Tuesday, March 20, 2007

"Wise and Otherwise" by Sudha Murthy - Book Review

I just finished reading "Wise and Otherwise" by Sudha Murthy. And I must say I am mighty impressed and moved by the book. This book is a collection of 51 short stories, every one of them being a gem. Whats more, majority of the "stories" are in fact real life experiences of Sudha Murthy.

The first and foremost aspect of the book which I fell in love with is its simplicity. The incidents are narrated by the author in simple words, without any attempt at glamour or extravagance. The language is simple - you dont need a dictionary to understand it. The opinions put forth are direct. Its almost as if the author does not want to attract attention; this is the most attractive feature of the book.

No "story" is more than 5 or 6 pages long. However, each and every story is a lesson in life! Thats not to say that every story paints a rosy picture of life. Sudha Murthy gives some instances which clearly portray the vagaries of life. Some of these incidents are so moving, you are forced to reflect on how unfair life really is. For example, the author recollects the encounter with a gharwali, who was initiated into the "profession" at an age of 12, by her younger brother whom she adored, that too on Rakhi day! Similarly, there is the example of a man who branded his aged father as "homeless" so that he would be admitted into an old-aged home.

The moral of the stories varies from humility to humanity to equality to social issues. Another feature of these stories is that they are all realistic. The masses would relate to these stories. Its not about the "rich and famous", but about everyday people. The "heroes" in the stories are for the most part, simple "persons next door". For instance, the author shares her experience of how one of her friends learnt to have a positive outlook towards life, after being inspired by a beggar dancing in the rain! Likewise, Sudha Murthy describes how a woman did not forget to express gratitude to the author even on her death-bed.

Finally, another highlight of the book is the experience factor. The way the stories are written, you can clearly see the feelings, the emotions and the experiences that has gone into each of the anecdotes. It is obvious that the author has travelled far and wide - from the extremely poor villages in Orissa to the flashy environs abroad. The tiny tidbits that the author gathers in each of these encounters aggregate to form enormous experience. It is this personal insight and experience that injects life into every single story.

Now for the verdict - There's no two ways about it. Irrespective of one's demographic classification, this book is definitely worth a read. I conclude by rating "Wise and Otherwise" as a must-read; and hope to take a leaf out of it myself.

15 comments:

Me said...

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Anonymous said...

Loved the books myself- specially for the unfussiness and the simplicity - everyone in my family including my 8 year old , has been reading them with great interest.

sonya said...

Loved the books myself- specially for the unfussiness and the simplicity - everyone in my family including my 8 year old , has

Anonymous said...

it's amazing to realize that one can learn so much from daily life mundane and routine experiences

Anonymous said...

Woderful Book man....

it can change anyone's goal in life..

J said...

its a very good book!!!!!!!!!!!!
i liked it very much
all the stories are very short but all are moral - giving.

Anonymous said...

Cud anyone tell me the site to download the book ?

Abhijeet said...

very good review.....:):)

SAVE OUR BABY SEALS said...

a very useful review for me thank u

Dragon Ball z said...

cool..review dude..it is going to help me in my project..ty..

Anonymous said...

its an exelent book..
it should be read by each one of you..

Anonymous said...

this book is a wonderful one.....
aftr reading this book each one can set a goal in its life....
i too was succeeded in setting a goal in my life..

shruthi karuturi said...

this BOOK gives the actual meaning to HUMANITY and tells how to lead a life with whole heart

Richa 14 said...

swear whatever this man has tried to say...is wat i've felt while reading this book....Now i look on to things in a new way....!! there is a quote which can suit this book.."Books let us into their souls and lay open to us the secrets of our own" this is wat this book has done to me...!! So i would suggest everyone must read this book..!!

Anonymous said...

the best book i have read ever ,thankyou sudha murthy for writing such meaningful books.