Manipal has given us all some incredible memories. Student-life here is simply unparalleled. That said, things don’t always make sense in this little town. Every once in a while something or the other is bound to get to your nerves. So here are a bunch of things that might make you feel better about staying home right now:
Our parents have worked hard to provide for us and pay for our expensive education. They also give us an allowance to spend on anything we might need to live a life of comfort. And yet somehow — somehow, we manage to spend a big chunk of that money on auto-rickshaws?
Autos in Manipal have an antique showpiece hanging in a corner; it’s called ‘the meter’. Auto drivers don’t set their prices by this unearthly machine, no; prices are usually based on shared glances with other auto drivers and also, their mood. If you think that is strange, you should also know that these prices increase by forty percent after a certain time. Why? Because, “Late ho gaya hai madam/sir.” Thinking about taking an auto to Malpe, Kapu or any far off place? Think again unless you want to see yourself cry over an empty wallet and poor life choices.
Manipal is a beautiful town. You can’t help but be at peace with the various aesthetic places here that you spend your time in. Getting from one place to another, however? That is a different story.
Roads in Manipal are stacked with problems. Just when you think things are getting better, a new problem pops up out of nowhere.
You were happy that the gutter in front of Canara Mall got fixed? Well, to compensate for that, Manipal decided to get rid of all of its divider cuts over the last winter break. Auto trips were already expensive enough but try going to Bacchus Inn now for under thirty million dollars. This wasn’t even a difficult one — to make cuts, all they had to do was to not do something. All they had to do was to not make dividers at certain places.
And they failed at that.
8 AM Classes
After spending your Sunday watching a beautiful sunset by the beach with your friends, you return to your room gleeful. You lie down in your bed, tired but happy, and suddenly, you realise that an 8 AM class awaits you the next morning.
All the happiness of the weekend is drawn out of you, and you spend the rest of the night dreading the prospect of attending lectures.
When you walk into an 8 AM classroom, you can sense the sadness emanating out of the walls. The classes are filled with sleep-deprived, frustrated souls who have not seen breakfast in an eternity and that does not help. The only thing that can perhaps make things worse for them is not getting attendance for the class because they were sleeping during the roll call.
We have all grown up learning about the importance of paper. The image of a fallen tree appears in front of our eyes every time we waste even one piece.
In this day and age, when resources are being exhausted at exponential rates, copying every word that has already been printed in a book seems pretty counter-intuitive. Yet every week, students in Manipal stay up until 3 AM to finish their lab manuals, due at 8:30 in the morning.
After spending an hour thinking about the point of E-pads, you finally sit down on your study table, play some of your favourite music and start writing. You heave a sigh of relief as you finish and see that the time is only 1 AM. You can finally get more than six hours of sleep. You look through what you’ve written one last time. Everything is perfect except that two pages of your manual aren’t Physics – they are just Coldplay lyrics.
Distance from Fresher’s Blocks
Imagine yourself on an early morning walk, on a path that cuts through a dense forest. Dewdrops fall from leaves, and all you hear is the soft patter of raindrops on trees and the calls of birds. Perhaps this very image was the inspiration behind the infamous Temple Run. This same trail, however, becomes dreadful when every other morning you have to run for an 8 AM class.
Unfortunately, the whole path isn’t even covered. Near Kamath Circle, the Sun doesn’t provide any respite, either. Add to that, the steep incline makes you feel like you are training for a marathon. Who decided to keep the fresher’s blocks so far away from the classes in the first place? Freshers are the one demographic that can get lost in the campus easily. Makes a lot of sense, then, I guess, to keep them a mile away from classes.
What is something you hold on to dearly at the start of the semester, and struggle to maintain by the end? No, I’m not talking about your sobriety. The answer is attendance. Courtesy the 75% attendance policy, one has to think twice before skipping even one class. Lectures become so much worse when you know you cannot skip them. Every trip you make mid-semester costs you, apart from the airfare, a bomb in attendance. All this worrying, and finally the effort you put into maintaining that number does not even add to your grades.
With the uncertainty of COVID-19, in case the number of classes are cut short, a lot of people are in trouble. If the number of classes reduces, the number of leaves you can take reduce in proportion. Hence, there is a chance that one might just be held back for the semester in a subject or two or three depending on the number of proxies acquired.
Permissible entry time for hostels is 10 PM for first years and 11 PM for seniors. If entry is done after the said time, you will be marked for late entry. This is an acceptable rule. Fast forward to 11 PM, however, and boys are still found hanging out outside their blocks like it is no big deal because their biometrics machine is set to run 10 minutes later than the in-time. On the other hand, girls will have to rush back to their hostel blocks hoping to not get penalised for entering just one minute late.
Girls hostels are stricter than boys hostels? That is more than an understatement. Say a boy orders food in the after-hours. When the food arrives, he can just step outside and collect it. But if a girl orders food after punching in, she has to first inform the caretakers, sign into a different register stating her purpose of stepping out of the hostel, mention the out-time and the in-time, and submit a vial of her blood so they can have her DNA to trace her back in case she doesn’t make it back within 6 minutes.
Modern-day misogyny? I think so.
With COVID-19 spreading like a wildfire, the world has come to a standstill. India is now under a twenty-one day-long lockdown now. If that doesn’t sound serious enough to you, the fact that MAHE declared a break might put things into perspective.
When this break was first announced, we obviously realized the gravity of the situation and adapted social distancing in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Except — we did not do any of that. What was supposed to be a precautionary break was seen as a time to finally make those beach plans or throw house parties. Our excuses?
“The fatality rate is just two per cent and we are young, this can’t kill us.”
For young people, the point of social distancing was never to save ourselves but to help minimize the effects of this catastrophe.
Even after the lockdown is lifted, it is our duty as citizens to participate in this practice until this problem is resolved. It is in our hands — literally in our hands — to control this outbreak that can prove detrimental to our economy.
Will we realize our social responsibility? Only time will tell.
Written by Sudarshan Sivakumar, Avaneesh Damaraju, Sanjana Bharadwaj, and Chintan Gandhi for MTTN
Pictures by Kevin Phillip and Rishab Sanjay
Artwork by Ashitha Melissa