My Miss World..!

Two months ago, Krystyna Pyszkova from the Czech Republic clinched the Miss World 2024 title at a grand ceremony held in Mumbai, but today I remembered my Miss World:

She lived behind my house in a hut for just a year. She was the leader of her little gang. I’d watched from the window as she led that gang. They walked cautiously past ant hill, where she told them wide eyed, a snake lived, she walked first, bravely, but I knew her heart was in her pretty mouth. She showed them nests where strange birds tried to blend themselves into thick foliage, but her quick eyes spotted those evasive feathered friends, and her gang gained from her keenness.

She was part of a family of construction workers who were putting up buildings behind my home, and was at an age when as a woman-child, she did not have to go to work, nor much to do at home, except look after the horde of little children her parents kept adding to her little gang. She was good with them, so good she would ever so often get them occupied in some pastime, and quietly run off by herself for a few moments with her dreams.

Once, I felt her dream:

The Miss World show was on, and every eye glued to the screen. I watched the beauties parade one by one and then looked out of my bedroom window. There she was, her eyes intent, sitting on the dividing wall and looking into my TV screen, smile on face, watching women not half as pretty selling their wares to statue like judges. I looked at the screen through her dreaming eyes and saw her walk the ramp decked in designer finery. I heard the crowd roar, TV viewers gasp at rustic beauty they’d ne'er seen before.

With flourish of gown and twirl of sensuous body the judges leaned out to her. The crowd stared frenzied at village beauty and crowned her then and there. I saw the smile upon her face as with peasant grace she put the crown on matted hair.

She sat on the wall, closed her eyes and I felt her dream.

Suddenly she saw my eyes on her. She jumped from the wall and like a gunshot, was off into her hut. The next day her gang wandered about, leaderless.

And then one day I saw her, bricks on her head as she walked from mason to brick pile and back through the day. I felt her thoughts. It was a ramp she was walking on, and in her head the crowd cheered, till at dusk her duty done, she crept home exhausted. 

She was a woman now and a different ramp called life graced her walk. I look at pictures of the beauty queens of today, she would have won hands down; my Miss World..!

Robert Clements is a newspaper columnist and author. He blogs at and can be reached at