It was a truly special morning. Usual, hectic, rushed and racing against time yet very unusual!
Early morning nip in the air gradually progressed into a warm and sultry day. But I had an undiminishing smile on face and a spring in every step. After all, not everyday you get a chance to meet your idol. No, not talking here about some glamorous Bollywood star or an ace sports icon. But the aura of this celebrity is way beyond. Her name is Sudha Murthy.
Somebody who wears so many hats or is another name of human par excellence. We have all known her as a celebrated author, a social activist or more popularly as the Infosys founder Narayana Murthy’s wife. When she arrived in Gurgaon today, the gathering mostly had children from various schools waiting eagerly for their favourite author with most of them carrying copies of her books which they had read well. And suddenly everyone looked back to find the medium statured lady walking in a crisp beige cotton saree with golden border, her salt and pepper hair tied back with the most warm and infectious smile spreading her aura. Soon she was talking and mingling with kids before heading to the podium. Sudha Murthy is as much a loved author with the kids as is with her mature readers.
The kids were excited and eager to inundate her with some very intelligent questions. When she started answering with a palpable Kannada accent, her simplicity and purity of soul became even more evident just like the simple, raw and unpretentious books that she writes. In this most interesting Q&A session that I have ever attended Mrs Murthy disclosed with her charming wit that it was her mother who cultivated the habit of writing in her, making her write about any interesting event that she attended. So from a child learning to write small essays to an author at the age of 29, this fiesty lady completed her engineering in those times when girls entering engineering colleges was unthinkable. She fought her own family and the bullying boys in the campus to come out with flying colours and bagging the gold medal.
Equally interesting and well known is the story of her first recruitment. She had written a postcard to JRD Tata about the ‘men only’ gender bias after which a special interview was conducted and she was hired. What is lesser known are her philanthropic sojourns be it dedicating herself to Tsunami victims wherein she remained stationed in Tsunami affected areas for 3 months or packaging the aid material herself to the recent Kerala flood victims. It is impossible not to idolise a woman who worked extremely hard and now giving back in abundance!
This is October but the sweltering heat in Gurgaon makes outdoors unbearable. Not today, the kids, adults and everyone who gathered to listen to this iconic lady are completely drenched in the wisdom and humour she delivers. Nobody had had enough and everyone just wants her to continue her mythological stories or her wonderful tips for budding writers or simply the nostalgia that she creates talking about her life changing experience of rehabilitating sex workers when she was initially shooed away with slippers and tomatoes!
I stood mesmerised..’write and touch the reader’s heart’..’my books can be read by many without picking up a dictionary’…’keep your eyes and ears open, observe a lot to write creatively’…her words resonate. A journalism school can be teaching the nuances but here stood before me today an author and more importantly a human who is a school in herself as to what creativity, success and giving back to life is!