July 5, 2017

Musings: Thank You Note


It is so easy to forget those who helped you achieve your dreams when the spotlight is shining brightly on you. It is quite possible to get blinded by the bright lights. Because you want to believe that everything that you’re holding so closely to your heart was achieved because of your hard work. Yes, you did work really hard to get where you are now. However, you have to acknowledge the fact you did have a lot of help along the way.

I remember when I was in the eighth standard we were discussing being arrogant in class. Or something about climbing up the ladder I don’t remember which. But I remember feeling irritated with the teacher for choosing me as an example. What she said is still burned into my memory.
“Now, suppose when Aniesha becomes a very famous author and she’s asked how did she realize her dream and who helped her, and she says ‘Oh, I did everything by myself. I didn’t get help from anyone.’ That would be her looking down at everyone who helped her climb up the ladder and what she’d be displaying is arrogance.”

I remember being a little shocked and saying, “Well, I wouldn’t do that.”

She did say it was merely an example, but to me it doubled up as a lesson. I don’t think I’m an ungrateful person and I’ve always been thankful for all the good things that I’ve received in life. My childhood wasn’t one laced with happy and pretty memories and I didn’t have the luxury of being handed the moon every time I cried.

I am in no way a famous author. (Well, not yet anyway. But I’m sure I’ll get there someday.) But I realized that even the words that I wrote would never have been printed had it not been for a number of people in my life. Therefore, on this extremely rainy Tuesday, I want to thank those who stuck by my side starting with my family.

My sister asked me what I wanted to do when I grow up, I said ‘writer’ and she said ‘okay, do you have a plan?’ My mother encouraged me to follow my dreams. But it wasn’t until Chiquita, my friend in college, forced me to start approaching publishing houses that I even thought of getting seriously published. I always had this ridiculous fantasy that I’d work in some job till I was older and only then would I get published. But thankfully young writers are being read these days, so when General Press expressed their interest in publishing The Secret Proposal, I was over the moon.

My friends were amazing supporters of my work and obviously purchased my book, without me asking them too. They snapped pictures of their purchases and sent it my way. Things went a little downhill once the rush and exhilaration of the first book had died down. I knew little or nothing of social media or promotions back then, and as a result I couldn’t really reach out to the readers. So in 2013, what I did was start blogging. And very soon I realized that blogging was pretty addictive, and it was because I got into blogging that I met a world ofwonderful people.

But the real reason why I wanted to write this particular post is to thank the people who asked me not to give up on my dreams just because I faced a few roadblocks. (For one thing, no one wanted to publish When Our Worlds Collide which ironically is the novel that has been holding a steady place at the Amazon Bestsellers list till date...) I am grateful to General Press for believing me a second time round. But again, none of it would’ve been possible had it not been for those amazing friends rallying around me, telling me not to give up on my dreams.

When the spotlight is shining brightly on you, be sure to remember that this journey that you undertook, it was never yours alone. There were friends who believed in you, the nemesis that tried to bring you down. As an author I can tell you that I am thankful to my beta readers, to the early bird reviewers calling me out on the mistakes I made, telling me I needed to work harder. Chief among them was the editor, who both patiently and exasperatedly pointed out my mistakes. For When Our Worlds Collide, that was Leo Da, for All Signs Lead Back to You  (my fourth book published by my friend and the CEO of BEE Books, Esha) that was Samarpita Di.

I do agree that writing is a rather lonely and tiring business. When the story first comes out of you, when you pen down the first draft, that’s the only time it belongs solely to you. But once you let it go the book the end product becomes the result of the collaboration of many, many people. Don’t forget them. Don’t forget your editors, your proofreaders, your family, your friends, you publishers (both who rejected you and believed in you). Don’t forget your friends, especially the ones who were forced to read the horrible first drafts (thanks, Debi di, Sudeshna, Mohit, and Nivedita for just that), and never forget the people who told you to follow your dreams no matter the price. (Epic thank you to my mother and my sister and to Pippo)

Good things are happening in my life at the moment. It’s pretty scary for me to think that there might come a time when I’d become as arrogant as to claim that everything I have right now, is thanks to myself. Therefore, I am writing this Thank You Note, so that years down the line it serves as a reminder to me this one lesson that was ingrained inside of me from a very young age no matter how high you fly, no matter how many ladders of success you find, no matter how much the spotlight shines on you, don’t get blinded by it. Be starry eyed enough to remember where you came from, remember who you are and always, always remain grateful to those who helped you realize your dreams.