I took up the book by Sudha Murthy titled – Three Thousand Stitches: Ordinary People, Extraordinary Lives. I have been fascinated by the calmness and simplicity of this lady for a long time and had read a few of her short story collections and a novel during my summer vacations of junior college. Though I had left reading a lot of popular fiction except for an occasional mystery thriller once in a while, Sudha Murthy’s writings have been a very different experience.
So when I was gifted this book a month back on my birthday, my first thought was that my friend doesn’t know my taste in books, and will I enjoy this piece? Still, you should not judge a book by its cover they say, but the cover is so amazing that I had to pick it up from the pile and give it a read, even if it may fail to grab my interest.
I was proven wrong by the first story itself. What I had assumed about the book was that they may be stories of other people with some kind of moral lesson or a self-help-kinda feel. But the book was not someone else’s experience, but her own voice, the book is about her own life. As I said, I have always had this respect for this lady and now I got a glimpse of her life through these stories. I cannot express how much I could relate to the narrations of her childhood curious self. This article is not going to be a praising piece for her, but I sure would like to talk about a few things I could relate to like a person raised in this versatile country.
Reading this book felt like your grandma’s story-telling time. I even imagined hearing the whole narration in Sudha Murthy’s voice. Every story had a different feel. A few gave the teen-like exciting, what-will-she-do-now feeling, while others were like that’s-how-you-show-the-world attitude. The stories were not just a depiction of some incident in her life, but it voices the train of thoughts that arises in a person’s mind during such incidences. I could relate to her passion for a field of studies that women were not allowed to pursue, her empathy for people and her hunger for knowing things.
The first story, from which the book got its title, is the most touching story for me. It is about her earliest days of building the Infosys Foundation. The book talks about a lot of social issues and problems like devadasi, addictions and slave trading. But they do not talk about how to sympathize with a victim of such problems, but how to empathize with the situation and the people involved. It also strengthened my belief in the quote “Where there’s a will, there’s away.” If you really feel that you need to do something to find and create your own identity, you will definitely find the guiding light of your life.
There are a few very innocent anecdotes, talking about her grandparents, about her love for food and Bollywood and one story about her dad’s act of kindness, which make you feel warm in the heart and give you deep satisfaction. You may not share the same belief or faith with someone you deeply love or admire, but the fact is that both of you are humans and both have your right to maintain opinions. Something similar happen with the author when she visited Kashi, a place her grandmother wished to visit at least once in her life. Unfortunately, she couldn’t, and how the author lives through her late granny’s memories in the polluted waters of the Ganga.
And my most favourite story is about her interaction with her granddaughters. Sudha Murthy tries to play the classic grandma by telling them the story of Krishna and Pandavas but adds the condition that they need to retell the stories to her the next day. But the kids are Gen Alpha and they modify the story to suit the current situation. Imagine the incidence of Krishna stealing the clothes of gopikas while they are bathing in the river was to happen in the 21st century. The girls narrate a story where Krishna is a young boy living in high-class society and the gopikas are the ladies of the housing society taking a swim in the pool. It makes you think about the stories that you have heard since your childhood and of the impact, they create on the mind of the kids, and what value they imbibe.
I don’t know what she may have thought while writing this book. But what I read is a true depiction of the current scenario of the country, even though she may have tried to be very patriotic throughout the book. When she describes her disappointment at the condition of an important pilgrim place, with the greedy monks and dirty streets, you know that she’ll call a spade a spade. I found Sudha Murthy to be an iron-spined sassy female lead of the book with the best come-backs for the proud money-minded brutes. Thus the book is a light-hearted and interesting read.