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Miss World 1966 is a granny now

December 12, 2006
Reita, now a grandmother, lives close to one of her daughters who studied medicine at Harvard and returned to Ireland.

"When my children were 4 and 5, it became increasingly difficult to have people look after them while I was out working," she says. "I missed the fact that I wasn't influencing their lives and wasn't there for them. So, I stopped working in 1977-1978. I decided to take a career break, assuming I would go back to work when they (Ann-Marie and Deirdre) were a bit older. But it turned out that I enjoyed being with them so much, I did so many things together. I learned the piano with them, taught them to cook (including Indian dishes)..."

David Powell, who readily admits he had to work very hard to get to know and marry Reita Faria 35 years ago, beams at his wife when she talks about the family.

Faria, who grew up in Mumbai with her sister Philomena in a tight-knit Goan family that owned real estate and other businesses, continues. "The more time I gave my children, the more I got out of it. They responded so positively to everything. We were able to stimulate them in different ways. We would take them to the opera, we travelled with them, we went to museums, played golf. It was very fulfilling for us to give them a broad education and, more than that, a way of life -- a way of thinking, a sense of values you do not pick up anywhere else, except from your parents."

A lot of people still ask her if she misses medicine. "I have lived with medicine through my husband, obviously," she adds. "He is a very dedicated doctor. I felt that, with all the good he was doing, maybe I could share that as well. That was my excuse -- the fulfilment that comes from having given up my own career and enjoyed my children so much."

Image: Reita and David Powell on their wedding day

Photograph: Courtesy Reita Faria
Also read: The First Miss India

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