A life beyond Manipal.

People often compliment me for being a great motivational speaker. But what is the use of a talent if it isn’t used for our near and dear ones. So I had to write this charming piece for the youngsters in Manipal, welcoming them to the real and exciting adult world which would soon be all theirs.

To call Manipal weird would be an understatement. That place is mad. Where else would you spot a leopard instead of a Professor when you go to your college? Where in the world would you go to the basement to start a generator and find a huge python wrapped to the switch board instead? But that is not the weird part. The weird part is that people think it is normal.

But then that is what makes Manipal so special. But this post is not about Manipal. It is about life Post- Manipal.What happens when you are a part of this madness for too long and take it for granted and suddenly one day have to leave it and live among the supposedly normal people?

My stay in Manipal was truncated abruptly when our juggernaut hit an iceberg. In simple English, it meant we were screwed and we had to pack up. I did not even get a chance to say a proper goodbye. It also meant no time to adjust to the harsh real world, the one which started with a B and ended in a H and had a ITC in between. It was a transition from ‘it was normal to be weird’ to the ‘it is weird to be normal’. Yes, the normal always seems scary. Normal is intimidating because it is devoid of any scruples.

After I reached home, I went to buy liquor. As I picked up my bottle, my nephew giggled. “ Chachu, this is not Manipal. You will have to hide it in a bag.” Then he added with a sly grin, “We live in a sober neighbourhood”. Slowly through the grapevine and the maidservant , I learn that there is not a single dry house and not a single dry day in the sober neighbourhood. Yet the way everyone acts so holy, every Oscar should have been won by us if only Hollywood knew about our gentle neighbourhood.

Now I have to iron my clothes even if I am going to the market to buy groceries. In the entire duration of my stay in Manipal, I wore formals only thrice. Once, when I had an appointment with the Dean who gave me lesser time then it took me to get dressed, second, when I met the administrator of TAPMI, a thorough gentleman and the third time when we did an event for ROBOSOFT for four hundred employees. I certainly long for those Bermudas and t-shirt days.

Normally I hate going to a Hospital. It depresses me no end. But a friend’s father was admitted. I kept postponing. Another friend called and warned, “The old bugger is eighty plus. May croak any time.” If there is any place in the world which scares me more than the Hospitals, it is the cremation ground. I raced to the Hospital the next day. When I knocked the room, there was no sound. My heart missed a beat. I remembered the friend’s warning. I wish I had visited earlier. But the room was ajar. Gingerly I opened the room.

There was no one inside except the old man. When I reached closer I wanted to ROFL. He was busy watching Ragini MMS. He was annoyed by my intrusion, embarrassed would be the right word, and quickly switched off. I wanted to assure him that it was alright. Watching movie, even Ragini, was not a sin. I offered him some fruits. He testily pointed to the table. I carefully placed them on the table and sat down on a chair. He looked still surly.

“I heard you wrote some porn.”

“ ‘Pizza Porn’ and there is no porn in it.”

I corrected him. He ignored it. Before I could explain the title, he gave me a sermon on the benefits of being ‘pure’ and ‘virtuous’. I sat through the whole discourse and meekly agreed that I had a dirty mind. He was pleased. He had done his good deed of the day and wanted to get back to watching his movie. Yes, the same Ragini MMS. The hypocrisy escaped him.

This is just the tip of the iceberg ( God, the iceberg again!) So guys, this exciting world will be served to you on a platter. It isn’t half as bad. I am sure you all would enjoy it.

( Yay! I am finally turning into them!)

About Sudhir 58 Articles
Author of a two novels, Pizza Porn and Rambler Inn and Other Stories , nothing about Sudhir has been cool and smooth. Trained to be an engineer, he realised that he wasn’t cut out for that role. So he left engineering and worked abroad for a decade. He saw three ghastly terrorist attacks from close quarters. Whether it was Mumbai or New York or London, the response has been the same - of fear, outrage and sheer bravery.