The True Essence of Manipal

I started Manipal Blog about 7 years ago, in the summer of May 2007, when I joined KMC Manipal for my post-graduation course. At that time, information about the courses and the life at Manipal or for that matter, The Essence of Manipal, was hard to come by and you had to experience it before you understood it. My  co-founder, Dr. Prabhav Trivedi, and I decided to do something about it and started a blog, which at that time was called, The Unofficial Manipal University Blog. We wrote about our daily life in Manipal and other mundane stuff that happened to us during our stay in this part of the world. Over the next few years, we got more writers, both from the institutions run by Manipal University and outside.

The blog grew and became a full-fledged website. We were no longer The Unofficial Manipal University Blog and became ManipalBlog and then Manipal Blog. We also came up with the tag line – The Essence of Manipal. But the question remained, “What exactly is the True Essence of Manipal?”The Tree at End Point Manipal first view 2011

Here is my attempt to answer it. My idea about what the Essence of Manipal is. It may not be the same as how you see it, but it may be close to it!

Manipal is a University town. Apart from the University, there is nothing much out here. There is Udupi and Shri Krishna, but as youngsters, who wants to spend time there? So, the University town tried to build a life around itself. New entertainment facades started building up. Malls and Bars sprouted, a few parks came up. Places and hideaways were rediscovered and the Legend called Manipal was born.

Many of the young Manipalites swear that the true Essence of Manipal is that ever so famous or should it be infamous joint – DeeTee. Cheap liquor, loud music and dim lights. Yes that one.

Then there is that famous logo in front of the administrative building of Manipal University – WWM! It stands for World Wide Manipal, but many students have come to call it We Want Money. So then, is Money the true Essence of Manipal? There are surely, many who subscribe to this theory. But, I do not believe that Money is the essence of Manipal.

Manipal brings people from across the world, to a town that is hardly 5 kms in diameter. There are party goers and non-party goers, the nerds and the social tycoons. You name the breed and you’ll find it here. It is the whole world in itself! There are a few myths associated with this quaint little town, not least, that it is a haven for rich spoilt brats who do drugs, spoil the atmosphere and waste away their parents’ hard earned money. These myths are not always the truth. You’ll meet people, make friends, maybe fall in love, most of all, you’ll have the time of your life!  The only way you’ll believe what I write here, is by experiencing the Manipal Way!

Then again, the logo of the University says “Pragnyanam Bhrahma” – Knowledge is life. Yes, you’ll gain that as well. You’ll learn a few hard lessons if you err… Manipal gives you the opportunity to make or break your life. We do have our share of suicides and near suicides every year. So is that the essence of Manipal? No.

Manipal is situated among the lush of the western ghats. Sea on one side and the looming mountains covered by flora and fauna on the other. 6 months of incessant rains followed by 6 months of horrible, sticky humidity. Incredibly humble and simple people who have survived and lived in symbiotic relationship with this nature. The true teaching happens in this jungle and at the beaches, the Agumbe ranges and waterfalls everywhere hidden in between jungle vine. So is that the true essence of Manipal?

For me the Essence of Manipal is a combination of all these. Manipal is freedom. Manipal has given me an idea about life, lessons on living. More than anything or anyone, Manipal teaches you to be ready for the life that follows college. That for me is the true essence of Manipal. The essence is, you can be whatever you want. Its your choice.

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