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Author’s Corner: With Preeti Shenoy

Posted: April 24, 2013

Interview with Preeti Shenoy, author of The Secret Wish List – a novel about following your heart and doing what you believe in.

Preeti Shenoy has a number of best-selling books to her credit. An avid blogger, artist, yoga enthusiast and mom, she is one of India’s popular women writers today. She talks about her latest book, The Secret Wish List.  

Diksha, your protagonist in The Secret Wish List, is in a loveless marriage with Sandeep. Is Sandeep meant to be a commentary on the Indian man who hasn’t adapted to the changing Indian woman, or just an extreme example? 

All Indian men are definitely not like Sandeep. (Thankfully!) However, I think most women would agree with me that there is a lot of Sandeep in an average Indian man. Most Indian women feel grateful if their husband helps around in the house. If he can as much as prepare a cup of tea, it is considered an ‘achievement’. I find that sad really, especially in the times we live in.

I also see so many advertisements where the woman is still shown cooking, serving the family that waits around on the dining table, and then rushing to work where she effortlessly manages her job and home, and comes back with a smile on her face! We really cannot be superwomen. We do need men to help around at home, cook and raise kids. It has to be a joint effort.

When I wrote the book I tried to use the character more as an extreme example to illustrate the point. After the book was launched however I was very surprised to receive a public acknowledgement from a young man (and that too openly on Twitter) that he had read the book and saw so much of himself in Sandeep. He was a typical workaholic husband who did not have time for his spouse or her wishes. He said he would try and change for the better.

In the novel, Diksha has to be prodded into even thinking about her own wishes. Why do you think that happens to some women?

Many women, once they become stay-at-home mothers, do face a sense of loss of identity. They identify themselves as so-and so’s mother or so-and-so’s wife.They forget who they were before they got married.

Many women after they read the book, said that they felt as though I had gotten into their heads and written their story. I think in India, women are very conditioned to be ‘good mothers’ and ‘good wives’; even at the cost of their happiness. 

What is the one book that you would have loved to have written?

I can name a hundred! There are so many brilliant books out there!

Anything by Roald Dahl (his work for adults) is something I greatly admire. In the Indian context I admire Kiran Nagarkar’s writing.

Many of your stories are centred on women. Where do you draw inspiration from, for these characters?

From the women I see around me. I have been fortunate to come across some truly remarkable women, who have made no compromises and who lead their life on their own terms. I draw my inspiration from them.

My deepest inspiration will always be my dad who taught me to live life to the fullest and never worry about what is yet to come.

Tell us a little about your own wish list; of course, it wouldn’t be a ‘secret’, but is there something you long to do and haven’t yet done?  

Bungee jumping is something I long to do and haven’t yet done. (I have done para-gliding). I also would love to visit Sao Paulo (as I have a friend there) and spend some time in Brazil. I would love to stay for a month or so in the Himalayas, doing a yoga camp, leading an austere life. Another thing that is on my wish-list is to go back to the UK and do a short art workshop.

Future literary plans? 

I am already working on book five and I hope to complete it soon. I would be writing for the rest of my life.

*Photo credit: Preeti Shenoy.

Now dear readers, a book giveaway for you!

Simply answer this question: What is the most important thing on your wish list and what are you planning to do about it? 

Just leave your answer as a comment below – and two winners will each get a copy of The Secret Wish List!

Please note: Only 1 comment per person. The book can only be sent to a valid address in India. Giveaway closes on 9 AM IST 30th April 2013.

So what are you waiting for? Comment away!

UPDATE: Giveaway closed.

And the 2 winners are Harini and Aparna! Congrats! You both win a copy of The Secret Wishlist!
Thanks for participating everyone. Stay tuned for more such exciting events!

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  1. I would like to earn a lot of money. And wanted to buy a costly mobile. You may think this is not at all worth wish. The value of water only know when you are thirsty. Similary the value of money only know when you don’t have. Eagerly waiting for a copy of The Secret Wish List!….

  2. I have a long wish list having items like owning an Audi, send my parents on a world tour and so on.
    But most important thing that is at No. 1 position in my wish list is to earn enough so that I can self support 25th marriage anniversary of my parents. Almost year and half is left and I guess I will be able to do that on time… 🙂

  3. The most imp thing in my wish list is to stay happy happppy and happpppppppy 🙂
    coz happiness is the key to everything 🙂
    if u r happy…u can make others happy…and smile is a curve that make everything straight 🙂

  4. Write a book myself! To acheive that, I am reading a lot of best sellers these days!

  5. Gunjan Choudhary -

    Like others I too have a long list of wishes but currently I have a wish that is for someone else and not me wholly, I want him to achieve his dream so that we can achieve our dream!!!

  6. I want to make my mom and dad proud. Just want to be their good daughter for now and I am doing all that things that are required for this. I am just 19 years old now and hope I will do this one day for sure…

  7. My most desired wish is to keep my parents happy! Apart from that , I would want to help all the poor pregnant ladies who are helpless and who do not have a helping hand ! I would want to personally help them all, and maybe also open an old age home and spend some really quality time with all the elders and possibly make them happy and would also love to fulfill their wishes and finally I want to be happy and spread happiness! Hope these wishes come true one day! 🙂

  8. Oh ! I wish i could make this world a better place to live in especially for Women.Won’t say much.. Love you Preeti Shenoy <3 !!!

  9. I feel everybwoman cherishes this dream that her work should be given due recognition.if a woman is working somewhere , she is burdened with dual responsiblity as the share of domestic work never diminishes.her work should not be dwarfed rather she needs to be applauded by her family and society too. Good piece of work which reflects the turbulence of today’s woman

  10. I have a wish. A wish to be content and grateful to what I actually have and possess, and to feel it everyday, without a doubt and hesitation.

  11. Anwesa Chattopadhyay -

    I want to do good results in exams.I want to get a job as I think every woman should be self dependent.Getting a job helps me to accomplish many wish like buying books as I am a bookworm.I want to be an author one day.I do read many books.I find my inspiration from Preeti Shenoy.I am trying to do my best to achieve my goals.I believe from the bottom of my heart one day I would be a real triumphant and make parents proud.

  12. Sutanuka Banerjee -

    The wish to remain “myself” throughout the span of life… not being weighed down by society, heaped with nerve-wrecking expectations from others and forced to mould the mind’s course … I want to let the secret wishes develop their wings and pursue my heart’s desires… and they are manifold, coloured as well as black and white…. So, I wish to evolve with time looking into my changing reflection in the process of learning and unlearning the art of life without external compulsion….

  13. Sutanuka Banerjee -

    Please delete my previous comment… Thanks

  14. this is my short term wishes that I want to be confident car-driver and another one is that I want to learn music. I want to learn art and crafts too.

  15. This is just one life we have ( quite an unpredictable one too ) and there’s so much to see and and do, to experience it to the fullest. I love travelling and have been dying to leave everything and become a full time travel blogger. Just backpack and roam around to every corner of this awesome planet and see everything that God has created before I die. Of late I’ve also been seeing lots of adventure sports such as sky diving, jet ski etc on TV and would love to include them in my itinerary. I know nothing is impossible if you really want, so who knows one day I might just set out and change my destiny….until then its the most important thing on my wishlist.


  17. I want to take my father on a small trip abroad. He has been diagnosed with multiple myloema (bone marrow cancer) a year ago and underwent painful chemotherapy treatment at the age of 75! The reason I want to take him abroad is he has done a lot for me and my brother as a single parent and its really painful to see him go through this. He is a travel enthusiast and has imbibed same love to explore new places in me but unfortunately he never went to see any exotic places outside india and thats only a small wish I want to fulfill for him. Although he has never told me this but I feel this is only a small piece of happiness in his slow recovery process.

  18. I wish this world becomes green again… I see only concrete jungles … sight of a small plant brings smile and a tree brings energy… I want all the lost smile and energy back …

  19. The most important thing in my WishList is to build a good career of my choice and help my family stay away from any kind of worries by reducing their responsibilities. As to what I’m doing to make it happen — I’m working hard for my exams with an attitude to learn and not just study. Meanwhile I’m also taking career counselling advice from experts and planning my career as I do not want to spend or waste my time after my exams are done.(I’m a 22 year old girl)

  20. I wish to become a successful entrepreneur one day and a superwoman who can manage work,family,kids,relatives happily without any complaints from anybody!
    Waiting for your next book Preeti 🙂

  21. My wish is to have a rewind button in my life so that I can relive all the precious moments!!!!

  22. This is written in big bold letters in my wishlist. I want to feature in the Oprah Winfrey’s show. Though it is by the OWN network now. I want to be a guest in her show, talking about million women like ‘You’ and ‘Me.’ I want to say that ‘We are a big part of destiny.’

    I am trying my best to tell woman they matter through my writings plays, letters, words, meets and dreams.

    And, I am not sure if I win this contest or not, but I WILL sit next to her and say, ‘I am every woman I met and wrote for. I represent each woman who felt and lived. I stand for a UNITED destiny.’

  23. Most important on my wishlist is to earn handsomely so that i can take my family on world tour beacuse we love travelling and for that i am trying to give my best shot at college 🙂

  24. The most important thing in my life as of now is to build my career, achieve success which at this point of time means getting into a good MBA college. So as of now I am preparing for my semester exams, and pondering over various institutes for classes.
    The goal is difficult, but I am determined to achieve it. It is my wish to be in a top college, though materialistic, but you achieve big when you dream big. 🙂

  25. I wish to never have any regrets and always be content as life unfolds.. There is a joy to know that things always happen for a reason..

  26. I want to walk the red carpet and see my own name on the list of OSCAR nominees! And how would I get there??? By writing a book, which will inspire a film-maker enough to make a movie out of it!!! Obviously, I will write the screenplay too! Because, if there is anything I love second to books, its the movies! What I am doing for it is although I am unable to write as much as i want to these days, I remind myself every day, this busy phase with kids will pass away soon, in the meantime, all I have to do is keep my dream alive.

  27. Madhura Kulkarni -

    So who won afterall??

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