A day in the life of Stanzin Lhaduon (17),DU admission-seeker
Stepping out of a serpentine queue,she does a quick count of the people standing ahead of her. Then,checks her phone for the time,lets out an exasperated sigh and takes her place back in the queue. Seventeen-year-old Stanzin Lhaduon from Nubra valley in Ladakh is among thousands of admission seekers who have braved the heat and flocked to the Arts Faculty in Delhi University to register themselves for the universitys undergraduate courses.
It is almost 1 pm and the counters selling registration forms are about to close for the day. We will come back tomorrow if we do not get the form today, says Stanzins mother patiently. We landed in Delhi only today. Thats why we could not get here in time, she explains,wiping beads of sweat from her forehead. The crowd before them has thinned and within minutes,the mother-daughter duo reaches the counter,pays the fee and gets a purple booklet.
As her mother looks at the registration form,Stanzin takes the brochure from her mother and looks at the list of colleges mentioned in the booklet. She is excited now. I have always wanted to study at Delhi University. I hope I get admission in Physics Honours, says Stanzin,craning her neck to look for a place to sit in the shaded enclosure.
But why did she have to come to Delhi to apply? She had the option of doing so online. I wanted to see the university campus and I wasnt sure if the online registration would be foolproof, she says. This is Stanzins first visit to the national capital and she has already taken a liking to the city. I dont think I will have too many problems living here,except for the heat, she says,pushing her glasses,sliding from the sweat,up her nose. Though the first cut-off list will come out only on June 27,she plans to stay in Delhi and wait for the list. I am not going back though I will submit my form tomorrow. Now that I am here,I will get to visit some colleges in the university, she says.
With an 85 per cent in class XII,Stanzin hopes to get a seat in some of the most sought after colleges in the universitys North CampusHindu,Hansraj,Miranda. Though I would prefer these three,I do not have a problem with any college as long as I get to study the subject of my choice, she says. Is she willing to spend four years in Delhi,away from her family?
Oh,that wont be a problem. I have studied in boarding schools all through. I was at a school in Ladakh only for my class I. Since then,I have studied at the Tibetan Childrens Village School in Dharamsala and Selakui (Uttarakhand), Stanzin says.
As she leaves the Arts Faculty and reaches the main road,a slew of vehicles parked along the road have caused a traffic jam and she decides to walk to the nearby Miranda House. On her way,Stanzin talks about her boarding school experience. With her father busy with his hotel business and mother teaching at a school in Ladakh,Stanzin would meet her parents only once a year while in school. I could only meet them during the winter vacation which stretched on for two months. The summer break lasted for just 10 days and I would stay back in school, she says,stopping every now and then for her mother to catch up.
The counters at Miranda House have closed but several DU aspirantssome like Stanzin accompanied by their parentsare still around. Against the red-and-white brick structure of the college building,white tents have been set up as shelters from the oppressive heat. Stanzin walks up to one of the boards that have displayed information about departments and societies in the college.
While she wants to become a physicist and also teach physics,Stanzin loves music and plans to take part in extra-curricular activities while in college. She goes up to a help desk to ask about the music society in Miranda House and is pleased when she is told that students can earn credits for cultural activities under the new four-year course. I do not have any formal training but I have always been interested in music. Maroon 5 is my favourite band, she says.
The idea of getting an Honours degree in four years does not seem to perturb her. It does not matter to me. I want to become a physicist and it is good that we will spend more time learning the subject, she says.
As the mercury rises,Stanzin puts off her plan of visiting other colleges. I havent filled the form yet. I am not too sure what courses I should apply for other than physics. We are planning to come back to the university again tomorrow to submit the form. I will go to the other colleges once I have submitted the form.
Heading out of Miranda House,she makes a list of the colleges she wants to go to the next day. I want to see Hindu and Hansraj. I wont go to Stephens,I know that I wont meet the cut-off. I dont mind going to any college as long as it is Delhi University, she says.