Pallavi Maheshgurjar plays tennis, attends contemporary dance and classical singing lessons, learns Sanskrit and hangs out at Café Coffee Day. When she isn’t watching Friends on her laptop, she shares photographs and music with her friends via her Sony Ericsson W7i phone. She has two big wardrobes for clothes and an oversize mirror in her room. Pallavi is 13 years old.
This 8th grader from Mumbai’s IES Manik Vidya Mandir school exhibits a self-assuredness beyond her age. She is in the middle of exams, but a Tuesday afternoon finds her playing with toddlers at the Jumping Genius activity centre in Bandra. “I’ve already finished practising for tomorrow’s maths paper,” she assures you. Not that Pallavi has to worry about marks — she consistently ranks amongst the top five in her class. Which helps, considering her ambition to become a doctor. And a part-time singer. (She was offered a singing reality show on TV, but turned it down because of her studies.) “Career planning should start from now,” she declares.
Her friends mean the world to her; all 238 of them on Facebook. “We chat, comment on each other’s pictures, and play quizzes,” she says. What about boyfriends, you ask cautiously. “Most of my friends are boys because they think of me as one of them,” she smiles. But boyfriends can wait till college. “My friend’s studies were affected after she broke up with her boyfriend she as was really into him,” she explains. Her idea of a perfect boy? “Someone warm-hearted and nice, like Imran Khan.”
Her goal: “To work hard and make lots of money.” Because “Everyone my age wants to be the best in everything.”