25 Things to Bring to KMC
Manipal? Where’s that? Sikkim?
If you picked up a map of India – one of those good old fashioned paper ones, not Google Maps – you’d have a mighty hard time finding Manipal on it. If you were to type ‘Manipal’ into a search engine, you would find the Wikipedia page which describes it as “a suburb located within Udupi city, on the rocky hinterland of the Malabar coast”. Armed with this limited knowledge, I made sure my parents drove me to college in a car, with everything from buckets and mugs to table lamps and suitcases loaded into it, and even a metal shoe rack strapped to the top! Please note: although Manipal can’t be called a city, it is NOT a village located in the wilderness. Being a University town, it caters to a very large student population, and you can find most necessary things here.
Another point to note (which may seem quite obvious) is that it would be a huge help if your parents came with you the first time, to help you settle in. You’ll have plenty shopping and setting-up to do, and one could always use an extra set of hands. Some of the University hostels house parents during visits for a very cheap sum (details of which can be found out from the university). There are ample hotels around town where they can stay, but it’s best to book early because there will be a mad rush of parents in the first few days, and before you know it, all the hotels will be booked out. Some places they could stay in are Greenpark, Seventh Heaven, Ashlesh, etc., and if they don’t mind shelling out a few grand, there’s Fortune Valley View. There are also some apartments (eg- Manish Apts) which they could rent out for a couple of days.
The third point of note is: it’s best to arrive by train or car for your first trip. Domestic flights have a 15kg weight limit, and you have to shell out Rs.250 for every extra kilogram, so you don’t want to be doing that.
- If you forget any of the below (except your documents), they are available either in Manipal or Udupi, or in the magical world of online shopping.
- Don’t stress. We don’t live in the wild.
- Hydrate yourself hourly while packing. We don’t want you exhausted from crying.
- Take your mom’s help for folding clothes and your dad’s help when it comes to fitting things into your suitcase. They tend to be good at their respective stuff.
- If you’ve forgotten something important, get it couriered by your parents.
Now, finally, the list.
- Formal clothes: Yes, KMC has a dress code. There, there now. Wipe your tears and start shopping.
Girls have to wear Indian formals – kurtas and leggings/patiyalas [Note 1: patiyalas are pretty uncomfortable in this season due to the constant showers, so wear them at your own risk! Note 2: please don’t think you can get away with short kurtis and jeans. Not only are they not allowed, they make you look shabby]. Duppattas are not required, but you’re welcome to wear them. There are no rules about hairstyle (bangs, flicks, ponytails, etc), nose piercings, jewellery or footwear. Although there is a rule about visible tattoos, nobody creates an issue out of it.
Boys are required to wear western formals. So buy some decent shirts (and please change your shirt every day, for the sake of those with functional olfactory senses), formal pants, belt, formal shoes. When you go for labs and clinics, you can be sure that your professors will throw you out if you walk in with your shirt untucked, scraggly long hair or wearing slippers. Again, no one will create an issue out of hair gels, ear piercings, tattoos and jewellery.
Manipal has only two seasons – rainy and non-rainy. You don’t have to worry about lugging your winter wear, except a jacket for the library.
After class hours, you’re free to wear whatever you want. Manipal is the not exactly a conservative town, so anyone coming from interior parts of India, unused to seeing girls in shorts and tiny dresses, are in for a rude cultural shock (I’ve seen girls confidently pass off shirts as dresses here). Also, we may be medical students, but we do party. So girls, bring out the sexy dresses, fancy tops and snazzy heels!
- Footwear: It is highly recommended that you bring/buy a pair of rubber slippers/rain bellies/floaters/gliders (girls and boys both). The monsoons last from June to September, and believe me when I say it’s always pouring. It is easily available here in shops like Neptune.
You might also want to bring along a pair of sports shoes for jogging/gymming. However, if you wish to join Marena (Manipal’s huge indoor sports complex), most activities including gymming and running on the track require you to buy non-marking shoes, also available here as ‘Marena shoes’.
- Umbrella: your best friend. That about says it all. Never go anywhere without it during the monsoons; Manipal showers are sudden and unpredictable. Umbrellas sell like hot cakes here during the rainy season, so you can be sure that every store will keep a full stock. Look for a strong, sturdy one, preferably long (get your mind out of the gutter!). Never lend it to anyone, never leave it hanging on a stand in the food court or the library, and don’t buy a common colour or print. Manipal is known for umbrella chors.
- Mosquito repellent: this is a crucial commodity. Take it from someone who has personally experienced the dangers of not using repellent. I spent an excruciatingly boring week staring at the ceiling of a hospital room earlier this year. Malaria and dengue are common occurrences.
- Books: Don’t be in a hurry to buy them. Different teachers will recommend different text books. Med school does not mean you have to wake up at 5am and start studying right from day one. The health science library is well stocked (and more importantly, has excellent wi-fi). Browse first, talk to your seniors, see which books you like and then buy them. Medical textbooks are very expensive. Any unimportant books you can buy cheap from your seniors, or use an e-book.
As soon as you get here, make sure you go to Higgin Bothams and buy your practical records – they’ll run out of stock before you can blink! (In first year, there is a practical manual for Biochemistry, so make sure you buy that as well.)
- Stationary: you will need colour pencils, H&E pencils (used in Histology – just ask any stationary shop here for them), registers (some people take notes just to avoid falling asleep in lectures! There are some teachers who have a rule against yawning), pens, etc.
- Medical paraphernalia (special note for overenthusiastic medical nerds – ahem – students): Hold your horses right there! You do not need a stethoscope in your first year. At all. You will only start going to the hospital from your third semester, in which case you will have to get one.
Go to Bombay Surgicals – it is a shop located in Tiger Circle. Buy a pair of blunt forceps. You will need these for dissection. Also, place an order for a nametag (it should have your full name and say KMC, Manipal).
Buy a labcoat. Ideally, you should have at least 2, because you will have to wear this everyday to labs and the Dissection Hall. You can get it either from Higgin Bothams (better quality) or from Bombay Surgicals. This is crucial, without which you will get kicked out of every lab you go to.
Bone set – it is not necessary to buy this, though the night before an osteology exam, it’s a blessing. You either get free good quality sets from the DH if you’re lucky (there are limited sets), or you can buy it from your seniors. Prices are steep – nothing less than one to two thousand, so it would be economical to pool with your friends and share it.
- Toiletries: this goes without saying of course. However, if you wake up in the morning and realize you’ve forgotten your toothbrush, don’t panic. We don’t live in the middle of a jungle. Most standard brands of toiletries are available in all grocery stores in Manipal (on a side note, there are rumors about ‘fake deos’ being sold in the stores. Although you should be cautious while buying your things, most of these rumors have no basis.). Buy a good sunscreen. Also, due to the humidity, most (clean) people wash their hair every two days. The quality of water available in the hostels isn’t great and by the end of two months, most girls are crying over hair loss. So massage in a good hair oil before a hair wash.
Where to buy groceries: for girls, everything is available at ‘Akka shop’, a small store located next to Indira hostel. There is a Manipal Store located at Tiger Circle where you can get what you need.
Guys can go to the TC Manipal Store, or to Dreams supermarket, located on the road behind Nehru Hostel.
- Electronics: KMC will provide laptops for all students. If you already have one, you can bring that. Quite a common practice (especially in MIT) is to sell the laptop while it’s brand new, and use your own. Just because you’re getting laptops from the college don’t imagine that you will be using them to type notes in class – we aren’t that hi-fi yet. Wi-Fi routers are set up in all hostels and you get 30GB worth of internet free every month. Make sure you bring a pen drive. Movie buffs can also bring their hard drives.
You are allowed to keep refrigerators, induction stoves, rice cookers, electric kettles, microwaves, etc. You can go ahead and completely disregard the hostel rule which says that you will be charged monthly for their usage. You might have to get an additional socket set up to use your refrigerator.
Buy a table lamp – there is only one tube light per room and you will find it hard to read while studying at your desk. You can also buy a small tube light and get it fixed above your table, with the hostel’s permission.
Feel free to bring your hair driers, straighteners, iron box, speakers, earphones, ipods, ipads, etc.
Another must is a multiplug socket – only one or two sockets are provided per room and you will acutely feel their inadequacy if you don’t have an extension box.
Most of these electronic items are available locally, or at Udupi. Things like blow driers and iron boxes can be bought at TC Manipal Store or Big Bazaar Udupi.
- Bedding: only a mattress is provided in the hostels. Buy 2 pillows, and bedsheets. Usually a single blanket is sufficient at night, though a duvet is a comfort, especially in an AC room. The hostels provide curtains in most rooms, but as they’re dreadfully dreary (and sometimes dirty), you might want to change them. These things can be bought in Manipal at Bombay Dyeing, Big Bazaar Udupi or Fab India.
- Bucket, mug, plastic racks and baskets to store your things, clothes hangers, laundry bags, plastic shoe racks, bathroom stool, water bottles/jugs can be bought in the gigantic Big Bazaar at Udupi or the even the local Bombay Stores (quality cannot be guaranteed here).
Dustbins are provided outside every room.
Rooms come with hooks and nails. If you want extra hooks, you can buy sticky hooks in the TC Manipal Store or Bharath Bookmark. These are convenient little plastic contraptions which come with double tape at the back to stick onto a surface and are fairly sturdy. Nails can be hammered into the wall if required by calling the hostel carpenter. Small shelves, mirrors, racks, etc., can be fixed in your room.
Laundry service is available at most hostels, both hand wash and machine wash. They will wash and iron your clothes for a price, though some places might not accept ALL your clothes, if you know what I mean. So buy surf, clothes brush, etc., and a nylon rope/clothes stand (easily available at stores here).
Small mirrors are provided in the bathrooms. If you want a larger one in the room, you can buy it at Udupi.
A lot of bathrooms don’t come with hand showers. If you want to get one fitted in your bathroom, they are available at Udupi.
- Water: There is no need to keep Bisleri water dispensers in your room. Clean water is provided in the hostels. All you will require is a water bottle/jug. Thermos flasks are recommended to keep the water cold for a longer time.
- Room cleaning service is provided in the hostels. If you’re a clean freak like me, there are small plastic brooms available at Tiger Circle (easier to clean and maintain than the normal jhadus). Due to the rains, the rooms tend to start smelling musty, so keep a room freshener.
- Food & cutlery: There are quite a few good restaurants in Manipal. Everyone knows that mess food is either inedible or boring, so do go out every now and then for a change. A lot of people don’t join any mess and ‘freelance’ anywhere. If you’re liable to feel very homesick, you can bring pickles and other delicacies which remind you of home (non-perishables in case you don’t have a refrigerator). You can buy plates, spoons, forks (for those maggi nights), bowls, knives, coffee mugs, etc., at the TC Store.
[Note from mom: Living away from home for the first time, we tend to get caught up in running free and doing everything we’re not supposed to do. Please do take care of your health and eat plenty fruits and drink fresh juices. We have too many people falling sick because they don’t eat right.]
- Medicines: Always keep a box of emergency meds with you. Crocin, Calpol, Meftal, Volini, bandaids, the usual drill. Buy a hand sanitizer.
- Newspapers for lining cupboards and shelves, plastic carry bags.
- Buy a backpack/shoulder bag for college.
- Posters or other room decor items.
- Fungus is your arch nemesis. Guard well – naphthalene balls, neem leaves or sandalwood powder. You can buy a piece of chalk called ‘Lakshman Rekha’ from the local stores to defend your abode against an ant attack. Cockroaches are a dreaded and inevitable part of hostel life. Never believe the room cleaners when they say they have sprayed repellents – these are diluted to such an extent that the cockroaches probably take a bath in them. Keep your own Hit/Mortein.
- Good quality door lock, and maybe a number lock for your cupboard.
- Alarm clock: phones are pesky, unreliable things that decide things on their own without telling you, so don’t be dependent on them. Make sure your alarm clock is loud (show your neighbours some benevolence) and keep your attendance up! The cut-off is strictly 75%, no ifs and buts about it. You’d be surprised how many people have shortage at the end of the year and are barred from writing finals.
- Swimming: most people are unaware of the fact that MIT has a swimming pool in its campus which is open to all. There are different timings everyday for girls and boys. You need to register at the start of the semester at the MIT office for a fee of Rs. 200. Bring a swimsuit and related paraphernalia.
- Sarees: Girls, please don’t be terribly disappointed, but you will not be wearing dresses or sarees at your Freshers. Your seniors will set a dresscode. Having said that, you might get an occasion to wear a saree, so no harm in packing one.
- One of the first things on your list of things to do upon reaching Manipal should be to pay a visit to SBI and apply for an account (and combo card). It takes ages and ages and ages and (phew) ages to get your combo card, so apply on time. It is mandatory to make an SBI account, because they will give you your combo card (Debit card + college ID, which allows you to enter hostels and library).
- Most important of all: please read the university website carefully and bring ALL the documents required for registration. You will be in a right fix if you don’t have them.
Having listed all that, I hope you don’t try to pack your entire room into a suitcase and bring it to Manipal. You will have issues with storage space.
Hope that helps.