Acclaimed author and philanthropist Sudha Murty has always been considered a great role model for women. Unassuming and cheerful, she sets a great example for women of all ages by walking the talk on creating social impact.
Sudha Murty began her career as a computer scientist and engineer, the only girl in the midst of 600 boys pursuing engineering at her college. She went on to become the first female engineer in TELCO, and, over the years, made her mark as Chairperson of the Infosys Foundation.
A prolific writer, Sudha Murty has penned books on a variety of topics. She has written novels for children and adults in English and Kannada. She is the recipient of R K Narayan Award for Literature in 2006, Padmashri in 2006, and Attimabbe Award from the Karnataka government for excellence in Kannada literature. In 2018, Murty received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Crossword Raymond Book Awards.
Murty’s simple language paints a realistic picture in the mind of the reader. More often than not, readers identify themselves with characters from her novels. Her artistic expression comes through with equal ease in all her books, be it for adults or children.
Here are three books that she has written for children that are a must on every child’s bookshelf.
The Magic of the Lost Temple
The novel is a tale of adventure about a little girl, named Nooni, who is bubbling with excitement about her visit to her grandparents’ house in the village, looking forward to a holiday in the rustic environment. It is here that she stumbles upon an ancient abandoned temple in the middle of the forest. The book is all about the nail-biting escapades of Nooni and her friends.
For an adult reader, the book takes one back to simpler times when every child’s greatest fantasy was to stay away from their parents and with their grandparents. Murty brings out the essence of childhood through little instances like bike-riding and picnics, creating a sense of curiosity for the young readers, and one of nostalgia for the adults.
The Man from the Egg: Unusual Tales about the Trinity
The Hindu mythology’s trinity of Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva is introduced to children by Sudha Murty in her book The Man from the Egg: Unusual Tales about the Trinity, in a simple and comprehensible fashion. It is interspersed with incidents that are both entertaining and value-based, to grasp the attention of the child, engaging them in a world of imagination and fantasy.
Through a series of short stories, Murty brings out the relevance of Indian mythologies to the present day.
How I Taught My Grandmother to Read and Other Stories
Short stories in this collection are based on Sudha Murty’s real-life incidents.
The best of the lot—which lends the title to the book—narrates the tale of a child who reads out to her grandmother, who, at that age, has a deep interest in learning how to read, with her grandchild for a tutor. Every story in the book is filled with optimism and hope, with expressions rooted in reality.
Sudha Murty effortlessly turns mundane incidents from life into interesting stories in this book.
Sudha Murty has also gone beyond writing for just children. Here are our top three picks of books written by Sudha Murty for adults.
The Daughter from a Wishing Tree: Unusual Tales about Women in Mythology
Sudha Murty’s latest book to hit the shelves dives into the untold stories of the wives and consorts of gods from Hindu mythology. Be it Parvati, Ashokasundari, or even Mandodari, the book beautifully portrays these women’s valour and strength.
It takes a deep dive into the fascinating world of mythology, magic, and the enchanting mysteries of the other world. The readers are left wondering why so little is spoken about these feisty women when they had equal or more powers and capabilities as their male counterparts.
Three Thousand Stitches: Ordinary People, Extraordinary Lives
In this collection of short stories, Murty narrates incidents from real life. The book touches upon the Devadasi system and how to eradicate it, Murty’s personal achievements as the only girl student in a college full of boys, and how her father once helped an unmarried girl deliver her child and the bond that they shared. The stories in this collection are rooted in human relations, immersing its readers in them.
Dollar Bahu portrays a typical relationship between a mother-in-law and her daughters-in-law—one who is an NRI and sends her dollars, and the other who lives with her and looks after her daily needs with complete devotion and dedication. The story unfolds with how the simpleton is neglected, exploited, and undermined, while praise is heaped on the ‘dollar bahu’ till finally reality hits home. The story comes with an important message of valuing goodness over materialistic pleasures.