2 months ago..
2 new PCs were wheeled into our reporting room. They had been ordered to be installed in the new ultrasound rooms. Along with it, the mail to the department also came in. The bundle was all heading to our Boss. The mail on the top of the bundle caught my attention.. IRIA..28th.. Manipal.. Karnataka… MANIPAL!!
It was an invitation for the boss for the forthcoming state chapter radiology conference. I had no second thoughts.. immediately I googled iria manipal on my phone .. looked up the dates. Next day noon, I’d already posted the registration form.
Manipal RD department was organizing the state IRIA chapter after over a decade and in all ways this seemed the perfect place to debut my first CME. I looked for convenient train timings and found none. So eventually I opted for the Durgamba (since it had a pick up from Edapally). RedBus.in was the agent which let me do the booking within my room itself.
The humidity was terrible, the heat killing and the uncomfortable 2+2 seats ensured I kept stirring my sleep up. I woke up when the bus reached Mangalore (0530). The road to Manipal was in the middle of being expanded into a 4 laner when I left 2 years ago. A lot more trees had disappeared, enough area was cleared for the road widening.. the road looked barren on either side. I used to love driving my 800 under the shades of the n number of trees decorating the highway.. not anymore..
I reached manipal and freshened up quick and decided to walk to Valley view. Things had not changed along the Parkala road up to Valley view. The signals installed at the junctions seemed to flicker the yellow.. glad to know at least that is on.. (of no use though)
I still feel Valley view looks odd with the metal detector at it’s entrance. Walked right through, then headed straight up to Chaithya Hall. The registration panel had some familiar faces – I recall them as first years who had just joined whilst I did my elective internship at Radiology in ’09. GE did a good job with the conference bag. Very hand and convenient indeed!
The inaugural function was invigorating. Pro chancellor Dr. Ballal, always inspirational, and I was happy to hear another energetic talk from him. He kickstarted events. Dr. Ramdas Pai, presiding over the function meant the Manipal representation of the conference was complete. My first experience with VRK Rao sir was whilst in his cabin when we were allotted randomly to different postings. A brilliant visionary, one whom I categorize along with my current Boss, every speaker who had turned up had some sort of learning curve in their careers under him. Maybe one day I may get an opportunity to learn something from him.
The fact that the president of IRIA, Dr. Harsh Mahajan made it to the conference and the 250 odd delegates attending the conference is a testament to how successful the endeavor was.
The mood in the Chaithya hall created by the excellent service of KMC’s audio visual team meant there were no glitches. The photography was a bit annoying with all the flashes each time a new speaker came on though.
Time rolled on quickly. Some spoke well, few had funny accents. Some topics were too familiar whilst some speakers showcased their unique repertoire of cases.
I skipped the evening banquet gala at Malpe. I opted instead for a walk in campus, and to catch up with a few friends. I had my camera on. I decided to snap a few. But as I walked I was traveling through time rolling back the memory reel. Some changes seemed welcome, some seemed to leave no trace of my times in the town. I returned my camera back into my bag. I somehow did not want to document the change that was happening. Change is inevitable, especially in an evergrowing educational capital like Manipal, but maybe I just did not want to contaminate my college days with the changes around.
Rather than ranting about what all changed, I craved for the sweet buns and ginger tea from Pangala (my breakfast on sunday); hot dog and tuna sandwich from Snack shack (dinner), the drive to Dishes for a manipal shawarma, the KFC burger from Prax (dinner), the grilled chicken from Hot spots, the football evening at Jono’s Niks paradise, the 2 hour daily shift of football with my friends.
The academic feast made sure I did not get too carried away by the memories, but nevertheless, I left the town with mixed emotions, a part of me still misses the place, a part of me doesn’t welcome the change, a part of me craves to return here in the future, if only time would stand still..