Preeti dogra, the daughter of a rat-catcher, loves eating in McDonald’s, dancing in discos, shopping in Sarojini Nagar, and watching films in multiplexes. She has a teddy bear, a heart-shaped pillow, a Panasonic mobile phone and an LG computer. At night, she slee
Preeti Dogra 20
Education: Diploma in software
Goal: To be a software engineer
On Mayawati: “All politicians are boring”
ps with a pug named Saaya. Her waking dream is to visit “heaven-like Switzerland” which she thinks is more realistic than her hopes of marrying film star Shahid Kapur.
Dogra has another dream. “Computers have changed the world,” she says, “They will change my life too.” However, Dogra doesn’t do the usual things people do on the Internet, even though she is pursuing a diploma course in software engineering from a neighbourhood computer institute. She never chats, is not on Facebook, and has no favourite website. But that’s ok she says, for she feels in another five years or so, she would make it big enough for her relatives to say “wow”. “No one in our circle has been anything but sweepers and drivers,” she says. “So, the day I become a software engineer, it will raise my image as well as that of my parents.”
Once that mission is accomplished, Dogra plans to move her family and two dogs to Dilshad Garden where “apartments are more attractive”. In that dream home, the girl who now shares a two-room house with five family members wants to have a room that belongs to her alone. “It will look like Shah Rukh Khan’s bedroom in Om Shanti Om.”
Her other heroes are Shahid Kapur (“He dances so well”), Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam (“He rose from a low-class family to become a scientist and president”), and her dad. “Papa trusts me with a kind of freedom that most girls are denied in our colony,” she says. “And he always calls me beta, never beti.”
Is it because Dogra is a good cricketer? Her batting is said to be as good as her dancing. “I love Yuvraj Singh,” she swoons. “He’s handsome, a good dancer and he’s also a leftie, just like my dad.” While papa bought her the computer a few years ago, Dogra is by no means completely dependent on him. “I make Rs 5,000 every month by giving tuitions to 32 kids,” she says. Not all of that earning goes into McDonald’s burgers and Sarojini Nagar jeans. The girl believes in saving and has her own bank account.
But what makes Dogra a truly everyday kid is her complete disinterest in politics. No Advani, Mayawati or Rahul Gandhi for her. “I find them all boring,” she shrugs.
The girl may not realise it but she is a rare bindaas person among her we-have-to-do-something-for-our-people circle of friends. She has reached a state not different from many upper caste privileged youngsters, where one’s individual existence is not necessarily affected by the politics of the day. Voting is now just a choice, not necessity. “I want to fly high,” Dogra says, “and get a man who I can proudly present to my parents.”