1. The People of Manipal
It is no coincidence that this appears first in the list. I have always said this and still maintain it, “Manipal is all about the people.” Manipal (and its colleges) are the few places of education in India, which boast some of the most diverse and varied groups of people as students, whether it is with respect to the cities/towns/villages they come from, their interests, their hobbies, their traits, the languages they speak, or their outlook on life.
From the “Hey Hi! What’s Up?” friends, to the friends you can share your darkest secrets with, to friends who you call family now, friends who have seen you happy; friends who have seen you cry and have consoled you. People with whom you have had drunk conversations about topics as silly as “Who let the dogs out after all?” to informative ones about concepts of after life, the origins of Lord Ayyappa, etc.
Friends with whom you have “Raised Your Weapon” at “The Great Divide” and discovered “Strobes” climbing the “Stairway to Heaven”; to the people you once loved, then, hated; people who back-stabbed you and people who you might have back-stabbed; to the people with whom you have danced your mind out. Friends with whom you shouted the lyrics of songs until your lungs gave up.
People who made you feel bad about yourself, to those who made you feel good. To the people you loved, and the people who loved you back—the number of people who you have met in Manipal may be finite, but their categorizations and you emotions towards them are infinite—at the end of the day: “Manipal is all about the people.”
2. The Identity of a Manipalite
“You change drastically during college life, and redefine who you are.” While this might be true of life at any college, at any place, but then again there are certain characteristics that Manipal and only Manipal adds to your identity; no, I am not hinting at the drinking scenes, etc. that Manipal has become unfortunately famous for, especially since it is part-and-parcel of any University town or campus. I am trying to hint at the innate confidence and calm that inadvertently becomes part of your psyche after living in Manipal.
Another aspect that falls under this head is that you can be anything you want to be in Manipal (for the people ready with their smart Alec comments saying “Anything?” A certain four-letter word comes to mind, which can be followed by “off,” “you,” etc. because you are attempting to destroy such a beautiful thought): a good or bad student, a good or bad person, an entrepreneur, a player (all puns intended), a wanderer, a photographer, and an accountant (most of us have to be one during college life), etc. Manipal gives you a chance to portray yourself as you want to be; it gives you a chance to shed the skin you have been in, by choice or by force; it gives you a chance to redefine your identity.
3. The Freedom and Responsibility Manipal Provides
I don’t even need to explain this point. Manipal gives you freedom, not just the freedom to be what you want to be (Read Point 2), but in a more general sense, just TO BE.
Whether it is how you organize your cupboard (or don’t); to the kind of people you spend time with, in contrast, to visiting relatives you have hardly known. It gives you a greater freedom on having and developing your own views, ideas, and even inhibitions, without being corrected or “guided,” especially for things you don’t need guidance for. All in all, it gives you the freedom to decide, where you want to take your life from here.
On the flip side, “with great freedom, comes great responsibility,” something that was never mentioned in any Spiderman movie, but is equally true. You are accountable for your actions completely; from your grades to your trades; from your money to what you find funny. (Yes, well, by all means, you can ignore this cheap shot at rhyming). Freedom and Responsibility: The bloody “happy life” revolves around managing these two things, during college, and even after.
4. Time and Environment of Manipal
I recently went to Manipal, and was there for two days, given that I have been on the other side of the imaginary life border for 9 months, I realized that time in Manipal seems to have this innate lag in its progression. No, I don’t mean the long lectures and never-ending exams, but the very progression seems slower, calmer, and more subtle.
Apart from the slow progression of time, the environment in Manipal is undoubtedly different, if I quote a friend of mine, who also happened to go to Manipal a few months back: “Ek nasha hai yahan ki hawa main.” Even after the fact that it rains “elephants and giraffes,” the air has this serenity, or in much cruder words, the air is magical. If you are still in Manipal, you might feel this difference each time you get back from vacation, or if you have graduated already, then well, you exactly know what I am talking about.
5. Manipal Cost of Living and Convenience
Tuition fees may be off the roof, but trust me when I say this, “You can have an entire meal in the same amount that you pay as tax for some snacks and a drink in cities or towns,” this is particularly true for Tier I and Tier II cities. This fact should give you an insight into how student-budget friendly Manipal is (if you didn’t already know that), it is something that we rarely realize during college, especially because we blow away most of our money on our shenanigans (but without them college life is incomplete), whether it’s the random trip to Turtle Bay, or the not so random trip to, say, a Dollops, a Saiba, or the Dee Tee (Note how I have used the definite article for the last one; yep, Dee Tee loyalist here; Guilty as charged).
And don’t even get me started on convenience—the door-to-door laundry service, availability of decent cooks, maids who may charge a little too extra given the fact that their work is “chalu kaam,” autos a call away (though you probably will never find one when you need them the most), well-connected public transport services, a plethora of different stores for anything and everything (Trust me, finding Fruit Loops is easier in Manipal than in Mumbai, Psst. Manipal Stores at TC, if you were wondering where), etc.—Damn! I am nostalgic about Manipal now!
Go away now! Leave me alone with my emotions. Drumrolls! *Khushi aur Dukh dono ke aasoon* ? Also, also, as I end this article, I will have you know that I wrote this article while listening to songs I often listened to in Manipal, so that I can recreate some of them feels! Nice no? Anyway, Ciao.
Authored by : Aabis Arsiwala ; Alumnus MIT Batch ’14