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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  1. many many congrats :)
    mam , some1 told u or nt that u look fab in saree :)

  2. Many many congrats Preeti :)
    While you bask in the glory of success, I am sure you are not forgetting to put a thank you note every single day to the Supreme. Negativity and Positivity go hand in hand. Jealousy and Negative emotions are obvious reactions to success. The only way to look ahead is by reminding yourself that it is their problem and not yours to deal with. And meanwhile stay grounded, which I am sure you are. :)

    *clink clink* to your hardwork paying off! Amen.

    1. Yes subha, i am grateful. I do express this every single day.
      But no--negativity and positivity do not go hand in hand! :) I disagree there :)
      Thank you!

  3. This is awesome ... congrats :-)

  4. Congratulations...:)
    All the best :)

  5. Congratulations ...I am super duper happy for you ! And celebrity or not .. I am gonna treat you just the way I always did .. as a friend and a superb writer :P :P

  6. Congrats Preethi..We are proud of you..This post was so nice..Those who analyse, just leave them. Let them continue with the analysis process and be happy.

    Congrats once again..

  7. I can't stop appreciating you though i can't put all of my greeting words neither here nor in facebook... i'm writing a poem for u, as soon as once i finish, i'm gonna be gifted to u... our society needs you and your true heart..... big congrats for your wonderful great news... people are so wild, speaking a lots with butter up phrases and idioms though doing nothing, our maximum Indians are perfect in giving negative feedback instead of giving even a single positive compliment.... we Indians are dragging to each others to make vanish among us....
    even the local singers, actors actresses, lecturers, professors, public figures (more n more), they rarely say THANKS in cloud world while someone who is giving astonishing feedback because they don't care about lower class people (i might be wrong but not absolutely). but u are not... You could touch the feelings of your fans and well wishers and readers as well...
    you will get to interact so many fantastic fans n friends in Mumbai very soon...
    The almighty is always in the heart of good human just like our Indian writer Preeti Shenoy...
    I'm dating on with your two novels.... hope i ll be in paradise with your love stories... :-)
    I really glad 4 u as an Indian...

  8. preeti u r really pretty, u own such a good heart that even being manifested and bestowed officially as a celebrity, u are nt bragging about it... love it..n love u a lot... n congratulation for the new achievement... <3 <3 <3

  9. Congratulations!! Happy for you and your achievements...:)
    "Some people's" attitude (As you mentioned) is surprising and strange!!
    Best wishes always...:)

  10. Congratulations mam, looking forward more in the future

  11. Congratulations Preeti. You look great in that sari:)

  12. Preeti, Super proud and happy for you. have been reading your blog when your first book was published and now the 4th. Your journey has been amazing till now.
    Best Wishes!
    Unformtunately Ego always comes to people who are close to you. Maybe why all to her and not me attitude. This is the time when you know who really cares for you.

  13. thats an excellent news preeeeetiiiiiii!!!!!! :D:D:D congrats! why did you take 4-5 days to tell us about this?! so happy for u. wish you get even more beautiful moments as well as quality time for yourself and with your family amidst all these...

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  15. read the other blogpost link u had mentioned. wish we too get to know some more inside stories you shared at the event! also please tell us what was the inspiration behind writing The Secret Wishlist:) (its the same question asked by one of your readers at the event!) i too wish to know :)
    let us know when you have plans to visit chennai. i can plan in advance to come over there. couldnt meet you during TFT launch. hope i get a chance this year! :)

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  17. Heartiest congratulations Preeti.. Pardon me for being not reading any of ur books till now, but i am a regular visitor to your site and I take inspiration from the way you live ur life in full, and your wonderful posts :)I watched your TED talk given in a college in Pune via youtube, and i was amazed by your life's story.. Let me tell you, all of us who admire you, see the positive ATTITUDE and OPTIMISM in you; the mark of a real celebrity. While others count that as arrogance because of their jealousy in watching you reaching a summit which they least expected you to a few years back. Keep exuding that confidence in urself and keep inspiring us in achieving things in life which we didn't expect to do ourselves till now, by setting an example which you have already done..
    Congratulations once again :)

  18. Congrats Preeti!!!! I am so happy for you! Keep up the good work and keep spreading the positive attitude and optimism through your blog and books!!! You are an example and role model for lot of people out there... :)

  19. This is wonderful Preeti. Although I know you primarily through this blog and the books, this has always been a "feel good" place for me to come every now and then. I wish you always be a source of inspiration for many more people, and now with the new found status, the task becomes both bigger and easier. Congratulations, and all the best!

  20. Hey preeti u are n always will be celebrity for us.

  21. HUGS(()) Preeti,its like seeing some one very close to you being so successful! I am so happy for you, I came to know you through this blog , then the books happened and now this.. it is soo ssoooo inspiring, and you are the epitome of positivity so do not let these stony silences affect you. Hugs and congratulations to you once again !!!

    take care

  22. Congrats.May the almighty sprinkle the flowers of blessings further on u.

  23. Congrats Preeti, And thanks for sharing and being humble even after being a celebrity and stopping to say hi. I really like that attitude. May God bless you richly...

  24. Anonymous3:33 PM

    Congratulations Preeti ! visited your site for the first time. Your story is truly inspirational and motivates me to write :). Following your blog from today :)

  25. Congratulations Preeti. The one great thing I have noticed about you is that you're quite transparent. Many "celebrities" as people call them live in a shell, as if they have something to hide, or as if they are above the average people, or maybe as if the world is going to react to everything they say and do and they are very bothered about that reaction. Neither of that seems to be applicable to you. Hats off for that!.

  26. Congrats Preeti!!! Reading your blog after almost an year... wat better news than this... Congrats once again!!!

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  28. Heartiest Congratulations Preeti! May you keep moving ahead to achieve greater heights! :)

  29. Congrats and its fantastic to read about these wonderful milestones in your life Preeti - I think we all want to see you always happy and also be valued for your writing as well as your values. There are friends who stand by you no matter what - in times of success and in time of challenges and in times of pain. The best thing, though it may hurt, is not to let yourself feel affected by how others perceive you. We cannot always please the people we love and care about so the next best thing is to focus on what is most important to you and work towards it.

    You are looking so lovely and so good in that Secret Wishlist pic. The goodness around you can be felt just by a glimpse of that one pic.

    I read The Secret Wishlist in one night's reading and I really enjoyed it. Been working on its review for nearly a week but in characteristic style, polishing and refining.

    You better start writing the next one or else.....:)

  30. Wowzeeee.....Congratulations!!!!

  31. Congrats Preeti....very very happy for you!!!! God Bless!!!

    Be kind to them Preeti.....give them some time to realize that all you achieved is through ur own efforts...if they try even they can touch the sky. I wouldn't presume to advise you but maybe if you can just ignore it, give them some time.....and just be yourself. They are only human. If they are smart they'll realize quickly enough because if they don't...well it's their loss:-).

    Take care, Nancy

  32. I'm very much happy to find my favorite author's name in forbes celebrities list.

    Congrats Preeti Shenoy :)
    Love your work.Keep Shining.

  33. Many congratulations Preeti! I came to your blog to see the Wish list Wednesday series, to see if I can link my blog to it! Imagine my delight when I read this post. This is so well deserved and I am very happy and proud of you!


  34. Congratulation's Ma'am.

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  36. Congratulations Preeti....!! It felt really nice after finally meeting you yesterday... Have read all your books and got one signed yesterday at Pune..!! I want to thank you as somewhere meeting you triggered the lost writer in me and started my own blog...!! If you could take some time do visit my blog I will be really honored... M dedicating it to You for inspiring me...!!!

    Love Tanushri

    P.S. I have no idea how to link your name so that ppl can jump over to your blog by reading your name so i could not do that... May be with time I will learn... Thanks.

  37. Preeti - I am HUGELY envious of you, especially as we started blogging at around the same time :) ...but that only taught me how little effort I put into my dream of being a writer with the lamest of excuses. I am jealous - but I am also SO happy for you and your family. It's been an honour to have watched your children grow over the years through your eyes and the multitude of advice (which I intend to follow :P). Never allow the negativity to curb your growth...PLEASE. Take care.

  38. Hi Preeti
    congratulation and certainly, it's the fruit of the hardwork undertaken. Tell me something, how do you sit and concentrate on penning a novel. I started last year and after writing few pages I am still struggling to move ahead::(

  39. Many many congratulations! I am sure you gonna remain the same grounded, beautiful at heart author next door we all know! Looking forward to your Delhi visit. Hope you are making it to the book fair.

  40. Hi Preethi Congratulations

  41. Anonymous9:33 PM

    Hi Preeti, this one's for you...
    http://wp.me/p1Tlwp-ii. :-)

    A well-written piece indeed. I have read all 4 books of yours and regularly wait for the new ones. Congratulations on being on the Forbes List! You deserve it! :-)

    Lots of Love,

  42. Anonymous9:36 PM

    Hi Preeti,

    Congratulations on being on the Forbes List! You deserve it. :-)

    This one's for you lady. http://wp.me/p1Tlwp-ii
    Indeed a very well-written piece.

    Lots of Love,

  43. My heartiest congratulations to you Preeti on such a remarkable achievement.Every word you write has an ability to inspire budding authors, best is:

    "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"

    I have started writing a blog..and you were the source of inspiration..I am going to save your above lines in my heart and mind so that it can act as propellant in my sojourn to be an author..if you ever get time from your busy schedule, please do check my blog and any feedback from you will be highly appreciated http://csprashant6.blogspot.in/

    Thank you for inspiring us :)


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