When Shripriya, an applicant from Bokaro seeking admission to Delhi University, reached the university metro station, she felt lost. “Though I had a map of the north campus, I am new to Delhi so the directions left me puzzled.” But just then a group of rickshaw-walas approached her. “Kahan jana hai madam?” said one of them… “Arts Faculty,” she replied.
The expression on his face told her he knew the way and Shripriya, who goes by her first name, heaved a sigh of relief. Applicants seeking admission to Delhi University, mostly from outstation, find an unlikely guide in the cycle rickshaw-walas who help them hop from college to college.
Ram Prasad Singh, (40), who has been ferrying students within the north campus for the past 21 years said, “Not only the colleges, I also know all the departments of the university, the vice-chancellor’s office and the administrative block by heart.”
Besides addresses of the colleges, they also help them figure out eateries and places to shop. “Some of them also ask us for eateries and we take them to the nearby Kamla Nagar Market for refreshments,” said Shambhu Kumar, (28) another rickshaw-puller.
They also have interesting facts to share about the passengers. “One can easily make out if the passengers are from Delhi or outside. The people who are not from Delhi are very soft spoken and the way they speak Hindi is different, so it’s easy to figure out,” said Jai Singh, (32), who has been a rickshaw-puller for four years.
The heavy rush during the admission season also means good business for this lot. “We charge a little extra during this time. Normally, we earn around Rs 250-300 per day but during this time of the year, we earn around Rs 500-550 in a single day,” said Shambhu Kumar.