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A Trip to Mangalore

Wednesday, June 15

Tom and I owe a great deal of gratitude to Donovan for the rich experience we had this past weekend. Donovan’s parents come from Mangalore, a seaport city on the Arabian Sea, to the west of Bangalore.

We traveled there over the weekend and were treated royally by his aunt and cousins of whom there are too many to count.

Tom McKrill, Donovan Maben and Steve Hotchkiss visited Donovan's family in Mangalore.
Tom McKrill, Donovan Maben and Steve Hotchkiss visited Donovan's family in Mangalore.

We were guests in their home and, at the break of day, arose to the sounds of the imam’s call to the worship of the Muslin community. Breakfast, lunch and dinner were Indian delights. On Friday night my stomach and I had some long, serious conversations. I prevailed, but only just.

Mangalore is a hot, humid, tropical city. Donovan describes it as Bangalore 20 years ago, which seems about right as the traffic is lighter and less noisy. On Sunday morning we attended mass in a beautiful chapel, which could have been in the heart of Rome. Magnificent frescos covered the walls and ceilings, all created by Italian artists in 1890. The floors were of Belgium marble fashioned in a block, contrasting design that gave a third dimension to the appearance. Sorry, no photographs were permitted.

Nearby to Mangalore is a town called Manipal, which is home to the University of Manipal, founded by a Hindu named Pai. His generosity has lead to the creation of one of India’s largest universities with five campuses. This campus was the largest, with 17,000 students. We encountered three Americans who were studying medicine and would obtain their degrees in a seven-year course of study. The buildings, equipment and overall facilities were modern and contained the latest technology. The sports center alone would knock your socks off, with an indoor virtual golf, cricket and tennis facility that could have kept Tom there indefinitely.

We, sadly enough, are on the home stretch of this journey. And, as is frequently the case, are inundated with invitations to visit homes, schools and sites. Yesterday we visited the Indian Institute of Management. This prestigious graduate school receives 20,000 applications for 500 openings each year. Its professors hold chairs endowed by Indian and world class corporations. The campus is like an oasis, self-contained and well-foliated. Tomorrow, we shall visit Chrystal House, a K-12 school that teaches children of families living in slums on less that $2 a day. Such are the contrasts in India, visible affluence amidst overwhelming poverty.

- Steve Hotchkiss