Sudha Murthy is an Indian engineering teacher and author in Kannada and English. She was born into a Deshastha Madhwa Brahmin family on 19 August 1950 in Shiggaon in Karnataka, India, the daughter of surgeon Dr. R. H. Kulkarni and his wife Vimala Kulkarni. She was raised by her parents and maternal grandparents. These childhood experiences form the historical basis for first notable books by Sudha Murthy entitled How I Taught my Grandmother to Read and other stories, Wise and Otherwise.
Sudha Murthy began her professional career as a computer scientist and engineer. Sudha Murthy became the first female engineer hired at India’s largest auto manufacturer TATA Engineering and Locomotive Company (TELCO). She joined the company as a Development Engineer in Pune and then worked in Mumbai & Jamshedpur as well.
Sudha Murthy married N. R. Narayana Murthy while employed as an engineer at TELCO in Pune. She is the chairperson of the Infosys Foundation and a member of public health care initiatives of the Gates Foundation. In 1996, she started Infosys Foundation & till date has been the Trustee of Infosys Foundation and a Visiting Professor at the PG Center of Bangalore University. She also taught at Christ University.
Sudha Murthy is a prolific fiction author and best known for her social work and her contribution to literature in Kannada and English. She has published several books, mainly through Penguin, that espouse her philosophical views on charity, hospitality and self-realization through fictional narratives. Here is the a list of the books by Sudha Murthy you must read.
Wise and Otherwise
“Life is an exam where the syllabus is unknown and question papers are not set. Nor are there model answer papers.”
Wise and otherwise is an anthology of inspiring tales from the life of Sudha Murthy. From poor families living in love and peace, to the greed of the wealthier sections of society, this book has stories to fascinate and educate old and young.
This novel accounts some of the life experiences of Sudha Murthy, the people she meets and various situations and struggles she encounters. I always feel there is always a lot to learn and acknowledge from the work and books by Sudha Murthy. An admirable personality at best Mrs. Murthy’s experiences are a guiding light to our youth, who are lost in the struggle of ambition and greed. Sudha Murthy is a perfect role model for an ideal person, and her work truly exemplifies our duties to our society.
A great read, grateful to receive a yet another bundle of wisdom from Sudha Murthy.
The story is simple but has realistic effect of how value for money than relations affects a family and how it can have its repercussions on relationships
The story starts with the POV of Chandru who loves Vinuta. But he decides to pursue his career when he goes America. He earns dollars and never bothers to tell Vinuta about his feelings. However when he decides to tell her it was already too late as she had already married Girish, a bank clerk, and coincidentally Chandru’s brother. The story does not explore the angle further and this track is just to show how dollars don’t earn your happiness.
The next POV here onwards is of Vinuta , who grew as an orphan had never experienced happiness. Though she finds it initially in her marital bliss, she starts losing it due to the indifference of her mother-in-law Gouramma. Her daughter-in-law Surabhi never gives her any importance and her actions to help Surabhi have been met with constant criticism. She is never equal in comparison with her sister-in-law Jamuna, Chandru’s wife, due to the American dollars she has.
The third POV is of Gouramma who never treated Vinuta with affection . She had given preference and love to Jamuna (Chandru’s wife), the ‘Dollar Bahu’. When Gouramma decides to visit her son and daughter-in-law in US, she sees how dollars cannot buy the love and respect that she gets back in India.
How I Taught My Grandmother to Read and Other Stories
Sudha Murthy pens down a wonderful memoir from her interactions with her grandmother and also weaves easily relatable stories on complex human emotions with panache and simple readable prose using characters from Karnataka. Once in a while, these books are worth readable to get clarity and make you ratiocinate on the complex human surroundings we all live in.
Sudha Murthy has a knack of telling stories which are actually real life experiences. The language is easy and the incidents relatable. Since every chapter is standalone one can start anywhere. The real life characters from the books by Sudha Murthy makes them so endearing.
The Mother I Never Knew
Two men on a quest to find the mother they never really knew! Sudha Murthy’s prose is devoid of pretensions. The settings are contemporary. Her stories soul-stirring.
Venkatesh’s story starts in Bangalore where he lives with his family that comprises a super-rich wife and two children. It is not until he is transferred to Hubli that he meets a look alike and comes to know the sad truth about his father’s first marriage. As he is made aware of the grave injustices that might have been done to his step-mother, he realises that he must atone for the wrongs, but how is that to happen? Will his family support him, be forthcoming to help him in his plans?
The second story in the book is about Mukesh whose life is convoluted by the presence of not one but several mother figures. As he journeys from London to Bangalore to the by lanes of Amritsar and onward to Delhi, he comes to know the truth about his birth, of how he was adopted as a child. How will he square with the fact that he was abandoned by his birth-mother? What of the mother who raised him equal to one of her own and never once let him feel that he was an outsider?
The Old Man and His God
This one was also a collection of short stories which are nothing but the real life encounters, incidents and experiences of the author. The book had a total of 25 such small stories through which the author tries to give a moral in the end or shows the contrasting human behaviors. From love to hatred and business to philanthropy, from freedom to injustice and selflessness to jealousy, from friendship to tragedy and spirituality to poverty ; every story of this book manifests a facet of human-life.
What I really loved about the book is the sheer honesty with which the author describes every incident in the book. There is no beating about the bush ; all the details as-is. This helps the reader to spontaneously connect with the stories, as if they took place in their presence.
The Day I Stopped Drinking Milk
Sudha Murthy is one of the few authors whose writing style, purity of thoughts and simplicity make you fall in love with the stories, the characters and reading itself!
The Day I Stopped Drinking Milk is a collection of short stories, real stories from her life. Each story is simply narrated and drives home a message. I think this book makes for a great read for children. She generously shares experiences good and bad from her own life.
The book is simple but the life lessons are torchbearer. Keeps you grounded. It’s about the human values and the lessons you learn through different experiences and people you meet along the way. I like the way she handles decision making; uninfluenced by anyone’s opinion, belief and mindset.
Gently Falls the Bakula
Gently Falls The Bakula- a story about a lower-middle class girl and a boy from a sleepy southern town of Hubli who fall in love and how the man’s career takes precedence over everything else. The story is simple, a tad too simple yet it’s touches a chord. Way too familiar now, you find such stories everywhere around you, the ambitions- sacrificed in the name of family, the discontent at not being able spend more time together.
Characters are really well written, and plot holds the imagination of the reader up to the last page. The idyllic life of Hubli-Dharwad, the harshness and hustle bustle of Mumbai are pictured in a way only books by Sudha Murthy could have done. The book neither justifies nor glorifies anybody, but it tells a good deal about our choices, be it good ones or bad ones , or the ones that make us who we are today.
In Mahashweta, we follow Anupama, described to be one of the most beautiful woman one has laid eyes on, fall in love, get married. and her world falling at her feet when she contracts a skin disease Leukoderma, otherwise known as Vitiligo.
Anupama is the daughter of a poor schoolmaster. Anand is a rich doctor. Their match was made in the heavens. But heaven rots to hell for both of them when Anupama discovers her disease. Her rich mother-in-law sends her away to save face, and so does her stepmother. Lost, Anupama heads to Bombay, where she makes a living for herself.
Three Thousand Stitches
There are certain books that make us feel so warm and leave us inspired. Books by Sudha Murthy are of that kind, most of them – where she puts together inspiring stories of humble people that she comes across along various facets of her life as a philanthropist. The language is so simple that makes us feel connected.
In this book, she has put together 11 truly inspiring and heart warming stories from her life. So touching is the first one where she narrates her experience in having worked to raise the lives of 3000 devadasis, having helped them leave their jobs and lead a life of dignity by setting up their own bank. All the other stories are equally inspiring.
House of Cards
This book is about a small village girl Mridula, from the state of Karnataka who lived in the moment and enjoyed life every single day. She falls in love and gets married to a guy named Sanjay, and supports him fully in everything he did without compromising what she wanted in life.
But there comes a moment in life when money comes into play and then so does greed. This story tells us about what she goes through when her family challenges her beliefs as well as what greed does to a person which in turn affects a marriage.
Something Happened on the Way to Heaven
This is one of many short story collection books by Sudha Murthy. Some are sad and some with the happy endings. Sad and happy stories both are important as life is filled with both sad chapters and happy chapters. From sad stories we learn and show us how to live. The happy ones will not always be feel good stories. They will also make you shed tear once in a while.
The Serpent’s Revenge
The serpent’s revenge is a unique collection of events from Mahabharata, some are known and some are unknown to me. This book will not only help you to narrate bed time stories for your kids but will also add your knowledge about Indian mythology. There are many such stories which you have not heard from your parents or grandparents which are perfectly represented by the author with the help of graphical pictures through the book.