Life And Literature: A soul stirring interview with an author at 62.

Life And Literature: A soul stirring interview with an author at 62.

“You can let people take away everything from you, but not your smile and spirit.” – Bina Pillai.

Mrs. Bina Pillai, the author of ‘Lyrical Rhythms of My Heart’, is an emboldening weaver of words at the silver age of 62. She is an inspiring paradigm for all the women of the 21st century. A crusader of peace and social justice, she is a resident of Mumbai. Being an ardent nature lover and a passionate dreamer, Mrs. Pillai cherishes life, optimism and positivity in a way that some of us can only imagine. She is a beautiful soul, with a soothing air of serendipity surrounding her as well as an indomitable streak of determination flashing in the depths of her beautiful, expressive eyes.

Read on to introspect upon the vital aspects of your existence and discover the mantra to happiness. Presenting to you, a bunch of hand-written, soul-stirring answers crafted in her phenomenal penmanship.

Q1. How does it feel to be an author?

Ans. It feels wonderful, because with my writings, I’m able to touch many lives.

Q2. What is the most appealing thing about writing?

Ans. When I write, it is like putting my feelings into words; it inspires and helps me to feel better. The musical rhythms flow from my heart, and I’m able to inspire and bring about a change. My responsibility does not end with just writing a few lines. My mission is to change the world with compassion and peace.

Q3. Who is your favourite author and why?

Ans. I don’t have a favourite author, presently. I love best-sellers, thrillers, romance, inspirational and fictional books. Harold Robbins, James Hadley Chase and Sidney Sheldon were my favourites in the 1970s. Also, I read a lot of Jeffrey Archer books.

Q4. What do you think about the development of Modern Literature in India? And what is your take on e-books?

Ans. Gone are the days of flowery language. Modern literature has paved the way for simple language, reaching out to a wider audience. Chetan Bhagat has brought this change with his books, ‘One Night At The Call Centre’ and ‘Two States.’ Publishing houses, who do not want to miss this golden opportunity, are promoting ‘millennial’ stories. E-books may be looked down by the ‘book evangelists’, but the ‘kindle-loving’ generation has taken to e-books like a moth to a flame. While the libraries and book stores look a sorry state with less buyers,  E-books are promoting reading among children and adults alike. Though we cannot say which is better, but e-books are to be lauded for their easy portability, cheap price and the environment friendly factor.

Q5. How did you become an author? Share your story with us.

Ans. I was passionate about writing even as a child. I wrote about the issue of  empowerment of women, when I was 15 years old in 1969, but it did not get published, because the publishers wrote back that it was too ahead of our times. Having secured admission in the prestigious Lady Shri Ram College in 1971 for B.A.(Eco) Hons, my dream was to become a writer and have a career in it. But due to parental pressure, I was married off when I was eighteen and in the second year of graduation. My dreams were shattered, and because of too many responsibilities, I was not able to fulfil my dream till I turned fifty. However, when Facebook was launched, it gave me the opportunity to write snippets, which were appreciated by many. From there, I gathered the confidence to write blogs and wrote poems and short stories in WordPress and WordKrowd. I did a course on ‘WOW-Wonder of Words’ by Megha Bajaj on creative writing. In the digital magazine “Different Truths,” I was a columnist and an author, Dr. Roxy Arora had written an article about me. I was fortunate to participate in poetry competitions and won many prizes. I got the opportunity to become the Administrator in Panorama of Poetry and Galaxy of Literary Luminaries. I was selected as the Poet of the Month in the Inventive magazine of the famous Iraqi poet, Anwer Ghani. My article, ‘We are Happy Because’ was published in the magazine ‘Infinite Thoughts.’

At sixty, I was diagnosed with Angina and five blocks. There were many twists and turns in my life, but I tackled those hurdles wisely and came out a winner every time. At sixty-two, battling with Angina and a Coronary Bypass surgery, I wrote sixty poems, 100 quotes and many short stories. I published my poems last year, and my book ‘Lyrical Rhythms of My Heart’ got a 5-star review. It’s available on Amazon. I won many hearts with my socially inclined lyrics.

In December 2017, I won the National Rising Star Award in the Art and Culture category conducted by ‘WeAreTheCity India.” I’m now the administrator of a government registered literary group “Asian Literary Society.”

Q6. Tell us something about your upcoming work?

Ans. I’m writing a book about the journey of an Indian girl, who finds her dreams shattered when she is married off at eighteen years of age, to an orthodox guy, ten years older than her. But she is not the one to give up, and fights trials and tribulations to come out a winner, in the end. I have used some of the experiences in my life and weaved a beautiful story around it. It’s not an ordinary story because it has the elements of romance, pain, humour and suspense. I want to inspire and motivate some of our women who give up on life too quickly. I believe we can change our destiny, if we work hard and persevere.  We can see the stars, only if we care to look at the sky.

Q7. Who or what is your biggest inspiration and driving force in life?

Ans. As a child, my inspiration was my father because of his positivity and compassionate nature. When I grew older and heard and read about my grandfather, he became my driving force.  He was a man of extraordinary individual prowess, Shri. Changanacherry Parameswaran Pillai. Being a visionary, he had made various contributions to the socio-political evolution of modern Travancore. A well-known public figure, he became the president of Harijan Seva Sangh in Kerala and had worked tirelessly with Mahatma Gandhi for the Harijans. He was as an eminent advocate, member of the Legislative Assembly and a socio-political organiser. He was later appointed as the judge of the Travancore High Court. What I liked most about him was the love and respect he had for women. In the 1920s, he was concerned with the pitiable conditions of the divorced and widowed woman. He argued for the inclusion of a provision for the maintenance of divorced women.

Also, positivity is my biggest inspiration and the driving force of my life.

Q8. What is your mantra of happiness?

Ans. I believe, life is full of ups and downs, favourable and unfavourable events, come and go. Life has its pros and cons, and everyone has a share of the trials and tribulations. It’s our attitude that makes all the difference. I love my life, because of all the beautiful relationships I have built over the years. I experienced love, pain, struggle, loss, and have found the way out. I am happy that my life was not entirely comfortable because today, I have appreciation, sensitivity and understanding of what life is and that fills me with kindness and compassion. I have come a full circle and feel grateful and happy, and I broke all barriers to succeed in life. I believe in myself. Love surrounds me and I feel at peace.

Q9. Tell us something about the most beautiful moment in your life?

Ans. My grandson is dyslexic, and I was worried when I searched for a good school for dyslexic children.  I did not find any good schools in our vicinity, I wrote to all the newspapers, TV channels and even to the Mayor and then, I got a call from CNN IBN asking me to do the ‘Citizen Journalist’ show.  On 10th Nov 2008, a beautiful video on the lack of schools for children with learning difficulties, was made with the heading of “‘A Granny fights for her grandson with special needs.’: CJ Bina Pillai shows her fight for the education of her grandchild.” We took more than a month to complete the video. The most beautiful moment of my life was when a school was opened, a hop, skip and jump away from my house, after four years. How did that happen? I have no clue- probably that’s a miracle!

Q10. What is your message of motivation to the youth?

Ans. Nowadays, I find there is no tolerance among the present generation. They give up on life so easily. It’s due to the high pressures and the fast paced life. The message I have for them is, not to give up on life.

Sometimes life can become very painful,

Making us sad, restless and hateful,

But everything happens for a reason,

Life may not turn out the way we want,

Remember, life is like our seasons!

When summer is hot and unbearable, if you wait, monsoon will come knocking at your door. And when cold gets bitter, don’t get jitters as Spring is not far behind. Life is beautiful. If we can wait. Today it has become the ‘i-world’ with iphones, imacs and ipads, but if we do not have an eye contact and keep looking down at our gadgets, we will not notice when the person sitting next to us drifts away.

Let’s slow down a bit, guys and gals.

We love the transition,

but let’s listen to the lyrics.

Don’t rush, go slow, look around.

Breathe in the fresh air,

Exhale and enjoy every moment.

You live it and you will love it.

So, my beautiful friends, don’t grapple with the meaning of life, just savour its essence. Share your views in the comments section below, we would love to hear from you!

Stay beautiful, stay blessed!

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