Memoirs of Manipal

If you think about it, all of us have some degree of photographic memory within our minds. Its high frequency in some just makes it a predominant trait in them. While they can probably recall the exact page number and location of Bernoulli’s equation in RK Bansal for a Fluid Mechanics test, I can generate an entire high-definition image of that night when we all turned the lights down and danced around my hostel room to celebrate no apparent occasion.

How can I ever not remember, the way we sang our hearts out on that terrace in Shambhavi, broke and hungry enough to lick empty a whole jar of mixed fruit jam. Or the way the Western Ghats lay that evening, gleaming with pride from the first rain of the semester. All six of us stood gazing into the distance, breathing in the earthly scent so familiar to us. I remember glancing around the terrace for a split second, as if in an attempt to capture a mental picture. We were quiet, but blissfully content in each other’s company.

I can generate, down to micro details, the motion picture my mind shot at the brink of dawn, of those puppies tugging at my shoelace on my spontaneous run to TAPMI, and of the sun rising past the low-hanging morning mist. I was alone, sleep-deprived and cashless, but I was at absolute peace. The mysterious ways in which our mind works never ceases to baffle me— it recreates these memories as if I lived them yesterday, but refuses to recollect what I studied merely the night before for my test.

I walked into Manipal with a suitcase full of clothes, but I’ll walk out with a trunk full of memories. Of slow dancing inside that cute café we discovered on End Point road, and our first embrace which lasted an eternity. Of that road trip to Kudlu Falls which I knew was bound to be a memorable one. What I didn’t know then, however, was how much I’d miss the thrill of jumping into the cold water, fully clothed, and sitting on that moss-covered rock right under what seemed to me like a cloudburst. The late nights spent out in campus on the pretext of Revels, the early morning cup of chaai at Tiger Circle, chasing crabs on the lost beach of ‘Akuna Matata’, the way passing trains made the Railway Bridge quiver, with us sitting underneath it and our legs hanging over the edge with nothing but miles of blue beneath. Consciously or not, these little instances are the chisel strokes that sculpt us.

The same way no two people ever read the same book, two people can never have the same experiences. The funny thing is, we barely ever realize when a particular moment is captured forever, till it passes by without the slightest warning. We all have a photographic memory. Alas, we don’t hold the button that captures it; our emotions do. Somehow, in a million such photographs, I’ve built myself an unforgettable memoir, pieces of which you’ll find scattered everywhere in this small town called home.

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