The woods are lovely, so to speak

In the one and a half years that I have been associated with my college, and the two year or so period in which I have been posting on this small corner of the Internet, I realised that I have never quite spoken about the wonderful institution which has offered its relentless services to me, not to mention has provided the inspiration for almost all my posts. In truth, I wouldn’t even have sat down to write this post, were it not for a brightly coloured poster displayed on the notice board of my college, announcing a university-wide competition for the elusive cult of “bloggers”.

The question, of course, presents itself: what to write about? Manipal University, and indeed Manipal, is brimming with aspects just waiting to be discussed on a worldwide forum, and I have always found myself incapable of making decisions. However, sitting on my balcony this fine evening, shamefully close to the deadline of the competition, I find myself drawn to the beauty, the sheer beauty, of this little town I have called home for so long, and hope to do for a while longer. And so, risking the outcome of the competition, I shall write today about the green woods of Manipal, in all their urbanised glory.

Earlier today, my friend and I arranged to meet for dinner, and even while taking the short walk from my house to the restaurant, I was startled by how nice the breeze felt, and how soothing the shadow of the trees was. There exists in Manipal a stretch of road, long enough that it can be called long, known as the “End Point Road”. I mention this because of all the places that there are to sit or walk or simply soak in nature in, this road is by far my favourite. Often, I can be found walking securely and surely along the road, with soft music playing in my ears, and a careless sort of smile on my lips. That’s just the way Manipal is, I suppose; it makes you feel relaxed.

I kid not, though, when I call the town urbanised. It is a small place bustling with far more activity than should be possible for a place this size. Perhaps that is why I appreciate the earthliness of Manipal even more: even amongst the throngs of colleges and residential blocks and shops and bars and restaurants and whatnot, Manipal manages to be a green place. I can walk on in any direction and still have the watchful eye of Mother Nature upon me. Indeed, there are places I have ventured out to where signs of civilisation are entirely absent, and I feel as though I have been transported to some exotic tropical forest.

Having spent a good part of my life growing up in a place with minimal commotion and abundant flora, Manipal’s offerings of trees and shrubs are nothing short of divine to me. It is this aspect of Manipal which I miss the most when I return to the busy streets of Delhi, so crawling with people and their vessels that no trees stand a chance. And so when my friends ask me why I so eagerly long to get back to Manipal whenever I am away, I have but one response: because Manipal is just so green.

Even as I write this, I can see myself walking the well known paths of the town which seems to know just what I need and when I need it. I find myself inadvertently planning my adventures for the following evening: whether to spend a quite session by the Manipal Lake, or to venture out onto the roads beyond the student haunt known as “Remix”. Indecisive as I am, I choose to leave the fate of my day up to my mood at the moment. But I am consoled by the fact that wherever I choose to go, I will have the comforting embrace of nature to keep me company, and to provide me with the feeling of contentment which I so crave, and which Manipal seems to supply in abundance.

Inadequate though I find it, I think I will end this post here. I would like to go on in painstaking detail about the beautiful hangouts of this precious town, but I must let the emotion sink in, and often we find that we convey too little by saying too much. And so I will leave it at that. “The woods are lovely, dark and deep”, Frost once wrote, and I like to romanticise that had he seen Manipal, his words would have carried that much more meaning.

You see, Manipal is just so green.

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