Sharing Desserts, Braincells and Memories

So you sit together, one last time. The night sky seems a little darker, you don’t feel like eating and it hits you, this is the last time you’ll probably see them before life takes you both on your own individual journeys. They’ll leave and you’re still here, in this same small town, waiting for the time it’s your turn to say goodbye.


There’s something extra-ordinarily peculiar about friendships and the best ones are often unexpected. And that’s what makes the student town of Manipal extraordinarily beautiful. Thousands of young adults, each on their own path of self discovery and yet, we find each other in astonishing ways and choose each other, over and over again.


Walks around campus, with the sky a bright riot of orange, pink, purple and every other hue in between. Short study breaks, where coffee is sipped while tea is spilled. Dinner outings to celebrate the small wins in life. 3 am calls when your heart is broken. Arguing back and forth about sitcoms and whether Charlie and Chelsea should have stayed together. Wondering if the burnout is worth it.


When people from different walks of life come together, it’s nothing short of magic. And you slowly notice yourself picking up small habits from them and vice versa. Manipal is that place where you can bond over missing home food and then bicker about whether dosa is better or rajma. You connect with people of different ages and different courses and of course, there is no greater form of bonding than cribbing about exams and how scoring marks is near impossible.



Over time, you slowly find your people and Manipal starts feeling like home. You know you’ll have a set of familiar faces to turn to when times get tough and when you need someone to pull you down from the table you climbed on to dance. From awkward formal messages to ordering each other to meet, from hesitant questions to figure someone out to having inside jokes that make your stomach hurt from laughing. And sometimes, when things are just perfect, you wish you could freeze the moment forever.


But being a part of this student town has its own flipside. You slowly watch people leave and if you belong to one of the longer courses, you will watch people come and go, while it seems like you’re still stuck here for eternity. The same food court that once was packed with friends is now a sea of new people and you can’t help but feel out of place. You scoff at the juniors, assuming an air of superiority but internally, you miss the simpler times. You see people hanging out in large groups and you miss your people who have moved out of town. You sit on your friend’s bed, watch her pack belongings to ship home, carefully bubble wrapping memories and it feels like they’re leaving with a piece of your heart. You exchange parting gifts, maybe a letter, one last hug and all your words seem to be stuck in your throat. You’d promised not to cry for their sake, so you hold back tears and make jokes about your eyes sweating.


It’s a bittersweet feeling, while you feel happy to see them moving on to better things, you can’t help feeling left behind. While you will miss their company, you can’t wait to see them accomplish their dreams.


You eagerly wait for their next visit to town.

You promised each other that you’ll try to see each other as much as possible but you also know the truth of adulthood; We all plan meetings but it’s nothing short of a miracle if they actually take place.


Your only hope is that distance won’t come in between all your friendships. You promise to stay in touch over calls and texts but the nagging fear that your own individual lives will consume you persists at the back of your head.


And maybe that’s the beauty of certain relationships. Friends who come into your life, change it for the better and you know, despite the distance, despite the fights, they will pick up your call even if they are a whole continent away. Friends who you may not talk to everyday but you know they will always have a special place in your heart. You know that such genuine people are a rarity and so, you’ll always want them in your life.


To all friends who leave this town (and their friends behind!) I hope you know you are deeply missed, remembered over every cup of tea and your absence is stark in times of celebrations and despair. You’ve left an indelible mark in the hearts of so many people and you’re part of a million different stories tightly interwoven together to form the town of Manipal.


Written by Shivangi Acharya for MTTN

Artwork by Subbulakshmi S for MTTN

Edited by Harshita Khanna for MTTN

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