(New Delhi) “I am studying in Class 10. I am not too worried about my school exams. In the future, I want to do something to help Syrian and Afghan refugees. 
I like to read about the history of India and Pakistan, and this has triggered my fascination for  Persian poems and Sufi songs. My favorite poets are Shams Tabrizi and Hafez.”

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(Bhopal) “I am a journalist. I have been working for almost 22 years and I have worked with a leading national daily for 15 years. I love writing, especially stories. I still work the old school way- I take notes and then I go home or to the office and write my stories. I want to travel around Madhya Pradesh to uncover and write stories that tell ground realities, which can change some lives. I have always been interested in social and rural polity.
I am from Nagpur and came to Bhopal in 2003. I did M.Sc. Tech in Applied Geology and I was a University topper. Everyone expected that I would take up Geology as my career and was even offered an immediate teaching assignment. But I accidentally became a journalist. A friend had mentioned that there was a job opening for a journalist and had suggested that I should apply for it since I was good at writing. Till then I had no idea what journalism was all about, what my schedule would be, and how my lifestyle would change. When I started working, I moved around all day in buses and auto and had hectic schedules. I would come back home at 10 pm after leaving home early in the morning.
Professionally, I didn’t have to struggle a lot. I might have been lucky. I always kept my focus on work. I have always been a field reporter from day one. Earlier, there were very few women reporters. But I developed an attitude where I was very comfortable with my surroundings. As I became more experienced, I had the freedom to choose my stories. Apart from writing on health, women and child rights, education, heritage and social concern issues, I have covered elections, assembly sessions and crime stories.
The only thing in life is to stand by your principles; then life becomes very easy. Your mantra can be pursuing anything that makes you happy and confident. I gave up my cushy job as Deputy Editor because I felt it was going against my journalistic principles. I would have earned a lot of money but I would not have been able to do the kind of work that I was interested in. The other important thing in life is not to hurt anyone.
When I was starting my career, my parents were very supportive. However, they were also apprehensive about how I would manage if it got late at work. A few years later I decided to move out and started living on my own because my schedule was disturbing the entire family. My father (he is no more now) didn’t used to keep well. But he would stay up for me until late at night and eat only when I come back. I realised this was not going to work for me. So when I was given a job opportunity to stay in Nagpur or move to Raipur, I chose Raipur. I am still single and live alone but now my schedule doesn’t disturb anyone. I get to do what I want and devote my entire time to my career. Slowly, my parents also realised that I am doing well and I love my work.
Initially, my parents and a lot of other people were persistent that I should get married at the right time. But somehow I was very clear from a very young age that I didn’t want to get married. I love doing things on my own. People often tell me there is still a chance that I can still get married. I laugh and tell them I am happy the way I am. I guess single people have to hear this till their old age. I am a very open and jovial kind of a person. I keep laughing and cracking jokes. That is my persona. Some juniors at work come and tell me that they look up to me and that they also don’t want to get married. I tell them not to make anybody else their ideal because everyone’s situation in life is different. What is good for me might not be good for them.
I feel happy to be a woman in India. Women are doing well in India. Of course, there are still several challenges. I know because I have been writing about them. But I think one should also try to portray the positive stories.”