13- 7- 2008
I had my first round of counselling at 2pm. We planned to leave a bit early as it was our first visit and I could get an idea that Manipal University was spread out in acres and it would be difficult to find out places there. We took a city bus and reached the Tiger Circle bus stop. It was a 20 min ride and Manipal was situated at a greater altitude than Udupi. There was difference of ages between the two places. Udupi was in the Stone Age while Manipal had been developed very well. (That was what the local people there said). Manipal was cool to look at. The hostel buildings could be seen on the left as we moved towards the college.
I stood up to leave when the conducted nudged me with his elbow and said, “ Tisss.. tissss..” I didn’t like the gesture in the first place and then I couldn’t understand what he was trying to say. I was taken aback first, I thought why must he be talking of TISS, it is in Mumbai (well just kidding)? This was the first thought that came to my mind. After having survived in places where I could understand the local language that is Hindi, Tamil and Bengali I was having a tough time with Kannada. My dad was managing with Tamil but I was confused as to which language I must use. Either I must speak in Hindi or in Tamil or in the sign language. Sign language worked in such cases when one is not able to understand what the other person is trying to say. I looked quizzically at the conductor. He showed me the tickets in his hand and asked in action if I had taken the ticket. Ah…..while getting down he was asking me that. Well, I showed him mine and got down. I was not feeling good. All that I had heard all this while was songs and conversations in Kannada and I didn’t know a single word of it. I was remembering my north Indian friends then, they would have also felt the same when they were in VIT. It was in our company that they learnt Tamil. At that moment I seriously needed someone who could teach me Kannada.
We got down and went inside the building just in front of the bus stop. Near the stop there was a pale yellow coloured old building with old fashioned windows and it read, Kasturba Medical College. Then I took a deep breath and looked at it again. Possibly I would be studying there. Dad walked ahead and I was walking behind slowly, observing the place and the people. In fact if someone noticed my facial expressions then they would know I was new to the place. Dad turned around and called me, “Seekram va, approma pakkalam.”(Come fast, you can see all that later). My dad was always hyperactive; I think that is why I had in my blood too. There was 1 hour more and we were in our destination but still hadn’t reached the counselling hall. Now it was time for me to ask the people for the way. Many students came and I asked them the way to the counselling hall. They looked liked first years and as I had thought they didn’t know where the counselling hall was. Then I found some girls who were first year Nursing students and they helped us to move out of that place and reach the main building. It was another 1 km walk. I could see the huge (seriously it was huge) Main Building which was on the prospectus covers. The first impression one could get was: It doesn’t seem like a college’s administrative building but like a MNC with the grayish – black tinted glass with manipal.edu reflecting from it in when the sun rays fell on it. It looked beautiful .Well, before that, there was a food court, it was having 4 floors, fully air conditioned and it looked quite good. One, like the food courts in the shopping malls. We were at the entrance next and I was searching my name on the notice board. I got mine but to my dismay there were three more with rank 75 as mine. I looked again and there were many ranks which had been secured by 3-4 candidates. I actually didn’t have much chance today for Medical Biotechnology as there were only 21 seats. It was possible only if I had been somewhere below 50 but mine was 75. Still, there was a kind of relaxation in mind that I had a better chance the next day. There was big fountain in front of the main building.
My comparisons started. Was it like my VIT? Did I get the same warmth when I entered here? There was one thing common here, the fountain and as one entered there were flags of different countries and in VIT we had the different clocks showing the time of the main countries. This showed that both places had a cosmopolitan crowd. This main building was certainly spooky as there was pin drop silence in the waiting hall. May be it was Sunday and there were only those who had come for the counselling. We sat in a sofa and waited. I looked at people and the kind of students. The whole time, I didn’t speak a word to my dad. He was also quiet and I knew he had a question in his mind that why was I so quiet. It was obvious as my mind was already preoccupied with innumerous thoughts. I was actually listening to the conversation that was going on between 2 girls sitting right in front of me. They looked, hep, the chill out kind and after sometime I realized that they would certainly be from this college because of the confidence with which they spoke. I tried to speak to them and got some idea about the conversation.
One of them asked me, “You are from which college?”
I proudly said in an authoritative tone, “VIT.”
The moment I said this, her expression changed and I felt like just moving out from there.
I asked her, “Why, what happened, what’s wrong?”
She said, “Oh, how do you study there? There are so many students in one batch. I had joined VIT and I was there for some days and then I left.”
“Oh, I see,” I said biting my teeth.
Well, it was the truth what she said but what she spoke later made me angry.
She said, “We never had so much of crowd even in B.Sc here. We had a beautiful lab.”
Well, everyone will boast about their college and those girls looked like that. At least I would not do this way unless it was genuine.
I asked her, “Then why did you join VIT? You got such a good rank here then you could have just thought of joining here again.”
She was speechless for a moment. She smiled back and said in an uneasy way, “Ya, actually I thought I could try for a change.”
I didn’t want to say anything more. I had done my job and then I was feeling better. We were called into the counselling hall the next moment. It was in the underground and looked good. It gave a serious kind of atmosphere. The screen showed the number of seats for Medical Biotechnology and Regenerative medicine. They started calling out people one by one and then I knew my rank wasn’t going to come for Medical Biotechnology. I was called soon but they offered me Regenerative medicine but I didn’t want that. I was waitlisted for M.Sc Medical Biotechnology. We had no more work. When I came out, I saw the same girls again. This time they came and spoke to asking if I had got or not. I liked the attitude then. They actually helped me with some basic info about the college and the hostels there. I bade good bye and the same girl whom I had spoken to in the morning said while going, “All the best for tomorrow. I hope you get what you want.” I smiled back at her.
I went to the food court with my dad and we were actually searching what we could eat that time. There was Subway, Barista, Noodle King and more but I was not interested in eating but watching the crowd there. I would keep my comments reserved to myself now as it was too early for me to say anything. We left the place and then went to the famous Udupi Krishna temple which was coincidently very near to our hotel. I had heard a lot about it and when I went there felt really good. It was not like a temple but it looked like a serene place where all could just come, sit and go. I can’t explain more as divine places are divine and there’s nothing that can explain divinity.
I can only say that after I came back home I was watching an episode in Discovery Travel and Living and they showed the Udupi Krishna Temple.