Winning one crore in prize money is no mean feat and winning it sitting across veteran actor Amitabh Bachchan is well a dream come true for many in this country. Such is the story of Binita Jain who won 1Cr in season 10 of the popular quiz show Kaun Banega Crorepati. Binita is a single mother. Life changed forever for her and her two kids when her husband was abducted by terrorists and never came back.
Guwahati-based Binita is now a senior coordinator in a school. She talks to SheThePeople about being a single mother, on mental health, how life has changed after fame and popularity and shares some tips for KBC aspirants for the upcoming season.
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Tell us how life has changed in the time after winning Kaun Banega Crorepati. How have you used the prize money?
Life has taken an about-turn after winning KBC. I never imagined life would see a drastic change upon returning from KBC. I began to be recognized everywhere; there was a different kind of respect was there in everybody’s eyes. I got the opportunity to join the Royal Global School, Guwahati as a senior coordinator. Life has been very generous to me after winning KBC.
As a single mother, my only aim is to see my children settle down well. My son is an orthodontist, I dreamt of making a clinic made for him with all the facilities, maximum part of the prize money is getting utilized in that.
You have been a single mother and there are a lot of prejudices associated with that status. With fame and popularity do you think there is a change in society’s perception towards you?
In the society people do view single mothers or single women with a lot of prejudice, I too had faced a lot of it. But I stuck to my ground, as I knew I had to look after my children, so I had to look after myself and I had to be mentally fit. And to be mentally fit I had to keep myself occupied.
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I do not know why the perception of society changes when they realize a lady is a single mother, she could be a divorcee, a widow or alone because of unfortunate circumstances. I have seen people’s attitude change towards me as if I have committed some mistake as if it was because of some fault of mine that I was in that position. It really pains, because in that moment when you need people to support you find them judging you.
When KBC happened there was a 360-degree change in people’s perception, I was the same, before going to KBC and after coming back.
I have seen people’s attitude change towards me as if I have committed some mistake as if it was because of some fault of mine that I was in that position.
How did you pick yourself after your tragedy?
When I was left all alone with my two kids, my children where the only source of strength and motivation for me, other than that there was nothing in my life that could push me. Looking at them, I realized that I have to be doubly responsible now. I have to be there for them every time, now they have only me to look up to and that is was what kept me going.
I knew if I had to look after them, I have to be away from depression. During the first one or two years (after the tragic loss of her husband), I would often feel I was depressed or there would be a feeling of hopelessness. It was very difficult to find someone around who would understand me, there were friends but everybody had limitations. I felt I was in a position where only my own help would get out of the situation. I realized it is when you help yourself that others also lend you a helping hand.
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I started a coaching institute so that I could also stay at home for my children and work. Gradually, I began to feel self-confident, I was feeling stronger as days passed by.
During the first one or two years (after the tragic loss of her husband), I would often feel I was depressed or there would be a feeling of hopelessness. It was very difficult to find someone around who would understand me, there were friends but everybody had limitations.
And when the time came, I was ready to send them outside (of Guwahati) for studies. When my son got through his BDS people would come and dissuade me from sending him away. But I was like he has to make his own life, and I readily send him outside for five years. And at that stage, I did my masters and my B.Ed too.
How have your children reacted to your success? What did you tell them about dealing with fame and popularity?
My children were very excited when I got selected for KBC, they helped me out in the preparations. They had seen me struggle, they had seen all the toil and turmoil I had gone through, in fact, they were the ones who tolerated me during my bad days. And when I won, said that “you got what you deserved”. And for me, that was more than the prize money I had got.
Regarding fame and popularity, I was very clear that when my bad days did not change me, I do not want the good days to bring any change in me either. I did always tell my children that never let fame and popularity get into your head. It is so important to remain grounded because in life you can never say you have achieved everything there is always more to achieve.
Tell us how you prepared for the contest. Your tips for aspirants.
I was a contestant in season 10, that was a time when you had to send SMS through a particular provider to get selected. Now there are so many platforms through which you can apply. This year the entire selection procedure is online. Even though I had to travel to Kolkata for an audition, this year the auditions are also going to happen online.
You should be very alert and agile when the questions are put out immediately answer them and then leave it upon luck. People get selected through a randomizer and there are a huge number of correct entries. So, anyone has a probability of being chosen. And after you are shortlisted keep your phone near you.
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As a nation, we are crazy about Bollywood. And most people in India will be in awe of sharing screen space with Mr Amitabh Bachchan. How did you overcome the nervousness?
I was so nervous, the only thing on my mind when I was playing fastest finger first was that I want to see him. The moment Mr Amitabh Bachchan entered my hands became numb. But then I gathered my senses thinking I am here for achieving something, it has been a long way, I have been through various selection processes and cannot let it go now.
But when I reached the hotseat I again got nervous, but Mr Bachchan really makes an effort in making the participant feel comfortable.
How important is financial independence for women?
Financial independence allows women to grow within, that sense of independence and security which women can have because of financial independence makes them grow as a person. In this part of the world, we are accustomed to seeing womenfolk dependent on the menfolk for money. Your own hard-earned money instils confidence in you that is something different, you cannot get that confidence by being a multi-millionaire’s wife.
What will you tell young women who are beginning their professional careers on the importance of taking independent financial decisions?
Nowadays, girls are very smart, they want to stand on their feet. My daughter always wanted to earn her own money. And from the day she started earning, I have seen her confidence grow. It has helped her to be more confident. It is also important for young girls to make sensible financial decisions, often we end up in jobs because of money and they don’t give us satisfaction or we are working very hard but not getting financially rewarded. Also, girls need to think about whatever is being done with their money is being done wisely.