Turning 18 with HT: ‘West may not like us but it needs us’

Bright future: A non-medical stream student who aspires to be an IAS officer, Shivani Chaurasiya is proud that India is a nation of achievers in diverse fields across the world but hopes we can rise above our differences and live in harmony with integrity

punjab Updated: Mar 12, 2018 12:05 IST
Yojana Yadav
Yojana Yadav
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Turning 18 with HT,IAS officer,India's youth
Sporting leader: Shivani Chaurasiya, the school captain of Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya, Chandigarh, is a national-level badminton player. She believes sport offers life lessons in hard work, honesty and humility. (Karun Sharma/HT)

Name: Shivani Chaurasiya

Born on: June 23, 2000

Badge of honour: School captain, Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya, Sector 25, Chandigarh

What turning 18 means to me

It means being more responsible and independent. I have mixed feelings about leaving my boarding school for college. So far, my teachers and parents have always been there for guidance. I’ll be appearing for engineering entrance exams soon. There will be new friends in college. I’m excited but anxious.

What I want to be and why

I want to be an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer. I have this aim in mind since I joined this school in Class 6. I have leadership qualities and can’t bear any wrongdoing. I want to serve my country well. My father, Santosh Kumar, a senior accountant in the Haryana principal accountant general’s office in Chandigarh, and mother Nisha Kumari, a homemaker, encouraged me to aim for the civil services. India’s first woman police officer Kiran Bedi inspires me.

My idea of India

India is a beautiful nation united in cultural diversity. Having represented my school in badminton meets across the country, I’ve come across children from different cultures and love the diversity.

What makes me happy

When my nine friends are happy, I’m happy. Their happiness makes me forget any scolding or tough exam.

What makes me angry

When students knowingly do something wrong or are undisciplined, it gets me angry. The incidents of crime against women are frustrating, too.

My fear and fantasy

I have an irrational fear of hens since childhood. Also, I don’t want to break anyone’s faith. It’s my fantasy to go on a world tour with my nine school friends.

Am I happy where I am?

Yes, I’ve been in the school hostel for seven years. Though I meet my parents once in a fortnight, our house mistress and teachers are just like our parents. They guide, motivate and counsel us.

What money means to me

Money is a source of luxury but not comfort. Only positivity in surroundings can give comfort. You can’t buy happiness. Money is important till needs are met.

What makes me proud of India

The fact that the West may not like us but it still needs us. The developed world needs our professionals, particularly engineers, scientists and doctors. We are a nation of achievers.

I’m proud of our strong family system, the foundation of a society. But parents should hear out their children’s views patiently, while the new generation should try to convince their elders about their views with logical arguments.

What I can’t live without

Sleep. I need eight hours of sleep but am making do with six these days because of the board exams. Otherwise, I can slip into sleep mode anywhere anytime.

What social media means to me

It’s just a tool to stay connected. So far, my school has been my world so I didn’t need it. Once I go to college, I’ll join social media.

Changes I’d like to see in Chandigarh

Chandigarh is a modern city and among the cleaner places but it can be the cleanest. There is scope for improvement. It is my birthplace and I like the way it’s been planned with trees providing shade on most road stretches. Children living in the city’s slums should be admitted to schools or provided vocational skills so that they are empowered to lead a better life.

Changes I want to see in India

We need to rise above our differences and live in harmony. We should accept and adjust with different viewpoints. There is a need to change social mindset. Boys need to be sensitised about gender equality. Respect for the law and conscience should be instilled from childhood.

What religion means to me

Religion gives us values. If we understand the beliefs through logic, it makes sense. We respect all religions and celebrate festivals together in school.

My role model and why

When I was in Class 8, Sharmila Krishnaswamy, a Class 11 student from Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya, Bangalore, was here to take part in a badminton meet. She taught me to practice hard, accept and learn from mistakes and to stay grounded.

Besides, my classmates of seven years have been my biggest critics and guides. I respect their feedback and feel they are true friends who care.

First Published: Mar 12, 2018 12:03 IST