First thoughts of Manipal: Sikkim.
Second: Drug Addicts.
Over the years, Manipal has had these two clear-cut impression for the outsiders, what I would like to call “The Manipal Stereotype”.
Manipal is always known for its evergreen parties, ladies and sea-food !
Not long ago, I pointed out the ‘TOI’ article to a friend about the recent unfortunate suicide incident in Manipal due to Drug abuse. His reply was ‘Arey,Manipal mai toh ye sab hota rehta hai!’
Shocked. Dismayed I was.
Looking back at Manipal during my Graduation days, I see a little town sitting at peace at the heart of Konkan, bustling with students from the nook and corner of the world.
It was a huge happy family without any fear and glittery eyes all over with magnificent dreams for their future.
Incidents like these shatters the very essence of Manipal – Inspired by Life !
However isolated these incidents maybe,the reputation and image of this beautiful town always gets a beating. Sitting at Bangalore at the comfy cubicle of my office, these incidents still bother me. Bonding with an old Manipal buddy over a cup of tea gave me some perspective about the issue.
Drugs are rampant in almost all the educational institutions, especially engineering.
So what makes Manipal the centre of all attraction?
Perhaps, the assortment of people in Manipal. The cultural diversity.
Majority of students are out of their home for the first time and ‘trying’ out different stuff is cool and fancy!
But hey, not everyone from MIT is a marijuana or drug addict! Yes, it is a party town. But for God’s sake, don’t
draw parallels between drugs and party. Personally, I have never seen anyone forcing drugs on their peers (Beer/Alcohol, yes).
It’s never peer pressure.It’s the sheer craving to try something different. If you don’t want to try it out, no one will ever force you.
Passing stringent laws like curfew after 12.30 and surprise checks in hostels/apartments won’t help the cause.
We are all grown ups here. If they can’t do it in Manipal,they will go to Gokarna or Goa. Big deal !
I am always a staunch believer in the fact that you should always give full freedom to people and see where they take it.
You can’t put restrict someone the entire life.
I’m sure these rules and restrictions will soon fade away and won’t show up again until such an incident is repeated.
If you really want to stop the drug abuse, make medical tests compulsory for all university students every quarter.
Create more and more awareness drives.
Imposing strict laws may pacify the matter for sometime, but it’s not a long-term solution.
Snatching away the very freedom for which Manipal was once known for, won’t solve the matter at all.
I spent four wonderful years in a place which I grew to love slowly, and I’m very sure there’d be many like me who
want Manipal the way it was, it’s essence unhampered,untouched for all to enjoy.