The MTech classes in IIT, Madras started from 19th July. I was late by a week because of my sickness. I was allotted a hostel called Alakananda. It was the usual practice of the institute to put the students of a particular class in the same hostel, as far as possible. Almost all of my class-mates were in a hostel called Tapti. I was the lone flag bearer for my class in that remotest corner of the campus. As I was from Assam, I also felt out of place for various reasons.
My first class in IIT, Madras was a nightmare. It was on a subject called Reactor Theory. Our BE syllabus did not have a full paper of Reaction Engineering. It was only a part of a subject called Thermodynamics and kinetics. Only two questions were used to be asked from that topic and one can easily ignore that part of the subject, which I also did since there were plenty of choices in the question paper. So, practically I had no knowledge on reaction engineering. Reactor Theory was a subject of a higher level and without basic knowledge it is impossible to understand a single concept of the subject.
The teacher was a very well known professor who came to teach us the subject as a visiting faculty. What he spoke in the class was all Greek to me. After the class was over, he distributed an assignment sheet. It contained about ten problems to be solved and to be submitted within a week. I just glanced through the sheet and there was another great shock waiting for me there. Most of the problems dealt with a mathematical concept involving DELTA FUNCTION, a term I had never heard before in my life. I felt terribly depressed and didn’t know what to do. I knew no one from among my class-mates who could help me out to understand some related concepts.
I had no time to lose. I started searching for books in the library desperately.. I had to learn the basics of the subject, then the topic itself and then the mathematical concept called delta function and its application and finally I must solve the problem using all these concepts. I started spending all my spare time reading in the library.. It was a race against time..
About four days passed in the process.. I was doing some progress but Delta Function was still haunting me.
On that fateful day, I headed towards the library after my dinner with a disturbed mind. I took few books from the rack in the reference section and sat down to study at an empty cubicle .slowly but steadily the mystery called Delta Function started unfolding… things started getting clearer and clearer…I gained some confidence to try solving the problem using the concept of Delta Function..I tried and after few attempts , suddenly the problems started appearing simpler to me and with some more effort I could solve them one by one…withing an hour or so, I could solve all of them.
I was so excited that I felt like shouting then and there.. I looked at my watch. It was exactly 12 midnight..I congratulated myself.
All of a sudden I remembered the book I had read few years ago.. FREEDOM AT MIDNIGHT..the whole expression had a new meaning to me.. since it was my Freedom at Midnight in Chennai..
I never looked back after that hard earned freedom..