Skip to main content

An open letter to all teens.

I am distraught, despondent and disturbed as I write this. The local newspaper (Bangalore Mirror) for the last three days has been carrying the story of Monali's suicide in detail.  My children (both in their teens) and I were horrified when we first heard about this incident on Monday. In case you haven't read it, click here to know the full story.

The newspaper yesterday said that the school did not even declare a holiday and it was business as usual, and the school denied having anything to do with it. Her death went unmourned at school. Click here to read that story.

And today her father has broken his silence and spoken out. There is also the full text of both letters that the school had issued Monali.  Click here to read it all. I am shocked at the language used by the school. It is made out as if Monali committed a grave crime.

My heart weeps for Monali's parents. What a ghastly ending. A young life, full of promise snuffed out. For what? ! For her 'crime' of hugging a boy? Let's go a step ahead. So what if both of them were 'in a relationship' or so what if they were far more licentious than the newspaper reports. What business is it of the school? Agreed , the school has rules for 'proper behaviour'. But who decides what is 'proper' and what is not?! Why wasn't the boy who was involved suspended? I can only imagine the mental trauma the poor guy must be going through.

I have written in detail about  all of this in my column which will appear in the Financial Chronicle this Saturday (24th Jan 2015) Do read it.

Adolescents today face huge pressures. We as a society, especially the schools and parents need to understand that having crushes and being attracted to the opposite sex is a natural part of growing up! There is nothing wrong in it! We have to be in our child's corner. We need to support our children and stand up for them.

As a mother and as an author whose books have dealt with adolescent love (oh-- how well I understand it!)  this is what I want to say to every single child in India, between the ages of 12 and 19.

Dear Teen,

You parents love you. They want the best for you. They might push you to work hard. They might yell at you to study more. They might tick you off for not cleaning your room and breaking curfews. They may not let you go out with friends because they are worried about your safety. You might get annoyed, agitated and may get furious with them. But remember, nobody in this world loves you as much as they do.
Speak to your parents as equals. Try to make them understand that you are no longer a child and that you are perfectly capable of taking care of yourself. Bring your friends home and introduce them to your parents. Tell your parents where you are going and with whom you will be. Tell them what time to expect you back---and stick to that time. Give your parents reasons to trust you. Show them that you are responsible and capable.

Also, remember you are growing up. It is only natural to be attracted to a single person of the opposite sex. Their presence is going to make you happy. If he/she pays attention to you, you will feel on top of the world. A day without them will seem like torture. You might exchange a 1000 messages in a span of a few hours and still not be bored. You will find that he/she is the only one person in the world who understand you perfectly.

You may not believe me right now when I say that this won't last. You might feel that this is the real thing and it is forever. Trust me, five years from now, you  will know that I was right.

Live in the moment. Enjoy it while it lasts. But also be responsible. Do not rush into sleeping with someone or kissing someone because you are afraid that they will like you a little less if you do not. Please wait till you are 18. And after that, make an informed choice.

You are precious. Your time is valued and precious. Do not squander it on the ones who do not deserve it.

Discipline yourself and put away you smart-phone from 6.00 pm till the next morning. Do NOT check FB, get on snap-chat or google plus. They are big black holes which drain your time, effort and energy and leave you feeling mentally exhausted at the end of it, even though you may not realise it. Take a walk instead. Go get some fresh air. And exercise.

Sit still for a few minutes, doing nothing. Think. Let your imagination wander. Read books.  Read newspapers. Read magazines. Read a lot. It makes your mind grow. And it increases your intelligence.

Discover stillness. Love yourself enough, to be alone for a few minutes each day. Enjoy your own company. As you become comfortable doing that increase the time frame. No contact with outside world.No Internet, No TV, No phones. Slowly, you will begin to savour the stillness. And you will discover facets of yourself that you never knew existed.

If  there is something is bothering you, write it down. If you are afraid of your parents or siblings or friends finding it, make a secret journal online that is visible only to you. Pour out all that you feel out there. Do not ask for advice on FB. Trust me most do not care and what they say does not matter.

In this newly created stillness, you will discover the voice of your heart.
And in the end that is all what will matter.

Always  remember that there are people who love you a lot--they may not always express it the way you want them to. And whatever happens, it is truly not the end of the world. It happens for a reason. (though you may not know it right away. I whole heartedly believe that).

Look after yourself.
You are valued. You are special.  You are cherished.
Take care.
With all my love

My latest book 'It happens for a reason'  is about a 19 year old girl who gets pregnant, breaks up with her boyfriend and decides to keep the baby:


- See more at:


  1. Well said Preeti ma'am love your writing a lot

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. Ma'am you really healed a part of me ! I needed this badly :) no doubt your work is amazing and worth sharing . I am going to forward this everywhere possible ! Thank you so much :)

    4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Anonymous8:38 PM

    The incident is shocked. I mean, how can a school composed of educators, read spiritual parents, act in such a deplorable manner. It's a very honest letter written with a pure heart and reminds me what Amitabh Bachchan said to his children, when kids reach a certain age they become your friends.

  3. thanks for writing this.the message that you addressed to us ..teens ..i am going to stash it forever

    1. Dear Isha, Glad it helped and you value it.Good luck!

  4. I have already forwarded the link to all my friends & cousins! Everyone needs to read it! You're so awesome ma'am! So much respect to you!! :)

  5. Glad Sakshi ! :)
    Lots of <3

  6. U talked like my mom .... HEHE.... thank a lot for this message... m totally shaken,,, so simple yet such sensible... ur words made me realise my worth... and its like a treat for all teens like me, to hv such adore from u... thank u ma'am... keep us encouraging like this with ur adorable words... much pleasure n honour,,, :)

  7. ma'am these words are truly precious
    in my teenage i faced with a very low self-esteem because of the distractions of the outer world, & these were the same what i practiced & that's why i think still i can spend hours with my diary through which i am able to talk to my self

  8. This article/letter is going to be very useful for teenagers to handle their feelings,life in a good understand their parents...great word and good advice...and fo this I SALUTE YOU ma'am

  9. Anonymous10:17 PM

    Well, this is so true, I've forwarded this link to all my friends on facebook and also on whatsapp. The youth of our country needs to realize this. Great effort. Love. :)

  10. True said, mam. I am facing this situation now. I thinks its gonna helps me a lot. Thank you.

  11. Ur energy brings touch of love & understanding. keep writing- I love the flow of Ur thoughts.
    May the joy be with U :) :)

  12. thank you mam..
    bt stillness.. it's like i'm alws confused..
    they say it's v.v.necessary to be connected wid world..
    so, i hv to be on fb..
    is it so..?

  13. Ma'am u r an great author I have seen I just loved Ur "life is what you make it " n now waiting for Ur upcoming book to reach my place

  14. The message is really nice and has to go to all the teens. You have put everything what a parent expects and how they care over and above this will also help parents to understand how to take care/discuss. Thanks for writing and sharing this. This has to go viral to each and every person on this earth.

  15. Dear Preeti.... you just penned what I wanted to tell my daughter..... "you are precious"....... how true.... when they really learn to love themselves and learn to enjoy the stillness ...... that's when they really grow up... emotionally.....
    Thank you for such honest and sincere writing!!

  16. Thanks a lot Preeti for sharing this. I think this is a MUST READ post for teens and even their parents.
    You wont believe, currently I am at work but as I came to know about this heartbreaking incident which you wrote about, I left my work and finished reading at one shot.
    this is really shocking. and teens should really think over it.

  17. You are right Preeti.. nobody can decide what is right and what is wrong... So its better to give them time rather that being hard or furious with kids. They will realize themselves eventually. Thanks that you pored your heart and I wish this reach lots of kids and parents. Make them mature enough to understand each other.

  18. Every teenage and every youngsters should read this open letter. They would get positive commands after reading this. Worth letter for the teenagers. Thanks ma'am. Let me share out.

  19. i absolutely agree to whatever you have said.yet,i would like to add something.i am a teenager.i sometimes find myself in such situations you pointed out above.i sometimes feel very desolate,there are many issues i cant discuss with anyone. the problem is lack of guidance.children need someone to show them the path,reading books ,introspection and so on.there is a burden of huge expectations that leads them astray.understanding is lacking in most of the parents as well as in teens

  20. Anonymous7:02 PM

    Even i am a teen and this post has truly inspired me and changed my views about my parents.Im glad i read your post.THANKS FOR IT!


Post a Comment

Thanks for stopping by. I really appreciate your leaving a comment! Okay--I appreciate your leaving a comment if you have something nice to say ;-)

Popular posts from this blog

What NOT to do to your tenants: A guide for home owners.

Win a trip to Mumbai, and attend Women Writers Fest with me!


A bit  of news I have is this FUN and EASY contest that we are running, where two winners will be flown to Mumbai to attend Women Writers Fest  (click on link to know all details) with me ! We will also take care of the hotel stay for a night.  And ALL participants will get an assured surprise in their inbox on 28th Feb!  We started it today, and it goes on till 25th feb.
Isn't this Fabulous? I am very excited about it!

What do you have to do to enter?

Simple--Share a pic with 'Life is What You Make it' and post it  on YOUR social media (blog, facebook, Twitter, Instagram--anything you like and use the hashtag #LifeWithPreeti so we find it. Also set your account to public! Please make it a post (as stories disappear in 24 hours)
We have already started receiving pictures from as far as Kedarkanth. I am absolutely loving it, and it is so moving and wonderful to see all the pictures.

I have a lot of news to share with you, though if you have been following me …

Wake Up Life is Calling by Preeti Shenoy : Cover launch!

Hello there!

How have you been? I have been immersed in shifting my home and settling down, as you know from my last post.

If you have been following me on social media, you will also know about my NEW BOOK!  It is a sequel to Life is What You Make It.

So, your favourite character Ankita is back! This book takes off where the first one ended. The first book has an epilogue which tells you what happened fifteen years later. But it doesn't give you any details about you what happened immediately afterwards, and in the time period leading up to those 15 years.
Life is what you make it ends with Ankita coming out of the mental hospital, and joining a creative writing course. The new book Wake Up, Life is Calling starts off from there.
This book was a very difficult one to write (It took me 8 years, and I wrote nine more books in the meantime) to go back to narrate Ankita's story. I am really excited about how it has turned out.

Since Ankita starts her life afresh, in the city of …