The most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. But Miss World is an exception! I am neither for nor against beauty contests. I feel it has various pros and cons depending on the society you live in. Any girl should have the freedom to decide whether to participate in it or not, as long as they are not pressured to be skinny, ‘beautiful’, flawless or perfect. Anyway, my intention here is not to write about the impact of beauty contests on society.
My memories of the Miss India (I came to know of Miss World much later) title start with Swaroop Sampat. Though she got the title when I was not old enough to know about beauty contests, a popular teleserial called ‘Ye Jo Hai Zindagi’, aired on television during my college days, brought me closer to her. Which reminds me of other TV serials which were telecast during that time like ‘Buniyaad’, ‘Nukkad’, and ‘Karamchand’. Even after Doordarshan started its Malayalam channel, these Hindi serials used to be very popular with us in Kerala!
The other Misses India familiar to me during my college days were Sangeeta Bijlani, Juhi Chawla, and Mehr Jesia. Juhi Chawla was my favourite actress then. I used to wait for the TV programme, Chitrahaar, to watch the songs (‘Papa kehte hain…’, ‘Ae mere humsafar ek zara intezaar …’, and so on) in her hit movie ‘Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak’. Anyway, Aamir Khan is my all-time favourite actor.
As time passed, I became a wife and a mother, and then Aishwarya Rai and Sushmita Sen came on the scene with a big bang, putting India on the world map, by winning the Miss World and Miss Universe titles respectively, in the same year. Until that time the Miss World and Miss Universe contests were not even familiar to me! Lots of girls born in 1994 were named after these two celebrities.
The seasons changed, the days became weeks, the weeks became months, the months turned into years and I entered midlife. These days whenever possible I try to watch the final round of Miss World contests. I am curious about the questions that the five shortlisted contestants are asked and anxious to hear the answers which decide their fate. As we know, beauty is nothing without brains! I imagine myself being present there and think about what my answers would be! 🙂
This year, I am not very happy with many of the answers, an exception being that of our own Miss India, Manushi Chhillar! Maybe that is why she could secure the coveted Miss World title this year. Anyway, let me tell you the answers that occurred to me for this year’s final-round questions! (Not that there is any comparison between having to answer extempore in the full glare of the limelight, and doing it, after the fact, from the coziness of my home!)
Question 1: If you could speak in front of all the leaders of the world, what is the topic you would want to talk about?
Miss England’s answer: “If I had the privilege of speaking in front of the world leaders I would like to address the inconsistency in global healthcare. I am very fortunate to come from a country where the healthcare and the quality are absolutely incredible. But I understand that it is not the case worldwide. So if I was to have the opportunity of speaking in front of the world leaders I would like to address if this can be solved. The vaccines are available and medications are available and one day we will be able to have a consistent quality of healthcare worldwide.”
My answer: I would be speaking to the world leaders about racism and racial discrimination. I would discuss how as a single humanity we can work together to end discrimination based on race and ethnicity. All nations should stand together to eliminate all forms of racism from the world. By acting together to end discrimination, we can uplift humankind as a whole.
[BTW, Britain is one of the most racially tolerant countries on the planet. And India is one of the least tolerant, as reported by the Washington Post. I wonder if the independence from Britain was for this kind of ‘progress’? Are we developing or …?!]
Question 2: What has been the world’s greatest invention and why?
Miss France’s answer: “There are lots of great inventions. But I think transports are the great invention because it creates communication between countries and it’s a good way to discover all the countries.”
My answer: I think the most important of all inventions is electricity because it is the baseline of all the other inventions that have been made so far and possibly all that are going to be made in future! Also, without electricity, it would be impossible to communicate with the rest of the world and transportation would still be by foot or horse. Last, but not least, these days, most people’s ‘social life’ almost come to an end during power outages!
Question 3: Which profession deserves the highest salary and why?
Miss India, Manushi Chhillar’s answer: “Since I am very close to my mother I think a mother deserves the highest respect. And when you talk about salary I don’t think it’s just about the cash but it is the love and respect that you give to someone. My mom has always been the biggest inspiration in my life. All mothers, they just sacrifice so much for their kids. So the profession which deserves the highest salary, the highest respect and love should be a mother.”
I am very happy with Manushi’s answer but I would like to make a small correction and say homemakers (98% of them are mothers too) deserve the highest salary. I know a working, middle-aged woman who is married but has no kids. She is taking care of her chronically ill parents as well as her aging in-laws. Though she doesn’t have any kids of her own, she is wanted/needed by all in her family for each and everything. She is literally a mother to her parents and in-laws. She is a complete homemaker and has a 9-5 job as well! Though this may be felt as an extreme example, I am sure there must be many women of her kind and even a few men, who choose to be at home as caretakers, all or part of the time! So I think all homemakers deserve the highest salary, love, and respect.
Question 4: Cyber-bullying is one of the greatest problems facing the world today. How would you solve this?
Miss Kenya’s answer: “To solve cyber-bullying in the world today is by educating people and regulating the facts and figures that you post online. For example, if you post something that is going to affect someone mentally then you’ll be fined…Cyber-bullying is actually affecting our nations because many people are getting psychological tortures so the best way to deal with it is to introduce regulations and rules that govern all social media.”
My answer: The first step is to have an awareness of cyber-bullying and the importance of keeping personal information private. A person is more likely to be a victim of cyber-bullying if his or her information is available to the public so any sharing of personal information has to be done only with people whom we know personally. Educate kids and teenagers on proper “internet etiquette”. Also, insist that they limit their computer time to a reasonable amount. They can use the balance time to go for a walk, enjoy the weather, or hang out with friends.
Question 5: What is the most important quality that a Miss World should possess?
Miss Mexico’s answer: “For me, the best quality of a Miss World should be love. The love that she has for herself and the love she expresses to the world and to every person she meets. For me being a Miss world is being someone who can easily talk to everyone, they can inspire everyone, as an example for all the people in this world. So I believe the Miss World should be love, patience, and happiness.”
My answer: I think, not just a Miss World but all human beings, especially women, should possess self-confidence. It gives freedom from fear and anxiety which in turn makes us stronger and more powerful. The greater the self-confidence we have, the more we value ourselves and our capabilities. So self-confidence is the most attractive and important quality a Miss World should possess.
Do you watch beauty contests? Which question did you like? Which answer did you find most appropriate? And what would be your answers to these questions? How do you rate my answers? You think I am eligible for the crown? 🙂
I believe beauty has nothing to do with looks. It’s how you are as a person and how you make others feel about themselves. What are your thoughts on this?
Remember, “There is nothing more beautiful than laughter. It makes every face gorgeous!“
So Let’s Eat, Laugh, Live! 🙂
Happy empty nesting to all the lovely ladies out there! 🙂