Saturday, 4 July 2020

Sudha Murty - Redefining Perspective of Life!

Opulence. Money. Fame.

These all things categorically fall in her lap, as the co-founder of an Indian multi-national IT giant Infosys, wife of Narayan Murthy, a billionaire business tycoon,  as well as a chairperson of Infosys Foundation, a non-profit organization running social welfare programs under health, education, rural development and much more. 

Yes. We are talking about none other than Sudha Murty.

Source: Wikipedia

But the seemingly powerful introduction depicted above is not enough to define her caricature. She is someone who has crossed all recognition standards set by society. Her every role is a candidature that inspires and influences us. A queen of many extraordinary achievements in her glide. A  dedicated computer science and engineering teacher, who has set an example for many in terms of leveraging the educationist in her and empowering thousands of government schools in Karnataka with computer and library facilities. Her journey as an educator was the key milestone in giving her a far more distinctive identity; a writer. What more we see in her is a strong-willed woman, a practical human being, a true idol of class, and mutual respect. 

The Writer in Sudha Murty

Sudha Murty set the perfect example of how a 'guru' connects with the students. Her humble down to earth nature and the camaraderie exuded by her, whenever she was in the middle of her students in the class, made her cherished lecturer students looked forward to.  She connected through storytelling in the first ten minutes of her class. Her storytelling didn't stop and the love she got in return from her students prompted her to start writing stories. 

It was difficult to hold back. Sudha Murty discovered the inner call to write and with time it became her passion. Initially, her preferred language was Kannada. Later she started writing in Kannada and then translating them to English. Her fictional stories written for children soon became a roller coaster of vivid imagination, a trip to the mythological scene, fascinating drama, and life lessons. 

What was worth noting was her juggling with English. Till the age of 50, she only wrote in Kannada. Sudha Murty was not sure if her writing in English, would upbeat the classy version of an English Literature. But this didn't stop her. She continued to write in English. In 2002, she came up with her first English Book, 'Wise and Otherwise. She continued to serve the best of novels, technical books, travelogues, collection of short stories, and nonfictional works along with four books for children. 

Some of her notable works are 'Dollar Bahu', 'Gently Falls the Bakula' in Fiction, 'Wise & Otherwise', 'The Old Man and his God' (Non-fiction), and, 'How I Taught My Grandmother to Read and Other Stories for Children. 

Source: Pinterest

Her unparalleled works made her the proud recipient of the R.K Narayan Award for Literature, Padma Shri in 2006, and Attimabbe Award from the government of Karnataka for excellence in Kannada Literature in 2011.

What makes Sudha Murty the 'writer next door'?

In an interview given to Hindustan Times, she expressed her desire to be the 'writer next door' for her readers. As a writer, she wanted to connect with her readers through her placid style of writing everyday stories and life experiences.  In yet another amusing interview by an eminent writer, politician and, international diplomat, Shashi Tharoor,  interestingly, she accepts her being against too much use of dictionaries, even though she respects the language and literature. She reasons it by saying that she doesn't want her readers to strangle with a dictionary for finding meanings of words every now and then, disrupting the flow of reading. She is much more interested in writing in a colloquial language and not use complex vocabulary. 

It is worth watching the cheerful writer in her and the natural positive vibe that comes out openly in the interview. 

Her viewpoint is very much evident in one of her classics, ' The Day I Stopped Drinking Milk', a heartwarming collection of real-life stories, a reading delight for all age groups.

A woman, practical human being and, an instrumental soul

Her own journey after engineering started new dimensions of equality and the welfare of society. She could not settle with the fact that only male applicants were entertained in TATA Motors. The rebel in her forced her to write a letter to JRD Tata, throwing light on the ongoing orthodox practice, and finally, she became the first woman engineer to be hired by TATA Motors.  
Even though a rock strong support for her husband Narayan Murthy, she always strived to build her own separated identity and never thought of leveraging the reputation of Infosys or being the co-founder as her identity. 
The woman in her commands huge respect, the moment she declared, " I would rather be remembered as an author as well as a social worker rather than the wife of a billionaire business tycoon."

Her practical observation of life is very inspirational. Not only on the professional front but also in personal life, her son and daughter in law reckon her as the source of positive radiance in the family. She believes in detachment rather than attachment that bounds and forces relations and rituals. Her ideology is to practice mutual respect and detaching self from expectations, overflow of emotions, and false attachment.

Her words on 'letting go' and relations:

" If you let go of the ones you love, they will never go away – 

this is the beauty of attachment with detachment! " 

Going strong at 69, Sudha Murty is the true epitome of 'simple living and high thinking'. Her easy-going nature resonates with her modesty and mission to serve society. From time to time, she has set many examples that shun the societal images of 'class', 'luxurious lifestyle', and 'freedom'. 

She continues to inspire us as a philanthropist, a teacher, a visionary, a successful businesswoman, a dedicated social activist, and a prolific writer next door.  This is not the End

After Feelings
Yes, this is certainly not the end.  There may be thousands of tabloids, articles, stories, videos that tell us about Sudha Murty. But none is perhaps complete or sufficient enough to describe an entity like Sudha Murty. She is a true inspiration for me and my quest to know more and more about her may never end. 

My heartful thanks to all the sources and references that made this short tribute possible and bring to my readers a brief glimpse of Sudha Murty. 


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