Interview with Meena Radhakrishnan: Summer 2014 Flash Fiction Runner Up
Meena lives with her husband, Rakesh and her 3 boys in Thousand Oaks, CA. A busy full-time mother of three, Meena is a voracious reader, writer, dreamer and volunteer who is very passionate about giving back to her community. Writing has been an integral part of her life, ever since her youth and has been a powerful instrument that has helped her stay in touch with her inner-most feelings.
If you haven't done so already, check out Meena's award winning story, "The Funeral," and return here for a chat with the author.
WOW: Congratulations on placing in the Summer 2014 Flash Fiction Contest! What was the inspiration for your short story, or what prompted you to write this particular story?
Meena: I remember, even as a child, I always worshipped many of our freedom fighters and leaders who fought for, and won independence for our nation. They were my heroes. I continued to carry this sense of deep love and respect for India and her non-violent struggle for freedom, even as I moved across continents to settle down in the United States. This story is historical fiction based on the life of India’s former Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi, who had to give up her ‘foreign’ clothes, as part of the freedom struggle when Mahatma Gandhi called for a boycott on all foreign goods.
WOW: What a great premise and original idea for a flash fiction story! What do you enjoy the most and/or the least about writing?
Meena: I enjoy the sense of self-expression and fulfillment that writing provides. I love the moments when I am inspired, the ideas, thoughts and words flow in harmony, and come together on paper (or the processor). It is one of the most beautiful and thrilling experiences. The Funeral is one such story that was drawn from a deep sense of inspiration and pride when I reflected on India’s non-violent struggle for freedom.
It is hard to find inspiration when I am bogged down with the mundane day to day responsibilities that comes with caring for three boys, and raising a family, other than other obligations. When I don’t find that inspiration within me, then the urge to write sadly dies a natural death. That is my frustration, as I let sometimes days pass without writing.
WOW: I think many other writers and aspiring writers can relate to that. I know I can! Do you have any tips for balancing your life as a writer, mother of three, and work in the community?
Meena: I wish someone would give me tips on balancing my life! However, I find that balancing the various roles we play is like learning to ride a bicycle. We lean to the right, then to the left, totter around a bit, but slowly the balance happens. Similarly, we tend to focus on one role over the other at times, but the very awareness that we need balance eventually brings it to our life.
WOW: Thank you for that insight. If you could have dinner with one author, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
Meena: This is a tough question. There are too many authors I would like to have dinner with! I am afraid I have to choose at least two! I would like to have a dinner with Wayne Dyer and Immaculée Ilibagiza. Wayne Dyer’s books and writings has been my constant companion over the years, has inspired me to live my life, and take up writing in the first place as my calling. Immaculée’s powerful autobiography, Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst Rwandan Holocaust, left an indelible impression on me on how faith, forgiveness and compassion can not only heal ourselves but our world as well.
WOW: Wonderful, inspiring choices! What are you reading right now, and why did you choose to read it?
Meena: I have been recently leaning into spiritual writings. I am currently reading Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment. I have embarked on a journey to discover my inner self, and like my writing, this book, I know, is going to be a powerful tool to help me in this quest.
WOW: Good luck with your quest! Anything else you’d like to add?
Meena: I am extremely grateful to WOW! for encouraging writers like me to keep writing, no matter what! And I can’t thank you enough, for because of all your encouragement, I have decided to write more every day. Thank You! to everyone at WOW! for all your support and inspiration. It means a lot to new writers like me.
WOW: You are welcome! And thank you for your thoughtful answers. Happy writing!
Interviewed by: Anne Greenawalt, writer and writing instructor