Bina Pillai is someone who was vetoed out of her graduation but she remained staunch in the face of adversity. She clung onto her dream to write and ultimately won the support of every life she touched. Obstacles drove her on, she used them as a spring board for intellectual and spiritual nourishment. Roxy profiles this spunky woman, in the weekly column, exclusively for Different Truths.
It is not in the stars to control our destiny but in ourselves.
Born and raised in Chennai to an I.E.S officer and a freedom fighter grandfather, Bina Pillai was encouraged to play sports, and pursue music. Childhood and adolescence for this Nair girl was all about being the apple of her father’s eye.
Yes, indeed the excesses of life had been lavishly poured over Bina. When she packed a mean punch with the alley lads you would assume her to be one of the boys. But for her regal bearing and velvet curtain of tresses. She was – and is – every inch a lady.
When her father was posted to New Delhi, Bina sought admission to the prestigious Lady Shri Ram (LSR) College. There was a fire in her heart to change the world with her dream of becoming a writer. She would graduate then she would work, and then she and her man. Wishful thinking!
Family pressure arrested those tender dreams as she was admonished that Nair girls do not work, they inherit property.
So Prince Charming arrived in the form of a husband, who worked in the Public sector. All he wanted for a wife was a homemaker. As for completing her graduation, the idea was considered to trivia even for argument. It was adieu to LSR. Alas, the desire to write and revolutionise the world donned a dormant cloak.
It was evident Bina who had once considered the whole world to be her oyster had entered a patriarchal family. Hubby dear, without being uncharitable could be classified as the type who had anger issues and was a tad too overzealous about his game of cards.
An undaunted Bina now lived under the same roof as her in-laws in Madurai. Bina with her generous nature extended all things nice to her in-laws and won their heart with her genuine affections. A Friday’s child is loving and giving. I forgot to consult Bina nevertheless I am certain she secured ingress into this world on a Friday. She was a far cry away from being vain and flighty. The following years comprised of shifting base periodically. Each time Bina made sure her home reverberated with sunshine and laughter. Bina was now mother to a son and a daughter. Both children adored her and had inherited their mother’s disposition.
When the family moved to Mumbai, she immediately took the role of the librarian in her housing complex. She started cooking classes, thrilling people with her culinary skills, groomed her children and judged elocution and painting competitions. And then Bina did it, did what had been cruelly deprived of years ago, she pursued academics. She judged elocution and painting competitions groomed her children and took her first job at Milton Plastics. From there it was Beuna Vista Travels.
Our lady was given dream vacations as a result of her hard work. She scaled volcanic mountains, paraglided, surfed and sailed. Life was returning her the many favours she had offered and adrenaline gushed forth in her veins. How wonderful she felt when she held her first grandchild in her arms. Life couldn’t be better, despite the initial rocky years. There was no looking back.
If Bina had been around for her children she was there for her grandchild. When his standoffish school slyly suggested that he was a slow writer, Bina left her job and searched relentlessly all over Mumbai for a school suitable to his needs. She was termed the granny who fought for her grandson’s special needs on the Citizen’s Journalist Show with CNN-IBN. Bina paused to catch her breath only when a special needs school came up near their neighbourhood.
Next, came the crusade for better roads in Mumbai. She dealt with the Mumbai pigeon menace and marched beside Anna Hazare supporters.
When ill health came knocking on for the door in the form of angina and a massive blockage, she battled it out and emerged a victor. This was Bina’s second chance at life and she was determined to live it her way. And that meant the hunger to write had to be fed. She took up Wow of Words classes conducted by Megha Bajaj. Bina might be termed as Mumbai’s vigilante, while she drafted letters to the Mumbai chief minister touching pollution issues. Bina supplied a constant stream of essays and stories into online platforms and was felicitated gold and silver medals on several occasions. In her short span as an author, she has managed to pen well over sixty poems and a hundred quotes. Her poems have been accepted by U.K Spectrum Publication House, Panorama of Poetry and Galaxy of Literary Luminaries. Her article, We are Happy Because, was published in Infiniti thoughts magazine. Her poem, Life and More, is published by the famous Iraqi poet Anwer Ghani in his magazine, Inventives.
At present Bina Pillai is authoring her memoirs, An Indian girl in the 1960’s. The book abounds us with deep emotions and a lively humour, just like Ms. Pillai herself. I can’t wait to lay my hands on it.
Bina was someone who was vetoed out of her graduation but she remained staunch in the face of adversity. She clung onto her dream to write and ultimately won the support of every life she touched. Obstacles drove her on, she used them as a spring board for intellectual and spiritual nourishment.
And when I spoke to her I got to hear the words of wisdom from this ageless Diva with a heart of gold. “I love my life because of all the beautiful relationships I have built over the years. I am happy that life was not easy because today I have sensitivity, understanding, and appreciation of life that fills me with compassion, gentleness and a deep loving concern for others. I have come a full circle and I am happy I broke all barriers in life. I am surrounded by love. I feel at peace.”
Her words left me contemplative. And I thought to myself what a wonderful world!
Photos sourced by the author.
#BinaPillai #WomanOfSubstance #RealLifeDiva #DifferentTruths