Turning 18 with HT: ‘I wish we could focus on meaningful issues’

‘I don’t have any fears as such but I’m always under pressure to perform. Even if I’m watching a movie, I keep thinking of my exams’

punjab Updated: Jan 18, 2018 11:21 IST
Manraj Grewal Sharma
Manraj Grewal Sharma
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Turning 18,Turninh 18 with HT,Chandigarh youth
Vivek High School captain Abhi Udai Singh Gautam hopes to serve at least one term in Parliament.(Karun Sharma/HT)

He is a keen debater with a mind that loves to question and analyse. At 6’5”, he is a natural at basketball, but is equally adept at the keyboard. He enjoys watching political leaders spar on Lok Sabha TV but has also read the Harry Potter series twice. Meet the wannabe lawyer who is not on the social media

Name: Abhi Udai Singh Gautam

Born: April 11, 2000

Badge of Honour: Captain, Vivek High School, Chandigarh

What turning 18 means to me

I am looking forward to it. Turning 18 means you are no longer dependent on anyone. You are responsible for your decisions and opinions. You get to vote and drive.

What I want to be and why

I want to become a lawyer. Lawyers can communicate well, they say a lot in a few words. I love debating and law is basically a debate. A lawyer can argue the case of anyone be it the criminal or the victim.

My idea of India

India is special. It’s a convergence of cultures and languages under a national identity. Such convergence is rare. India’s nationalism has kept us together, and that is a win.

What makes me happy

It may sound weird, but I get a lot of happiness from a healthy discussion. It could be on geopolitics, national politics, history or education.

What makes me angry

My spectrum of emotions is neutral. I’m tolerant. I don’t get excited or angry. But if I see something that I deeply dislike, I may get a little perturbed.

Fear and fantasy

I don’t have any fears as such but I’m always under pressure to perform. Even if I’m watching a movie, I keep thinking of my exams. I’m not fearful about exams but they are always on my mind. As for a fantasy, I’d like to serve at least one term in Parliament.

What I can’t live without

I’ve to experience a level of satisfaction daily. If I don’t feel that, I get up and start working on something. I have small goals for each day and I do my best to achieve them.

Am I happy where I am?

Yes, I am content.

What money means to me

Money is a medium of survival. If I don’t have material aspirations, I won’t value it much but if I want to buy a new keyboard or computer, it would gain importance.

What social media means to me

There is a rule in the house that you can’t be on social media until you clear your Class 12. I do have a WhatsApp account but it’s more for utility than entertainment.

What religion means to me

It is fundamentally a set of beliefs that brings the feeling of oneness among people who belong to the same religion. It’s like any other idea or belief, which has the power to influence the thinking of an entire community. Personally, I am not religious.

My role model and why

My father is my idol. He is hardworking and sincere. He is dedicated to whatever he is doing in the moment.

What makes me proud of India

I like the fact that Indians are inclusive and welcoming. Their mindset is neither too collectivist nor downright individualistic. This allows them to accommodate traditional values with modern mores.

Changes I want to see in India

People in India have divergent goals, which lead to conflict. Often, these conflicts get politicised even though they don’t really lead to any meaningful change on the ground. As a result, our focus remains on divisive issues. I wish we could focus on issues such as education, structure of polity, and bureaucracy. We can overhaul our education system on the lines of the United Kingdom if we put our mind to it.

Changes I want to see in Chandigarh

It’s a nice and modern city in the Indian context. There are schools in every sector and the pollution levels are controlled. But our political leadership doesn’t connect with the people it claims to serve. The municipal corporation is like any other office, not an elected body. Our councillors must make an earnest effort to interact with people and address their issues.

First Published: Jan 18, 2018 10:24 IST