IIIT-B, My Alma Mater

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It says it all !

Two years have passed ! Yes, two awesome years 🙂 It seems like yesterday when i had applied for masters at IIIT-B. It seemed to be perfect to me in every way. The news of being shortlisted for interviews … The preparation for interview … And then my first visit to Bangalore, which became my favourite since day one and then IIIT-B ! The campus just wooed my heart. It is a small cozy place. I distinctly remember sitting for my turn for the admission interviews and looking outside of the windows to the huge trees which lined the entrance, that’s when i had thought that i just want to be in this place. Interviews were good and i had a nice quick trip. And then the acceptance letter sent me on cloud nine 🙂 I was sooo happy !

Our Main Block

Our Main Block

Joined IIIT-B on July 13th, 2012. Met people from all over India. Its always a bit difficult for me to make  friends, however somehow we just all got together ! I had the coolest gang of gals here 🙂 Initially everything felt a bit new, somewhat different. But since i have already stayed in hostel during my undergrad days, i could gel in soon. New place, new friends, new weather, new food, new languages and thus overall a new life 🙂

Initially for around one and half months we had prep semester, where we studied the basics and got ourselves adjusted to the new life. I still remember the Linux installations and system crashes 😛 The seniors were all very helping and ready to guide their “juniors”. Our 2nd floor hostel corridors used to be packed sometimes when we all were listening to seniors’ advice. It was just the beginning of the life ahead. During this time, learnt and practiced basic programming and mathematics.

Very soon it was time to begin the first semester. The SAC elections, the campaigning both online and off-line. The freshers party! And then the serious stuff started. Four subjects, random project team allocations, whole night project meetings, coding, numerous demos and vivas by TAs, quizzes, mid-sem and finals. Sometimes it all seemed too difficult. But then we had seniors as our inspiration. They had been through this and so we felt that we could do it as well !

But it was not all that hard ! There was always preparation going on for some festival. Had a great time celebrating so many Indian festival with friends from all over India. Enjoyed the matki-fod Janamashtami, awesome Diwali with firecrackers, beautiful flower rangolis on Onam, one day Ganesh puja, Republic day and Independence day and many more. These special events added spice in daily life and made it more colorful. And then there were Ravali calls every now and then on birthdays 😉

Second semester started and it was time to choose the specialization. Time to choose two electives. Time to be part of a lab. For some it was easy, while for others it was very difficult to choose. However very soon things fell into place. Everyone was busy again doing some awesome projects in courses and labs. Second semester is awesome for two reasons:  SPANDAN – It is the time for all IIIT-B students and alumni to meet and enjoy playing and watching sports for three days. You ask any IIITBian and they will say that Spandan is perhaps the best time and it seems as though we are in a different world altogether ! And the second special event of the second semester is Open House. This is the time when we present our work to the outside world. Had a great time giving demos and presentations and got some amazing feedback and suggestions. And then very soon, again its time for final project submissions, demos and exams.

Then we had a mini semester called the summer sem. During this time, we studied some management lessons and technical communication. Being tech guys, management lessons were somewhat difficult for us to grasp initially. Had a great time in TC presentations, movie and book reviews and most of all the Mad-ads 🙂 Our group’s product was an umbrella, and i must say it was a really cool multipurpose umbrella 😉

Third semester started and it was time to be ready for placements! Oh those days! It was difficult to handle both studies and placements. Those group studies. Those intense problem solving sessions. Karumanchi, the hottest book on campus during placements. It was so much in demand that it was out of stock on every online portal. Some amazing KSMs by our classmates. It was all very stressful but finally worth it ! The placement week. The written rounds. The coding rounds. A few rejections … This is the time when “real friends” supported and motivated. And then sweet success 🙂

At IIIT-B, one does regular coursework+projects for three semesters and the last semester is for either internship or thesis. In these three semesters i studied some amazing subjects, taught by some of the most awesome profs i have ever met. They were always there to guide and support and to clarify doubts if any. I was a member of OSL lab and got to do some cool projects. Experienced some fantastic unconventional ways of teaching and learning. The projects taught us to get our hands dirty, work on some real problems and to work in teams and manage the group. Overall it was awesome experience.

In my final semester, i choose to do thesis as i was highly interested in an area and had an amazing Prof. as my guide. And i am very proud to say that it has been one of the best decision of my life. These six months have been perhaps the best days of my life till now. I have never been so happy 🙂 I did some cool experiments and simulations. Had numerous brain storming sessions and discussions to crystallize the ideas and generate appropriate results. Time just flew when i did my work. It was not work but play for me, as i enjoyed doing it. During this time, I realized that sometimes, its difficult to understand the implications of one’s own work! In such scenario, one needs a guide who has wisdom to see the bigger picture and who can connect the dots. I also understood that academic writing is very different from regular writing. It needs to be a lot more diligent and precise.  This semester showed me my area of interest, my potential and what all i can do ahead ! Also i have completed a full circle at IIIT-B. Gave my M.Tech thesis defense in the same classroom where i waited for my turn for admission interview!

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View from my window 🙂

Some random pointers of IIIT-B – the green lawns, the mini pond, ducks and rabbits, lots of squirrels, the orange tree (African tulip tree) in front of my window, awesome independent room, MCR, smart boards, colorful canteen, mid-night Maggie, sandwiches and fruit juice, walks around the campus, small terrace on the 2nd floor, the musical fountain, the basketball court, table-tennis games, Spic Macay programs, Philosophy Club meetings, Movie sessions, i guess i can go on and on 🙂  There are so many things that flash in my mind when i think of IIIT-B.

And now time ticks by. Earlier i used to wait for the convocation day but now i want time to slow down … Very soon it will be time to throw the graduation caps high in the sky. To be there, together,  for the group pic. And then to wave good byes. I know its going to be difficult. Very difficult. IIIT-B has been like heaven for me. I have realized my potential here. I have understood what i am capable of doing. I am ready to face life ahead. It gave me some close friends for lifetime. It showed me, my area of interest for which my brain jumps with excitement and interest. I was lucky to study and work under the guidance of some of the most amazing profs here who are experts in their field. IIIT-B thanks for making me what i am today ! When i see myself now and myself two years earlier, i can clearly see a transformed myself. Adieu to MT2012 batch ! Had a great time with all of you. Its the memories which will be cherished forever ! And finally, IIIT-B, my Alma mater, thanks for everything.

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Batch of 2012

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IIIT-B made us and we made IIIT-B 🙂

 

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2013 Review

2013 has been a wonderful year for me. Now when i look back, i feel as if it just zoomed away. I learnt new lessons, met new people, increased my friends circle. Some of major highlights of the year 2013 which i can recall are as follows –

  • It has been a year of learning. 2013 was the last year when i studied formal courses of M.Tech at IIIT-B.  Learnt many new and interesting concepts. Some of them actually left me amazed ! Worked with many Profs. Did some interesting projects. Gave the last exam !
  • Took the decision of doing thesis instead of internship in the final semester of M.Tech. It has been one of the best decision i have made. I am enjoying every moment of the work i am doing. This is the most amazing work i have ever done ! Hope to get some new and interesting results. Looking forward to the next six months of research. I have realized that doing what we love, can give us maximum happiness, maximum satisfaction.
  • A year of firsts – I did many things for the first time in 2013. Tried new things, had new experiences. The ones that i can recall now are as follows – Watched the first 3D movie (Frozen, it was amazing !), attended the first conference, published the first paper, presented first poster (at Open House), first time went on a tour without parents, first birthday away from home (but also one of the best), first time traveled in a metro, got my first job …
  • I gave the best gift to my parents on their 25th marriage anniversary, a “Gold Medal” for being first in B.E. in the Computer Engineering department of Gujarat Technological University (GTU). The best thing was that my convocation was on their anniversary day (19th Jan). Mom and Dad, I am proud to be your daughter. It is because of you both, i am, what i am today 🙂 I know thanks is too small a word but still, thanks a lot for everything !!!
  • Increased my friends circle. Our gang of girls increased from 5 to 7. It has been a great support system. A family away from home. These are people whom you can call even at 2 AM to talk. I will miss our long mid-night walks and then sandwiches + fruit juice in canteen, our shopping trips, our study sessions together, our meals in canteen. Thanks a lot guys for being there ! Lets all be friends forever 🙂 This year brought us all closer and bonded us even better. I also realized that it can be very difficult to wave goodbye to your close friends.
  • This was the year when most of the festivals were celebrated away from home. Be it lighting up the hostel on Diwali, or the colorful fun with colors on Holi or the beautiful flower rangoli on Onam or the most awaited three-day long Spandan-The Sports Fest at IIIT-B or the ethnic day celebrations. Celebrating festivals can be fun with friends.
  • I have always believed that its better to be alone than to be with people who don’t match your values and ethics. I have been an introvert in some ways, and never initiated conversations with strangers for example while travelling or at other public places. Thus i have a small close-knit friend circle of a few close friends. I have always enjoyed my own company and hence i can say with full confidence that being alone can be also be fun ! However, this year i have also realized that making friends can be easy if the wavelength of the other person matches yours.
  • This has been a musical year for me. Thanks to the SpicMacay events at IIIT-B, other performances and lots and lots of YouTube musical videos, it has been an enchanting and euphonious year. I am planning to learn a new musical instrument next year. I will update about it later. Music is food for soul. It has the magical power to transcend us to a new different world. Music can refresh the brain even after a long and tiring day.
  • This year for the first time a visited a home for physically and mentally challenged girl child, Swanthana. All i can say is that, i was completely moved. Our problems, our setbacks, our challenges, our sorrows are nothing, yes believe me NOTHING once you see their life. But still they SMILE (and it can bring tears in anyone’s eyes). To read my full experience, click here.

I am looking forward to 2014. I hope it is a great year full of new ideas, new experiences, new lessons, new friends and new learning. Wishing all of you a very happy and prosperous new year 2014 ! May all your dreams come true. May you get all that you deserve and more !

Interview Experience at IIIT Bangalore

Edit – I have graduated from IIIT-B. You can find my IIIT-B journey experience here – IIIT-B, My Alma Mater.

My interview for the MTech at IIIT-B was scheduled on May 03rd, 2012. It was mentioned in the call letter to report at the institute by 9AM. So I along with my Dad started early and reached the institute at 8AM. I was given a gate pass at the entrance. The institute is so beautiful. It is surrounded by trees and there is greenery all around. IIIT-B was my first preference to do MTech and after the first glance of the college my decision felt even more correct. Here are a few pics…

Since we reached somewhat early we were told to wait in the campus. Some other students had also arrived with their parents. At 8:30 AM we were called one by one and given the check list for the day. In the check list there were four rows stating Things to be done – receiving check list, biometric test, document verification and interview. After completing each stage we had to get our checklist signed. So my first stage was over in a moment :).

Next I was told to go to room number 160 for biometric test. We were told to sit as per our registration numbers and wait. There were two sections one for people who had got Gate waiver and the other for those who had come through the entrance exam. In the beginning they were calling us one by one. But then they started calling randomly. In the meantime a person came from a bank and told about easy loan schemes for students. Finally my turn came at 10:30 AM. In the biometric test they took a photo and scanned the index finger of both hands. Stage two over :).

Now I had to report to room 133 for document verification. My documents were all ready. I just arranged them in the given order and again waited for my turn. There were also facilities for students to get their documents photo copied if they didn’t have it. My documents were verified. Stage three over :).

The volunteers there said that my turn would come in half an hour so I could take a break. So I waited there and revised my presentation in my mind. I was hungry so my Dad suggested that we should go to the canteen. We went to then canteen and also had a better look at the campus. Some students like me were also there having snacks. We ordered samosas, veg puff and cold drinks. It was tasty. Now I was feeling much better with something in my stomach.

Again I was back in room 133. I interacted with some volunteers. I got to know a lot of interesting stuff about the college. I asked him so many things but I forgot to ask his name :D. At this point I would like to add that the volunteers were very helping and friendly. They will help and guide you in the best possible way and answer all your queries. Finally my name was announced and that my turn would come soon. I was told to move to the holding area where i was told to sit and wait for my turn for the interview.

There were around 7-8 cabins where the interviews were being conducted. I was both excited as well as a bit stressed. A Sir called my name. I had butterflies in my stomach :). That Sir gave my form to my interviewer and moved out. Finally my interview started …

Firstly I was asked to introduce myself in about 2 mins. Sir listened very attentively and asked a few questions in between. Then he gave a short introduction about himself to make me more comfortable (a very good attempt on his part to make the interview easy for me :)). He asked if this was my best Gate score. He asked about my favorite subjects. Next he asked me to give the presentation. At this point he told me beforehand that he would stop me as soon as he got the inputs since there was limited time, so there should be no feelings of disrespect (another superb gesture on his part!). So i gave my presentation, and after about 3 mins he stopped me. I was a bit nervous as i had only given the introduction of my topic. He told me that my presentation and communication  skills were good. Next he asked me why i didn’t join TCS. Also to name a few companies i would like to work with in future. In the end he asked me if i had any queries. I asked a few questions and he gave its answers. With this my interview was over. Stage 4 which was the most tricky stage was complete 🙂 !!!

My interview was superb and went fine. I was sooooo happy! We had lunch at the college canteen which was OK. Next we roamed about in the campus which was simply awesome. Here i would like to mention that there is a small pond with some ducks. Oh ! it was so scenic. I just wanted to join this institute now :)!

Finally the good news came on May 14th, 2012 that i had been selected ! I was very very happy ! Out of 751 people who were interviewed, 150 were selected and i was one of them 🙂 I had always dreamt of this day. After visiting IIIT-B i had a strong urge to be its part. At this point i realized that if we strongly want something and dream about it day and night and also put in the required efforts, then the whole universe helps us in fulfilling our dream 🙂 (I know that it is a dialog of a movie but anyway this is the first time i realized that it is true :)).

Campus Tour of IIIT-B

PS 1 – Today i am sitting and blogging from train and will reach IIIT-Bangalore on July 13th, 2012  to join the institute. Yippee 😀
PS 2 – You can read my journey to IIIT-B for interview here – My First Flight Experience
PS 3 – I have closed comments as i have answered almost all the queries related to this topic. Please go through the queries and my replies in the  comments section and with a 95% probability, you will get an answer of your question as well. Admission is on the basis of Gate score. There is no way i can predict whether you will get admission on the basis of your score. Just see last year’s cutoff and hope for the best. Best of luck !

Hostel Life

My Second Home ...

We can learn a lot of things by staying in a hostel. We become more responsible and independent. Hostel life changes our way of life and also makes us more mature.

So here i present 10 lessons which i have learnt during my “Hostel Life” –

  1. To adjust with people. Each and every person is different with different attitude and ideas. So one learns to understand others feelings.
  2. To be independent. All my needs are to be fulfilled by me. So no more calling mom for snacks or something. If i need it, i have to get it.
  3. Traveling alone. I have learned to travel by myself and i enjoy it !
  4. To follow my own timetable. I can get up when i want, eat what i want, study when i want, sleep when i want and do what i want. I am my master.
  5. I have understood the difference between right and wrong. I am fully responsible for my decisions. So no blame game !
  6. To adjust with any kind of food. So now home cooked meals are a luxury.
  7. Enjoy life with friends. Friends and room mates are constant companions. So life becomes much more fun!
  8. To sleep with the lights ON !
  9. To lead a happy life without TV. Anyways i was never addicted to it. No TV No Time waste !
  10. To adapt and to adjust. To let go a few things for the sake of others happiness 🙂