I came across the name Sudha Murthy through books. I am a voracious reader, but my interests, until recently, only lied in suspense, thriller, mystery novels. Short stories, lessons of life and similar books were not my cup of tea. My mother used to like Sudha Murthy’s books and she used to ask me to get some for her from the library whenever I used to go. That made me categorise her books as those preferred by moms or by small children, as mom used to say they were short stories with morals. That made me drift away from them even more.
Later I came to know (I am dangerously prehistoric in terms of general knowledge and current affairs) that this Sudha Murthy is the same Sudha Murthy who is the co-founder of Infosys. Later, during engineering, I came across the story of how she got in to the Tata’s just because of her courage and straightforward nature. The story caught my attention, but my context at that time was different so it got diverted into something else.
Then when I started earning for myself and started indulging in books a lot more than earlier, I thought of gifting mom some of the Sudha Murthy short stories I saw on Flip kart. When the books arrived (it was “The day I stopped drinking milk and other stories by Sudha Murthy), the cover page appealed to me. And since I had already finished reading the books I had bought for myself, I thought to give it a try and read at least the first book. And that was how Sudha Murthy came into my life.
The first story of the first book captured me to a deep level. Although not a writer like her, even I had just stared writing this blog. So I have an idea that when a person writes, the language can tell you a lot about the author. The style of writing can give you a glimpse of the person in a very intimate level. The stories she had written were non fictional, and of her own experience. So that gives a better insight to the writer’s life and ideologies. I became a huge fan. Then I started buying her books, more for myself and less for my mom.
Reading is something I love. And of late, I started reading a lot of articles on topics that interest me. Even today I am not too much into current affairs or general knowledge but I do keep myself updated on topics I really like. Therefore I started reading more into Sudha Murthy as a person.
Her beginnings itself is inspiring. The way she stood up for the female society by applying for a post in Tata’s where only male candidates were required is very inspiring, although she was a gold medallist and she had her quality education to back her up. Then she met Narayan Murthy through a common friend and fell for his simplicity. Thereafter when he proposed to her, he made it clear that he could offer no riches but would offer complete sincerity. What more could a woman ask for? In spite of her father asking Mr. Murthy to get a proper job if he wanted to marry his daughter, Mr. Murthy had some other intentions. For his ambitions, Mrs. Murthy took a backseat and today, the growth of Infosys is a proof to their commitment.
I learnt a lot from her life. She believed in what she wanted. She supported her husband wholehearted and selflessly. For Infosys’ growth, when she was required to take a back seat and forgo her career, she gave up that aspect of life and took up writing along with taking care of their home and kids. Today she created an identity for herself through her writings which may not otherwise have been possible had she focused on her career.
She said it wonderfully when she mentioned that a woman can only be a door mat if she lets herself be treated like one. Being selfless in a relationship does not mean that you are inferior. It only means you value togetherness more than selfish desires. It is always two to tango. Only when both the hands meet does a clap happens. Only one hand does not a noise make. Being ego and increased self worth in a relationship spoils it to untreatable point. Why do you need to be selfish in a relationship?
Relationship means a bond between two people. If you are opting to be in a relationship, that itself means you want to put the bond above an individual you. From the moment you agree to be in a relationship, individual demands ceases to exist. What remains is only that is required to make the bond stronger.
Apart from that, another very important you learn from her is that simplicity goes a long way. No matter what your net worth in a bank may be, you can never be measured by that. You, as a person, shall always be measured by the net worth of people around you – the relationships you have, the friendships you maintain, the respect you claim for the person you are. Rest everything is temporary. Today you may have a lot of money in your bank, it will take only a moment for it to go all away. But the people around you will not leave you irrespective of the bank balance. Adversity shows who are truly with you. That should never be forgotten. Simplicity and honestly will take you far more distance than money and fame can ever do.
She was the one who gave the capital for Infosys. She supported Mr. Murthy in his dreams. She is one of the main pillars on which Infosys stands. Today she leads the Infosys Charity Foundation. In many of her stories, she speaks of people who tries to befriend her so that they get the charity. They assume Infosys is an MNC. They can afford any charity. When you read those stories, you come to realise how people take money for granted. Charity is given to people or situations who cannot help where they are right now. It is like the beggars on the street who are fully capable to work but refrain from doing so because of the ease in which they get money. There are many people around us who are like leeches. Many of us behave the same way some times. Money should never be valued at its face price. Money should always be valued at the effort price put in to earn it. Easy money always comes with a price much higher than its worth. But we realise it very late in life, when it becomes due and we are unable to pay it.
The stories written by her, though they are short stories, are not meant for children alone. In fact, they are not meant for children at all. They are basically meant for adults. Children know the value of honesty, sincerity, simplicity much more than us adults do. As we grow up, we forget all those values in the race of life. We forget to take a pause and understand what is actually worth the efforts and what is not. Today we are so much more engrossed in making money. We forget to understand that money cannot bring us happiness, it is the people around us, our family, our friends who bring us true happiness. We enjoy only when we do what we like the most. And we become successful only when we enjoy what we do.
Life was, is and shall always be a race. But that does not mean you should run to win. Sometimes, it is OK to stop and smell the roses. After all, it is not when you reach the end, but how you reach the end that counts. Enjoy life and be humble. You never know when God decides to end your race.