Be A Black Hole— Pack Light

Gone are the days where your parents are freely available at your disposal to tend to your everyday needs— where your mom lies about the time in order to wake you up and get you ready for school. Welcome to grade 13, welcome to college. You need to fend for yourself here. Or you know, trust your roommate blindly and hope that he/she is a responsible and well-functioning adult.

The beloved campus store that is tucked between the debris from construction and the 13th block has most of the items that you’ll need for college. However, here’s a checklist of things you should bring owing to the concert-like crowd at the campus store on day one.

Pro Tip: Do try travelling by train in order to avoid the 15 kilo baggage limit. (Also, saving a little money for extra expenditure may help—hello Oreo shake x 200).

Packing Essentials:

  • Documents: Remember that entire set of documents you got during counselling? Bring them all. In a waterproof folder. Extreme emphasis on the waterproof part.

Additionally, do bring a couple of passport sized photos (about ten to be on the safe side). Don’t worry about how you look in them, the combo card will somehow distort your face and make you unrecognizable anyway. Afterall, beauty lies in the eyes of the cardholder.

  • Umbrella: If you’ve been snooping on Quora to find your answers about Manipal, you’ll know that this is definitely a priority. The land of sudden downpours will not spare anyone— bring two umbrellas (raincoats are for noobs). It might also be helpful to write your name on them with a waterproof marker; money isn’t stolen here, umbrellas are
  • Clothes: Although there isn’t a strict enforcement of the dress-code, students are expected to wear full-length bottoms (jeans/trousers) in all of the academic blocks both in and out of class hours. Girls may wear kurtis/chudidars if they want to and are not restricted from wearing palazzos or long skirts either.

Note: Since Dandiya night would require you to go all out desi, and a few clubs might expect you to have a formal outfit, having a pair of traditional as well as formal attire sure does come in handy. Or you could just attend the event in your track pants—we understand.

  • Footwear: You know the infamous blue and white hawai chappals from Bata? Well, they’re going to be a part of your college life. Manipal’s rains are known to ruin the best of footwear so don’t hesitate to bring a pair of rubber chappals along. You should also carry a pair of non-marking running shoes if you’re planning on going to Marena (Or if you’re a night owl and wake up at 7:50 for your 8:00 A.M lecture). Additionally, make sure you get your formal footwear with you because a tuxedo with rubber chappals might not be the best formal attire (but ten points for comfort).
  • Medicines: For a campus that has it all, there is a serious lack in medical stores. The closest medical store is 2 minutes from AB5, which in theory doesn’t seem that far away until you’re sick. Make sure to get paracetamol, lozenges, pain relief sprays and antacids (extremely useful for when you’ve skipped breakfast for three days straight trying to maintain that 75% attendance).
  • Alarm Clock: Yes, this deserves a separate point. It doesn’t matter how much you trust yourself, you’ll inevitably hit snooze on your phone and go back to bed for “just five more minutes”. It really helps having an alarm clock kept at the far end of the room—you need to wake up five to ten minutes earlier than usual on exam days to be able to navigate through AB5 without a map.
  • Stationery & Books: All the stationery you’d want is available at the campus store but it would benefit if you could get a Casio FX 991-ES beforehand. Yes, it’s available at the campus store but due to the high demand you’d find yourself out of luck if you try to get it at the last minute. And pro tip #2? Do not buy 991-MS. Fellow ISC kids, you might be attached to that calculator of yours but unless you’re the next Shakuntala Devi and want to solve simultaneous equations on your own, get the 991-ES.

As for reference books, just one word—no. You think you’ll utilize them really well and get your money’s worth out of them, but trust us, you do not need to buy any book—the central library has it all.

Note: If you promise yourself that you’d do math everyday (and you will), buy Higher Engineering Mathematics by B.S Grewal. You can get it at a cheaper price from Kamath Book House or from a third year who would be more than willing to get rid of that evil thing as soon as possible. After your first year, you’d probably regret the purchase for having not done anything but hey, caring enough to buy the book is the first step towards success.

Great! Now that we’re done with the essentials, let’s move on to the “extras”. We personally think it’s very cute how you’re so excited about all of your favourite things that you’re going to make part of your life in college. Your extra smooth towel for days when your skin feels slightly rough (Might I suggest Palmolive shower gel? Product placement, check), a slightly rough one for days on which you can afford to lose some moisture, another one for — you get the point.

Listen very carefully now, you naïve soul– There is going to come a day in your life, when you wake up at 7:45 and make it to the 8am lecture successfully. That day, is the day your life will change. Having brushed, combed your hair, picked out an outfit, and made to your class in under 15 minutes, you will realise the unimportance of everything materialistic. “Moh maaya,” as Einstein curtly put it.

Here’s a list of things you will survive just fine, without, but if you’re one of those people, you might as well take:

Packing Non-Essentials:

  • Electric kettle: Arguable the most clichéd thing you’ll have come to associate with living in hostels. You’re probably thinking, “But what if I have the late-night munchies?” or, “What if I want to make myself a hot cup of the finest espresso in the morning?” Well, you’re mistaken. The only reason why a kettle may seem like a must, is if you’re prone to falling sick very easily, and prefer to always drink water that’s slightly on the hotter side. But if you’ve been raised drinking Bournvita (Product placement, check), there’s really no need.

Tip: There’s always going to be someone in your hostel lobby who’s going to bring one along anyway. Form your alliances wisely.

  • Iron: Yes, surely amidst all the assignment-cramming, overeating, lack of exercise, and a general disregard for everything hygienic, you’re going to find time to iron your shirts (Insert sound snippet that lets reader know the line was meant to sound sarcastic). There are multiple laundrymen/laundrywomen in every hostel block that will wash and iron your clothes at a very affordable rate, for occasions when you’ll need to look sharp. Like all those dates you’ll be going on (Insert sound snippet that lets reader know the line was meant to sound sarcastic).
  • An aura of enthusiasm, a passion to learn, and a positive outlook towards life.
  • Musical instruments: Your hostel room will be slightly bigger than an average room. But that doesn’t give you the license to bring your synthesizer, banjo, saxophone AND harp. Unless you’re really serious about practising your instrument while you’re here, and are one of the few mythical creatures who can manage their time, do not bring an instrument. More than just being an obstruction in your room, it’ll be a huge hassle when you’ve to carry it back home. Unless it’s a guitar though. Guitars are cool.
  • Toiletries: Yes, it does get really hot here. No, skin cancer is not a joke. So make sure you have enough sunscreen to last you the semester. Apart from that, make sure to pack only those things that you absolutely cannot live without.

Tip: Pack some dental floss. Enamel erosion is not funny.

  • Cutlery: Bring at least a plate, and a few spoons and forks along. Get a pack of those disposable ones if you can. Eateries on the campus deliver food until 2am, and eating food straight out of the foil can get messy sometimes.
    Tip: Dish washing liquid.


Now, we realise that there’s only one unstoppable force in this world – A mother while packing. So, we do understand that despite everything, you may still end up leaving your first-year room with a carton full of polka-dotted socks (One can never have enough socks) stored in the attic. But try negotiating with her. Show her pictures of Manipal. Convince her that there are numerous shops here that sell everything (There’s even a shop that sells the long-forgotten Milo. REALLY), and tell her you love her. Moms deserve to hear that more often.

— Nethraa Kannan and Pujan Parikh for MTTN


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