"I still remember the interview which began at 4am. The written test, a day before, continued late into the night, and I couldn't catch a wink," an elated Vatsalya told TOI over phone from Kharagpur.
In fact, Vatsalya had almost missed the IIT bus.
"I went to Kota in 2009, but, midway through the preparations, I lost interest in engineering. I started reading books on mathematics and physics and wanted to write a book myself. But, when I took my first attempt at JEE in 2011 half-heartedly, I realized I had made a mistake by not studying seriously," he said, and added that one of his mentors, Vishal Joshi, was instrumental in helping him prepare by staying at Kota for another year.
While Vatsalya had cleared JEE in his first attempt, his rank was not good and it was in his second attempt in 2012 that he cleared JEE with an All India Rank 382.
"That year, I was also the Bihar topper in AIEEE," says Vatsalya who completed his schooling from government schools in Khagaria and Begusarai.Eldest among six siblings, 21-year-old Vatsalya will join Microsoft in October 2016 as a software engineer at Redmond in the US. His mother Renu Deviis a homemaker.
"We had taken a loan for his higher studies and we are extremely happy that he has made it so big. One of his brothers is preparing for engineering while a sister is preparing for medical entrance exam at present," Vatsalya's father Chandrakant Singh told TOI. Asked about any advice for aspiring engineers, Vatsalya said, "The good thing is that the syllabus is limited. It only requires methodical study."
Vatsalya also said the study materials provided by coaching institutes in Kota were better than in Patna, despite the cost of tuitions being almost same in both the places. He added that anyone who wants to contact him for any guidance is welcome to do so through Facebook, e-mail or phone.
"I really like teaching and am ready to help anyone who wants to learn," he said.