Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Little by little

Once upon a time and it seems like a long long time ago, I was a little girl (yes, there was a time when I was little, I only have vague memories of it but I am sure I was and it is not a figment of my imagination) and my parents moved places a lot because of the nature of my dad’s work. Each new place meant leaving your old friends behind and then putting on a big chirpy manner and an even bigger smile even though you were crying and ready to crumble on the inside, so you could make new friends. Everybody likes happy souls—I learnt that early in life. And then you knew that you would move again soon, so you learnt to make friends (with chirpy manner and smile still in place) and have a lot of fun without getting too emotionally involved, as you knew you would soon leave and you didn’t want your heart to break all over again, for it took a long time joining back the pieces and sometimes they never quite fitted back the way they should and sometimes the pieces would be gone forever. In this mad turmoil of growing up, discovering things and making friends, there was only one thing which was constant in my life and one thing that I derived a lot of comfort from, much like a security blanket that a toddler is attached to and that was books. My home was full of books—all kinds of books and I devoured them. Wherever we moved, the books moved with us.

My parents were avid readers and big book lovers and no matter which place we went, my dad would make sure that we joined a library and more books would come into my home. I learnt early that you don’t have to fake a smile to read a book and books really opened minds and doors to magical worlds. When I was little I could not imagine how in the world people wrote books. To a little child, the task must have seemed daunting.

“How can they write so much? “ I used to ask my dad.

“Little by little,” he would answer.

His answer never entirely convinced me and I would marvel at the authors, read about them on the back of the cover which sometimes had their picture on it, and try to get into their minds and see how their thought process worked. I used to marvel at their creativity and their way with words. I tried to write a book when I was eight or so. The story was about four children (two boys and two girls who were a set of siblings) who were ship wrecked without their parents, and had to survive on their own on a remote island. No, it was long before Blue lagoon came out and I was very young and had no corrupted thoughts whatsoever—so stop smirking! The book was all of eight pages, five of which were detailed pictures of the four main characters and the ship. I remember agonising over whether one of the girls should have a fringe or not and whether her ribbons should have a little triangular cut at its end or not. Yes—details like these mattered to me even back then. I couldn’t write any more than those eight pages and that was the maximum I could achieve, even though I tried very hard.

Never did I dream that one day I would become an author, that people would write to me, and I would write books! (I am working on my second book—I am midway through it) Somewhere in me, is still that little girl who struggled to write a book of eight pages.

Just before we left India, the children and I went to a multiplex which has a leading book shop too. As soon as I entered the book shop, my book was right in front, in the best seller rack, nestling in between Paulo Coelho’s book and Barrack Obama’s. (I couldn’t resist clicking a picture with my mobile phone) I didn’t see it initially, my daughter did. I had walked to the other end of the book store by then, to browse.

“Mummy, Mummy—Look—your book is right here”, she screamed proudly and many of the customers turned to look as I turned a beet-root red and tried to ‘shush’ her. I smiled all the same, as the staff at the store recognised me and came to talk to me.

It feels so strange and yet so good when I get so many mails from those who have read my book. I do respond to each and every one.

Now I have moved to a new place, a new country and a new culture. People ask me what I do and I tell them that I am an author and they are instantly fascinated and want to know more.

“It’s amazing, how do you manage to take time out to write with two children and a home to look after ?” they ask.

“Little by little,” I say with a smile.

Ps: Blog adda had interviewed me. Click here to read the interview.

66 comments:

  1. Hey Preeti,
    So finally settled and back with a bang!

    Best of luck for your next book, and books after that...

    Just ping me if you need any help of any kind at any given point of time. Remember friends are still there across the seven seas ;)

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  2. Rohit: How can i NOT ping you?!! :-) I should ask you to do the same!

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  3. Hey preeti,

    nice post, be it book or any other endeavour, all of us should try to add feathers of victory to our respective caps little by little ;)

    All the very best for your next book :)I m eagerly waiting for that one :)

    Take care

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  4. Aww that was so sweet. The little girl writing a book all of eight pages! :D I identify so mcuhc with your early years and your love for books. I always had my nose in one when I wasn't staring into space daydreaming of all that I had read!! ;)
    Lovely post. Good luck with your second book. Waiting for it eagerly.

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  5. Cool cancerian: Dying to read your blog now! :) please give me permission to access it--you now what post I am talking about.

    Chinmayi: Thanks so much. 'Little by little' everything is possible!

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  6. You are correct p! Books have been my companion too ever since I can remember. I always found solace in books, which, similarly, I was surrounded with. I can't imagine what I'd have ended up as if not for the books.. Good to see you back.. wish you luck with your next book.

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  7. Hey Preeti,

    Its amazing how you write...I have been meaning to blog never got to do it....must try now " little by little".....
    and by the way I have a full book that you have written to me in college..." Little by little" ...and its almost 20 years ago....time flies...and for your second book I dont have to wait to go back to India to get it...

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  8. "sometimes the pieces would be gone forever" - you penned this so nicely
    yes, books are like forever companions, glad to treasure them and u r lucky to possess mini-library while growing up :)

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  9. Your book in between Paulo Coelho's book and Obama's book. How cool is that!! Wow!!

    Felt great to read your post after almost 3 weeks. Little by little holds true for a lot of things we intend to do in life.

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  10. That's so exciting and very wise.

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  11. Was the multiplex Gold Adlabs ?? Incidently when i bought your book, it was placed exactly, the shelf looks similar as in the picture! Anyways all the best for your second novel and I still wonder how can one manage to write 8 pages :D ; had i been in your place i would have stopped with those 5 pictures :):) !!!!!

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  12. PS....Good to know you have settled down there and happy to know your second book is getting ready.All the very best!

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  13. Little Drops of water make an ocean i guess :)

    n wooow..2nd book! thats awesome! Good Luck!

    n have u ever imagined of the day when a new author will say "my book was in the midst of Preeti Shenoy's books.i was so proud!" :)?

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  14. I felt this post was very sweet...almost like a child in you was writing..

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  15. Its nice to see you back :D, your blog had inspired me to blog (i dont think i have mentioned this to anyone) :)

    must have been wonderful to see your book in midst of 'the alchemist' and 'obama' :P

    again.. nice to c u :P

    *hugs*

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  16. Oh yes..she's back with a bang! The Blogessphere has been lacking your words for too long!Welcome back.

    By the way..never heard of the other two authors in the pic..but the one in the middle is a MUST READ! :-)

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  17. Good to see u back in the blogosphere! Hope you've settled there comfortably!

    It amazes me how you write, or for that matter how anyone writes! The most I can do is write a blog article. And which I can't read again and again to improve and improvise!! But good luck for the second one...shall make sure I get a copy :-)

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  18. you know, i too tried writing a book when i was little...i took such a long time to decide their ages and names...

    and we too moved a lot, while growing up, and i so understand about the big smiles and the teary insides and the friends in books...:)

    and the little by little message is wonderful...

    loved this post :))

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  19. yay! Go girl :). you deserve the best from within and all around!

    love and hugs

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  20. Glad to read your post.. It is so true.. Little by little.. I tried writing poem when I was young but was not able to continue :d and like you I used to wonder as to how the authors could come up with detective stories. I used to think that all stories were for real :D

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  21. Hey Preeti,

    Missed you here :) Hope you are doing well in UK and are all settled in....a gorgeous summer sure awaits you :)

    I read your book - FINALLY! Needless to say, loved it and enjoyed it.

    When I went to Crossword Abad, I could not find your book. So I went to the information desk, and asked the guy to look it up for me. He immediately pulled out a copy from a stack next to his table :) and he said it sells pretty quickly :) Not surprised!!!!

    I admire what your dad said - and it's so true :)

    Good post, as usual :)

    Love,
    Shachi

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  22. Nice!! Really Nice!!!

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  23. little by little - like the old proverb in malayalam.. :)
    every time i walk in to a book store and i see your book, my face beams up.. and if i get that happy seeing your book, then i can imagine how happy yu will be when you walk in and see your book in the best seller rack :-D

    little by little, let the blogs start coming again, with lot of new stories from the new place :-D

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  24. Wow ..I still wonder how people write SO much ...I take so long to read a book ..how do you guys manage to write ?

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  25. Good to see ur post after long time.

    All the best for your second book.

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  26. Know exactly what you mean by a childhood spent with books...though we did not move, I had no friends of my age close by and also no siblings. But I must say I was quite a happy child with books,daydreams and my imaginary world! :)

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  27. I spent my childhood with books too. I came to my grandparents place for the summer, and then for the journey I always was bought a fat book. This book used to be my saviour for the long flights... and also once I reach there.

    Wonderful to know that you are half way through with the second book...best of luck and hope all is well across the seas.

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  28. Hi. I have been reading your blog for quite some time. I just love the way you write.
    Looking forward to read your book as well.

    Bye
    Sudha

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  29. :)

    Is there ever a time when I don't have a smile while reading your posts? :)
    Like all of them here, I'm eagerly waiting to read your next book, break a leg dear and complete the book soon, little by little.
    Loved reading the interview - so honest. I totally liked your views about ads on blog and the analogy was so damnright RIGHT!

    How're things with you? Feeling settled? TC

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  30. Hey preeti, another great post from you....keep it going...Hope you have settled in your new place

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  31. btw, thank you for the mention :).

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  32. Nice post!
    So all settled?

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  33. hi..I've been following your blogs closely..so I must tell you i was a bit disappointed when I bought your book...b'coz it turned out to be just a compilation of all your posts. I had been searching for it for a while before I finally got it..only to see that it was something I had already read..am now looking foward to your second book :-) wishing u luck with your new life.
    namita.

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  34. Namita: Thank you for looking forward to my next book and thank you for following my blog. Well--I had very clearly mentioned in my blog posts and also there were many media reports that the book was indeed from the blog. But there were many chapters too which were not published before. In fact if you go back and look in my blog, I have taken off the chapters and clearly mentioned the publishing deal.

    Akanksha: not yet! In the process. Thanks!!

    EM: Entirely my pleasure!

    Sudha: Thanks so much!

    Priya: Not yet settled--but in the process.

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  35. Still thinking: :-) Thank U!! :) Not yet settled--Our stuff still has to arrive--sigh!

    Aathira; yes--all well. oh yes--even for me, journeys without a book was and still is unimaginable.

    Wannabe writer: That makes two of us! :)

    Swati: err--little by little? :)
    Never ending memories: thank you!!

    Xh: what is it in Mallu? Do say pls--it may rekindle memories of what dad used to say..

    Prats: thank U!!

    Shachi: Where is Crossword Abad? Where are you based? thanks so much for the faith and the kind words!

    UJ: Guess a bit of reality is what all books are based on!

    EM :Thanks!! I can feel the warmth!

    Suma: oh yes!! Even i used to agonise over names!! :) I still do LOL--I texted a good friend in the middle of the night to dcide the names of the characters in my new book :)

    Stillness speaks: our stuff still has to come! Yeah--the best way is to read and rewrite.

    Niall : :)

    Shimmer: Glad it inspird you--I have paid u a visit :) cehck ur comment box :)

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  36. Mathew: i guess it was the child :) Thank U!

    PavI: No hadn't imagined that!! :-) Nice thought though!

    Maddy: thanks so much!

    Radhika : Actually this was at Crossword E-square. But people have told me me it was there at Adlabs too :)

    Nessa: thank you

    Varun: very true!

    Preeti: Yeah--I guess! But then everybody is lucky in different ways.U just have to realise it!:)

    Vinoo: I don't remember at all--and am so ashamed! :P

    Dynamite: thank U! It was nice to touch base with you.

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  37. the saying is "payye thinnal panayum thinnam" :)

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  38. It really feels so good to read your post after a long time.

    Hope everything is getting smoother.

    Eagerly waiting for your second book.

    Cheers :-)

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  39. That is sooo true!! As a kid I always used to be amazed with young working women - getting all dressed up and going to work, shopping on weekends with own money and living alone/ with friends (basically the FRIENDS lifestyle!) and i'm only now realizing that im there! ive achieved what i always dreamed about...kinda makes ur head spin sometimes huh?

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  40. also good to know ur settling in fine! :)

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  41. Sunshine: Glad that you achieved whatever u wanted to!Yeah ,settling in slowly.

    Karthik: Thanks so much!!

    xh: Oh yes!! My grandpa and my mom used to say that a LOT too!!Thanks for reminding!

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  42. aaahhh!!! Nice to see you back!!
    And yet another great blog there!! Nice to know that you started your career longggggg back:) "Little by Little" was an excellent answer!
    And great to know you are half way thro' with you next creation!!!
    Have a good one!!
    -Durga

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  43. Preeti, it must feel so good to be where you wanted to be!
    And I was just thinking yesterday that am going to India this summer and I can't wait to get a copy of ur book to read!!

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  44. I meant Crossword Ahmedabad.

    I am based in California, US but I picked up your book when I was visiting India in January.

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  45. Nice post and continue the good work preeti... looking forward to your next book....:)

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  46. Preeti...great to see you back here again. Been a while :)

    'Little by little' - three simple words but mean so much. When I moved to Delhi after marriage and - new family, new house, new office - it all became home 'little by little'.

    So simple yet so profound.

    Well best of luck with the second book Preeti :)

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  47. Nice! :D
    I saw your book at DC Books, Koramangala.Was on a high for a minute :D

    -Nikhil

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  48. Like how they say in kerala "Pala thulli, peru vellam":-D

    Lovely post Ps.....something to ponder over as always.

    Wishing U all the best in ALL endevours:-))!!!!!!!

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  49. hey preethi,
    i got to read ur blog from ur friend praveen...it was so nic eto read it..to tell u thr truth, even i had a dream of becoming a writer...but not at 8 years of age...it was when i was studying for MBBS...but then except for a few short stories and poems nothing ever came out of my pen...there was a time when i used to dream stories but was unable to put it down on paper..of course i cudnt even remember in which language those dream stories appeared...but now amidst my busy schedule,i hardly get time even to write my daily diary...but then i should i know...as u said.."little by little..."|

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  50. Very good post. Sounds very similar to my childhood. Moving around (though not so much), parents being readers, libraries, collection of books and them moving with us - strangely very similar.

    I have not published a book yet. I own and run a couple of blogs. I have huge respect for people who write books. Cheers.

    Cheers
    vjkrishna
    Critical Thoughts
    www.vjkrishna.com

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  51. little by little....
    quaint thoughts in this fast moving world.
    yet they seem to make sense

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  52. hi
    well to be honest i am an avid reader myself and like reading books all the times(sometimes hav got a good thrashing from my parents also)
    aand i used to marvel like you do.. would stare at the picture of author and think how and what he thought.. how did this thing came in his mind
    books have always been my best friend..
    and i have this secret dream of writting a lil book myself..
    will definately read your book..

    p.s would lik u to visit my blog livinglifetofull.blogspot.com
    thanks
    :)

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  53. i could relate so much to this post

    my dad is also on a transferable job

    everytime i started making friends ...it was time to say goo-bye and pack bags to a new alien place where i didnt even know the local language
    i used to feel displaced and like an outsider among new friends...
    i used to get a feeling tht we r nomads living in a mobile van

    books always came to my rescue...they r my best friends

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  54. how cute:)hmmm...i should read this book...sounds interesting

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  55. how cute:)hmmm...i should read this book...sounds interesting

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  56. from eight pages to 80 and i'm sure there'll soon be book no. 8! :)

    all the best!

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  57. Preeti,

    " Honhar biyabaan ke hot chikne paat ". " Poot ke paanv palne mein hi dikh jaate hain ". Yes, little by little. Congratulations.

    Your visit is overdue. I now write here too and you can navigate.

    Take care

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  58. When I started reading this post, I was like...whoa this is all exactly what happened to me! what with changing places every few years. Then you wrote about how you became an author. I sure hope even I can do so ... little by little :) My dad is an author too.

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  59. Welcome to Europe... Loved the post...

    Hope you are enjoying it in UK - atleast the weather it turning for the better.

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  60. Oh it must be so funny to see your book next to Obama's. :)
    I still have the stories I wrote as a child, they had very little plot, just characters that ate tons of ice cream flavours. lol

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  61. Devil Mood: Did not feel funny at all. Felt exhilarating.

    Jack: have LOTS to catch up on..It just keeps piling up, mainly as m time on the internet goes in replying to mails in response to my book. Will do--little by little! :)

    Guru:Thank you!

    Unpretentious: Mostly adapted from blog posts--so if u like my blog you'll love my book.

    Partywith Neha: Good luck and best wishes!

    Aparna:That makes two of us :)

    Payi: Where I live, weather is great as the worst of rains is over by the time clouds get here :) Its nice and sunny most days.

    Committed to life:Will do!

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  62. Committed to life: just triend visiting your blog--but the profile does not give a link--can you pls include the link in your profile?

    Arjun:Thank you

    VJKrishna:Thank you and appreciate your stopping by!

    Dr.Dhanya:Being in the medica profession I know how hectic it can get. Good luck!

    Reflection:Thank you!!!

    Nikhil: :-) :-) :-)

    SMM:Thanks so much!

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  63. Sushobhan:Thanks!

    Shachi: There is a Abad Plaza in Cochin--for a minute I thought you were talking about kerala!

    Only one;Hope you're not disappointed!

    Durga:Thank you!!!

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  64. hi
    its livinglifetofull.blogspot.com

    i am sorry but cant include it in my profile for some personal reason
    thnaks
    :)

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  65. Halfway through your book :) very nice so far. Please keep writing little by little you can bring about the same changes which great authors have given to the mankind :)

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  66. A new comer to your blog...

    How humble you are ...so nice...and your book nestling in between Paulo Coelho's and Obama's book...Good writer , u? ....

    Best of luck for your next book, and all your future books...
    Keep writing...good luck

    sumysunil.blogspot.com...Please visit when time permits

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