Topden did very well in the NEET but came 21st on the Sikkim list, so did not qualify for free medical school. However he did qualify for a program of counselling. Finally his counsellor suggested various options, one of which was taking a degree course in Optometry. This is not free but it is subsidised, and it is a three year course instead of the longer medical qualification. We agreed to fund this.
So in August 2019, Topden started at Uttaranchal (P.G.) College of Bio-Medical Sciences & Hospital in Dehradun, Uttarakand state – known as UCBMSH. Uttarakand state is north of Delhi in the foothills of the Himalaya. In that respect it is similar to Sikkim, but the culture is quite different and Topden is 1000 km from home.
The Covid-19 pandemic has provided many challenges, but Topden has remained in Dehradun, even when the college has been closed and giving online courses only. He seems to be doing very well, and we are supporting him as best we can.