A beautiful journey

Unravelling memories

A beautiful journey

In January, 1996, Bangalore Beauty, Rani Jeyaraj, was crowned ‘Miss India, World’. A month later, she visited Bishop Cotton Girls’ School. Just a few years earlier she had been a student there, passing the ISC Examination with distinction.   

My colleague, Mrs Esther Pillai, and I were on the faculty when Rani was pursuing her Plus-2, and we had the pleasure of teaching that bright and articulate girl. While Rani’s no-less-gifted older sister, Jane, had opted for a Science course, Rani chose Arts. This was not for the reason (frequently encountered) that she could not cope with certain subjects, but because she wished to study those that she thoroughly enjoyed.

Besides excelling in academics, Rani displayed a talent for extra-curricular activities. She was one of a group that performed an intricate bamboo dance, under the tutelage of a classmate from Mizoram. Rani also directed a short play called ‘The Patchwork Quilt’ and acted in it. Trusted by her teachers and popular with her peers, Rani assumed a leading role offstage as Captain of Bishop Cotton Girls’ School.

All of us, who had been glued to TV during the ‘’Miss India’ contest, were delighted at Rani’s triumph. She received a warm welcome when she came to school and a special assembly was arranged in her honour. After the Principal, Mrs E Joseph, had felicitated her, Rani addressed the staff and students. She enthralled us by vividly narrating her experiences of the prestigious pageant and its fabulous finale. She explained that discipline and dedication had contributed largely to her success.

Rani urged her youthful admirers to value goodness rather than glamour. In the nearly two decades following the 1996 Miss World competition (Rani made it to the Top 5), this  achiever has gone on to shine in diverse spheres. An exponent of Yoga, Rani uses the skills she developed while serving on the school magazine committee to write a regular column on its benefits. For some time now, Rani has been actively involved in filmmaking. Scripting, directing, producing, editing — Rani (an accomplished digital videographer) is proficient in these and other areas, notably graphic designing.

Our local celebrity has come a long way since a memorable evening in 1993, when a man approached her while she was in my company. He asked Rani if she was interested in a modelling career, and I firmly led the teenager away. A professional photographer, he foresaw that the schoolgirl would soon be a star!


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