Author: Preeti Shenoy
Blurb: Does true love really exist or is it just a cliche? Can a single kiss really change your life?
At sixteen, Diksha like any girl her age, finds her life revolving around school, boys and endless hours of fun with her best friend. But one day, all that changes.
What starts as an innocent crush explodes into something far beyond her control. Eighteen years later, she finds herself at the crossroads of life. Urged by a twist of events, a wish list is born. But can a wish list help her piece back her life together? Will she succumb to the tangled mess of an extramarital relationship? Once again, Preeti Shenoy brings an extraordinary story that tugs at the heartstrings, with insight and wisdom, as she explores the delicate matters of the heart.
My thoughts: I have earlier read Preeti Shenoy’s 3 books – Life Is What You Make It, 34 Bubblegums and Candies & Tea for Two and a Piece of Cake. I have always liked her ‘real-kind-of’ stories picked up from the people and world around us. Most of her characters reminds me of people I have seen or heard about in my life.
The Secret Wish List is about Diksha, who at 16 is like any other girl of her age. Her life comprised of school, boys, a secret crush and fun-time with her bestie Tanu. But one day something happens and it turns Diksha’s life upside down. The mistake was not a grave one but the consequences were. And after more than a decade since that life-changing incident, the reader finds Diksha to be a housewife whose life has been restricted to live on the whims & fancies of her workaholic husband Sandeep & taking care of her 9 year old son Abhay.
One day, after the sudden demise of the husband of Diksha’s cousin, Vibha, shocked by the uncertainty of life & a heart-to-heart conversation between the two led to the birth of Diksha’s secret wish list (I loved this part of the story). She wanted to live her life, her way and wanted to enjoy the fun she missed as a teenager/ young adult. From drinking booze, to joining a salsa class as Diksha moves forward in fulfilling her wish list, she seemed to be regretting her unhappy married life with each passing day. And then enters into her life, her once childhood crush Ankit & soon it leads to an extramarital affair. Her husband’s lack of interest in her and their family matters made her all the more frustrated and she found herself drifting away from him. Finally, one day, Diksha stands up for her rights & voices her feelings and then ends up with Ankit. (Somewhat clichéd for me! :P) For me, the highlight here was the mother-in-law understanding her & standing by her side.
I loved the cover of the book. 🙂 The book is an easy read. The narration is simple, nothing fancy, but it held my attention. The characters in the book are all of different personalities & I could connect with them for they seemed to be just like people around me – friends, colleagues, friends of friends, relatives, etc. Ms Shenoy has scripted this story with subtle life lessons, just like her other books (but the story line felt similar to Tea for Two and a Piece of Cake) . Through this story she seems to have sent out a message to all the men to respect the feelings, emotions & thoughts of the women in their lives. And to the women that sometimes they need to let go of their I-must-adjust-always attitude & stand up for their rights if it means a happy & contented life in the long run. One another thing that I take away from the story is that in a marriage, there needs to be communication between the two partners & both of them should have respect for each other.
The thing which I did not quite enjoy is the fairy-tale love affair of Diksha-Ankit – the damsel in distress rescued by her teenage love (read: knight in shining armour). Both of them running off to some exotic foreign lands (Maldives) on a weekend, and lying to her mother-in-law that she is visiting a friend, seemed somewhat unrealistic. Also, Sandeep is a despicable character, no doubt about it, but at the same time I am not sure that I like Diksha as well. Why did she need so many years & a long-lost love to push her to speak her mind? Also, her relationship with Ankit that made her walk out of her marriage could have been delved deeper.
Last words – For me the book is a one-time, light read. And I would have to say that Life Is What You Make of It is still her best book for me.
Some of her lines that I liked: