The Journal of An Outstation Participant
7th March, 2017. 11:00 P.M.
When they told me that I’d have to go to MIT, Manipal for their fest Revels, I was really excited. After all, who wouldn’t be? From hearing about it to actually living the Manipal life for a few days, it would be a great experience. But then again why was I excited? I’ve heard the stories. Manipal— the place where people throw themselves off roofs when high on “sugar” . The place where rich spoilt brats make babies in public, where attendance isn’t a thing—neither in the hostels nor the classrooms. To the ordinary person, going to Manipal for a couple of days would be a scary thing. But I decided to risk it anyway.
8th March, 2017. 10:00 A.M.
After a long and tiring journey, I reached The Land of Happy Grass. I didn’t know where I was, but I assumed it to be Manipal because my hair went from Sunsilk Straight to Fiama di Wills Frizz (thank you, 70% humidity). As we made our way to a huge glass building that the locals call “IC” I couldn’t help but notice how empty the place was. It was ten in the morning, where were the cars? Do these people take bullock carts to classes?
A friendly face approached us and her tag read “Volunteer—Outstation”. Cool, our personal tour guide. After registering and being assigned rooms, I was excited to chill in the “posh” hostels of Manipal. But when I reached the hostel block, I was quite surprised.
Misconception number one: Fancy hostels. Quora made it sound like MITians get elixir from the taps and have a personal butler at their service. On enquiring around, I found that we didn’t get the best hostels. Pretty unfair if you ask me, I heard that the Conscendo participants got the International Hostels. But then again, engineering students are used to suffering so it’s quite alright.
8th March, 2017. 2:00 P.M.
Day one of Revels—I thought Manipal had issues with spellings. Carnaval? Rhytham? Rythym? Quite unusual for a top college, if you ask me. (It was later found out that Carnaval was Spanish for carnival. Fancy).
After getting done with my event, I was starving. And then I saw it—a food truck. Being a college student, I have absolutely no standards when it comes to food. Is it cheap? Okay. Is it tasty? Okay. Will I die of cholera? Even better. But let me tell you, Square Ruth had absolutely divine food. Bacon and beef burger, will you marry me?
8th March, 2017. 6:00 P.M.
After a day of loitering around the campus; going from one event to the next, I wanted to attend the first Proshow event. Turns out that day one of Revels had no event lined up, so my friends and I went to a place called DeeTee. The locals had been raving about it; some even called it mandir so we decided to don our best clothes and head there for a night filled with good music and great people.
On our way to DeeTee, we couldn’t help but argue over what DeeTee meant. Was it Dance Trip? Daily Trip? Daaru Theka? Or much like Carnaval was it just a fancy way of saying DT?
8th March, 2017. 8:00 P.M.
I don’t know why everyone loves this place. Meet new people? That would be great if I could look at their faces. The place was dark, dingy, and extremely shady. But oh well, at least the music was nice.
We got back to our hostels at 11:00 P.M and there were a few people signing a register. Misconception number two: Manipal has no attendance policy.
9th March, 2017. 1:00 P.M
Day two of Revels had a bigger crowd than before. I was really excited to meet new people, but no one seemed to want to make conversation. Everyone was running around frantically, trying to get things in place before the events. So I just sat there—on the steps of AB4, waiting for Mad Ads to begin. It was a bad move. I saw couples making out right in front of everyone. Why isn’t the security guard blowing his whistle? Why are people acting like this is no big deal? How is this allowed? I was terribly confused and thoroughly impressed at the same time. What a life to live—A life where you’re treated like adults. One point to the Manipal administration for that.
9th March, 2017. 3:00 P.M
I finally spoke to some Manipalites. I was of the impression that all the students are snooty and too egoistic to talk to outstation students, but I was wrong. The three people I spoke to were from an organization called MTTN. They asked me a few questions about my experience here so far and I gave them my honest opinion. After a short conversation, they led me to the NLH and persuaded me to watch other events as well. It was a fun afternoon.
9th March, 2017. 6:00 P.M
On hearing about the line-up for Proshow day two, I rushed to the Quadrangle to grab a spot for the stand-up comedy show. After settling down and waiting for about three hours, an MIT student—Shubhang Yadav opened for Karunesh Talwar and Sahil Shah. He was absolutely brilliant, why was he doing engineering? Oh wait, welcome to India.
After two hours of rib-tickling laughter and in general a day of immense fun, I head back and crashed.
10th March, 2017. 2:00 P.M.
There’s a reason there’s no morning entry. I had a traumatising experience. I got shot down by every girl I tried to pick up. It’s almost like they had been through this multiple times before. Misconception number three: Manipal is a place to pick up “chicks”. Well, at least I’ve got that bacon and beef burger.
Side note: I thought this college had only one Revels T-shirt. There were people with another one today. Who were they? Were they a cult? What were they trying to prove?
More importantly, I wondered where I could get the shirt. But oh well, they were not for sale. Guess I’d have to stick to Rhytham then.
10th March, 2017. 6:00 P.M.
The cult from the afternoon was trying to do some sort of a formation. What a bunch of weirdos.
At seven, as I was enjoying my shawarma, I heard someone scream in pain. Confused, I ran to the IC to see where it was coming from. It was a bunch of untalented, over enthusiastic students absolutely destroying the karaoke machine. Go figure. In hindsight, it was naïve of me to think this place would ever quieten down.
10th March, 2017. 11:00 P.M.
Around 8:00 P.M, I made my way towards the guitar-shredding sounds at the Quadrangle hoping that it would be Lagori. It turned out to be The Battle of the Bands. Why did I ever think that any student organized event would start on time? Anyway, BoB was some high octane action. The weird part?—having to cheer for team IDs instead of colleges. Go team ID 156284!
After painstakingly waiting till 9:30 P.M, Lagori finally took to the stage. As I was showing off my sick dance moves to Chaiyya Chaiyya, a dude came up to me and asked me if I had some “happy grass”. I shooed him away, bewildered at how straightforward he had been. Well, at least one stereotype about this place is true. Soon after, Lagori sang a song called Dhooen. Apt.
11th March, 2017. 11:00 A.M.
Day four. The last day of Revels. I sat at the IC stairs and wondered why the place hadn’t been as crowded as before. Only a few scuttled around in an effort to get things done. I was impressed but surprised at the same time because engineers are a lazy and laid back lot.
Oh, wait. How did I ever miss out the eternally self-obsessed beauties looking for that one picture out of twenty seven identical ones in which their eyeliner looked “more winged” than in the others and their head tilted at an angle of 13.84639 degrees.
11th March, 2017. 3:00 P.M.
A stroll near the cafeteria greeted my ears with occasional eruptions as though a few students were trying to scream their voice boxes out. It was the Nukkad Natak—the street play. Having loved theatre for a long time, I sat and watched the plays. The performances were phenomenal. Honestly though, I’m glad my super talented self never took to acting—the mere thought of what my audience would have had to deal with makes me flinch.
Alongside, I also noticed people filling in and out of the library. “These students should be banned”, said the tiny little person called ‘guilt’ in my head. Misconception number four: Manipal folks do not study.
11th March, 2017. 8:00 P.M.
Events had drawn to a close. With the campus almost empty, KMC Greens teemed with Forever21 and Zara. Rich kids, I tell you. I spoke to a few of them and surprisingly found them not snobbish at all. They were all in for a good show and fervently hoped that Benny and Anish wouldn’t disappoint them. So did I.
12th March, 2017. 3:00 A.M.
Now that I lie on my bed staring at the ceiling doing nothing (an engineer’s favourite pastime), I recount the events of the day. Benny Dayal was good. Anish Sood disappointed me, somewhat. Overall, Ground Zero had been quite alright. But all in all, Revels was a good experience. I would definitely want to come back next year – with more zeal (pun intended) and fewer misconceptions.
- – Nethraa Kannan, Bhavna Subramanian and Priyanjali Roychoudhury for MTTN Photographers : Akshay Ananthakrishnan, Ved Dubhashi, Paritosh Kulkarni, Yash Singhania and Anmol Rathi