Published: 24th June 2020
How Pushpa Preeya has been scribing for over 850 diffabled students for 13 years running
Pushpa Preeya, a recipient of the 2019 Nari Shakti Puraskar, Pushpa Preeya has scribed for more than 850 students
It's been a long time since Pushpa Preeya graduated from college. Despite that, she's been to more than 850 exam halls in the past 13 years. She never studied for these exams, neither did she write them for herself. Intrigued? A former techie, this Bengaluru woman is now a scribe, who writes examinations for the differently-abled, voluntarily.
After a small hiatus, owing to the COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdown, the Karnataka government restarted the second PUC examinations earlier this month. Along with students, Pushpa too was back in the exam hall. In a span of less than a month, she scribed for four students, amid the pandemic and fear. However, things were quite different this time. Both Pushpa and the students that she scribed for, wore masks. Social distancing had to be maintained, so the two sat on different corners of the same desk.
She scribed for 4 students, after COVID struck
Pushpa was more nervous than before. "The first student for whom I scribed (after the pandemic) suffers from cerebral palsy. He cannot move his hands. Since he wore a mask, it was quite difficult for me to understand what he said," she says. "But patience is the key here. You should not panic or lose your cool. They usually communicate slowly and even though I know this student, it was difficult for me to grasp what he said since the mask covered his lips completely. I did not want to mishear him and write the wrong answer," she says.
A recipient of the 2019 Nari Shakti Puraskar, she scribes for students who are suffering from Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome, depression and visual impairment, besides those who are accident victims too. Pushpa writes mostly in English, Hindi and Kannada. She recalls an incident where she even helped a student write a multiple-choice examination in Telugu. While her original plan was to scribe for three students during this time, she ended up helping another student, since her scribe didn't turn up owing to the pandemic. "I was able to help out one more person. That's all that matters," she says.
Pushpa with a beggar for whom she once scribed
A lot of people for whom she scribed, later turned out to be good friends with Pushpa. Some, however, failed to keep in touch. She recalls the very unique experience of scribing for a beggar. "He was quite old and suffered from elephantiasis. He lived outside a garment factory in Bengaluru when I met him. His BA II year examinations were around the corner and I volunteered to scribe for him. The college didn't even let him inside the exam hall. We both sat on the corridor and wrote the exam. Later, we exchanged mobile numbers and I gave him Rs 200. But his number was never reachable," she recalls.