While moralists have for long raised fingers at beauty pageants, a former Miss India contestant now calls for bringing more legitimacy to the contest and making the whole show more organised and transparent.
In the time and age of reality TV shows, as new and more interesting, novel paths to fame were being paved, beauty pageants have a stale, unpleasant air surrounding them, says a new book "What Would You Do to Save the World? - Confessions of a Could-have-been Beauty Queen".
"Across the globe too beauty pageants as an institution were losing their hold, plumetting downwards into the ocean of oblivion. In several countries, particularly in the western world, they had lost all their gravity... Would Miss Indian beauty suffer the same end? questions Ira Trivedi, a Miss India contestant in 2004, and author of the book.
"... In retrospect, I remember my time at the Miss India Beauty pageant more as one big publicity stunt, with photo shoots, interviews and recordings, rather than what it was supposedly meant to be, a time for self improvement," says Trivedi in the tale, told through a protagonist Riya.
Revealing the dust behind the diamonds and the tears behind the plastic smiles, she says "you see, it was a world of plastic, a world where flaws are covered up by make-up, a world where all you see is the glittering surface, where the cracks are perfectly concealed by the glint of the diamonds... where tales are woven but have no substance."