I was warned that it would be a micro visit to Manipal. It didn’t matter. After all I hadn’t been to Manipal for ages. Again I was warned that it would be rather tedious since we would be travelling by car. No problems there too. I was prepared for anything.
I often contend that cities are not made of bricks and mortar. They have a throbbing and dynamic character of their own. If I were to describe Manipal in one word, I would call it ‘seductive’.
It was good to feel the moist salty sea breeze and watch the tall coconut trees standing as proud sentinels. However, the enthusiasm was dampened a bit to see the rapid erosion of greenery. Perhaps on my next visit, there wouldn’t be even a square meter of greenery.
I do not know if it is the right thing to do. There should always be a balance between the nature and development. This whole destruction in the name of development is saddening.
In that very limited time I wanted to catch up on all that had happened in my absence. I warmly welcomed a youngster who used to live in the adjoining apartment in Green View.
I listened with horror as he recounted how one of his roommates had committed suicide. There were other depressing stories too. Another youngster had tripped under the influence of drug and had fallen down from the fifth floor and died. These boys were fun loving and smart. I can’t imagine what got over them!
New restrictions have been clamped. Manipal was always, to me, about freedom. I find these restrictions stifling. However, frequent suicides and drugs and alcohol induced accidents have left no other option for the authorities. So can’t really blame them.
I too have always been concerned about drugs. It is the blind spot of Manipal. I have written before as well.
Somewhere in the mid seventies, a book simply titled “Don’t say yes when you want to say No” was published.” The book co-authored by Dr. Herbert Fensterheim and Jean. L . Baer was an instant best seller.
The book is now almost thirty years old. Yet it finds resonance even today. The reason for its popularity was perhaps that it conveyed a very important message in a very simple way.
Manipal is an amazing place to live. It has everything someone would want. Yet each year so many youngsters succumb to the attraction of drugs. When they come from their homes, they are clean and have no exposure to drugs. However, here with the available freedom and easy availability, one finds himself vulnerable.
Probably one of the reasons is that we have lost the courage to say No. A recent survey on sex amongst youngsters too has reinforced that feeling. Most of the youngsters said that they didn’t want to indulge in sex but did it under peer pressure. Many girls confessed that they had a boy friend so that others don’t feel that they are ‘weird’.
Peer pressure has robbed us of our capacity to THINK for ourselves. We allow ourselves to go against our own wishes only because we do not know how to say no.
We must remember that our life is a gift from our parents. We cannot ruin it in any way. So the next time, someone wants you to go for a movie or to the pub when you want to sit and study, be firm and say no. Saying No shouldn’t be restricted to drugs or alcohol.
It pays to remember, “Don’t say Yes when you want to say NO”