Manipal, Money, and Pals

While chatting with a friend this evening, I was not so subtly reminded I was more than 2 weeks without a blogpost. That’s not a feeling I want to delve into too much. Essentially, I got caught up debating and practicing for debates, while working out some stuff for examinations (which I’m in the middle of right now), and losing a whole bunch of sleep to other activities I do. A couple of updates on my personal life shall be left out of the blog for a bit. (not that you would’ve known anyway)

Today’s entire post will be devoted to the experience that was debating in Manipal, a town in Karnataka. Manipal is essentially a town built around a University, the Manipal University, with colleges affiliated to it teaching a range of disciplines. That entire concept is something I’ve never been exposed to earlier, so to get a first-hand insight into what that’s like was something I really loved.

As a direct consequence of being a University town, there are very few adults around the entire city. It’s quite likely that any adults you meet are affiliated to the University in some capacity: be it as alumni, faculty, or even administrative and allied staff. It’s ridiculously cool. Everyone there is there to study. A town full of nerds. The best kind of town.

Atleast that’s what I thought, for a bit. Student culture, however, is a beast of its own. There are enough parties to go around, enough substances, and a beach 15 minutes away from the town. Additionally, there are some mindblowing places to eat. Apart from an INOX where you can watch your favourite movies, Manipal boasts of a Onesta and a Barbeque Nation. This post would also be incomplete without talking about Manipal Fried Chicken, or MFC. Situated right outside the MIT Main Gate, MFC serves up KFC rip-offs, right to the Krushers, which, on the menu, feature original KFC images. Copyrights? Trademarks? Who cares.

So they city, in itself, has a very laid-back vibe to it. Shrek and I were speaking about this throughout. It’s so different from being on a residential campus studying with competitive individuals. The entire atmosphere here, at University, for me, adds an unnecessary layer of pressure to perform. One that I don’t agree with, but one that I’m unable to shrug off too easily. Manipal has enough competent, competitive individuals, I’m sure, but the fact that the entire city is built around the student experience, so to speak, means that everyone’s also very relaxed about how stuff works.

Several people live in hostels – which are insanely good, in comparison to the ones we live in. AC’s and all they have. What luxuries. Apart from that, however, enough individuals go out and stay in apartments of their own. Which means home food and the opportunity to order in (some amazing biryani) whenever you want. Most apartments too, really seem to care about your student experience. They come pre-furnished with most amenities, including a washing machine and geysers – so you’re rarely going to struggle.

Also, turning for a second to darker things. Considering it’s a student town and substance abuse is not something that can be checked in apartments, the builders/plot developers place stringent conditions on entry/exit & the number of guests you can host from outside of Manipal. We ended up leaving our ID cards from wherever we went, almost as collateral of some kind.

I loved every minute of being there. It’s such a princely life.

The people make it better. What a city. In 3 days I spent there, I didn’t meet a single individual who wasn’t willing to help us out. From helping out when my accommodation went to the dogs (by allowing Shrek & I to crash at their apartment), to excitedly asking about rounds at the end of each round, and to chilling with us when we could have gotten bored (and then coming for dinner with us), both Shrek and I got to meet friends of ours whom we grew up with. A massive thank you to everyone who helped us out man. Manipal isn’t the same without you guys. And I’m sure we’ll be back soon. Shrek may even take to festing just to return there.

But, more importantly, the weekend taught me so much about who friends I could rely upon were. I’m an individual who opens up slowly, but when I do open up, I place a lot of trust on people. To see people I grew up with let me down so massively sucked. I thought about this a lot, and then I wondered why I expected anything at all. When you’re friends with people, I think it’s also very important to get out of the mentality that they’ll reciprocate your exact feelings for them. Maybe this is true for all relationships. The entire let-down made me realize that I’d lose an essential part of me if I stopped trusting friends, and I’m likely to get shut down a bunch as a result. But it isn’t worth compromising on an integral part of who I am.

Damn this post got profound.

Time for some chilling. It’s exam season, which means cravings have hit their peak. Right now, I’m devouring Yellow Pure Magic sleeves, and am desirous of Cup Noodles. The multipurpose provision store that was on campus shut down, so it’s no longer a hop & a stone’s throw away.

I’m likely to use BigBasket soon. Exams aren’t the same without the smell of MSG (by which I mean Messenger of God, of course). Really need all the prayers & luck to do well on the exams.

More writing tomorrow. Genuinely. I’m going to nerd out and write about books, I think.



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