I gave up sari shopping 25 years ago: Sudha Murty
Author, philanthropist and chairman of the Infosys Foundation, Sudha Murty is an inspiration to many with the multiple roles she has played over the years of an engineer, author, philanthropist, home maker and many more. She was way ahead of her time, very confident. She, later on, become the backbone of Infosys, co-founded by her husband Narayana Murthy.
She is a bestselling author and has sold over 1.5 million copies of her books. She has authored several fictional novels in Kannada and English.
Teaching is your passion. It is clear from the fact that you taught your granny how to read. What made you to become a writer?
I think it is a gift of goddess Saraswati because I feel there’s no other way I can describe it. My mother made it compulsory to write essays when I was in school. She used to take us to temples and made us to write about it when we return. First I used to resist but later I learnt art of writing, and that went on. Then in my teenage years, I used to write for papers. But my first book came much later, when I was 29 years old.
Was there any specific reason you choose to go to Kashi and dumped the idea of sari shopping from your life?
In one of my book I have written about it. My grandparents wanted to go to Kashi but they couldn’t. So, on their behalf I went and at the spur of the moment I decided to give up on sari shopping. I have been keeping my promise for the past 25 years.
Nowadays we see a gradual change in the lives of women. More women are coming to power. Where do you see Indian women in 10 years?
I do not know. It is very difficult to predict. But I feel and assume they will be more confident, economically independent and more assertive.
How do you see the present women when compared to the past?
Kerala is always progressive, so no comparison there. My state, I can tell you say for example, women were very submissive, they did not have economic power. So when a girl was born they used to really resent because they have to spend money on her wedding. But now I can see when a girl is born there is not much difference. Every girl is educated; and has a job. So I can see a huge change in my state now compared to about 20 years back.
A strong message to all the women in Kerala?
They are themselves so strong that nothing I can tell them to make further. One thing in general I feel we should always live in peace. We should also have content in our heart to some extent but not an excess content that will make you lethargic. But content in peace and harmony can really increase our productivity. So be nice at work, be nice at home and try to understand other person’s difficulties and lead a peaceful life. Because it makes you a lot more creative and gives positive energy.
There are women who have shelved their talents after getting married. What would you like to tell them? How would you ask them to start again?
It’s important to know what exactly we want to do. What I like, what makes me happy, those are the things we have to spend time on first. Spend time on that now which is legally ethically right. For example, I like to do painting or I like to do music or I like to do my software job whatever you do, do it passionately but make sure it is morally and ethically right. We have to search on what makes us happy and work for it.
How did you personally manage work and home? Do you have any advice to bring change in working women’s life as they have to balance both, work and home?
No, I always believe having someone at home makes a lot of difference. It could be your parents, or parents-in-law. But that gives you a lot of strength in life. I make it a point to allot some considerable time for home. I always spend lot of time with my children rather than seeing a TV or visiting someone. I spend most of my time with my children after office.
How do you spend your leisure time?
When children were small, I hardly got time off, as I had to juggle between work and home. Normally I don’t bring my office work home. I rather work hard in office, come back home and enjoy Hindustani Classical music. I also enjoy reading.
As a mother, how did you train your teenager?
It was not easy, but not that difficult as it is now. Now, it is harder actually I feel, because nowadays we have TV, cellphones, WhatsApp, Google, games. When my children were young, fortunately these things were not there. But I used to take them to my office and show them how hard it is for other people to come up in life. Show them poverty, make them aware that god has given them too much and they have to share.
Who is your favourite author?
It changes with time. I don’t have one because I read a lot. During childhood, teenage, youth, all were different persons. But now I like to read authors from UK, English writers. I like their sense of humor, sense of writing because after all it’s a mother tongue to them.