Another revived post today – one where I talk about the world of and books by Sudha Murty. This post is from years ago that apparently did not see the light of the day. So it is time for it to shine a bit.
I added a couple of sections but the reviews themselves (and they made up the original post wholly) remain unchanged (save for typos and such).
Since I initially wrote this post, I have read a few more of her books but never reviewed them here. Oh well, I will add them to the list of pending reviews books.
In the past month, it was wonderful reading about so many women winning accolades — specifically, the Nobel Awards. And then came the International Day of the Girl Child. I looked back at previous posts to share books and book lists with you, along with a new list of books. And I recalled I was in the process of rewriting this post about Sudha Murty and her books.
So, now, back to Sudha Murty herself, since I am sure some of you are wondering about her.
Sudha Murty is a well-known and esteemed figure in India and the Indian community worldwide, and I hope to inspire more people to learn about her and read her books with this post.
The World of Sudha Murty
Sudha Murty is truly a multi-faceted, multi-talented woman; she is an engineer, a teacher, an author, a philanthropist, an entrepreneur, and at the same time, a steadfast partner to her husband and a caring mother.
Murty was born in 1950 in a town called Shiggaon in the southern Indian state of Karnataka. She was a promising student and developed a keen interest in engineering – which was a rare field for women to pursue at the time.
Reading the story of her life is like reading a series of inspirational stories. From the time she resisted opposition from within her family as well as that of society to be the only female student in an engineering college with 599 male students as her peers, to the current time where she actively pursues corporate social responsibility and is Chairperson of the non-profit Infosys Foundation while writing books that delight her audiences continuously.
Note that she passed her engineering at the top of her class, not only in her college, but the whole state of Karnataka. She repeated this achievement when she went on to complete her M.Tech (Masters degree in Technlogy) and later became the first female employee at TELCO, India’s largest auto manufacturer at that time. An interesting point to note is that she was called in for an interview after she wrote a postcard to the company’s Chairman complaining of the “men only” gender bias.
Murty has won numerous awards, literally for every field that she ventured into, be it teaching, writing, technology, or volunteerism; and the most wonderful thing about her: simplicity in everything, always!
And next up, is the books by Sudha Murty (well, a couple of them)
The Book Reviews
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How I Taught My Grandmother To Read And Other Stories
Title: How I Taught My Grandmother to Read and Other Stories
Author: Sudha Murty
Publishers: India Puffin
Pub Date: Jan 1, 2015
Genre: Children’s Fiction
Age-Range: 7 – 10 years (and up)
Source: My library
Sudha Murty’s How I Taught My Grandmother to Read and Other Stories provides lessons for life through its twenty-five, splendidly written stories. She has even picked out anecdotes from her own life to present to the readers a book that shows them the forgotten values of life.
A wonderful collection of stories told from the heart. Easy to read and with no pretenses or fuss, this book is for everyone. The title story is heartwarming and each story gives you an insight into the author’s life.
Some stories give you an insight into the simplicity of great men (Abdul Kalam Azad, Narayan Murthy, JR.D.Tata) while others show you how a teacher can make a difference in her students’ lives (the author’s very first student – her grandmother).
All in all, a great read for all ages that imparts values without being preachy.
Get It Here
“Vision without action is merely a dream, action without vision is merely passing time, but vision and action together can change the world.” ― Sudha Murthy, Wise & Otherwise
Author: Sudha Murty
Publishers: Penguin Books India
Pub Date: Penguin Books India
Source: My home library
On my way back to the US after my trip to India earlier this year (note: Aug 2020 update: so this means a decade ago!), I stopped at the bookstore at the Bangalore airport to pick a few books for myself as was travelling alone. Mahashweta was one of them.
Sudha Murty’s simple, easy to understand story telling is again strongly visible here but the simple writing does not take away anything from the beauty and the message of the stories she says and that is also very clear in Mahasweta.
Anupama’s fairytale marriage to Anand falls apart when she discovers a white patch on her foot and learns that she has leukoderma. Abandoned by her uncaring in-laws and insensitive husband, she is forced to return to her father’s home in the village. Determined to rebuild her life against all odds, Anupama goes to Bombay where she finds success, respect and the promise of an enduring friendship.
Mahashweta is an inspiring story of courage and resilience in a world marred by illusions and betrayals. This poignant tale offers hope and solace to the victims of the prejudices that govern society even today.
Mahashweta is the story of beauty – what is beauty? How do people continue to perceive it really with all the talk of ‘what’s inside matters’ and ‘beauty is not skin-deep’?
This story answers these questions poignantly through the story of Anupama – a beautiful and brilliant woman from a poor family who is wooed by Anand, a dashing doctor from an affluent family who falls for her twice over – seeing her beauty and seeing her perform as Mahashweta in a drama. She starts her married life with a mother-in-law not pleased with the match (who agrees for her son’s sake), an absentee husband (who leaves almost soon after for further studies), and a step-mother jealous of her success in gaining a match-from-heaven away in her village.
In spite of this, because of her own strong nature, everything goes well until one day she notices a white patch on her leg. When a doctor confirms it is leucoderma, she fears what will happen when others notice it. What does happen when others find out and how it impacts her life is the main part of this book.
Ironically, Mahashweta means the ‘great white’ and Anu feels the irony – she just acted out the part of Mahashweta earlier and now she is Mahashweta herself.
Sudha Murty has wonderfully captured society’s prejudices and portrayed how this can impact us. And if the book is a great read that touches the heart, the epilogue is inspiring.
Get It Here
I originally wrote these reviews for a challenge at the time – the South Asian Challenge. That blog is not active anymore though.
I have also read Gently Falls the Bakula, Wise and Otherwise, and Grandma’s Bag of Stories –– all books by Sudha Murty – among others. I hope to add those reviews to this post or another in the future.
“We can give our children only two things in life which are essential. Strong roots and powerful wings. Then they may fly anywhere and live independently.” -Sudha Murthy
Additional Recommended Reading
And Now, the End of this Post
Dear reader, have you read any books by Sudha Murty? Or any similar books by other authors? Do check out her books – they are definitely reads that will broaden horizons despite the simplicity of the language used.