Author - Sudha Murthy
Publisher - Penguin Books
Genre - Non-Fiction
Pages - 243
Price - Rs. 250
This is the first book authored by Sudha Murthy M'am that I have read. I usually address authors in their name, but after watching her interviews, reading about the work she does and reading about her experiences in this book, it would have been very rude of me not to give her the respect we all give to school teachers. Hence, I address her as M'am.
I am sure if you are a book lover in India, you must have definitely watched or read at least one interview of Sudha M'am. While her simple living high thinking nature impresses us all, one can't help but be charmed by her smile...the kind of friendly smile your mom or teachers would give you when they would give you important lessons in life in a very friendly manner. Hence, the simple and smiling face of Sudha M'am greets you on the cover, as if asking you to join her over a cup of coffee and a warm conversation about life.
When this book was released more than a year ago, I casually picked it up influenced by the hype. However, life got busy and the book was lying unread and forgotten in my carton of books. Fortunately, few days ago, as I was browsing through videos on youtube, I came across an interview of Sudha M'am with Mr. Shashi Tharoor. While I was obviously impressed by her simplicity and out of the league thoughts, her smile reminded me that I had seen this face somewhere before. It didn't take me long to remember that I had seen this smiling face on the cover of a book lying with me.
So the next day itself I pampered myself to this book. Before I had finished the 100th page, I couldn't resist ordering few more books of hers, as I had already fallen in love with her writing!
Here, There and Everywhere, as the title suggests, is a compilation of stories and incidents from Sudha M'am's life. These may not be stories that have been garnished with flowery language, illustrations or elaborate description of the subjects to hold readers' interest, but these are stories of the common people we come across in our daily life. Yet, these are stories that will leave the readers hooked on till the last page.
We all have had conversations with our mothers/teachers/aunts/grannies where they shared incidents from their life inspiring us to become a better version of ourselves. While reading the book, that is the same feeling one gets.
The stories are basically snippets from Sudha M'am's life. The subjects are diverse, ranging from a beggar in the train to a multibillionaire in the US, to a devdasi in a temple. But the common thread that binds all stories is the fact that the situations and the subjects seem very relatable. These may be the people we may have come across and ignored in our busy lives. But the author, in her subtle and simple fashion reminds us of what we could have done with a little more compassion and empathy in that interaction.
One may say that it is easy to have such incidents to quote, for Sudha M'am has been a globe trotting philanthropist. However, as you read the book, you come across several inspiring people who, without any money or resources have been able to contribute to the betterment of their fellow human beings. Be it the amma from the remote village who treats every child delivered by her in the village as her own, or Sudha M'am's own grandfather who taught her the value of giving the best while donatng, or Kashibai, who raised the orphaned son of her Muslim neighbour as her own. There are however, some stories which are eye openers about the reality of relationships that we so heavily count upon.
Many stories are just lessons from the life of a young woman growing up, stories of her struggles, triumphs and failures. But the common message one gets is that one shouldn't give up on efforts when the intent is right.
The best part about the book is that Sudha M'am pours her heart out in each story, which makes the narration so powerful that by the time one flips the last page, the heart is already introspecting upon our understanding of compassion and empathy.
The language is very simple and crisp so anybody can read this. The writing is so powerful that one literally enters the world of the protagonist. Ultimately, it is the message that matters, not the packaging.
I remember while in school, our curriculum had Hindi and English books which had inspirational stories which taught us to be better human beings. In today's times, when children automatically gravitate towards immense materialism in their formative years, making them read such books in their academic life will not only make them value the quality of life they have, but also understand the aspects of life which really matter.
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