“The heat almost made me cry yesterday, you see, we actually spent the whole of last morning looking for the university conference centre. We are from Kashmir and do not know Delhi very well. When we finally found this place it was way past 1 p.m. and the centre was closed, I wanted to cry again,” says Mokshi Vedhera, smiling at her younger sister, Vidhukshi. They were seated at a special air-conditioned room that has been set-aside separately for the physically challenged during admission time in Delhi University.

“Everything is fine now..we are going to be ok,” chirps in Vidhukshi. Both sisters are well-groomed and quick to smile. Mokshi has an M.A. in Physiotherapy and is here for Vidhukshi who is missing an arm and wants to study in Delhi University.

“We now have student volunteers to go along in the buses that the university has made available for the disabled candidates, so that if they see anyone who needs help, they can immediately stop and help them inside the bus,” said Bipin Tiwary, who is in charge of the Equal Opportunities Cell.

Waiting patiently for their receipts were Alka and her mother. “My daughter got 95.25 per cent in her CBSE, she has always made me so proud, always working so hard. Her marks did not surprise me,” said the mother. Alka has loco-motor problems, and is hardly able to move her hands.

The university has a three per cent quota for disabled students and according to the Equal Opportunities Cell there are a total of 1,626 seats up for grabs. “We have so far registered 123 students, Thursday was the highest with 51 students of which 25 were visually impaired, 24 had loco-motor problems, one had hearing impairment and another had dyslexia,” added Tiwary. “ Last year there were fewer registrations.” However, he was disappointed with the number of students he had to turn away. “ There were several students who were almost ok and came here with false medical certificates, trying to take advantage of this quota,” he said, adding that there were several genuine candidates without medical certificates that he registered anyway after taking an undertaking from them that they submit a certificate by June 18, the last date of registrations.

However, the most heartening thing was the number of students who volunteered. “We did not have to go around asking them to volunteer again and again which we thought we will have to do, they have been cheerful and patient with the candidates and even senior students who have orthopaedic and visual problems have been volunteering. The candidates usually do not know about the geography of colleges and hence hesitate to apply to several colleges, this is where their seniors step in and tell them where it will be most comfortable.”

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