“Prerna, how was school?”, her paternal aunt asked in a sunny voice as the child entered the living room of the house carrying a school bag swelling with books. “It was good, bua”,
the 12-year old said with a sweet smile and after warmly greeting us, sat down next to her aunt. Prerna stays in her paternal aunt’s house.

“This is her home now”, her aunt opined. “We may not be her parents, but we are trying to give what her parents would have wanted”, she said as she smoothly took off Prerna’s school ribbons and undid her plaits.

She was only 7 years old when her brave father sacrificed his life for the country and only 10 when her mother also passed away. Since then it has only been her brother and her, but she only sees him when she goes to the village for holidays.
Her memories of days spent with her family are still fresh. She fondly remembers celebrating Diwali together with themand eating her favourite sweets, which her father especially brought for her.