The Black Hole of Manipal

I thought I’d take this moment to explain exactly how Manipal works, especially for the newcomers to this town. While some may think Manipal is simply a rather small town, like any other, it is actually something of a natural phenomenon. A town that appears normal at first glance but secretely holds the power to suck anyone in who stays longer than six months, or three months if those months happen to be at the fag end of the rainy season. The Black Hole power is especially strong August-October.

Very rarely does anyone (my parents are the exception) say “I want to live in Manipal forever.” Most of us claim we will only be here till we finish our courses as a stop on our journey to bigger and better places, where the weather stays between 20 degrees and 30 degrees longer than 4 days a year. Four longer years ago I too made this claim that I would only be here for 3 years max. And now here I am. I have many friends (some in denial) who have uttered these same words only to look around 4, 8, 10 years later still here. My boss is actually one of those people, from Mumbai, the capital of all snobby, West Coast, “I’m better than you” places and he moved here well over a decade ago and just bought a house. He still claims to be a Mumbaikar but to anyone who knows him, he’s pretty Manipal at heart.

So to anyone who’s ever uttered the stereotypical “only for my college life” sentence about Manipal, my message is simply that Manipal has a power of its own. One that’s indescribable, and resistant to all forces. Why else would so many people from across the country remain here for years at a time? A town where there are mountains, oceans and seriously beautiful outdoor scenic locales for miles. A town where it rains for almost 6 months a year and then is followed by sweating all summer. But there’s just something about this place. Even those who leave, usually end up visiting it ever so often. So be careful what you say, never underestimate the power of Manipal. Grad school is never just grad school.