Hello Pramila, welcome to Incredible Women Of India, Thank you for being a part of Incredible Women Writers of India, Monsoon Edition, 2015 and sharing your journey as a writer with us.
First of all tell us something about your growing up years, your school and college days, and your family.
I was born in the east of the island of Mauritius. My father was an employee of the Ministry of Health and my mother was a seamstress. I have six brothers and three sisters, a large family and to make both ends meet was very difficult and impossible at times. My parents were very concerned about our education and were of opinion that both boys and girls must get equal opportunities.
After my H.SC (higher school Certificate) I proceeded to S.N.D.T women’s University, Pune, India to have a degree in Food and Nutrition. I had to meet many challenges as the science subjects were pretty tough for me. However I successfully crossed the hurdles, harnessed by a strong will power.
What makes you, You?
My experiences so far in life prepared me for the future ahead. I never feared however daunting the task might be. I hardly complained about the things I could not afford as I was mainly focused on my education. Seeing the youngsters of my age enjoying life brought simply smile on my face and never a sign of remorse or regret. It is at this stage that cultivated virtues like steadfastness, perseverance, humility and endurance. From the mud, I was slowly but surely emerging like the lotus plant.
How did your journey as a writer/poet begin?
My journey as a poet began in 1973 when I submitted my poem entitled ‘open me the gates of a world different’ in S.N.D.T’s of early magazine. It won me the first prize. Unbelievably enough, I had taken six hours to produce it. It was my first poem and I sincerely believe that writing poems is similar to delivering babies. First babies do take time, so do first poems.
Once back in Mauritius, I continued writing and in Naomy Nye’s American Anthology ‘The vast sky’ feathered my poem ‘The sky is Vast’. I had my first collection ‘Priyumvada’ published by Minerva Press, London. My second collection ‘Rajnee’ was launched in 2004 and the third collection ‘Kavi’ in 2014. More are on the way.
Everybody cannot be equally sensitive to the often subtle and delicate vibrations of poetry and yet everybody has the potential to understand and enjoy poetry. However, it is only by looking at a poem in detail that we do justice to the considerable creative effort that went into its crafting.
What are your inspirations? Who is your muse, if any at all?
I write, when I am free, after attending to house chores and family needs. When the world goes to sleep, I write, peace surrounds me, silence unfurls her wings and this is the time my Muse sits by me in mute conference. The day inspires me about what I have to write in the night. It can be anything a child knee deep in mountain grass, a bee hovering around a rose, animals mating, the moon being kissed by clouds, lovers whispers, cherry blossoms, corn fields swaying in the breeze, fragrance of flowers or sandalwood, just to mention a few. I usually offer my prayers to my divinities before writing and express my gratitude even to my pen and paper. In the making of the rose, the thorn did play a role and in the making of my poems, so many factors are involved.
Why do you write?
My purpose in life is not my happiness only, it is to serve the force that sent me into the world with my humble pen I serve. I know of no more encouraging fact than the ability of a man or woman to speak out what his or her heart feels. I write to express my feelings, to reach out to others and touch others’ hearts with the power of my poems. The pen will remain mightier than the sword for it spreads the message of love, unity in diversity and the beauties of compassion and forgiveness.
What are your inspirations? Who is your muse, if any at all?
How do I write? First something inspired me. I think about it, it becomes the focus of all my attention. I keep thinking about it however busy I might be. Totally free, I sit down and make a collection of ideas that will suit the development of the poem. I am very careful of each and every word for the final product has to be perfect and the right chords struck. I decide upon the effect it must create in readers’ minds, though they are free to react the way they want to. I believe in quality writing and bi it a Sunday or a Monday, I keep on writing for time is the most precious stuff I our lives. I love all that I write.
Do you ever get writer’s Block? And how do you get over it?
I have never got a writer’s block while writing. However, I do take rest sometimes, the battery is recharging and it is always a work in progress. Minds like fields need to be fallow sometimes for better and fruitful production.
How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?
My experiences in life have helped me evolve creatively with the constant support of my family. My widened readership has been the engine to propel me ahead.
Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors and poets / what are your favourite books?
I read anything and everything from children’s books to philosophy, poetry, novels, medical reports, books on religion, lives of eminent personalities, scientists, politicians, to mention but a few. I love all authors and their creations and books which have had some deep impressions on my mind are the following- Romeo and Juliet, Shake spear, A tale of two cities, Dickens, The old man and the sea, Hemingway, The monk who sold his Ferrari, Robin Sharma, Gitanjali-Tagore, Paulo Coelho – the Alchemist, Autobiography of a Guru- Paramahansa, The Prophet- Kahlil Gibran. The list of thinkers, philosophers and poets who have influenced me is as vast as the ocean. I will mention but a few- Rumi, Emerson, Blake, Aristotle, Kabir, Patanjali, Thoreau, Proust Mahatma Gandhi, mother Theresa, Wordsworth, Keats and so on, the list is too long.
What are you working on at the minute?
I am currently working on a joint project with Dr Bina Biswas and Dr Ampat Koshy. We will soon launch a collection of poems, all in a single book as soon as it is ready. Looking forward to this great project.
What do you think is the future of reading/writing in India?
When I look around, I see that the future of lady writers in India is very bright. They are really coming out of age and are the easily now among the best in the world. Women especially are finally making the big leap into being the leaders in this as they are entering publishing, editing, marketing, distribution, etc.
What is your message for the readers of our blogazine?
Readers of this blogazine, I do have a message for you all irrespective of the places you might be.
‘Think always ahead, it will bring to you a pleasant state of mind in which all is possible.’
‘A drop of ink may make a million think,’ says Byron.
Here is a poem by Pramila Khadun, which was published in Incredible Women of India’s Poetry special edition on women’s day. 2015
Mother, evil passions had no sway upon you,
Nor were you afflicted by ego’s malady.
Poverty was neither a constraint
Nor a hindrance in your life’s journeying.
You never slept, mother, nor you despaired,
Faltering and yet, not falling,
Falling and yet, not sinking,
Half-broken in ashes,
Your life was full of challenges.
Mother, I still remember the song
You whispered over my cradle,
The way you washed my face
And the eternal strength and wisdom
That your eyes communicated to mine.
Your life, mother, was variegated
With deep thoughts and striking examples.
Your devotion to do good
Was as amazing as
Your love for humanity.
Mother, I shall continue loving you in silence,
Though you are so far away from me.
Where you are dwelling,
God is dwelling too
Among your warm-eyed friends
And crimson-petaled flowers.
Sometimes,when I am lost in a lonely lane,
And the moon is hidden,
I think of you mother.
Tears flow down my cheeks,
The cheeks you used to kiss.
I think of the crown of thorns
That life’s bitter calamities
Had cruelly put on your head
And how diligently you guided me
To open up pathways
That lead to the golden palace
Studded with rubies and pearls.
I want to preserve and enhance, mother,
All the noble qualities I inherited
From your milk-white bosom
So as to be the light
You so much wanted me to be.
Please note that this interview was conducted online, via emails.
Interview conducted for Incredible Women of India : Rhiti Bose