Thursday, August 22, 2013

You cannot please everybody



So, I have just got back from IIT Kanpur, where I was invited to speak at the E summit 2013. Times of India carried a news item about it.

 I spoke about my journey as an author and emphasized the five lessons that I learnt along the way. I was told I spoke really well- it was powerful and made an impact. I was glad to hear such praise.



It is interesting to see the kind of reactions, that 'success' spews. Especially so, if the 'successful person' in question is very accessible by mail or the social media. Almost everybody that I meet or encounter from my 'past'(  'past' refers to the time when I  was an unknown nobody)  has something or the other to say about my books, about my writing, my poetry, my blog-posts---anything that comes to their mind. Do they pause to consider how I feel about their opinions? Ninety percent of the time, it is a no.

Today a friend from my past, whom I have not met or spoken to, for the past ten years, got in touch. She loved my book and she was indeed happy for my success and was genuinely proud of me. But what intrigued me was the slightly accusatory undertone (I am sure unintended) which I couldn't help noticing . In the course of conversation, she mentioned that today she could not hold back any longer and she had to tell me about my book (she sure got my attention) and she went on to tell me how much she loved it (so far so good). She said she had tried to get back in touch and since I did not show interest, she left it. She also said 'I know you are a big person now.' I said it was the price of fame, and I would surely write a blog-post about it, 'explaining'. And this is my 'explanation'.

The fact is, my life has completely changed in the last 6 years. If I were to draw a graph of my career growth, it would look like this:


photo credit: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1426748




The fact (which most people miss) is also that I have worked bloody hard for it! Incidentally, I noticed a common thread in what all the other speakers at the E-summit at IIT Kanpur,  had to share--- That they all work long, long hours and since they enjoy so much what they do, it doesn't feel like work to them.

It is the same for me. My fifth book will be out in November (Yes!! :) I am in the editing stages. Will share details--watch this space). So, that is five books in four years :)  (My first book had come out in October 2008).

The exchange that I had today,  made me think about my working days. I do have a LOT of things going. It was only today, after a gap of nearly 10 days, that I managed to have a long conversation on the phone with one of my closest friends who is perhaps even busier than me. (a remarkable woman who is a single parent, a very successful entrepreneur and her life story is one of the most inspiring stories ever--I plan to write about her someday).

Most days, my day begins at 5.30 AM and I am working late past mid-night. . I don't go out and socialize in the evenings, which I see most people around me doing. (Instead I prefer playing badminton or a game of chess with my daughter ). I don't watch television at all. I work even on weekends.

 I also spend loads of time with my family, go for walks, do my yoga and I read a LOT, apart from my art and writing. I watch some awesome movies too.

 I wouldn't have it any other way.
Most people who don't know me wouldn't understand my choices.

Sometimes, I am annoyed at the 'friendly suggestions' offered about my lifestyle, about what I express on FB and about my blog.  One person from my past, who again got in touch with me after a gap of 20 years, pinged me and asked me what I was cooking for dinner. Being the polite person that I am (really, I ought to be a little less polite) I answered his frivolous query, whereupon he commented  'Oh I see..you are taking the easy way out.' WTF! You can be sure he never got a response from me again. Many weeks later, he pinged once again to comment about how I have become too busy for friends. I did not reply to that one either.

I get that all the time, from the people from my past. The truth is I am not the same person I was 10 years ago. A lot has happened and I have changed a lot since. And when you reminisce about the 'good old days' I fail to see the 'good' in them! No, thank you very much---I like my life now!

I know many people probably would presume that I now have a bloated ego, and have forgotten the time when I was a nobody. (How can I forget?!  But I  do not live in the past. My present is more exciting for me!)

One of the very important lessons that I have learnt is that no matter what you do, how much you succeed, there are always people who are going to not acknowledge that your success is because of your efforts and not because of some random chance. It is futile to seek that from them---they are too bereft to be able to give that to you.

Also, you can never please everybody

But as long as you prioritize and  do what makes you happy,  that is all what matters.

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21 comments:

  1. This is an amazing quality about you, you don't cling to the old memories. And that is what everyone should do. But sometimes, old friends are curious about you. Not that they are intrusive, its just plain curiosity. Even if our lives are way better now, we should not forget where we came from and who mattered then :)

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  2. @Nupur: I appreciate completely what you are saying. But someone drops out of your life for 20 years (and where were they when I needed them and times weren't so good?). Then after 20 years, we interact all of once. Then out of the blue, you ping and ask 'what is for dinner' and then they 'tick you off' for 'taking the easy way out' !!! Doesn't work for me!

    Everything has it's place. Including old friendships and old memories. And my closest friend--our friendship is 32 years old. So you see, I haven't forgotten who mattered :)

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  3. You inspire me! Your life inspires me! You are leaving(read:living)legacy not just for your kids but for book lovers like me.

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  4. Its really interesting and insightful read. People never understand your efforts unless and until they are in your shoes.. So its futile to expect them to understand. Only people who matters, which is usually very few, we can expect them to understand our situations. And yes we can never please everybody how much ever we work hard.

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  5. This is so even with close relatives...As i remember you saying this somewhere...There are going to people who are not going to acknowledge you even if u do something as remarkable as winning a noble prize...Sad but inevitable truth

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  6. The problem with most of the people is that they only see the fancy part of it i.e. the glittering success and forget to see that the person, cherishing it, had to slog his/her ass off to gain it. Such people will always have an opinion for whatever you do and my experience says that they wouldn’t even have bothered to talk to you if you weren’t what you are today or you were still that “good-old” person they knew. It is extremely difficult to convince them that it’s not arrogance but the change in priorities. Rightly said, one should not try to please them.

    Life is too short to be spent with anyone but the people who you truly love and who will be unconditionally there for you during both triumphs and disasters.

    Loved the post, Could relate with it very well :-)

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  7. I'll have to say this - I don't think you have a bloated ego at all. You care to respond, and that too, genuinely.

    You will find people trying to take advantage of you because you know them in some way or the other...happens with all of us in some way or the other, right?

    Keep fulfilling your dreams, dear friend!

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  8. I would like to make a point here, your books in one or other way has helped me to understand women well than my first hand interactions.. they sometimes show the way how the life goes...
    And when you say that people think that you're egoist as you are running high on success, I see the inherent quality of jealousy in them.. I like the way to take them in and keep in the place where they ought to be kept..
    You reply all the tweets, all the comments.. all the mails.. I don't see any other author doing this.. we think You're what you're...
    All the best for your next book.. eagerly awaiting it.

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  9. Hey Preeti,
    I am a working woman and (not-showing-offingly) very successful at that. When you quoted this guy friend from past asking what are you cooking, I totally understood what you felt , because I have been asked this stupid questions by friends of my past.
    These are usally people who have very low self esteem and are a dark shade of green with Jealosy.They try to ask and tell you things through which they can feed their small ego. Like "why don't you have kids yet?" "What have you coooked for dinner" "Oh you have a cook , poor husband" , they try to feel good about themselves through these answers , that they are in some kind better off than we are.
    I used to get really upset earlier , but now I find it very funny and sometimes(amusingly) even answer them what exactly they want to hear like I am a bad cook or I never get time for family(big lies :)) , I feel pity for these "friends of past" who should remain "in past" and wont bother me ever again :)
    It might sound wicked , but for me people who cannot respect boundaries do not deserve respect.
    All the best again for your book :)

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    Replies
    1. Remya--yeah! It is indeed trying to 'put you down' in an very 'inoffensive' way or so they presume!
      Much appreciate your wishes.
      thanks!

      Delete
  10. Hi Preeti, nice post and really true. A lot of people have this habit of just putting others down and attributing their success to luck or whtever or to a person developing 'airs' after achieving success when in reality they have failed to invest in that relationship from their end.
    You have worked very hard, and deserve all the accolades that come your way. Nobody has the right to downsize your achievements in any way. Looking forward to your new book, all the best! :)

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  11. Hello Preeti,

    Hey! Nice to hear that ur next book is coming in November. Eagerly waiting for it.

    Nice post. As per i know you are such a down to earth and humble person I ever come across in my life.
    Best quality about you is being super busy in your life you give time to reply back to people who really loves you.

    So keep it up. We are n will be always there to love u.

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  12. Nice to know! your book gonna release by November '2013.
    Can't wait till release.


    Cheers,
    Prabhu...

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  13. Can't wait for the next book.I appreciate your thoughts and completely agree with what you mentioned.Kudos to you ma'am for writing such a beautiful blog as this has increased my hunger for reading and writing which I really wasn't used to a few years ago.And I would also like to thank my friend who advised me to go through'LIFE IS WHAT YOU MAKE IT'.I feel very glad and refreshing everytime I read your blog.
    Regards ,
    Shailesh..

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  14. Agree with gautham reddy ; that you reply back.as per my experience with the well known gujarati writer.thanks for another inspirational blog.I intended to ask you a question since long..after reading you and many other Gujarati authors I felt to start writing..I am from Gujarati medium and not having good knowledge of English ..also as you mentioned in one of your earlier blog that you used to write since schooldays ..stories and poems..I am a good thinker and I do write diaries or what I felt sometimes..but i have never tried writing..will I be able to write if starting it now and working sincerely for that; but I have never written stories or anything before.plz reply.

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  15. Hi Preeti..
    I so very agree with all that you say on your blog..infact I m helplessly n hopelessly addicted to it ;-)
    When u wrote that u wake up at 5.30 and sleep by past midnite I truly wonder how u spend your entire day..as in I would love to know what your typical daily schedule looks like and what you do every hour..
    You had written a post about how a typical day in your life looks like and you know what i have read dat one more than 20-30 times!!!!
    Would love to read more of those..

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  16. Hi Preeti,
    Nice Blog.
    I want to say something here, " if your friend/s or anyone are not there when you failed or not so successful, then they don't have any right to be with you, what you are right now(successful) ". I even agree about people telling you about how you have changed, and not the same now. person cannot be same always, need to change according to time. And about your ego, it's just their jealousy.

    And leave the past, it has given you strength to fight present and future.
    So enjoy your present, and get ready to enjoy more in future.

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  17. Yes, you cannot please everybody. It is just wonderful how you are able to prioritize things in your life, and at the same time gives me jitters to even think how many people must be 'pinging' you like this every now and then. If I am not wrong in recalling, there was a similar post from you a few months back, and looking at the amount of effort you make in putting things in the right perspective goes on to show you really care. Hats off once again, and all the best for the next one.

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