Pretty Independent

The terrace of the Om Hotel,beauty queen headquarters, hums with excitement. Photographers chain-smoke and chatter in French, English and Hindi. A TV crew is setting up in acorner, but the contestants, weary from the media attention, have retreated to their rooms. It's only an hour before the start of the swimsuit round, and it's raining. "Oh, my poor girls," laments Lobsang Wangyal,producer of the Shambala Miss Tibetbeauty pageant. "They are going to freeze." Wangyal stops to bark a question at one ofhis assistants: "How are we doing on the judges?" Moments later a mobile phone rings. "We got the princess!" shouts...

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