A Padma Shri awardee, chairperson of Infosys Foundation, an author and an active member of public health care initiatives of the Gates Foundation, Sudha Murthy is an inspiration for all the young girls out there who desire to reach the heights.
Love For Stories
In an exclusive chat with HZ, we talked to Sudha Murthy, the author where she shared her love for stories and the story about her life. She said, “Story writing is my expression. Telling a story probably started as a hobby but now, it has become a profession. Anything I want to convey, I prefer to tell a story because everybody remembers the story.”
She also shared that, “When I was a little girl, I always liked happy ending stories. I never liked war stories. I always loved happy ending stories, humorous stories.”
Difference Between Reading And Hearing A Story
With time, everything is changing including the experience of stories. With platforms like Audible where Sudha Murthy’s new book ‘Grandma’s bag of stories’ will be released in an audio form, people have an option to hear the story instead of just staring at the pages filled with words.
While talking about this, she said, “hearing a story in a way has an advantage particularly in the pandemic time. However, I prefer to read because the feel of the book is so important to me. But you know, practically hearing a story has a lot of advantages. One is screen-free, second is you can parallel many works, third is if you are going for a drive or a walk, if I have an audio story, then I’ll never come to know how much time I have spent. So, audio has great advantages like saving time because it is more efficient. So, I feel audio stories have a great future.”
“Everybody cannot sit and read,” she added. Also, everybody does not have enough space today because houses are small, so she feels that audio is a great medium and her book ‘Grandma’s bag of stories’ has a greater potential to reach a large audience through the medium of Audible.
Stories In Childhood
She reminisced about her childhood days where her grandfather and grandmother used to tell her stories. While talking about the first story she ever heard, she says, “My grandfather and grandmother used to tell me a lot of stories about Mahabharata and Ramayana, so, they may be my initial stories.”
As we were talking about stories, she shared a beautiful anecdote from her school days. “Whenever a teacher was on maternity leave or some teacher may not come due to some reason, they used to tell me to mind the class as I was the monitor. I was 10 or 12 and I realized that the best way to control a class is to tell a story so that everybody is listening to that,” she said.
“So, this was my habit of telling the stories which continued later in my life and that may be the reason that my books are very well received because I tell everything in the form of a story,” she added.
She also shared how she used to tell a story for the last 15 minutes while teaching in a college. She said that the students would tell that they have forgotten what she has taught but they remember the story.
“Stories are the most powerful tool to convey your feelings to others, particularly children,” she states.
Milestones In Life
We all know about the great achievements of Sudha Murthy. However, we would surely like to know what are the things that she considers to be huge turning points in her life. “If I have to write my biography, then I would say definitely as a child I was very independent, the second thing I went to an engineering college where there were no girls and then, I applied to a company where there were no ladies. And then I cut my hair. I come from a very orthodox family, so when I cut my hair, it was such a big move. Then, of course, starting Infosys and many more milestones I had in my life,” she said.
Story Behind Her Marriage
We have all heard about the power couple, Mr Narayan Murthy and Mrs Sudha Murthy. She talks about their story with so much love. “I met Mr Narayan Murthy. Then, after knowing each other for about four years, we got married. We married in a very simple way and that too at home. We spent only 800 rupees. And we always believed that marriage should be simple and share the expenses,” she said.
Further, she added that “marriage changed my life a lot because once I became a mother, I took off for three years.” Also, she added, “Life goes on and today is a product of many experiences.”
In our society, a lot of women struggle with retaining their individuality. However, we not only know Sudha Murthy as Mr. Narayan Murthy’s wife but also as an individual. This is something a lot of women strive to achieve.
“You have to think independently. There is a very nice shloka in Mahabharata – Why was Krishna respected?... because Lord Krishna himself had great quality. Similarly, you will be the daughter of somebody, wife of somebody, mother of somebody, all relations are true but you individual as a whole is different. I always believe that one should run your own marathon and not by sitting on someone’s shoulder.”
Her Mantras In Life
While we were talking about her book, she revealed what stories and teachings she shares with her granddaughter, “I have liked all the stories but I think ‘Doctor doctor’ is the first story That I told her. It conveys that greed makes the person forget humanity which I always tell my granddaughter. Greed can make you extremely unhappy and humanity is more important than money.”
We all know that Sudha Murthy believes in simplicity and not in spending endlessly. However, nowadays people desire materialistic possessions. Still, Mrs Murthy doesn’t fall for greed. She shares, “because I really believe that one should not possess so much in real life. A lot of sarees, a lot of gold, I feel it is a headache. I have 15000 books but no thief will get anything from our house. There is no end to greed. That is the reason that I believe to live in a simple way. More important is to be happy inside.”
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