“I was brought up in Mirzapur and the lifestyle I grew up in was very orthodox and I studied till Class 11th there. After that, I was like no, I am not going to study here. I told my parents; I’m not going to study what you guys want me to and when I asked my father to send me somewhere else to study, he told me that, girls from our houses don’t go outside and study. I said I want to and borrowed INR 500 from my grandma and ran away from my house and went to Kanpur for my IIT coaching. I ran away and after some time, my dad actually agreed to let me stay there and I started my coaching.

“When you have been restricted most of your life and you get the freedom to know, it sometimes doesn’t work well for people. I got that freedom and got an okay-ish ranking in my IIT. My father came to know about this, he told me to take up BSc and get married but I wanted engineering and somehow got a good college in Lucknow.”

“I was in Delhi, working in IBM and I was just out there shopping at a mall. Suddenly, one of the fellow shoppers came and told me to participate in a pageant contest that was happening that day at that mall and this was in 2015. I just filled the form without a portfolio, I was just taking pictures on my old Nokia phone. I won that contest but more importantly, I got the confidence and that ignited something in me, I mean I cannot describe that.”

“I missed my mother most during my hostel days, I remember seeing my hostel mates’ parents came to visit them and brought them stuff but I wouldn’t see anyone for a year almost. I would take tuitions so that I wouldn’t have to think about that and I could earn money to save and pursue my dreams.”

“When I lost my mom, my sister four years and my brother was one day old and I was scared on the inside as a seven-year-old. I remember hearing everyone talking something or the other how our family would be destroyed. I told myself that day that, I would be taking care of my family, today, I younger siblings who look up to me as their mother. I am Aprarjita Singh.”