Kolkata, Jan 20 : Despite her accomplishments, Preeti Shenoy, the highest selling woman writer in India, regrets not being able to study literature after her pre-college exams because she was hesitant about breaking some stereotyped ideas.
Shenoy, featured on the Forbes India long-list of the most influential celebrities in India, was speaking to her readers who had assembled at the Starmark outlet in Kolkatas Quest Mall on Wednesday for the launch of her book Its All in the Planets.
A young reader said that it was after reading Shenoys book The Secret Wish List that she decided to pursue fashion designing instead of pursuing science for her undergraduate study.
What happens during our eleventh and twelfth classes is that we are often influenced by what others think. I scored good marks in science subjects in my exams. Yet I hated science except for mathematics. But I felt that if I pursued Arts subjects, people might think I have done badly in my exams. So I took commerce with maths, said Shenoy. Now I feel I should have taken up a course in literature.
I have been writing ever since I was a kid. Winning prizes in writing competitions from a very early age, said Shenoy about how she evolved as a writer.
Shenoy said that when began to write her novels, it was to tell a story. But she slowly realised that her exploration of relationships was helping many people change for the better, becoming aware of the needs and aspirations of the people around them.
A son, a husband mending their ways after realising that they too share some of the negative traits of Sandeep, husband of her protagonist Diksha in the book The Secret Wishlist.
I had set out to write a story. Not change peoples lives, she said, but I am glad that happened.
Her latest book Its All in the Planets revolves around one man and two woman and a trap called destiny.
Aniket, a 27-year old techie is Mr Average. His best friend is Subbu, a nerd who breathes, thinks and lives code. Aniket cannot believe his luck when he starts dating Trish, a stunning sexy model who is totally out of his league. But Trish has a list of things she wants him to work on, beginning with his pot belly and geekiness. Then theres Nidhi, 32, who has quit her corporate job to follow her passion. She is engaged to Manoj, Mr Perfect except for one aspect.
Aniket and Nidhi meet on a train, a chance encounter, and she agrees to become his relationship coach. Its a decision that sets into motion a chain of events that will have a profound impact on the lives of all involved.
Shenoy believes that life is an amalgamation of destiny and free will. I do believe with full conviction that it is all in the planets. But at the same time I feel there is free will too, she said. A good astrologer will lay out a map for you but what you decide to do is your free will.
Shenoy said, You have to find your passion. If you find your passion and your passion finds you, then you will be unstoppable.
The author whom India Today has named as being unique for being the only woman in the best-selling league said that there are times when people think that there are certain things that one has to accept in life. But that is not true.
Early in life, Shenoy, after a minor accident with her attempt to ride a bike, thought she will never learn to ride one. But sometime back, she did manage to learn, taught by her son.
Thats one lesson I learned. Circumstances change, people change, she said. So having conviction is what matters, Shenoy urged her audience.
Asked about if she is agreeable to her novels being turned into films, she replied, I will not allow the cheapening of my novel though I may agree to certain changes. But overall, she would leave it to the movie-makers, she said.
Apart from writing novels, she writes a regular column in The Financial Chronicle.
Shenoy has given several talks in many educations institutions including the IITs and IIMs.
She is also an artist specialising in portraiture.
Itss All in the Planets is published by Westland Ltd.
(Reporting by Uttara Gangopadhyay)
Image: Preeti Shenoy website