Embracing culture, becoming acquainted with tradition, acknowledging roots is what fifth generation Punjabi descendant Roshini Kushi Boodhoo has done in her journey to becoming Miss India Guyana World Wide (MIGWW) 2011.
On May 14, 23-year-old Roshini will represent Guyana at the Miss India World Wide Pageant in Dubai.
How did the journey begin for Roshini? It was while in the middle of rehearsals for the Miss Guyana Universe pageant, Roshini told The Scene in a recent interview, that she learnt about MIGWW. It didn’t take much thinking for her to decide where she’d like to be rehearsing instead, Roshini said with a smile.
“I am more into my Indian culture and I decided that I would rather do something that touched me on a deeper level… something that would make my parents proud,” she explained.
And so about 8 weeks before MIGWW occurred, Roshini joined nine other Guyanese beauties in intense training for the upcoming event. Last Friday night at the National Culture Centre, after a short delay due to a bomb scare, Roshini won the crown and title MIGWW 2011.
“Amazing” is the word she has used to describe the experience. The pageant, Roshini said, was well organized and was structured the same as the upcoming international pageant in Dubai.
“In the past, contestants have felt at a disadvantage and have complained about not being prepared to handle the competition at an international level… but at this year’s pageant everything was structured the same as it will be in Dubai,” she explained.
What talents will Roshini take to Dubai? Indian classical dancing has been one of her passions since childhood. She first learned the art when she joined the group at the Guyana Hindu Dharmic Sabha about six years ago. Since then Roshini has studied several types of Indian classical dances.
She grew up at Hague, West Coast Demerara and attended primary school in the neighbouring village of Leonora. Way back then, Roshini danced at school functions and encouraged her peers to do the same; to embrace their Indian culture.
At the St Rose’s High School, Roshini recalled, she never thought twice about approaching her teachers with ideas for an Indian show. Cultural identity, she said, has played a large part in shaping the woman she is and it is something she readily expresses.
“It isn’t difficult to be yourself in our society… at any opportunity I get I would wear my Indian clothes,” Roshini said.
As a final-year Biology student at the University of Guyana Roshini still finds enough time to continue sharing her culture with peers. Last year she hosted an Indian Cultural show at UG which “was pretty well supported”.
“I enjoy my cultural identity and I take pride in knowing that I am helping to preserve it… I don’t think the Indian culture here in Guyana is at any risk of fading,” she said adding that, “I am only a fifth generation descendant. My family has been able to trace it’s roots back to Agra in Punjab, India so when you look at it we are not so far removed.”
So what does this dancing biology student hope to become? Laughing excitedly Roshini announces that she wishes to become a professional chef.
“Oh this is my greatest passion! I love cooking Italian and Indian dishes and perhaps one day I’ll look at opening a restaurant that will offer Guyanese real Italian and Indian foods,” she said.
Is she excited about Dubai? Roshini is more excited about showcasing her country to people she will meet in Dubai.
“I will be sharing a room with another contestant in Dubai and I hope that person is from a country I have not had much contact with. I want to learn from them and teach them about my diverse Guyanese culture as well,” she said. “I hope to bring home the crown for Guyana.” (firstname.lastname@example.org)