Been asked to describe my views as a foreign student coming into Manipal for the first time. How does it feel, what works and what doesn’t? Might as well start from the time you enter this part of the world. Which for me happened about 5 years back or so.
What is the first thought that enters when you come out of the airport into Manipal? I had forgotten that, till my brother walked out of the airport a couple months back and exclaimed, “Holy F$#% that’s a lot of green!”
What else strikes? The language that seems as far away from normal for most of us North Indians coming from the west. It might as well have been Greek or Latin. Don’t really think we’d have known the difference. Everyone talking to each other in your presence in a language they know and you don’t know and can’t understand. Not a nice feeling but something you’ll get used to, soon enough. Better yet when the look at you, make eye contact laugh and continue in Kannada.
Finally getting into a cab to get to Manipal. Your feelings range from OMG that’s beautiful on looking at the scenery to ‘Holy F^&* I’m going to die!’ in the twisted roads that lead out of the airport. The single lane roads which have two vehicles including busses overtaking you on blind turns, bridges that come out of no where and are barely wide enough to let one car pass. The driver tells you stories of crashes for fun. What you also notice on people is two things …hair EVERYWHERE (my driver had huge strands coming out of his ears….), no concept of shaving including the ladies.
But the one thing that stands above all? Body Odour. Deodorant has yet to be introduced in this world perhaps? Seriously some of these need to get some deodorant. I could write some pretty colorful things here, but hopefully I’ve made my point. This alone could probably take up a full post (which it just might one of these days) but I’ll leave it here for now.
You’ll notice the gorgeous scenery just long enough to forget for a few min the bumps in the road, the constant and incessant honking. Finally getting to town. If I told you that the distance from Mangalore to Manipal is about 60 km, you’ll automatically assume 30 – 40 min max. You’ll be in for little shock. It takes minimum about an hour and half to cover that distance. Reasons? The roads, slow speeds, constant braking, cows / pigs coming in the way. Cows by the way I consider them the queens of the Indian roads, the Kings being the buses. Don’t mess with either one. Nothing will happen to them, everything will happen to you.
Oh how can I forget? You’ll notice idiots who cross the road without looking either way. Almost crashing into you and possibly causing you to veer off road. They’ll come in front of you (on a highway no less) raise their hand at you, telling you to stop in the middle of road going at 60km/hr. so that they can cross the road. I haven’t even gone into douche bags on the roads that go the wrong way on a highway. Best of all..all of this is expected which you’ll get to realize as you go along.
An hour and half later you pull into Manipal. It looks something like the posters or advertisements but nothing special or as extravagant as they make it seem. You’ll manage to find the Manipal.edu building and hopefully you didn’t’ come on a Sunday or during their break and there will be someone there to guide you.
Then we don’t know what to eat or where to order from. I found a flyer for Domino’s somewhere an was like FINALLY! Something I can relate to…ordered a pizza, this came…
Pizza from Hell? O Yeah!!
Decided never to order from Domino’s again…Yea that would be the first couple days for sure.