Wednesday, September 28, 2011

World of Words Wednesdays - The World of Sudha Murthy


How I Taught My Grandmother To Read And Other Stories:
 A wonderful collection of stories told from the heart. Easy to read and with no pretenses or fuss, this book is for everyone. The title story is heartwarming and each story gives you an insight into the author’s life.  Some stories give you an insight into the simplicity of great men (Abdul Kalam Azad, Narayan Murthy, JR.D.Tata) while others show you how a teacher can make a difference in her students’ lives (the author’s very first student – her grandmother).
All in all, a great read for all ages that imparts values without being preachy.
Mahashwetha:
On my way back to the US after my trip to India earlier this year, I stopped at the bookstore at the Bangalore airport to pick a few books for myself as was travelling alone. Mahashweta was one of them.
Sudha Murthy’s simple, easy to understand story telling is again strongly visible here but the simple writing does not take away anything from the beauty and the message of the stories she says and that is also very clear in Mahasweta.
Mahashweta is the story of beauty – what is beauty? How do people continue to perceive it really with all the talk of ‘what’s inside matters’ and ‘beauty is not skin-deep’? This story answers these questions poignantly through the story of Anupama – a beautiful and brilliant woman  from a poor family who is wooed by Anand, a dashing doctor from an affluent  family who falls for her twice over – seeing her beauty and seeing her perform as Mahashweta in a drama. She starts her married life with a mother-in-law not pleased with the match (who agrees for her son’s sake), an absentee husband (who leaves almost soon after for further studies), and a step-mother jealous of her success in gaining a match-from-heaven away in her village. In spite of this, because of her own strong nature, everything goes well until one day she notices a white patch on her leg. When a doctor confirms it is leucoderma, she fears what will happen when others notice it. What does happen when others find out and how it impacts her life is the main part of this book.
Ironically, Mahashweta means the ‘great white’ and Anu feels the irony – she just acted out the part of Mahashweta earlier and now she is Mahashweta herself..Sudha Murthy has wonderfully captured society’s prejudices and portrayed how this can impact us. And if the book is a great read that touches the heart, the epilogue is inspiring.

These two books go towards the South Asian Challenge (back at last in the challenge after a long time)

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