project. They asked what my project was. I said “ANALYSIS OF ENZYME CATALASE”. I continued saying that the enzyme catalase was studied for the kinetic parameters and compared that with enzyme peroxidase. The enzyme was studied to find the optimal conditions like optimum pH, temperature, etc.

One of them said that recently they have heard of tissue regeneration technology, i.e., the use of self tissue instead of artificial materials. How is it possible to replant organs like kidneys? I answered, “Stem cells are used for this. Stem cells are capable of regenerating into complete tissue. These cells are pluripotent and hence they can divide and differentiate into a complete tissue by the reception of correct chemical signals. The stem cells are packed inside a bio-degradable polymer and are placed in place where the tissue is to be regenerated. This can be used in regeneration of tissue or organ to replace the old damaged tissue.” (Thanks to Gayathri mam, I could answer this question only because she mentioned about this during Bioprocess Technology class when she taught about PHBV and Xantham gum biopolymers.)

Can polymers be used for this? Polymers are harmful to human body, hena? I answered “All polymers are not harmful. Only polymer which gets degraded inside our body is used for this purpose”. The second interviewer supported me and said all polymers are not harmful.

You have written there you have undergone a course on Enzyme Science and Technology. What are enzymes? I replied, “Enzymes are biological catalysts that convert substrate to product. They help in reducing the activation energy of reaction. They won’t undergo a change during the process but helps to speed up the reaction”. “Ok, what is the mechanism or governing rule of enzyme reaction?” I replied, “Single substrate reactions are governed by Michaelis-Menton kinetics.”

In your chemical reaction engineering course you have studied of speed of a reaction. What are the factors and governing equations of speed or rate of reaction? I answered, “The speed or rate of a reaction is given by K0e-E/RTCAn. The rate of reaction depends on Temperature, concentration of substrate and order of reaction.”

What did you study under microbiology course? “We studied about the different microorganisms and classification. We studied about the different techniques to isolate pure culture, enumeration of cells in given sample, different staining techniques, microbial genetics, etc.”

Next they noticed about Bioprocess that I have listed among subjects. They asked what exactly is Bio-processing. I answered “The use of living cells for the benefit of humans is called bioprocessing. Bioprocessing includes upstream processing, fermentation technology and downstream processing. The upstream processing part involves the selection of micro-organism, plant or animal cell for the production of required products. Strain improvement is done by recombinant DNA technology. The fermentation part involves the production process inside a bioreactor or fermentor. The reactor is operated under controlled conditions of pH, temperature, dissolved oxygen, etc to provide the necessary conditions needed for product formation. The product is separated and purified by downstream processing.”

What is life? “Life is the external manifestation of sum total of all metabolic activities inside a cell.” Which do you think cell or DNA is the basic unit of life? “Cell is the basic unit of life and DNA or genetic material is the control centre of life. A complete cell is needed for life to exist. DNA controls all processes and activities that is necessary for life.” Are all cells in your skin alive? “All cells in skin are not alive. Some of the cells are dead.”

Have you heard of Millers experiment? “Yes sir. Urey-Miller experiment was performed to prove that life originated from abiotic components.” Ok, explain it. “Miller simulated the atmosphere of early world inside a chamber. To this environment lightning was provided by introducing electric discharges. At the end of experiments he obtained protobiotins which meant that the life can be created by abiogenesis. But the molecules produced were not true life forms but were only protobiotins.”(Thanks to Lageesh sir who taught me biology in plus one and plus two)

The interview was very nice and it was a great experience. The IISC campus was worth visiting but couldn’t roam inside it for long time as security insisted us not to roam inside.