The Dega-Dega Chronicles

You are either familiar with the sounds of the two weird hyphenated words in the title, or are juvenile in the world of the nocturne.

When the midnight hunger pangs are brutal, especially if your fridge is as empty as streets at night; when you are agitated, your stomach is growling, your head is howling; when you want to play that game, read that novel or simply study for a couple of more hours but simply can’t seem to pull it off – these two words shall resuscitate.

Manipal is a city where you can find a fix, a jugaad for a lot of things. This is one. For this one in particular, you’ll need:

1 – A way to commute.

2 – 4 am or later on the clock.

3 – Go!

Near the TC petrol station, you’ll find a ‘thela’ with people ranging from your average ‘autowallah’ to your average college owl, at a place now popularly known as ‘Dega-Dega’ (I’ll give-I’ll give).

A 4 syllable expression coming in response to whatever you may order. The number of degas are in proportion to the rush and urgency and the undertone of each dega is proportional to how happy/annoyed the man is. Here’s a how a usual conversation goes.

You: Anna, ek plate samosa, sambar aur chutney ke saath.

DD: Dega-Dega.

You: Anna, ek double meethi chai bhi!

DD: Dega-Dega-Dega.

DD is an occult, but significant part of the Manipal after-hours culture. Let’s talk about the food. He has a tiny inventory. Do not be disappointed though, for whatever little he has is sufficient to keep you going. For such wee hours at night, everything is surprisingly served fresh and hot. Samosa, sambar and chutney are sure extinguishers of hunger. The double meethi chai is the closest I’ve come to tasting north-esque tea here. He also has Idlis if you may please. The best part? Nothing on the list comes anywhere near to burning even the tiniest of holes in your pocket.

After having laid down a semi-critical review of the place, I’d go on to say that DD is a must have on one’s radar. Sitting there, sipping hot tea while it rains will surely, even if for a short while, transport you back home. It’ll save you more than the Mario saves her princess.


– Rohil Jain for MTTN



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