Manipal, as a whole, for the average Manipalite gets quite mundane at times with its six days a week schedule. After a point, there is nothing that this place holds in terms of unique experiences.
Recently, there have been quite a few changes in this quaint university town with the consecutive openings of many high-end restaurants and bakeries. But the fact remains that much of Manipal is too broke to venture into these territories on a regular basis.
Therefore, there’s been an increase in the value of small and relatively pocket-friendly eateries and tea stalls. Most of this cosmopolitan student populace identifies Manipal with a Shenoy’s, a Timmy’s or even with a Doctor’s café (restricted to the Health Sciences, though).
By and large, however, friends grow closer through stories and what best way to share stories than over a cup of chai (let’s leave the English in the backseat for now).
Chai and to the risk-taking few, ‘sutta’ has always been a backbone in developing deep and close relationships amongst friends (hence, the popular adage “chai-sutta”). There are quite a few places in Manipal, which play host to brewing hot filter coffee and tea, which have become an essential part of the Manipal experience.
One such place, which recently caught our radar, was Dev Point (a name suggested by the writer of this piece). A blue colored shanty located about a 100m from Shambhavi Habitat, adorns the street leading to Baba Point. The friendly Anna, with whom you don’t need to worry about a single dull moment, creates a concoction of cutting chai, all with a smile that stretches from one cheek to the other.
A rock has been set for the comfort of those who traverse here walking. Dev, the owner of this mystical tea stall, delights his regulars and the new ones every evening from four to eight.
Most of the thoroughfare that happens through this area is primarily for those who have lost their way through the hustle and bustle of college life and are in search of some peace, some are budding photographers who wish to frame the Swarna river in all its might, and some a group of friends, who just want to talk over a glass of chai.
For the first third of people, Dev Point provides an ideal spot to sip a cup of tea and leave behind the stress of daily life. This place provides the lost soul space and time to think, introspect and heal. As the slow evening breeze blows, there is the comfort of knowing that the wind of change always has something else planned for you.
For the middle third of people, this place is a great pit stop en route Baba Point. Baba Point, about a kilometer’s walk away, is a tiring expedition on foot. As the enthusiastic photographers make their way to the calm Swarna river, the chai here energizes this group of people to move further in their quest to take the perfect photo.
For the latter third of people, Dev Point serves as a perfect destination as they view the sunset over the valley, sipping the warm glass of (if we might call it so) Felix Felicis. The magic that tea has in starting conversations is unparalleled. Sitting on that rock, conversations run wild, cleansing the mortal souls of seemingly immortal heartbreak and imparting the listener with a sense of awe as the possessor of these stories narrates a new tale each day.
For those who don’t enjoy chai, fortunately, Dev Point offers an array of snacks that extinguish the hunger that prevails: the usual samosas, egg puffs and a sweet confectionary item called Man Pasand. Though the snacks aren’t the most inviting at first glance, they are enough to be the perfect accompaniment to the chai.
There are lots of such small roadside tea stalls across Manipal. These are especially necessary because of the significance they carry, not just because of the food or beverage they provide, but also the memories they are associated with in every college students’ lives.
Directions: Traverse the road that leads from Country Inn to Remix and follow it for about a 100m and you shall find this magical blue tea stall.
–Reetobaan Datta for MTTN.
Photo courtesy: Manan Dhuri
We couldn’t trace the name of the tea stall. For the sake of convenience, we have termed it Dev Point, after the name of its owner.
MTTN doesn’t promote smoking of any substance in any form or way.