There was a mad rush to file last-minute application forms for the Combined Aptitude Test for English (CATE) at Delhi University on Monday, with clueless and panicked students trying to submit their completed forms within the stipulated time of 1p.m.

“I did not know about CATE, I got to know only at 11-30 a.m. and the time to submit the form is 1 p.m. I really want to do B.A. English (Honours) in any of the colleges listed for CATE. In fact, it is my only choice,” said a tearful Mehek, sitting on the pavement along with her parents outside the Arts Faculty.

“The children have only just got their results, so of course they cannot be expected to know all these things,” was her mother's explanation. “It is my fault; I am an uneducated woman, so I did not read the newspapers to find out about theses courses, this is the first time in my life that I feel so bad about not being able to read,” she added.

Mehek and her parents then argued about whether they had the time to file the form, with Mehek finally making a dash for Miranda House where application and CATE forms were being sold and accepted.

She was not the only one making a dash for it. “We are all here for the CATE forms,” said a group of well-groomed girls sauntering around the Miranda House complex at 12 noon. On being told that the time to submit their forms was almost up, they were taken by surprise. “Nobody told us this. It is all very unfair. We have to buy the form first and then submit it by 1.p.m. This is ridiculous.”

Better informed students did not get off hassle-free either. “We came here for some information for which we had to wait in line for two hours; we have already filed the CATE form online,” said a tired-looking Esha who was sitting alongside her mother on the steps of the Vishwavidyala metro station in North Delhi.

“I lost my demand draft that is needed to file the CATE forms, so I ended up waiting one hour outside the bank where at least 50 students like me were getting their drafts made,” said Sonakshi at about 12 p.m. She along with five of her friends had landed in the university at 9 a.m.

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