Shackled to the Remains of a Ravishing Past – A Poem by Mohit Punjabi

Manipal - the Essence of Freedom!

At 3 in the night, an anxious victim of insomnia,
I set foot on the porch of my house, seeking relief from the reeking indoors..
They reek of burdens, responsibilities, unyielding pressures, and of a wind
of uncertainty, that in my face, gushes and roars..

As I stroll along the shabby pavement,
Inhaling the mist filled foggy air into my lungs..
I reminisce my life thinking of it as a ladder,
And all the cherished memories as its rungs..

I toss up a left over burning bud through my fingers into nothingness,
And watch it diminish like a cinder..
Springs up in my mind, a ceaselessly irksome question,
Which bothers me till I ponder..

A question that is being asked through the eons :
The chunk of life that I have already lived, can I ever top that?
Infinite moments of mirth flash before my eyes,
When I was reckless enough, and behaved like a brat..

Bidding farewell to that place has left a vacuüm, a hollow,
Which the sands of time can’t mend..
A puny chunk of my nostalgic brain recalls our notorieties across the serene town,
bend by bend…

How I wish I could turn back those apathetic, heartless hands of time,
And walk those pavements again, get lost into the wilderness..
No barrier or any obstacle, no one to halt me, I desire to roam into
That tiny paradise, tiny yet boundless..

When every 8’o clock class was an eternal tyranny,
an anguish which everyone seemed to despise..
But then while still half asleep and barely wakeful, reading a 9’o clock text stating that attendance had been taken care of,
Came in as a sweet surprise..

Those numerous giggles and antics during the afternoon classes,
Used to be a part of the routine..
Teachers bloated with scorn and loathe, threatened us with attendance
cuts and methods that were offensively mean..

When the literal meaning of clinics equated with waiting in agony and
muttering curse words under your breath to a random
he-should-have-been-here-an-hour-back teacher..

And case presentation was a never ending conflict,
a once in a fortnight hellish ride, which everybody procrastinated, the later the better..Ah!
Those lazy Sundays, when your mind was on a zero gravity trip,
nothing in the world to bother..
Countless number of hours spent in the pool parlours,
and when beers kept on rolling,
‘Hey, fetch me another!’
Manipal – the Essence of Freedom!
Those late-night soulful strolls along the dimly lit back lanes of
Sharada, or sitting for hours altogether at Greens..
When we had all the time in the world, and not even the tiniest of
worries to pester us by any means..

That pitch-black darkness of DeeTee, that deafening, arousing music,
coupled with unsynchronized choruses being heard all around..
Each moment spent in that place was a celebration, and now I’m just
left with memories that constantly hound..

When after party at enigma invariably used to be a disappointment,
followed them were drives in the fast lane to Malpe beach..
Gobbling and debauching on that delicious, fulfilling midnight snack of
Karavali on the way back, all those moments now seem hauntingly out of reach..

When those never ending chats at the Hilltop kept us up all night
long, and everyone averted from the early morning beams..
And cops raided the place, the inebriated souls went berserk,
swarming for shelter and safety in teams..

Those extra classes in the com-med department, where we all were treated like royalty,
Stuffed with cookies and snacks brought in by teachers so benevolent..
And killing time was not at all a herculean task, when we had dumb-shell-arts at hand,
Those abominable moments suddenly turned fervent and buoyant..

When those heavy, fierce and merciless downpours would make us drench
to the core, as if the gods were taking revenge..
God only knows how many of my precious umbrellas got stolen,
No one to blame and nothing to avenge..

All those chats and socializing sessions outside coffee shops,
When we would ramble on over anything and everything in the world, without giving it a rest..
I sometimes wonder, where did all that joviality and carelessness go,
Now nothing feels ‘fresh’ and no one seems ‘honest’..

When Galaxy and Dome had themselves reserved a special corner in our hearts,

And Aashirvad felt like an extravagant multiplex..
Movies just don’t seem exciting anymore, without that company and
ambiance, they just displease and vex..

Oh! How can anyone forget the birthdays, with all the grease, flour
And that slimy paste of eggs and beer..
When every pupil in that place has had the honour of being made into a
Walking trash can by mates so dear..

When every other unplanned weekend ended up in spontaneous,
impromptu tours to Goa or any other destination..
And there was nothing to hassle us, just a couple of friends and a vast
supply of beer, it was all a celebration..

And when I knew and greeted every single being I came across, every
face seemed familiar, as if we were all a part of one big, loving family..
Now I feel surrounded by strangers and conspirators, alone in a crowd,
a solitude grows over me exponentially..

As my mind concludes this peculiar tryst with memories, I suddenly realize,
I am still standing on that pavement, its become dark and I feel cold..
Deep inside, a voice makes me realize, cherish those ravishing memories,
For they’ll always remain even when you’ve lost your agility and grown gaunt and old..

Quietly I step back inside, my mind racing, heart pounding,
In anticipation of what lies ahead for me in this life..
Inside my head I try to strike a bargain with myself,
I’d give anything to go back and relive those moments and subdue this despairing desolation so rife..

It’s not just a place, it’s a way of life.

About the Author: Dr. Mohit Punjabi was in Manipal from ’05 till ’10 to pursue his Bachelor’s in Medicine and Surgery from KMC, Manipal. Currently he is pursuing his Master’s in Ear, Nose and Throat specialty from GR Medical College, Gwalior. Like every alumni, he still has that little bit of Manipal inside him, that keeps springing up from time to time to remind him of all those beautiful memories he has of Manipal. So this poem is a little something, orientation towards the life and times of a KMCite, but he’s sure MITans and pupils from all the other courses will enjoy it.

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  • manipalite forever

    very true..watching movies has never been the same after aashirvad!

  • Nilay

    That was really good. So easy to connect, “we were all a part of one big, loving family”.