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..

Harivarasanam – A religious tryst

Six Swamis embark on a holy trip
Swamiyaaaeee Sharanamayyappa!

I did not get much sleep the previous night. Been waiting for 15 long days for this very moment. I anxiously kept checking my mobile on the bed, 4 am; 420; 500; 530am. I jumped out of my bed, freshened up, took a good long bath and visited 3 temples. My cousin was due to arrive from Muscat; the phone rang at 0930; my cousin had reached home. We decided to meetup at 11am.

Scenic hills of Pathanamthitta

Our house was in a mess with all the work going on and I scrambled out with all I needed. Clad in a saffron mundu, the lamp was lit at home, and the women blessed the men for a safe journey – we drove over to the temple to get the Sacred Irumudi Kettu ; marked the beginning of the journey breaking a coconut. Swaaamiyaaaaaeeee Sharanamayyappa!!


This year’s trip turned out be a day affair unlike last year, when we did most of the travelling in the night. Our first halt was at the usual restaurant in Kottarakkara where we had ‘Oonu‘ [Meal]. After around 2.5 hrs drive, we reached a place called Manimalayaar – here we usually take a bath to cleanse our body before we begin the climb from Pamba. 4 of us were below 30s and as always the older Swamis had to force us out of the water to head back en route to Pamba.


After a half hour swim there, we were back on track and after another 1.5 hours, we had reached Pamba. The roads were much better than I anticipated and the ride was not too bumpy. Usually the moment we pass the toll booth, there would be plenty of vehicles lined up, however with 2 days still to go for the festival to begin, the crowd was surprisingly less. We took a dip at Pamba, and embarked barefoot on a 1hour 45min climb up [chanting Lord Ayyappa hymns and songs] to reach the Sannidhaanam. During the climb, one delicacy I just simply can’t seem to avoid are the Pineapple slices sprinkled with chilly-salt powder mix. Not only hydrates, but gives me a lot of energy for the climb.

Religious tryst

At around 640pm, we managed to reach just outside the temple. There was not much crowd and we did not have to wait perennially in the aisle leading up to the body scans. The Padi Pooja is something I had never witnessed before. It was an amazing feeling to sing the 18 padi pooja song while the Pooja was being done, and the feeling can’t be put to words.

This is only the second time that I have been to sabarimala, but clearly I was happier to have had a much longer darshanam this time around. The stone hard Unni appam alongwith the Aravanam were bought. We climbed down the mala and reached Pamba at 1o30pm, a little too late for dinner anywhere. Eventually we halted at a ‘Thattukada’ at Adoor and finally reached home late at 2am.

March has so far been a very kind month to me. Managed to visit both Guruvayur and Sabarimala. Will end this post with my favorite quote
Work as if everything depended upon Man and pray as if everything depended upon God 🙂

CCD Escapade – A lot can happen over coffee

Thonakkal, Trivandrum hosts the largest BPCL [Bharat Petroleum outlet] I have ever seen, and always wanted to drop in at the Cafe Coffee Day there. Simply love the ambience and music and the fact that there is hardly anyone ever there at this outlet.

My Cousin Shine's CCD Experience

Sizzling Hot Chocolate Brownie

My Manipal friends would agree Hangyo Saiba was the one which introduced this delicacy into our lives. A chocolate brownie on a sizzling hot pan,  scoop of vanilla ice cream occupying the upper tier, drooling with hot chocolate and dressed with cashewnuts.

Oh well, the moment I read the menu, I had no choice but to go for this and am sure it won’t disappoint you. 🙂


Sizzling hot Brownie - I obviously plunged through, then took a pic 😀

Cool Blue

Flavored juice with crushed ice, Yea I know the kids love it, but I don’t wanna grow up. 😛

Cool Blue

Black Forest

My cousin is not a big fan of anything chocolatey, but he did enjoy the Black Forest there.

Black Forest!
Yes, then we started taking random shots there!
'Asif Ali' 😛

This was my first trip here, spent 2 hours with cousins, and totally loved it. Do drop in to fill your tank and your cars!


Ganga, Yamuna, Upper Circle, Lower Circle

Ganga, Yamuna, Upper circle, Lower circle, 40|50|60. In a town as big as Kollam, the only thing lacking is a pVr or Imax or Big Cinemas! The college going and the youthful ones below 30s are no doubt the bunch who eventually decides whether a movie ‘makes or breaks’ here in Kollam. While some of the theatres hold tradition and history and have been around for a longer time, some have emerged more recently and are doing a fair job.

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On an average a movie runs only 10 -14 days, with Malayalam suffering the most and Tamil enjoying the best collection. Families throng the theatres preferably for first shows on weekends, and sadly I have seen a small % of people using the theatre merely for a 2 hour nap or to smoke up!

Dhanya theatre is the lead promoter of English films, and hence is my favorite among the lot. However Pranavam and the Archana Aradhana complex come fairly close. Prince –Grand and Kumar tend to run movies for a much longer period due to its mere location in the heart of Kollam and easy accessibility, though quality of service has deteriorated.

Kumar:  8.884361, 76.591007

Prince – Grand: 8.886124, 76.590529

Pranavam: 8.884515, 76.594834

Archana – Aradhana: 8.889555, 76.586766

Dhanya: 8.89135, 76.60351

So next time you are in town, you will know where to head for a movie!

P.S: There is an Adult rated theatre if I am not mistaken right in the centre of town, but I am not listing it here 😉

In the Name of GOD

Finally bought myself a bicycle and been more than happy to drive around town and capture photos. As a part of my effort to list the important places of Kollam on the world map [Google], here I begin with some easily accessible places in and around Kollam town, kickstarting off with a few churches and temples.

P.S. To see my uploads on panoramio, go here.

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Shiva Temple, Thamarakulam – 8.883307, 76.586230

Shree Ganapathy Temple, Thamarakulam – 8.881030, 76.591570

Puthiyakaavu Temple, Opp. Railway Station – 8.885167, 76.594124

Vasudeva Temple, Vadayattukotta – 8.886023, 76.588416

Ooramman Durga Devi Temple, Vadayattukotta – 8.886161, 76.588204

St. Sebastian Church, Convent Road – 8.886890, 76.585602

Velankanni Shrine – 8.889608, 76.585205

Mahadevan Temple, Anandavalleeshwaram – 8.89334, 76.573248

Shree Maha Ganapathy Temple – 8.890806, 76.574879

Moorthy Temple, Ammachiveedu – 8.889343, 76.572864

St. Antony’s Church, Vady – 8.882946, 76.573951

St. Peter’s Church, Moothakkara – 8.882660, 76.577148

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