Rickshawpullers, bantawalas make hay while the sun shines

Rickshawpullers, bantawalas make hay while the sun shines

With chaos and confusion reigning on the first day of Delhi University’s admission season, the business of rickshaw-pullers, bantawallas, photocopy shops and eateries flourished on Monday.

Admission season is anyway bumper time for such persons who provide miscellaneous services to North Campus’s burgeoning crowd of students, but this time, they got more customers and cash than they were expecting. 

With varsity authorities making no arrangements for water or seating for students and parents, these ‘private service providers’ promptly filled in. Shikanjiwalas and bantawalas made the most of the opportunity doling out drinks to thirsty admission-seekers and their guardians.

Reshma Masih, who sells banta outside Daulat Ram College, one of the form distribution centres, said, “I brought in my husband to help me with making bantas. I haven’t counted the cash as yet but I know today has been a good day.”

DU aspirants, who stood in long queues to only be able to procure a form, couldn’t be more thankful. Suraj Kumar, who came all the way from Uttam Nagar, said, “I had been standing in the sun for an hour when my nose started bleeding. I have already bought cold drinks worth Rs 150 to cool off while my friends are proxying for me in the queue.”

Rickshawpullers too made hay while the sun shone. As soon as counters shut in one centre before time, rickshaw pullers were ready to ferry desperate students to the others, albeit at an enhanced price. 

When Sakshi Arora couldn’t manage a form at Miranda House, a rickshawpuller promptly offered to take her to Khalsa College, at Rs 50. He reasoned, “Yehi to time hota hai hamare kamane ka. (This is the only time we are able to earn slightly more)”.

Some others, though, complained of a lesser student turnout than their hey-days when collecting a prospectus and form from every single college was mandatory to be able to apply therein.

Rakesh, a photostat shop owner near Khalsa College, complained, “Ab to online ka zamana ho gaya hai. Utne bacche aate nahi hai. (It’s the age of online form submission now. Not many students come to the varsity.)”

Surprisingly, police persons were also seen taking advantage of the situation, bullying small-time eateries and shikanjiwalas into servicing them for free. 

Bindu, a shikanjiwala, pointed to two constables and said, “They have already polished off four glasses of shikanji and are constantly threatening to remove my stall if I don’t give them more. Somebody should do something about this...”

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