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.
Ha ha !! Nice one Kanwar! Never thought of all those things, "Being local"!!
Ah, you are absolutely right about deodorants and antiperspirants. About the high ways! I was in for a shock when we took a trip to Madhura last year and I saw heavy vehicles including Lorries coming opposite to our vehicle that too at night!! Even in day time it is scary, so think about on a high way when you are speeding away there appears a big vehicle out of the blue right in front you, sometimes with one headlight or even better no lights at all! Still we are all managing somehow and are alive today to tell these stories:).YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY:)
Ah Meera..I've seen more black hair covered arms on ladies in Manipal then I would ever ever want to see (no wait…I NEVER want to see that but have been forced to notice ALL the time) .. what a horrible sight!
I guess at this point we've all learned to survive an manage somehow!
Drivers in this region,right from auto-drivers to citybus walas, are very agile when it comes to driving.I don't think too many accidents happen in here.Initially,you get scared sitting in autos or riding a bike on road,but gradually,you get used to it.
@Anonymous: Those assholes are not agile. They are rash. Formula F1 Drivers are agile. let's not disrespect them and put them in the trash by putting the city bus and auto drivers in the same category. It's not getting used to their rash driving, it's that there is no choice. To get from point A to point B you do what you have which includes crushing pedestrian 1, driving over sidewalks, honking like you've got ADD and just need to and perhaps just perhaps you'll get there, cuz doing the normal courtesy style of driving in other parts of the world you'll just stay in your building. Drunk driving, useless (inefficient would surmount to some efficiency) law enforcement for the rudimentary rules are what does this. An for the end if these people were as "agile" as you put it we wouldn't be number one in the world for the highest number of road traffic accidents now would we. Do a google search and maybe you'll realize. Agile. lol