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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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