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Turning 18 with HT: ‘Want to live in corruption-free India’

In two years, Prerna Arora has transformed from a shy teen to the school’s student of the year with guidance and encouragement from her teachers and parents; she is fond of debating and wants to become a human rights lawyer.

punjab Updated: Apr 02, 2018 16:04 IST
Yojana Yadav
Yojana Yadav
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
corruption-free India,India's youth,Turning 18
Woman power: Prerna Arora, the prefect of New Public School, Sector 18, Chandigarh, is fond of reading women-centric novels where the protagonist retains her originality yet fits into society’s scheme of things. (Ravi Kumar/HT)

New Public School’s Prerna like debating and wants to join Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law in Patiala.

Name: Prerna Arora

Born on: June 10, 2000

Badge of honour: Prefect, New Public School, Sector 18, Chandigarh

What turning 18 means to me

It’s a wonderful feeling. I sense freedom but it comes with responsibility. At 18, I can see the clash between the real and the ideal world that leaves me confused at times.

What I want to be and why

I’m a humanities student and want to become a human rights lawyer. I like debating. The thought of collecting evidence to defend people and getting paid for it excites me. I’ll be taking the Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) and hope to join the Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law in Patiala.

My idea of India

India is an amazing country where we live in harmony despite the diversity in culture and languages. We may have borrowed from the West but the inherent Indian ethos is intact. Youngsters still prefer arranged marriages and respect their elders.

What makes me happy

The smiling face of my two-month-old nephew, Aahan. A good book such as Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice lifts my spirits, too.

What makes me angry

News of soldiers falling to terrorists’ bullets hurts. Besides that the mismanagement which has resulted in the CBSE paper leaks and retest. I’m in a fix because I need to take the economics exam again and the law entrance with hardly any gap. Why do hardworking and honest students have to suffer? I also find people get offended at the slightest provocation these days whether it’s over a film or the traffic.

My fear and fantasy

I have a tiny insecurity of being left alone. My dream is to live in a corruption-free and poverty-free India; a country that respects merit over caste and where women stand up for each other.

Am I happy where I am?

Yes, I leave school on a high note. I was awarded the student of the year title for 2017-18. I did well in academics but my confidence in public speaking makes me the happiest. I developed this skill thanks to my teachers and family over the past two years.

What money means to me

Money is a good servant but a bad master. It is a means to the end. I’ll be happy if I earn enough to look after my family.

What makes me proud of India

Indians are used to working hard and excelling. Our education system trains us to outperform ourselves.

What I can’t live without

My parents and teachers. They are the only ones who want you to be more successful than them. My father, Narendra Kumar Arora, is a senior manager with New India Assurance, while my mother, Geeta Arora, is a primary teacher at New Public School, Chandigarh.

What social media means to me

Social media can be distracting if you don’t have self-control. It is a means to stay connected but it is not for the fainthearted thanks to trolls. I’ve been off social media for two months.

Change I want to see in Chandigarh

Helmets should be compulsory for women riders in Chandigarh. Parking rates should not be increased but the tricity needs a robust public transport system like the Metro. The city is a beautiful commercial and cultural hub. Sector 17 blends well with Elante Mall.

Change I want to see in India

Our education system should emphasise on practical learning. It should be flexible on subject combination and give more time to decide on the stream. Class 10 is too early to make a choice. Youngsters need to take interest in politics not just to become leaders but also to be informed voters. Also, why does everyone, including religious leaders and TV news channels, have to take sides? The media should present facts not opinions.

What religion means to me

There is a superpower in control. I derive strength and peace of mind from the belief that the superpower will set everything right. Religion makes me stronger but it can’t be above humanity.

My role model and why

When I see my mother animatedly sharing anecdotes from her day at school, I realise that she loves what she is doing. I want to be like her, passionate about what I do. Besides, American TV host Oprah Winfrey inspires me. She overcame setbacks such as an abusive childhood and fearlessly takes a stand on issues.

First Published: Apr 02, 2018 16:04 IST