If only time would stand still..

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.

The trip..

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.

DC office, End point

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.

New Ladies International Hostel

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..

The Next Chapter

Light showers, lovely breeze, twilight as the sun sets in. As I breathe in the fresh air, the mood is set to reflect. 24 hours ago, the news came in. 2 years had passed by. The journey was tough, depressing, disappointing and marred with failures; something I was unaccustomed to.

I was not the average kid. Being born left handed, the added burden of ‘left handed people are “smart” ‘ has persisted all throughout my last 25 years [here to stay!]. The ability to toy with arithmetic was in the lineage and no surprise Math turned out to be my favorite subject. Being ‘good at studies’ meant taking Science and Math in XI and XII; which is effectively the license to write both Medical and Engineering Entrance exams.

My III std. answer to my Class Teacher’s query: “What would you like to become Varun?” was “Pilot”. The irony though was I am shit scared of heights and could never sit through take off and landing without squeezing the hell out of the arm rests and calling all the Hindu Gods I could name!

Things changed as I hit XI and XII. Probably all the hoo haa of being in the top 10 in school plus the lack of any particular ambition in life lead to the usual thought process “There is no reason to not like either Medicine or Engg; Let’s write both and take whichever that happens!

My incidental admission to Manipal for Medicine was a boon in many ways. The place did a lot to let me develop as a person and the profession is tailor made for anyone who is glad to help someone out. The addition of “Dr.” in front of the name was a moment of great honor and pride. But the realization that this was just the beginning of a journey of a lifetime tends to hit you hard.

Immediately after graduation, the next short term target is Post Graduation. In the case of girls, of course, marriage tends to come more often than not in the way or ahead of it.

I have hardly ever failed in any exam of significance. But success was something that was agonizingly difficult to taste when it came to qualifying for post graduation entrance exams. The equation is simple -> Just too many people competing for a handful of seats.. aka the terrible rat race rerun in difficulty mode!

The last 12 months have been terrible, to say the least. I did not celebrate when I turned 25; there was no reason to for a year that went totally unregistered. But here I am now, a week away from restoring order to life, eager to move on, eager to brush away all the failures and disappointments. It’s time to smell success, cherish the moment a thankful patient smiles and do my part.

P.S: All my friends whom I have not contacted for a while, my heartfelt apologies. At times, it just felt right to shut myself out 🙂

An Exam, few friends, ManiHome and Reality-Check


Maveli Express

An exam or not, I knew going back there, be it even for a few hours, would bring some instant joy like downing a couple of shots, only to wake up next morning with a hangover.

With an exam peeking over my shoulder, I was in no mood for a leisurely time at Manipal, but I had planned already to attend my dear friend Tricia’s Graduation at Valley View.

As an ex-Manipalite, I am all too familiar with the ‘don’t be shocked if the place doesn’t look half the same as it was when you left’ ; being a year since I packed out. Plenty had changed.. the drive from Mangalore – Manipal had multiple low floor KSRTC A|C Volvo buses plying, innumerable trees were being felled all along as part of the Highway Development Project, but one thing that didn’t change was the rashness of the Express buses, and in a way I always enjoyed being in it [I’d rather be in one than out!]

Some of the things which were being developed while I left, and noticeably ready were

  • The new Emergency, Trauma building on the Main Road [no longer will new comers referred from nearby villages come searching for the emergency]
  • The all new sports complex, Marena!
  • The underconstruction umpteen storeyed hostel complex where the old KMC Stadium existed
  • The new annoying metal speed breakers, put in place after the President Partibha Patil left.

These just a few things I noticed in the couple of hours I spent in Manipal.

MCOAHS Annual Day

Valley View, Manipal

Think it belongs to the ‘Fortune Group’ now, but I’d rather refer to it as above. I recall the number of times we used to go there for family parties, ie, whenever any of our friends parents were down, they used to stay there and that meant we getting a treat invariably at Rangoli.

Nothing much has changed in there, bar the security! Body check, metal detector at the entrance, vehicle inspection, it’s pretty hard to sneak anything in 😉

Coming to the point, the purpose of visit to Manipal was a success, met my friend, couldn’t hang on for long but either way was good to be there on her day am really happy for her.

P.S: Out of the blue, got to drive Mandeep’s Nano, apart from my search in vain for a 5th gear, things were pretty nice.

City Centre, Mangalore

While I checked into my Hotel, I noticed my foursquare app highlighting KFC on the same lane! My eyes lit up and yep, I ended up having lunch and dinner there! After the exam met up with couple more of my good friends and spend the remainder of the time there till my train took off.

T officially graduated!

Manipal is just not the same to be back without your old gang of friends. You can be there and still feel like a stranger when you know the reason why Manipal was such a wonderful home away from home. One of my friends Shwetha was saying yesterday that we probably should have done PG in Manipal and not UG. On reflecting on it, I have to disagree. I doubt anything can come close to the 5 years we spent in Manipal 🙂. Special shoutout to T, Flo, Jono and Sim for the last couple of wonderful years. And as always to the mallu gang of girls!