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A few thoughts about all this celebrity business

We got back from Salem last evening after the TED X event where I had been invited a speaker. The drive from Salem to Bangalore was awesome.Beautiful roads indeed.

 I hadn't been well for almost four whole days--bad body pain, sore throat, exhaustion and mild fever. I somehow managed to pop in medication and delivered my talk.



I was told by many that I spoke really well and that my talk was inspiring. I spoke from the heart. I shall share the link to the video of the talk as soon as it is uploaded. Meanwhile you can view the pictures here, if you want to see :)

This is what Saffin Mathew  (Organiser and licensee of the Ted X event) said about me

Preeti Shenoy - A lady whom I admire a lot. Well after reading her 2nd book (I still haven't read her 1st), I was not a big fan of her's. Not that the book was bad, just that it had a dark side to it that I am not very fond of. But i liked the writing style. Then came her 3rd book. I pre-ordered the book after thinking twice. But once I started reading it, I couldn't keep it down. Man! What a book. The life of the lead character in the book was well portrayed. Since then I am all praise for this author. She has 220v smile. Then when I got the chance to meet her and hear her speak at TEDxSonaCollege, my admiration just grew. But in all the excitement, I forgot to get the book autographed by her.What energy and what talent she has. She is truly blessed. I guess the support from her lovely family plays a big role. May God bless this family.
Ma'am you truly are an amazing person. A big salute to you!!!



One thing which I have been wanting to speak out about for long, (but kept putting off) is this whole set of expectations that people have from other people they term 'celebrities' and 'successful people in their chosen fields'.

After my talk at Ted X, during the break, I was surrounded by people who wanted my autograph.



I was somehow surprised, touched and humbled.
In that single gesture by a group of people, I had been elevated to the status of a ' real celebrity'. It set me thinking as to how people treat celebrities differently.



For instance, many think it is okay to make any kind of demand. A few days back, someone said to me on Twitter-- "Don't you care about the country? Why can't you write about serious issues like Chetan Bhagat?" I honestly wanted to reply to that someone and say "Look, I have worked with slum children for two whole years teaching them English and math. I used to leave home at SEVEN A.M in the morning, travel a distance of fifteen kilometres just to be with them. The results we got  with these kids I worked with were amazing. Many of them invited me home and I will never forget the love they showered on me and the change I was able to bring to their lives."
But I did not reply to this person, simply because she was rude, she knew nothing about me and I don't think she cared either. I also wanted to ask her what SHE had done for the country! But I chose to let it go.

In another incident, I was recognized by a reader/fan,  when I was having a cup of coffee with  a friend (who happens to be a guy). Next thing I know, there is a post on my FB wall, saying that he spotted me at Bangalore Central. He even mentioned a few snippets of the conversation I was having!  I now know how hard it must be  for 'celebrities' to even have a cup of coffee with a 'good friend'. ;-)

I ,of course, do feel happy when I am recognised when i walk into Crossword or Landmark.

But there are the pitfalls too.

There are these people who bombard me with pieces of their writing. They want me to read and review their books or something they have written. I get at least a fifty requests in  a week, to read stuff people have written. I truly do not have the time to oblige. I do manage to reply to almost all mails personally. But to expect me to offer my opinion on writing, is expecting a lot! Firstly I would have to devote a lot of time to 'critiquing'. I will have to study it and offer constructive advice. I do not have that kind of time really. Secondly it is just plain rude to flood someone's inbox with a whole lot of things you wrote, demanding that they read it!

Then there was this person who sent me a long mail some months back, praising me to the skies saying how much he admired my writing and me as a person. He then said that he is saddened that I have not even responded to his friend request on FB. To be honest I get about forty requests a day. I do accept almost all, as and when I get time to get around to them. I apologized and said that I get many requests and his must have got buried. I added him as a 'friend'.
He later sent me a request for a book review which I refused.
This person must have irked me at some point or flooded my timeline (I truly do not remember even!) and I must have 'unfriended' him. (He claims I blocked him and the fact is, I don't even remember this guy!)

A few days back, this person wrote all kinds of nasty things about me on my FB wall, calling me vain, proud and boastful about my looks (am smiling now), accusing me of wanting only praise and saying I am harsh and egotistic and so full of myself. I replied saying that I know what I am and so do the people who truly know me.
Next thing I know, he has pulled out the private messages exchanged between him and me (where he has praised me to the skies and I have said a polite thank you) and posted them publicly in three places on my FB wall!  Then he has said that success has gone to my head and not everyone is humble and kind like ______________. (he has named another author).

At this point I could only do one thing. I deleted all of the above nonsense. (Of course he is entitled to his opinion. But please not my FB page!) and blocked him promptly. He came back three more times with three different ids just to post some more nasty stuff on my wall!

I do follow a simple policy when it comes to my Blog as well as my FB page. I do not like negativity, mud-slinging or accusing. My blog is a happy place! So is my FB page!

And happy it shall stay.
 
What astounds me is that the very same people who praise the 'celebrities'  and elevate them and place them on a pedestal are so quick to push them down and squish them under their feet too when they do not behave as per what they expect.

How much they judge, condemn and form opinions without ever meeting or interacting.

Says a lot about all the adulation and  the whole business  of 'celebritydom', doesn't it? :)

Addendum: After reading one comment I am hastening to add, I truly do not mind signing books at all! I do think it is a honour that you respect and like me so much and I will happily sign books (or autographs for you!) I don't mind being approached for a chat too. What I do not appreciate is mud-slinging if I am unable to respond!
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Comments

  1. Absolutely true!
    I feel really awkward when I meet celebrities, fearing that I might be intruding their privacy. One time I threw all caution to winds was when I saw Anita Nair in a coffee shop. Checked with her, rushed to the nearby bookshop, got a book of hers which she happily autographed.
    Hope to see you somewhere in Bangalore soon, but then, I already have an autographed book of yours :-)
    As for avoiding negativisim, initially I used to wonder how could a person be so happy and talk about all things so positively. I was sure you were hiding something. Then as I kept reading your posts, gradually realized it is actually a very conscious decision and that is what is making you the person you are today!
    Trying to emulate and am seeing some light at the end of the tunnel :-)

    ReplyDelete
  2. It's true when you're doing something good, or have some good going with you, there will always be some people who'll try to bring you down. Above all, people need to realize that authors themselves cannot be reviewing your books, unless they want to, of course. You need to talk to the right person if you want your stuff published, right?

    Anyway, you look good in that event and I'm sure the talk would have been as good, if not better, as people are saying :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. "go get a life - I have one...a happy n content one....thank you" would be my response to all those people.

    I am not a celebrity, or an author, or an artist. People hardly know that I blog....but boy, the stuff that people track from my FB page - it's mindblowing! Even if I had all the free time in this world, I would not bother to find out information that they do. It baffled me, really!

    This blog is a happy place and I love that! I visualize my blog as my happy place too....motherhood, especially in the infant/toddler years is very challenging but I choose to only write about the precious moments that make me truly happy :).

    Hugz! Hope you are feeling better already.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Remember about 'drains ' and 'radiators' that u talked about in 34 candies and bubblegums. Well, there are loads of drains around... And it's so natural to get bugged once in a while. And yes we do live this happy blog. Stay happy like u always try to , no matter what.lots of people love your writing , forget the ones who don't! :-)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Krupa: Yes, i am not 'bothered' and I indeed find it amusing. But I had to speak out :) Thank you for listening :)

    Shachi: I never felt 'bad' about it. I was just pointing out how some people can be!

    Ashna: yes! Exactly! My opinion on their writing does not matter! They should be sending it to commissioning editors really.

    Ruminateatleisure: I hastened and added the addendum on this post after your comment. :) And I would get Anita Nair's signatire too :) Am a HUGE fan of her writing :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Whatever you said is absolutely right..People tend to have lot of expectations and they expect others to behave the way they want which is not possible always.

    I liked your policy of not entertaining non-sense. You are doing a good job..Keep up the good work. Waiting for your next book?? Do let us know when it is coming.

    ReplyDelete
  7. As told by you! keep smiling people around, the grouches pull U down. Its not only the celebs. At times even your friends are demanding when they know you are TOO GOOD at some thing. Keep aside appreciation, they are all set to say. They also can do it (as if its no big deal) and the next step is criticising whatteva u wrote or did! In the hoodwink of honest criticism all they do is throw bricks. Anyway Now am over and above it but gaining fame has these challenges i guess!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Only one thing : No matter what you do good or bad or any thing there will be people who will praise you and people who will criticize you. Some people believe and live only on criticizing others. SO dont really think of it too much but just keep your good work and 'we the common men really dont know more about you" we just get excited about something and sometime we hear it from someone else and try to criticize the circle goes on and on but keep writing and be nice not because everyone is nice but because you are!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hope you feeling better now.
    Reminds me of all the Anti Amir FB updates which happened after Satyemev Jayate.

    I am amused by the way you handle all this.Hats off:)
    Take care
    Gayu
    PS: the pics on FB are superb, you rock:)

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hey Preeti, I like your work. You got celebrity status because of your work and by your readers. If some people like pulling you down, one nice piece of advice which i got from my grany, just kick them off with your beautiful legs and see they never touch you with their filthy hands. :)

    Your readers definitely know how you are. It reflects in your writing my dear.I felt bad when you said there are many people who have different opinion but i was more hurt when they impose their opinion on you where ever you present in social site. I guess people should see your blog headline first- You are a best selling author, artist, poet, ex-basketball player, dobe owner, nature-lover, book-worm, yoga buff and a mother. NOT a critique, not a person who will take nasty comments. :) Loads of love to you. And remember keep that tilted neck, and your lovely smile on. :)

    ReplyDelete
  11. I totally understand this trouble that celebrity status brings. By the way a great article ma'am. Well lets say this has got a lot to do with the Indian mentality. It doesn't take long for people's reactions to change. For example, when Indian cricket team won the world cup, they were carries on everyone's head and showered with praises. One month later they lost a series in England, and they were thrashed under the feet. Suddenly from being world champs, they were termed a bunch of losers. So you can understand how short lived people's memory is. Sometimes such things mentioned in your articled happens maybe because of sheer jealousy.
    Its fine to be a fan but there needs to be a fine line. It has to be understood that celebs are also humans and to err is human. Let's just let them lead their private lives peacefully without stalking on them....

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hi Preeti,

    I often visit your fan page sometimes just to see how humbly you reply to every single person who praises your books/cards ..seething that I silently pray God to give me such heart to be grounded no matter what I achieve in life. :)
    In this process I saw the comment that you have mentioned in this post.I really felt bad and wanted to reply to that Person,but then I realize he does not deserve an explanation..He is certainly not worth it..!!!
    And it is so true when we don keep garbage in our homes why in our virtual place??
    Nice Post..and really admire your post and views.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Nitu: Glad you saw his comments before I deleted. So you know how nasty he was! Yes I agree completely about tossing out the garbage from virtual and physical spaces :) Thanks for the support!

    Sridevi: Awww--you are so sweet! I truly do not want to kick anyone! If you dont like me stay away! Thats all i ask :)

    Saffin:Thank you so much! At least the Indian cricket team being blamed I can understand as it is related to performance. Here I am being blamed because I chose not to tolerate rudeness! That is totally not acceptable. And people (like you) who have met me, do know I am totally down to Earth and I truly don't have any 'nakhras' or 'i-am-a-star' air around me :) I am glad for people like you in my life.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Gayu: I never felt bad to feel better :) Yeah if you meant my health, i am indeed feeling better. Thank u :) <3 Why amused though?!

    Sushant: thanks a lot--and yes you are very nice too! :)

    Afshan: thank you so much! :) A hiug to you!

    Viraj: I am on it! A couple of months more. Thanks a lot!

    ReplyDelete
  15. A very candid view on being a celebrity. an eye opener. But i know u r tough ans smart enough to out do the pests.

    Keep rocking!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Madamji...meee BIG FAN*humble fan bowing respectfully in the general direction where she thinks Preetiji is standing right now*

    @first comment - Bindu's autographed book....it was me....ME...who posted it to her*beams*.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Very true Preeti!! Your blog and FB page is just a haaaapppyy place... You may not even now know how much you inspire me and guide me and relax me and make me happy through your blog and posts. But I have been wondering if I am the only one spotting such fickle minded 'drains'. And now you have thrown light and say that 'drains' contact can happen to anyone and everyone.

    But the way you said ' I know who I am ' is truly inspiring. You know what...I say this to myself when I come across mud-slinging. But I still have a pricking feeling, a sense of guilt or ....I don't know how to word it or may be sadness/despair. I act like 'I know who I am' and I never care for these. But heart really pains for why people are not good.

    I am trying to build the 'Yes' factor in me and curb and kill the 'No' thing. Practicing seriously and hardly.

    ReplyDelete
  18. On going through the post again, I feel relaxed and want to ask a question to you Preeti.

    Is black dress you favorite???? (sorry if you are not comfortable with this question..Wanted to ask because you are almost spotted with black dress on events) You truly look awesome!!:) Love you..

    ReplyDelete
  19. Dhivya: I do like black but this dress wasn't black. It was grey with thin stripes. And I don't wear polka dots or flowers for formal occasions like boom launches and ted-talks :) Else I do!!
    See these !

    ReplyDelete
  20. Some people are very insecure about themselves and hence try to pull others down to their level....completely agree with you...its your FB page, its your blog and finally its your life....no one has the right to say anything about it. You have earned your status with your hard work and you rightly deserve it.
    A person who writes such lovely books...puts her soul in it cannot be harsh or egoistic....
    I simply love your work and you look awesome in that lovely black dress.... :)

    ReplyDelete
  21. Good to read the view of celebrity.I always feels people almost always forget that celebrities are people too who needs their privacy at times..

    Mud slinging and negative remarks from anyone to anybody should not be tolerated at all..You just need to press the ESC button and move on and I am sure you are doing just that...

    When is your 4th book coming ? I will wait for your video too...

    P.S Hope you are feeling better now..Take care

    ReplyDelete
  22. You must be really proud Preeti. You have a lot of reader friends and they know who you are. Actually I read all blogs but seldom do I comment. But here I too want to tell that just ignore all these negative people. They can in no way reach where you are now. It is only through your writing we all know you. But through that we all have only one opinion, we all INSPIRE you a lot, Be Happy always. You are really unique Preeti. GOD surely has gifted you with many talents. Be always proud of that and continue to inspire all of us.

    Waiting to see the video of your talk.

    ReplyDelete
  23. First - cool outfit!
    and a nice post...

    ReplyDelete
  24. Yes Preeti, we know what u really are. I think these ppl who are wildly in awe of celebrities lose it completely when they get to interact with one. They then expect too much. Probably they think that a response from a celebrity is an impossible thing and since they got it, they will now get anything.
    U'r handling it all well :)

    ReplyDelete
  25. Oh you are lovely Preeti.. I seriously find you very down to earth and humble.

    You actually accept all friend requests from your fans on FB ? I think that itself is too much.

    Much love.. ;)

    ReplyDelete

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