We are delighted to have a conversation with Shubha Vilas, author of the book ‘Magic of Friendships’, a Lawyer, and a TEDx Speaker. Below are the excerpts from the interview:
- This time you chose ‘Friendship’ as the muse in your book ‘Magic of Friendships‘. What is the reason behind this?
There’s nothing more important in life than relationships. And no other relationship as important as friendship. Friends hold the crown position of all relationships. Friendship for me personally is what makes life special.
- Most of your titles have the words magic, miracle, etc. Is it intentional? If yes, why?
It’s definitely not intentional. In fact, I’ve noticed it only now…after you pointed it out. I guess when you believe in God’s magic and miracles, a part of it enters your life as well.
- In this book, you have taken many tales on friendship from the epics and ancient texts. Do you think the concept of friendship has taken a model shift from past to present?
Principles of friendship are the same in every era. What changes is the context? You can pick any friendship story from any yuga…any century…any country…any culture…the principles will never change. Friendship is a concept that is eternal.
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- What is the fondest memory you had been a child with your friends?
The fondest memories of my childhood are that of playing football in the heavy rains in an empty field with my friends.
- People generally make statements like ‘I can do anything for my friend’ or ‘I can give my life to my friend’. Do these statements really prove the feeling of friendship?
Proof of the pudding is in the eating. So statements by themselves are not proof of friendship. In my book, Magic of Friendships, I mention 4 levels of friendship. A Bandhu or Sakha will neither make such statements and even if they do, they will not mean it.
On the other hand, Priya Sakhas and Suhrits will never shirk away from doing everything they can. One needs to know which friend is at which level.
- Is it necessary to have a friend other than oneself or the inner voice? How does an external friend help?
Inner voice is definitely a powerful guide. For those who have the constant company of the inner voice one may not feel the need for an external friend but it seldom is the case.
Most often than not what we think of as the inner voice is the voice of the restless mind that distracts us rather than directing us. Thus it’s best to have external friends till we mature and fine-tune the connection to our inner voice.
- What are some of the important things that you would like to tell the present generation of young adults and retired elders about friendships? I had to mention these two sets of people as I see many people from these age groups without any friends.
Today’s generation has replaced friends with gadgets. The retired generation had replaced friends with an obsession for work. But whichever generation you belong to, friends make life worth living. My advice is to take time out and look around. The gift of friendship is waiting for you.
- Friendship and loyalty along with trust are often showcased in books, movies, or several other media. which is the best story or book or movie on the friendship that you like?
In my childhood, I was fascinated by Hardy boys and Tintin. But as I grew up I found much greater depth in wisdom books like Ramayana, Panchatantra, and the Mahabharata.
- As the book’s title says, there is definitely magic in having a great friendship. Personally, when did you feel you need a friend? Did you experience the magic?
The irony is that we never really realize that we are missing a friend in life till one comes along and adds sparkle to it. Like I mentioned in the book, had it not been for two special friends I made, I was well on my way to becoming a problem child who hated school and hated everyone else too.
Also Read: Stories are Used to Malign the Good but Stories can also be Used to Humanize the Bad: Richa Lakhera
But once I found deep friendship, my personality changed. I blossomed into a sensible and smart boy, even topping in class. I have experienced the magic of friendship first-hand.
- Among all the books that you have written, which according to you is your best works?
You’re asking a mother to choose her favorite child? For a mother too, the youngest one is always special. So by that analogy, ‘Magic of Friendships’ is my current best.
- Why is it that we have more friends in childhood and as we age, we become choosy?
As children, we are joyous at heart by default. A joyful heart attracts friends. With age, the fun, the carefree attitude gives way to responsibility and gravity.
Time becomes money and friendships get sidelined. Lack of time and changed priorities spell nemesis for most friendships. From another perspective, choosing is good in fact. It helps us discriminate and invest in those friends that are like-minded and those that genuinely care for our growth.
- This is not related to your book. What change did you find in yourself by choosing spirituality as a path?
The most important way in which spirituality helped me is to discover myself and accept myself. The second most important contribution of spirituality in my life is that it made me realize that there is greater joy in giving than in taking.
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- Who do you like the most? Lawyer Shubha Vilas or Ted X speaker Shubha Vilas? And why?
I actually like Author Shubha Vilas because as an author I draw upon all my skills and experiences as a lawyer and a speaker to make my books not merely time pass reading but books that can transform hearts and lives.
- Few words to your readers.
Cherish books as your only treasure in life. For if you do that you will never lack any other treasure in life.
One liners/One word-based answer questions
Please respond to these questions in one line or one word wherever possible –
- Your all-time favorite author/writer?
HDG A.C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada and HH Radhanath Swami
- Do you believe in writer’s block? Did you have it anytime or not?
Writers block is a legitimate excuse for a lazy mind.
- Your favorite place to write your book(s)?
In the serene lap of nature
- Research and then write or research while writing? Which one do you prefer?
My books begin with research which continues all along.
- What do you do in your free time?
I’m a thinker. My mind keeps thinking of what more I can do and what better I can do to bring a positive change in society.
- How many hours a day do you write?
I flow with my mood and schedule. Varies from nothing at all to all day.
- Do you Google yourself?
Yes. I’m my own team.
- Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?
My books including Magic of Friendships carry my personal interactions with numerous people. I use all of that without taking names. So yes, those people would know what I’m referring to.
- If you didn’t write, what would you do for work?
My goal in life is to spread awareness of the vast storehouse of knowledge that our culture and scriptures contain. To make it accessible to India and the rest of the world.
I do that through my writing, speaking, training programs, counseling, and mentoring. Writing is only one aspect of it.
This interview was first published in Storizen Magazine September 2020 issue.
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