Sabrina Houssami – ‘I am completely Indian at heart’

Sabrina Houssami

Miss World IInd runner up Sabrina Houssami loves rajma-chawal, is fluent in Hindi and feels her visits to India are like ‘pilgrimages’.

Multilingual, multicultural and a beauty to boot. Miss World IInd runner up Sabrina Houssami has been recently claimed by India, thanks to her roots in the country and the charity work she is doing in Rishikesh. And the vivacious Miss Australia returns the compliment.”I am very proud of the fact that my mother Alka is an Indian. The country is very close to my heart. I have already visited India 12 times and every time I have felt as if I have gone on a pilgrimage,” says Sabrina.

With her grandparents living in Delhi’s Mayur Vihar, Sabrina is a frequent visitor there.”My mama, mami and their son Manan live here with my grandparents. I last visited them in 2004. I did so much shopping and even went to sabzi mandi ,” says the 20-year-old, who is fluent in Hindi.

She seems steeped in the Indian ethos.”I love dressing in Indian clothes, especially ghaghra-choli and saris. We also celebrate all festivals at home in Australia. Diwali, of course, is big with diyas and sweets. I am completely Indian at heart,” she smiles.

Kath Kenny, spokesperson of the University of Sydney — where Sabrina is a second year student of Liberal Arts — would term the talented 20-year-old as a”citizen of the world”. Kath says,”She is a very bright student and has played an active role in many fund raising activities in the University. She is currently studying Arabic, statistics and psychology. She is a citizen of the world and believes in plurality.”

And that was the reason she chose this particular university too.”This place is an amazing example of tolerance. You always see mixed groups of people walking together and I love the fact that I can understand a bit of all these conversations,” Sabrina smiles.

In fact, it was as a part of a students’ group that she found her current charity — Astara Angels — in Rishikesh. Remembers Sadhvi Bhagwati, a part of the charity that’s based in New South Wales, Australia,”Two years back, a group of students from Australia, including Sabrina, visited our ashram in Rishikesh. They were impressed when they saw the gurukul we had set up for abandoned boys in the ashram.

Then they asked us why there is no such institution for orphaned girls. We immediately took the suggestion seriously and decided to build an orphanage for abandoned Indian girls in the ashram.” Sabrina plans to continue with her charity work post Miss World crown too.”The Miss World title was totally out of the blue for me. It was never my first priority, I have my heart set on charity work. I would continue doing it. As far as my profession is concerned, I am not too keen on joining Bollywood, I would rather take up TV journalism,” she says.

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