This session, featuring author KR Meera and Dr Bindu KC, at SheThePeople.TV’s Women Writers Fest Delhi was all things inspiring. KR Meera, a very important voice in Malayalam literature, spoke about why she writes about women, the challenges she faces as a writer in today’s era, why self-love is important and much more. She was in conversation with Dr Bindu KC.
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“People normally ask me why I write more about women, especially women who are thirty plus. What’s my relation with such characters? Why I created them?”
Dr Bindu KC brought forth a discussion on Meera’s prolific creation on women, referring to Chetana’s character in the book, The Hangwoman. “Years back, when I worked as a journalist, my editor asked me to do a story on sexual harassment. I wanted to prove that I am neither man nor woman, but only just the best journalist. I went to the library and started reading on the Vishakha judgment. I was reading about this woman, who for the first time in India, came out to report a rape case – she was a woman from the workplace. I was shocked. I realised this was one story I needed to do, given my responsibility as a human being and the citizen of the country. I interviewed many survivors – non reported survivors – and every discussion opened a can of worms. This was a world I was living in. The kind of challenges they were facing in their everyday life was an eye opener.
“Women’s lives are the least recorded ones. My characters are able to live the lives I wanted to live.”
On breaking expectations
When asked about the ambition she carried as a journalist, and how The Hangwoman breaks the usual expectations, we have from women, Meera discussed her drive to choose subjects like politics, state, media, etc.
“I wanted to record the unrecorded lives of women. The best way to record a woman’s life is to record the history of the place she lives in, the country she lives in. The character Chetana in my book is the most autobiographical character I have ever written. She has experienced and reacted in the same way that I have experienced or reacted,” she shared.
The theme of love
Speaking about love, she says while it’s the most important notion to live by, self-love is what gives life even more meaning. “I do write about difficult love because I’m in love with my loud self.” Shedding light on how lovelessness is as true as love is, she shared that “once you start loving yourself, you will never be able to be satisfied with the love you get.” Lovelessness, she believes, is better than being unloved.
Women as keepers of memory
Commenting on how the lives of women are always connected to their surroundings, Meera said she herself thrives on memories and innocence. “It’s not only the women’s memories but also of the communities as women are primary keepers.”
“I wanted to record the unrecorded lives of women. The best way to record a woman’s life is to record the history of the place she lives in, the country she lives in,” says @krmeera1 at #WomenWritersFest
Some great conversation here. #SheThePeople
— Bhana (@amBHANA) March 30, 2019
Bindu touched a significant topic, discussing how Meera also features sexuality and unapologetic relationships in her stories.
“As a person born and brought up in Kerala, it was a shocking incident for me when I went for a scholarship programme at Chevening. I saw a gay couple, totally unapologetic about their sexuality and relationship. As a writer, I realised it should be my responsibility to make people see and feel how important it is to accept people for who they are or how they chose to love.”
“Writing is my revenge against the world which has always tied me because of my gender”
Meera enlightened the audience by advising that it’s important to soar as high one can possibly can, and not be bound by baseless notions the society lays on them. “I’m only guilty of not being more successful. What I want to work towards more is to be able to transform as many readers I can, and as a person, I’m happy with what I do.”