Hectic pace for Miss India Worldwide winner

February 20th, 2008 - 6:57 pm ICT by admin  

By Fakir Hassen
Johannesburg, Feb 20 (IANS) The country winner of the Miss India Worldwide Pageant, Shagun Sarabhai of Mumbai, had a hectic few days before arriving here to join 18 counterparts from across the diaspora for the international contest, which will see one of them being crowned the winner Saturday evening. Sarabhai won the Indian leg of the contest Friday evening and had just two days to pack, organise a visa and head for South Africa, where the final takes place at a gala ceremony in the huge Indian township of Lenasia, south of here.

The second-year homeopathy student at C.M. Patel College in Mumbai took a break from her attempts to become a third generation homeopath, with encouragement from her psychologist mother, to try to wrest the crown.

“We had to rush around frantically to get everything organised, but I believe in positive thinking, so everything went well despite the pace,” Sarabahi told IANS at a special reception in Lenasia Tuesday evening where she got to meet her fellow contestants from 18 countries.

“I heard about the Miss India Worldwide Pageant on a radio station in Mumbai and decided to enter, confident that I would do my best to win, and I did.”

Because she has travelled extensively, a passport was not a problem, as it was for several other contestants who were going abroad for the first time.

“Officials at the South African High Commission in Mumbai were also extremely helpful in getting a visa organised literally just hours before my flight Monday.”

The Miss India Worldwide Pageant, started by New York resident Dharmatma Saran and his wife Neelam nearly two decades ago, is hosted annually around the world.

Contestants from Fiji, Australia, New Zealand, the US, Britain, India, Singapore, Mauritius, Sri Lanka, France, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa, Surinam, Malawi, Ireland, Canada and Holland are participating this year.

In the run-up to the final on Saturday, the contestants have been visiting historic sites, including the original humble home of former President Nelson Mandela in Soweto. They will also model diamonds worth more than the national budget of some African countries during a special photo session, a spokesman for the pageant said.

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