Observing real happenings
with an insight
Bookmark/ Ramawatar Sharma
An extraordinary person, Sudha is wife of K. Narayan Murty, the founder of Infosys Technologies and is herself a great teacher and a philanthropist. She is a keen observer of all the things that happen around her and has a capacity to narrate them as they are. This has resulted in "The Old man and his God" - a novel with spirit of India in it.
Sudha narrates small true stories of Indian lives. People refuse monetary help despite abject poverty, the arrogance and extreme compassion, the valour and submission, well-defined lives and confusion , clarity of thoughts and deception, the education and experience . You imagine any human dimension and you will find in this small book with real life examples. She tells us how ordinary people openly express themselves while the elites, despite big talks, submit meekly to situations, how young Narayan Murty becomes a socialist capitalist from hardcore communist after his experience with a real communist state.
In her small stories Sudha opens the rural India to us and brings the innate wisdom of people before our eyes. The stone bench where people interact to rejuvenate, the sanitation, the emerging opportunities and illiterate lady with immense knowledge and compassion conducting midwifery. Suddenly, we are taken to the forgotten India and its struggle and determination.
Sudha was born and grew in a village with a middle class background. She is a teacher by heart. What impresses one most is her communication with students even after they pass out. They come back to her and they have stories of their lives. She then grew to be very rich yet she lives a simple life, travels by auto-rickshaws or by bus, gathers information by herself, stays cool even when commented adversely and is non-reactive. She visits poor people's huts and affluent societies and brings to us the factual stories. What she has written in this book is written with the permission of concerned people with some name changes here and there. This makes this book totally authentic, hence, impactful.
This is not merely a book but in fact, it is a study of life. It is noticable that Sudha Murty is totally non-judgemental and she learns easily from her interaction with people and then takes firm actions for improvement. She concludes that charity, when done absolutely free, become counter-productive and wasteful. Her examples in this direction are too obvious and relevant in our day to day life.
Her book is worth reading at any stage of life and may be the life changer for many people. It is not a work of literature; the language is simple but I somebody wants to know India, the real one, here it is. Though containing short stories, the book moves like a novel and the reader's interest remains intact till the end.
It is published by Penguin Books India; 131 pages soft cover and is priced at Rs 199 with author's royalty going to charity for Infosys Foundation. It was first published in 2006.