Interview of Pramila Khadun by Vatsala Radhakeesoon

Pramila Khadun is a famous and powerful voice in the field of writing. She has authored various poetry books, novels, anthologies and cooking books.
Here goes an enriching and inspirational interview with the unique writer/poet from the exotic tropical island, Mauritius.
Pramila Khadun
Vatsala Radhakeesoon : Tell us about your early life, family background and actual life?

Pramila Khadun : I did my Bsc in Food and Nutrition from S.N.D.T college, Pune. I am married to Raj khadun and have three children, namely Dr Rajnee, Captain Kaviraj and Priyumvada.I was head of Home Economics Department and now I am retired spending my time writing.


Vatsala Radhakeesoon
Vatsala : Initially how did your interest or determination for book writing spring?

Pramila : I have always been fond of reading and writing. I write everyday with the same enthusiasm. Writing is cathartic and helps us reach out to others. Initially, I wrote poetry, which I find so magical and charming as we can speak volumes in a few words, stirring the mind and soul of readers. Then I wrote a textbook entitled 'Food and Nutrition Simplified' meant for school certificate students. It is currently being used in colleges across the island. I also wrote a novel, 'When love speaks'.

Vatsala : In a fast moving world , engulfed by Information Technology, what is the role of a writer/poet in society?

Pramila:
The role of the poet is to create a balance in society.  Information Technology, though essential for human progress cannot kill the beauties of a person’s soul by not allowing him/her to think about himself/herself and always being engrossed in technology.


Vatsala : Mauritius is a multilingual country. Though, English is the official language,  Kreol and French are much widely used in daily life. What are your reasons for choosing English as the language to write poetry?

Pramila:  English is the language written and spoken across the world. Writing in English brings a wider readership. However, I would love to mention that writing in Kreol and French are equally cathartic.


Vatsala : Having authored more poetry books than other genres shows your special love for poetry writing. Is poetry writing your first love as an author?
How did you start writing poetry?
Pramila :I was doing my Bsc degree in Pune and our college magazine was about to be issued. Students were asked to contribute articles. Somehow, for reasons unknown to me, I chose to write a poem entitled, 'Open me the gates of a world different'. To my great surprise, I won the first prize and since then I continued writing. I can thus call poetry my first love.

Vatsala :What inspires you to write? Do you have a favourite theme that you mostly enjoy to bring forth in your creative written art?

Pramila :Poetry is ‘The record of the best and happiest moments of the happiest and best minds’ says Shelley.It is the most philosophic of writing as clearly stated by Aristotle. Poetry has always attracted my imagination, it is my forte. I love producing poetic oeuvres of great luminosity, impassioned writing with wide horizons, characterized by sensuous intelligence and humanistic integrity. I love writing that catches the dewdrop and reflects the cosmos. My sources of inspiration can be anything –  an abundant solitude, the fragrance of sandalwood, a child knee-deep in mountain greaa, the swirling clouds, animals mating, wind arabesque, the spire of a church and so on. My favorite themes are nature, pain, love and peace.
Vatsala : You are one of the writers born and grown up during the
pre-independence/colonial period of Mauritius. Has any event of this period been the propelling force for your writing?

Pramila :
The pre-independence/ colonial period of Mauritius was a difficult one. We were all poor and in many cases parents preferred sending boys to schools and colleges and girls had to take care of household chores. My parents, avant-gardistes par excellence believed in equal opportunities offered to girls in the educational field. In this way, I persevered and succeeded along with my sisters.
I was also impressed by the political movements and the struggle for gaining the island's independence.

Vatsala : What are the sequences or steps involved in your poetry writing? How do you approach the writing of a new poem - the starting point, the unstoppable flow and the final message?
Pramila: Whenever I write, I do my prayers first for I believe that without God's guidance, nothing can be achieved. After all , poetry is God's voice. Once I am inspired to write, I delve deep in the crevices of my imagination and remove the pearly poems

Vatsala: Who are your favourite authors/poets and which of them have had an influence on your  writing?

Pramila:My favourite poets have been a perfect blend of  those from the past and present like Ravindranath Tagore, Shelly, Wordsworth, Milton, Khalil Gibran, Tiruvalluvar, Pablo Neruda, Kamala Das, Angelou, Kabir, to mention but a few.
All poets inspire me, to be honest, whether he or she is a well-established one or a burgeoning one. The one poet who has a far reaching much influence on my writing is
Gibran.



Vatsala: Your main poetry books are entitled Priyam, Rajnee and Kavi . Please tell us about these collections of poetry and others if any?

Pramila:
Priyumvada, Rajnee and Kavi are named after my three children. I wrote them during the early years when I started writing. I was 25 years old. After these three collections, I wrote 'Igniting key', co-authored by Dr Ampat Koshy and Dr Bina Biswas.

Vatsala : What does poetry mean to you? How would you define it and how do you wish readers to perceive your poems?
Pramila : Poetry means all to me. It is light, it is love, it is all we perceive in life.
I would love my readers to dive deep in the realm of my poetry and feel the vibes.


Vatsala : What type of poet would you best describe yourself – the Feminist, the Versatile, Nature poet or any other particular type?
 Pramila :I would best describe myself as a poetess for humanity. I write to bring change in our world. What I desire most is a clean world where all men are brothers living peacefully in harmony with nature and the elements.


Vatsala : What are the challenges that you face as a women poet and what would you advise other women poets?

Pramila: We may be living in a world of equality but the patriarchal factor still predominates. Women have to struggle a lot to make their voices heard and their writing felt. Having their works published is not easy as well.
I would advise other women poets to continue in their struggle as there is always light at the end of the tunnel. We must never give up as fruits of hard labour and perseverance are always sweet.


Vatsala : What advice would you give to young poets?

Pramila : To young poets, I would say, read lots, the more you read, the better your writing becomes. And remember, poetry is divine, touch hearts more than minds. And your mind must be without fear for you can fight any battle with the power of your pen.
Vatsala : How can Poetry be used for the betterment of humankind and
as an experienced poet, what message would you like to give to the world?


Pramila :
Poetry can be mind and soul-stirring and by stirring, poets make people think, remedy the situation and bring desirable changes. To the world, I would say however much progress we may do, keep in mind that human beings need love more than anything else.

Vatsala : We sum up this lovely conversation with some of your beautiful poems from the books Rajnee and Kavi:

Sadness


When states collapse, there is sadness.
Fading of arts is sad as well.
Sadness is in wars and disasters,
In the tranquility of autumn,
And in the singing of constellations.

The sadness of Saint Exupery’s
“Little Prince” was deep and genuine.
So was Wordsworth when sad
And pensive he lay on his couch.

When the evening breeze blows gently,
There is sadness.
When the sick man prays ardently,
There is sadness.
When the palm tree in full bearing is cut,
There is sadness.
When sages sing songs sweet,
There is sadness.

Sadness is in the violin,
In the solitary wine bottle,
In the broad midnight moon,
In lovers’ languishing,
In couples’ longing,
And in the rose that blooms and dies.

 – Pramila Khadun, Rajnee


Lost in a Whirlwind  Romance

He had the  shoulders of a football player
And his eyes burned like quiet fire.
She nestled close to him
like a tiny animal seeing its mother.

She looked like fine porcelain
And gleamed as invitingly as hot teapot.
She drove him mad with her youth,
Her ways of dressing up and her sensual beauty.
She played with him as happily
As a school girl plays with her dolls
while he looked at her with a longing look.
She murmured in his ears soft words
As sweet as sea-sound.


While the horses stood with draped manes,
And tilted hind-hooves,
They kissed each other warmly and passionately.
Lost in a whirlwind romance,
They could hardly hear the tiny barking of dogs
And the women calling their herd of sheep
while the sun was setting with all its majesty.

 – Pramila Khadun, Kavi