Saturday, April 14, 2018

Nostalgic visit to my Alma mater MIT - Manipal Institute of Technology and MAHE - Manipal Academy of Higher Education, Manipal.

I have finally made it to Manipal after 43 years and I am extremely happy about it! I visited my Alma mater, Manipal Institute of Technology and my place of residence for five years - Manipal, with my wife, for three days from 2nd April to 4th April 2018. I was at MIT from 1970 to 1975 studying B.E. Electrical Course and my brother Dr. N. Lakshminarsu was at Kasturba Medical College from 1967 to 1973 studying Pre-Professional Course and B.D.S. That is quite a strong relationship with Manipal for me and my elder brother and our family. For me this visit to Manipal is akin to a pilgrimage to a holy place, a holy place that gave us education, knowledge, made us professionals and gave us good careers.
On 3rd April morning at 9:15 am I visited MIT and I was received very warmly by Professor Dr. D. Srikanth Rao, Director, MIT (Principal) and Head of the Mechanical Engineering Department. He is the son of my esteemed Professor Sri. D. Ramanatha Rao of the Electrical Engineering Department, who later became the Head of the Electrical Engineering Department. Dr. Srikanth Rao and I had a long chat. He explained to me in detail of all the developments that took place in MIT since I left. MIT campus has expanded by leaps and bounds which he explained to me on a display and a map. He took me around my class rooms and the quadrangle, a daily sight for me for five years and where at regular College events I have heard speeches by Dr. T.M.A. Pai, founder of our College, Kasturba Medical College and Syndicate Bank and so many other Institutions and now a University. When I was at MIT, there were five branches of Engineering, 1150 students and 6 Main Hostel buildings and Kennedy blocks. Today there are 16 branches of Engineering, 9500 students and 23 Hostel buildings! Some of them 12 storied. You may see some of these developments in the videos towards the end of this article. While in the Director’s chamber I was introduced to Dr. M. Vijaya Kini, Associate Professor, Department of Mech. & Mfg. Engineering and Associate Director (Alumni, P & I Relations). He is the son of my Chemistry Professor Sri. M.V. Kini.  
Dr. Srikanth Rao surprised us by organizing a day long trip to MIT, MAHE and all places of interest in Manipal. The MIT Security Officer took us to all the Workshops where I got trained, showed us the new buildings that have come up for the new branches of Engineering, Food Court and all the old and new Hostel buildings and Canteens, especially the Rooms where I resided. I was in VI Block for three years so I spent some time there; showing my wife the rooms where I stayed and the Mess attached to it which was then called Andhra Non-Veg. Mess. I am very happy to see the vast growth and all-round development…Air-conditioned Classrooms, Air-conditioned Hostels, Air-conditioned Canteens, Food Court and Air-conditioned Single and Double rooms with attached baths. We then went to Venugopal Temple and returned to the Director’s Office for a brief Chat. The Director then organized our visit to MAHE – Manipal Academy of Higher Education – University.
At the entrance of MAHE University we were welcomed by Dr. Srikanth Rao, Dr. Kini, Mr. Prasanna R Kailaje, Director Alumni Relations, Industry Liaison & Placement and a Welcome Slide on TV was displayed for me. This was quite unexpected and very exciting for me and my wife.   
We then witnessed an amazing special 3D show at the University, perhaps of 20 minutes that took us from one hall to another explaining about the beginnings of Manipal, Manipal Colleges and what it is today here in Manipal and elsewhere in India and the World having Manipal Campuses and affiliations with various Universities.
Dr. Kini then took us to Dr. Vinod V Thomas, Registrar, MAHE, who is also a graduate from MIT and Ex-Director MIT. He received us in a very friendly manner and after enquiring about me we discussed about my and his college days which are not far apart. He explained all about MAHE, his role and the rankings of various colleges. He told us that Manipal College of Dental Sciences where my brother studied is ranked No. 1 in India, Kasturba Medical College is ranked at No. 10 and Manipal Hotel Management Institute is ranked at No.1. Prior to my visit to Manipal I checked up the ranking of MIT and according to Outlook Magazine MIT is ranked at No. 15 in 2017 on all India basis. Dr. Vinod V Thomas  further informed us that there are 33,000 students in the campus. And from MAHE website I have found that these students are from 67+ Countries pursuing 280+ Courses across 20+ disciplines.
Then Mr. Kini took us to all the floors of the University building and the facilities there, like the libraries. Then lunch was hosted for us at the most modern; Air-conditioned MIT Food Court where Dr. Ramanath Rao, Dr. Vinod V Thomas and Dr. Vijaya Kini joined us.
After lunch Mr. Kini took us to MARENA Sports Complex a wonderful world class Air-conditioned multi-floor complex and took us around the most modern and well equipped Gymnasium, Walking / Jogging track, Squash Gallery and Courts, Basketball Gallery and Basketball Court, Badminton Courts, Table Tennis play area, Swimming Pool, Sauna, Steam bath, Simulated Games, Cricket, Football and besides these we went around the two Tennis Courts in the open to sky areas.
Then Mr. Kini took us to MAP – Museum of Anatomy and Pathology. The Museum features human and animal specimens and is considered to be the largest of its kind in Asia. There are about 3000 samples of organs and other parts of human and animal anatomy including the skulls of an elephant and a whale and a long skeleton of a King Cobra. During my College days it was housed in a different building called Anatomy Block and I visited that Museum twice. The first time was with my father and my brother after I underwent Appendectomy operation at KMC hospital. My brother took us there to show the Museum and to show us how an Appendix looks like. Two or three years later I went to the Museum once again with my brother to meet a friend of his who was studying the displays.
From here we went to End Point. Mr. Kini took special permission to take us up to the End Point as vehicles are not allowed into this huge and beautiful Park. We went up to the last point in this Park and had a wonderful view of the valley and Swarna River below.
We finally went to the University, to the office of Mr. Prasanna R Kailaje at 4:30 pm to thank everyone once again for the magnanimous hospitality extended to us. Further to the wonderful daylong treatment extended to us, I and my wife were gifted a number of souvenirs!
Can you imagine of any Institute or University that pampers its alumnus who passed out 43 years ago in such an affectionate manner. All this makes me once again proud of my College and Manipal.
Earlier on 2nd April after checking into Fortune Inn Valley View Hotel we went round Tiger Circle which had changed beyond recognition and then we visited Dr. T.M.A. Pai Museum, Manipal Lake and Syndicate Bank where I had to go every month to draw money sent by my father for my expenses. And in the evening we went to Udupi and visited Sri Krishna Temple and other important Temples there.
On 4th April we went to Sringeri Sharada Peetham and visited all the Temples in the Complex and went to Tunga River with large number of fishes. We enjoyed the to and fro 160 kms journey passing through dense forests and on Agumbe Ghats and spent some time at the Sun Set Point.
Later on 4th April, we went to nearby Malpe for a short vacation. Malpe beach was a place of entertainment for us in my College days too but today it is well developed with lots of water sports. Everything changes over 43 years but good memories of past remain with us forever. Such memories have made me visit Manipal, Udupi and Malpe. I am happy with this trip and my wife too is equally happy.
Attached are few photographs and videos from my visit.

At MIT College and Campus
At MAHE and all about MAHE
Trip to End Point
Tiger Circle and Manipal today

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