“As I heard my name being called on stage again for the Lifetime Achievement Award, my mind returned to the present and I slowly climbed the steps leading up to the stage. Each step was a reminder of the journey that has lasted over forty years. It was a journey filled with rejections, negative comments and disapprovals, along with appreciation, a lot of love and affection. I hope that I have somehow been the voice for people who remain shy, hidden and unknown and yearn for an outlet of expression,” writes Sudha Murty, in her latest book, Here, There and Everywhere. This also happens to be her 200th title. Murty has authored a plethora of books- fiction and non-fiction, for adults and children, as well as travelogues and technical books.
Here, There and Everywhere contains Murty’s experiences that have been published earlier on and handpicked for this edition. It also contains two new stories that illuminate two different areas that have been an interesting part of her life: her literary journey and her views on philanthropic activities.
I particularly enjoyed the chapter on her literary journey, and the role played by her mother in encouraging these literary pursuits. Having studied in Kannada and only written in that language to becoming one of the popular authors in the country today, has been a long and eventful journey. From her early days of struggle to purchase books due to lack of money, to her gradual success as a writer, this chapter covers it all with candid humour. What remains poignant in the story is the fact that Murty realised early on that her writings touched people and made a difference to their lives. Armed with this knowledge she has used her tool- that of the pen, to continue making a difference to people’s lives.
The works of Sudha Murty have a very inspirational quality about them. In addition, the sheer simplicity of language and ideas make it accessible to all readers. She writes about this book: “I wanted to keep my style distinctive and portray it exactly the way I am,” Hence, the book is devoid of any flowery or ‘elitist’ language. It is more of a conversation that Murty wants to have with her readers.
Each short story in this book is actually a real life experience that Sudha Murty has woven into the narrative. Each instance is heartwarming and exemplifies how people can touch each other’s lives in a deep and meaningful manner.
The story, “May you be the mother of a hundred children” describes a sweet and subtle twist to this old blessing! “How to beat the boys” chronicles her experience of being the only girl along with 149 boys in an engineering college. She handled the ragging with gusto, facing mental trauma in a sense, but never gave up her academic goals. Inconveniences like absence of toilets for girls led her to later take up the task of construction of toilets for women. She broke gender barriers by always topping the classes and passing with flying colours. This story is inspirational for all and just shows what grit and determination can do. Her account of her work with devadasis is also heart wrenching! “The meaning of philanthropy” contains her views on philanthropy. One associates the name of Sudha Murty with some of the best philanthropic activities in the country.
Despite all the wealth and high social status that Sudha Murty is associated with, this is a book that shows how one person can change many lives. The stories show the true meaning of philanthropy, and an example of a life well lived.
Not all stories in this book are about her philanthropic activities. In her numerous travels she has encountered interesting personalities and somewhere or the other all these find a way into the stories.
Perhaps the best summary of the book is outlined in Murty’s own words, “this book contains some of my most cherished experiences that are like beautiful flowers to me and have been put together here as if to complete a garland.” Here, There and Everywhere by Sudha Murty is a timeless book that infuses the reader with a spirit of warmth and humanity!
OTHER BOOKS BY SUDHA MURTY
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Author: Sudha Murty