Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Fun at Viva Voce

It is always good to be on the other side asking questions during a viva voce. I did a viva voce to juniors of my undergraduate class. Even for some simple question the answers the student gives may some times turn out to be hilarious. Here is one such incident that happened in that particular class.
Typically I start the viva voce with a simple question. So for this student he came to me for viva voce after determining the chloride content in some water sample. Here is a conversation between me and student.
Me: So you did chloride analysis, right?
Student:  Yes Sir.
Me: So give me the name of a compound that you use or see every day that has chloride in it.
Student: Sir, I don’t know.
Me: Think… it is a very simple answer.
Student: (after thinking for few seconds) Sir, I don’t know the answer.
Me: OK, I will help you tell the answer. You have to tell this answer.
Student: OK sir
Me: You knowingly or unknowingly use it at least three to four times a day.
Student: Is it cell phone?
(When I heard this answer I should have stopped then and there but I continued giving him more clues. A lesson learnt)
Me: NO, Let me try this… what did you have for breakfast?
Student: Dosa
Me: What are the ingredients in Dosa?
Student: Rice flour and oil.
Me: Anything else?
Student: No sir.
Me: What do you have for lunch today?
Student: Chicken biriyani and fish fry
Me: What is common in dosa, chicken biriyani and fish fry?
Student: Oil
Me: Ok agreed, oil is common… what else is common?
Student: ONLY oil is common sir
Me: Leave it.. Answer this… How do you make a tea?
Student: Use water, milk and tea powder.
Me: What else do you typically add?
Student: Sugar
Me: Like sugar what do you add in curries?
Student: Salt
Me: Good, finally we are reaching somewhere. So what is the scientific name of salt?
Student: TATA Salt
Student: That is what my mother buys every time in my house. I am the one who buys grocery in my house.
Me: :():():():():():():()
It took me couple of minutes to regain my composure. That student was dead serious and I did not know how to react. I left that question there and started asking him another question.
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Blogger Karthikeyan said...

This is hilarious, yet so sad....I was reading while in a meeting and smiling in the conference room. Everyone else was thinking i was finding the meeting amusing :)...we all have our days.

November 10, 2010 6:30 PM  
Blogger Soumyaranjan Dash said...

oh.. so.. lmao really! i think, that student of yours has played with you like a 6-yrs-old. anyway, i wasn't there &so.. i just perceived this.

November 10, 2010 8:09 PM  
Blogger Prasanna said...

Yup...absolutely hilarious.

"what is the scientific name of salt?
Student: TATA Salt"- this had me in splits.

Good luck with your future viva-voce sessions :p.

November 10, 2010 8:37 PM  
Anonymous thiru said...

That was hilarious...Besides Tata gets a pat for becoming a household brand for salt.
"Salttunna Tata, Tata Salttu!!!"
(Just a caption for their ad they can use!!!)

November 10, 2010 9:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can't believe you decided to give your student "clues". I am hoping he was kidding and this viva voce was just part of a weekly lab exercise.


November 11, 2010 8:57 PM  
Anonymous shyam said...

The "tata salt" answer is not believable.
You made that up. Didn't you?

November 12, 2010 9:16 AM  
Blogger Brijesh Nair said...

Karthik, Prasanna
Soumyaranjan Dash, gs
Student was serious
If I had this creativity I could have been doing some other job!

November 13, 2010 7:45 AM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

Wow.. I admit you had me too! Duh me! But TATA salt.. that's a great one.. I mean if he had actually given the right answer you'd probably not have a blog post now! But poor student.. Hope he doesn't read your blog!! this an example of trying to induce independant thinking?? You may as well have spoon fed him TATA salt :)

November 15, 2010 1:01 AM  
Blogger Andrew Brice said...

This isn't very zen of me to suggest, but are you allowed to bludgeon the insolent and ignorant?

I kid, but, Jesus, Tata Salt?!?

November 16, 2010 1:11 AM  
Blogger Balu Krishnan said...

Hahaha.. interesting.. Sad to say that majority of students who come for scientific education are not fit for it. This is more lack of common sense than science itself though.

November 17, 2010 5:26 AM  
Anonymous Financial Services said...

Yup...absolutely Uproarious....
Good session....

November 18, 2010 7:02 AM  
Blogger Jennifer Kumar, CC, LMSW, Cross-Cultural Coach said...

Balu.. I would argue that a majority of people fit into this category regardless of field. How many people are really passionate about their field and take it a step further by thinking about it in a curious way to improve their approach and the field itself?

November 28, 2010 3:20 PM  
Blogger Balu Krishnan said...

@Jeniffer : Yes true. I was just referring to Science alone, but it is well applicable to other fields also. Its all about passion. And when passion drives u more than financial benefits, you have a good scientist/artist/professional etc.

November 30, 2010 1:00 AM  

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