Gastronomics, or Anything But The MIT FC.
Basically, there will be a time when you’ll be ‘moths in my wallet’ broke.
But your elephantine ego will simply NOT allow you to enter the food court, the place where your chances of courting are much better than the food.
You would rather take the 150 bucks deducted on a daily basis and exercise culinary control, than wrestle with rubber chicken.
This is what I did.
With Rs.150 in my wallet, I set out with only one aim: to survive an entire day of classes on all three meals, without entering the dreaded food court.
So, shall we play a game?
Date: November 2, 2015
Time: 7:55 AM
Available balance: INR 150
I run down the trodden path that separates home from work. As I do, I see those who have filled their stomachs with the food that will eventually disappoint them. A moment after that, I hide the rumble that follows in mine.
Since I have no time for class, I decide to abandon my search for a little pick-me-up, striding into Academic Block The Fifth for the gruelling ordeal that civilization calls ‘classes’, with the hope that I make it through two hours of hunger.
Time: 10:00 AM
Available balance: INR 150
Throughout class, all I have been able to do is draft a battle plan. After much reasoning, it makes sense to eat within campus at points between the 19th block and AB5. The primary reason is ease of accessibility. While most places in Manipal are within walking distance, the undue exertion translates to an increased appetite.
With this thought, I bolt out of the classroom and straight into the MIT cafeteria, where a variety of food at reasonable prices awaits me. Slamming 40 bucks on the counter, I order a grilled cheese sandwich, find a place to sit and devour the first meal of the day. Exponentially better than lukewarm eggs, I’d say.
Try the dosas. Or if you prefer a more handy arrangement, the paneer puffs and/or the samosas right next to Om Xerox. Wash down with a bottle of Slice for added effect.
Time: 12:55 PM
Available balance: INR 110
With the first half of the day behind me, and my appetite making a grand comeback, I head back to the point of convergence for most MITians: Kamath Circle.
I am Abhishek’s dissatisfied stomach.
With some effort, I turn the other way, and walk straight into Kamath Canteen. Eating in the company of illustrious movie stars may not be my thing, but my levels of concern were virtually nonexistent.
Without sparing a thought, I head over to the counter and pay for
a Parota Egg Masala, a mere 40 rupees, but worth every paisa.
As an added insult to injury, I elect to sit with my back to the food court.
Chicken roll, or the paneer frankie.
(Yes, vegetarians, I got your back too.)
Time: 5:15 PM
Available balance: INR 70
Walking out of AB5, I realize that I am done with the day. The feeling of satisfaction sweeps me over like waves on a beach, or something on the lines of that. While I work on a better analogy, a not-so-helpful reminder drops in.
I have a working committee meeting in half an hour.
While on the edge of losing my sanity, I decide to go for a little caffeine. After all, coffee and college students go hand in glove.
12 bucks for a cuppa (I found a coin in my pocket, does that make me a #2RsPerson?).
They call it high tea for a reason…
Time: 9:35 PM
KC at night is a wonderful place. There’s always something going on there. Lights, sounds, people, autos, infodesks that you were supposed to report to but instead decide to enjoy your evening…
I have my sights trained on only one place, though.
With all the strength I can channel to my feet, I cross the threshold of the campus and inch closer to a sumptuous feast. Because let’s be honest, that place is good.
With a triumphant flourish, I exchange 60 rupees for a Chicken Egg roll, thus emptying my wallet. Conversely, I fill my stomach with warm, wonderful food while The Place That Must Not Be Named proceeds to torment harmless, gullible souls.
(Note: It pays to be on good terms with the guy who makes those mouthwatering rolls, you do get to hear a great deal of gossip if you’re into that kind of masala.)
For an extra Rs. 5, head over to the Dishes shawarma van just outside the KC gate. Campus Grill in front of the 19th block has options too.
Vegetarians, meet Snack Point’s Chutney Mary.
Time: 10:40 PM
Available balance: INR 0
With a fleeting sense of accomplishment, I walk down the road that takes me to a comfortable bed. I’ve done the impossible, or the not-so-difficult-if-you-plan-it-properly, if you may.
Bottom line, I live to fight another day.