On being a celebrity
So one of the biggest things that has happened to me of late, is my name being there in the Forbes India long list of the 100 most influential celebrities in India. I was in my car, on my way home, after shopping for some clothes for my son, when author and friend Ravi Subramanian (of the 'Bankster' and ‘If God was a banker' fame), messaged me and congratulated me. I honestly thought he was pulling a prank on me. He then sent me the image of the list and told me to see the fourth last name. I couldn’t enlarge it for some reason on my phone and I told him I would see it when I got home.
As soon as I got home, I rushed to my mac and googled the link. Sure enough, he was right. There was 'Preeti Shenoy', right along with legends like M.S. Dhoni, Sachin Tendulkar,Farhan Akhtar, Karan Johar , Salman Rushdie and Vikram Seth. (and for the record, Ravi, unsurprisingly, is in the list too :-) )
Of course, I rubbed my eyes in disbelief. I truly couldn’t believe it and it took two days for the impact to sink in. Actually it still is sinking in. A list of 100 people will be compiled from this long list of 250 people, but for me, to be in this long list itself is an honour and an achievement.
Messages of congratulations started pouring in. Satish and the children were so darn proud—I felt moved and blessed to see their love and pride. So were a few of my close friends. I felt and still feel deeply overwhelmed by all the love.
This is what Satish posted on his FB. He was elated.
This achievement seems to have catapulted me into a completely different level. My phone has been ringing non-stop for the past four-five days now. I have now started saying a firm no, to a lot of things, simply because I have to prioritize now. There is only so much that I can do in a day. So I schedule what is most important to me. The Telegraph newspaper called me up yesterday where they do a column on the turning points in a celebrity’s life—and they wanted to feature me. Till then I had not even looked back and even thought about my life –about what the turning points were. It required some intense introspection.
I am also a part of the Taj literature festival in Agra where I will be in discussion with the legendary Prahalad Kakkar.
Roohi Dixit, a film maker (Of Freaky Chakra fame—a movie I loved) and founders of an all woman production house--zero rules, is making a movie featuring a few passionate women, who (in her words) live their life, are successful in following their passion—and I am being featured. When she called to co-ordinate the dates for shooting, I had to actually look through my diary and give her the dates on which I would be available. She laughed and said “Preeti—you are a busy girl now”.
She was right. This was never the case earlier. I had the luxury of time. Each day was one long stretch with plenty of hours waiting to be filled, doing things that gave me joy.
I guard my time fiercely now. It is too precious to be squandered on things that are not so important to you. So now my days are planned and scheduled.
Life has indeed got busier. But fact remains that I am still the same person that I was when I started this blog as an unknown somebody. Just because I have now been officially declared a celebrity, I haven’t sprouted two horns! :-)
Yet, what I notice is some people I consider(ed) close have started viewing me differently now. They look at me and judge me. That hurts. These are people who have known me for at least twenty years now and people who have been a part of my life for so darn long and who know me really well. Even the most innocuous stuff that I joke about is screened, analysed and looked through a ‘Is- that arrogance- speaking—has she changed—is- she- still –the- same- or- has- fame- gone-to- her- head’ filter.
When I call up (or message) a couple of people (who I considered close to me), meeting whom was never a problem earlier, I am suddenly greeted with stony silences and curt messages of ‘I am not free’ . No—don’t tell me they suddenly got busy. They haven’t. What I notice is the ‘You are busy-I will show you I am busier’ attitude. I just see the futility of it all—but there is nothing I can do about it really! When egos talk, reason makes a quiet exit through the back door.
The Media has been featuring ‘The Secret wish list’ a lot. Click here to see all the clippings.
I am suddenly confronted with the ugly face of jealousy and negativity, two emotions that I have kept at bay and I keep running away from. Now I am being confronted with them, larger than life, all their darkness blown up manifold. The green eyed monster transforms even the nicest of people into unrecognizable caricatures—a fact I am struggling to cope with.
There was a formal launch of the book at Phoenix mall Bangalore and it was a great event. Click here to see some great pictures.
I also had a ‘meet n greet’ session at Sapna book house, Residency road, Bangalore . The interaction was fantastic. I met so many of my readers, they shared their stories and we left as friends.
Most of the readers who turned up were surprised that I was there much ahead of time. They remarked that usually celebrities make people wait for them---and here I was waiting for my readers to turn up. I replied that as far as I was concerned, I was the host and they were my guests. I did not believe in making my guests wait!
This is what one of my readers said after the meeting:
Thank u so much. You are not like other eminent writers. You are very unique. You don't have ego n you made us so free and frank towards u. I’ ll be praying for your future of both family and writing career.
Another reader has blogged about it here.
Click here to see the pictures of the event at Sapna book house.
I am doubly grateful to the precious few who are still the same towards me. They are proud of all that I have achieved. They share my joy and acknowledge what a journey it has been and they express how happy they are that I have got to where I am.
I hold on to these people.
I hold on to little moments in my life each day.
Like being greeted by my dog in the same enthusiastic way (whether or not I am a Forbes celebrity) :-)
Like, reading to my children each night,
Like joking with Satish about various things.
Like admiring the flowers in my garden.
Like reading great books.
Like making Art.
Those are the things that matter really and keep me going. I feel blessed.
Thank you for reading me and thank you for all the love.
It matters, you know.
A lot more than you’d think.
ps: I will be in Mumbai tomorrow , at Crossword Juhu, at 6.30 pm, in discussion with Kiran Manral. (author of The reluctant detective). Come and join in, if you happened to be around
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