Preeti Shenoy, author of five bestsellers, is out with her latest book, Why We Love The Way We Do. The book deals with love and relationships and is a collection of writings taken from her popular column for a national daily. Preeti believes that we are slaves to our hearts. She talks to us about her book, love and of course, her favourite books.
What made you write your latest book?
I get mails from complete strangers who share the most intimate details of their lives and ask for my advice. Now this something I am not directly involved with. The perspective I have from my vantage point is so different from someone badly entangled in the situation. So, whenever I have offered my thoughts, they have always been graciously received.
Through the stories people shared with me, I discovered that when it comes to relationships and love, we are all slaves to our hearts, whether we are in our forties or our twenties. The stories that people shared with me led me to a quest for answers. I researched and read up. And all of what I discovered found its way into my columns. Why We Love The Way We Do is a collection of pieces adapted from these columns. I thoroughly enjoyed the writing experience, as the column is on relationships, sex, communication between men and women, finding the perfect partner and anything else that you can think of on those lines.
The book is divided into seven sections. Finding the One is largely about finding love and deals with the dating stage; Getting Hitched is about marriage; When Things Go Wrong deals with break-ups and all things associated; On Men and Women focuses on gender differences; Let’s Talk deals with how differently men and women communicate; Three to Tango is about infidelity; and Between the Sheets is about sex.
In today’s hectic life, love seems to have taken a back seat. What’s your take on love?
I don’t agree. Love is very much alive and kicking and it grabs you when you least expect it. The one thing that I have learnt is that no matter how old or young we are, when we start a new relationship, we all have the same anxieties, excitement and happiness that we had when we first fell in love, probably as teenagers. The process and the emotions never change. In today’s technological era, it has become easier for lovers to keep in touch and love today has transcended geographical boundaries because of Internet. The world has shrunk and we can connect effortlessly across time-zones and continents.
Do you believe self-help books and books on relationship can help a person during tough times?
Definitely, yes. But it has to be the right book that ‘speaks to you.’ I am at the moment, reading a book titled, Light from many Lamps, which is neither a self-help book nor is it a book on relationships. It is full of inspiring thoughts from some of the world’s greatest thinkers. There are selections from John Burroughs, Alfred Tennyson, Robert Browning, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin D. Roosevelt, William Cullen Bryant, Ralph Waldo Emerson, William Shakespeare, Hippocrates, Confucius and others. I am inspired by their thoughts and what they have said, and it makes me think about many things.
So, a person in a relationship, who is going through a tough phase, would definitely find comfort in a book that gives them a perspective to consider, which might never have occurred to them otherwise. Also, books are cheaper and easier to access than a relationship expert or a marriage counselor. You can read it in the privacy of your home, at your own pace. You can take what you want out of it, and discard that which is of no use to you.
Who are your favourite authors?
Too many to name. I love Audrey Niffeneger, Neil Gaiman, Roald Dahl’s work for adults, Michael Morpurgo, Daniel Glattauer, Mary Ann Shaffer and Liane Moriarty . Honestly, I love a good book that is well written and that ‘speaks’ to me. I am not too gung-ho upon authors. And it is not as though I will like every book written by that author, just because I like that author. What appeals to me more than the author’s name is the story that the book holds, and the emotional connect it manages to make with me, apart from great writing of course.
What do you think about writers returning awards?
The only awards I have got are the love from my readers. I get thousands of mails from people, saying how my writing has changed their lives. They also connect with me over social media. That is my biggest award - and no way am I returning that! It is what I cherish and this to me is bigger than any award which any literary body can confer upon me. I am grateful for that.
What can readers expect from your next book?
It’s a fiction title-and will have an unusual theme, like all my other books, where each one has something unique.
1Your favorite book?
The Time Traveller’s wife
2 All-time favorite film?
3 Writing to you is?
4 When not writing, what do you do?
Ashtanga yoga, gardening, photography, travel, fitness, my children, my dog - all of that keeps me occupied.
5 Number of books in Preeti’s collection?
Easily more than 3,000
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