Fifty vignettes showcase the myriad shades of human nature
A man dumps his aged father in an old-age home after declaring him to be a homeless stranger, a tribal chief in the Sahyadri hills teaches the author that there is humility in receiving too, and a sick woman remembers to thank her benefactor even from her deathbed. These are just some of the poignant and eye-opening stories about people from all over the country that Sudha Murty recounts in this book. From incredible examples of generosity to the meanest acts one can expect from men and women, she records everything with wry humour and a directness that touches the heart.
First published in 2002, Wise and Otherwise has sold over 30,000 copies in English and has been translated into all the major Indian languages. This revised new edition is sure to charm many more readers and encourage them to explore their inner selves and the world around us with new eyes.
Sudha Murty was born in 1950 in Shiggaon in north Karnataka. She did her MTech in computer science, and is now the chairperson of the Infosys Foundation. A prolific writer in English and Kannada, she has written nine novels, four technical books, three travelogues, one collection of short stories, three collections of non-fiction pieces and two books for children.
Her books have been translated into all the major Indian languages and have sold over three lakh copies around the country. She was the recipient of the R.K. Narayan's Award for Literature and the Padma Shri in 2006.
Wise and Otherwise: A Salute to Life is a collection of fifty one short stories baed on the real life experiences of Mrs Sudha Murthy. As the Chairperson of the Infosys Foundation, she has come across many types of people in her office as well as while travelling during the course of her work. Each story covers a facet of human nature and has something to tell. Her dedication states “For the ‘shirtless people of India’ who have taught me so much about my country”.
Her stories cover the length and breadth of India and she has stories about various types of characters like the honest college student, who despite being poor returned the unspent money that he received for his hostel accommodation. There is a story about a man who lies while trying to impress her and another one about an old man in the Sahyadri forest who tells her, “There is a grace in accepting also”. The story about the young nurse who followed her teacher’s words and about an old man in Kalahandi district of Orissa who does not know that India is now a free country but says, “This little paper (Indian currency) can turn our lives upside down”. She mentions about two teenagers she had met on the flight from Delhi to Bangalore who did not know our history (we should blame ourselves for it), about her friend who takes life in a positive way after she sees a beggar dancing in the rain and there is this story about a man who lies that he knows her in order to sell books to the Foundation.
In one story, she mentions about a salesgirl she meets in a train, who first gives her a headache and then sells her the balm. In another, she talks about a mother who is praying that her stove burst victim daughter dies. She talks about her friend who succeeds in life because she is a realist. About a poor, old lady who shows her gratitude to Mrs Murthy for giving them a hospital by giving a string of jasmine. There is story in which she talks about a man who leaves his own father in an old age home claiming that the he is a homeless man who needs help and comes to claim the money when he dies.
She brought tears to my eyes when she talked about Zubeida, who tells her brother to return the unspent money allotted for her cancer treatment. She has written about a boy who marries a girl suffering from leucoderma after reading her book, Mahashweta. In another story, she has mentioned about insensitive people who can spend on their housewarming but not for the victims of Gujarat earthquake.
She talks about her teacher who said that, “the greatest joy to a teacher is to produce students better than him”. About an uneducated lady who sees the positive side of life and stays happy, and there is another one in which a shopkeeper adjusting the price of his wares as per the financial status of the customer. She also mentions about a lady who asks her who her ghost writer is. She talks about the facilities for women in Stockholm, about Alfred Nobel and the Nobel Prize and about the plight of unwed mothers in India and abroad.
She writes about the misuse of the telephone by the kids, about the biased nature of a lady when it concerns her daughter and daughter in law, about how people took advantage of an earthquake to set up house, about how a poor fisher boy contributes whatever he can for his family. She talks about how money can change the relationship between a husband and wife and about the different ways in which people look at life. In the last story she has mentioned about how different people express their gratitude; some say thank you and some do not even acknowledge you.
Book lovers and regular readers should never waste their time or money on this book. The rating for this book is deceptive. Like another reviewer has said I completely agree this book has only got published because Sudha Murthy is Narayan Murthy's wife. The stories are poorly constructed and the author is full of herself, its shocking to see such work getting published.
1) Honesty is not the mark of any particular class nor is it related to education or wealth. It springs naturally from the heart. 2) Why do people lie about their achievements? Is it when what they have actually achieved is not good enough for them or for the people around you? 3) Give when you take. Do not take without giving. 4) There is a grace in accepting also. 5) Truth about women- India stands second last on the list of countries according to how emancipated their women were. The scandinavian countries topped the list. 6) Alfred Nobel was a great achiever,whatever he did, he did it well. 7) Jean-Paul Sartre was awarded the 1964 Nobel Prize in Literature and refused it, saying that he always declined official honors and that "a writer should not allow himself to be turned into an institution." And now a days anyone would pay a large amount to have an honour given to them. 8) TISCO Chairman, J.J.Irani- "Vision without action is merely a dream, action without vision is merely passing time, but vision and action together can change the world.
I loved this book. Sudha Murthy has used such simple narrative for all the 50 stories. Her work is truly 'a salute to life'. Every incident in the book left me either poignant, or ashamed or angry at the current state of people's mind. I would recommend everyone to read this. A very light read but filled with meaning.
if u are interested in listening to a woman crib and whine about how pathetic and disgusting this society and county is with a 'i am always right complex' in the tone of a panchatatra novel for 5 year olds with a moral at the end...this book is for you. otherwise i just suggest you move on and pick from a million other better authors...
A good montage of stories but the number of "Infosys Foundation" references only goes to further strengthen what I've been hearing about this foundation off late, i.e. We help where our help is recognized in the form of media or print publications. Maybe that is why I lost interest halfway through this collection.
In Sudha Murthy's most celebrated work of non fiction , fifty vignettes showcase the myriad shades of human nature. A man dumps his ages father in an old age home after declaring him to be a homeless stranger, A tribal chief in the Sahyadri hills teaches the author that there is humility in receiving too, And a sick woman remembers to thank here benefactor even from her deathbed. These are just some of the poignant and eye opening stories about people from all over the country that Sudha Murthy recounts . From incredible examples of generosity to the meanest acts one can expect from men and women , She records everything with wry humour and a directness That touches the heart. . What I think about this book ?? 🌸 . I have read two books of Sudha Murthy untill now , What I felt that she writes in so simple manner that anyone can read her books easily , all her words are beaded in a flow. She is a keen observer and everything what she has written is the reflection of those people who have came across in her life. We get to meet all kinds of people in our life , and face all the types of experiences which sometimes make us believe that humanity is on the verge of death in our world and at the same time our thinking take a turn when get to encounter a real humanly feel. And Amid all that , I should never stop dreaming, never stop living. Gratitude towards this life is very important. After reading Sudha Murthy , one can feel the importance of relationships , human interactions and relationships in this fast changing tech savvy world. Good deeds always pays off no matter what we should never stop doing good. And moreover by reading all the modern day books, I have felt that it become difficult to choose and introduce the kind of books to the children and this book came as a saviour , she writes for everyone. Anyone can read her books, and it always have something for everyone. 🌸 To learn and to live. The never-ending spirit towards life.🌸 . Rating - 4/5
Review : This novel contain mature stories anecdotes and based on feeling, hypocrisy, courtship, relationship, marriage, social evils like dowry, female infanticide, killing for dowry, generation gap , unwed mother's work, respect for elders, respect for teachers , old age home and perspective of all many different people from different walks of life, work of philanthropists, she shares anecdotes of life where her friends reached and from where they started, what they do now earlier who were novice were now successful business woman and some are like family, she talks about false alarm of people who want money even though they belong to well to do family and talks about awards and showoff and behaviour of people from now and then and lifestyle, how to maintain relationships and how to show up and listen to what liars have to say.
Wise or otherwise summary
A student who want to study got sponsored when a woman read his story in newspaper she send him money for the class when second time she send he returned 300 ₹ saying that 2 months he didn't visit bellary because of holidays and strike in college, that impressed the woman more that in poverty he didn't let go of his honesty.
A woman was sent to village for site checking. A guy who known to only well read person of village, he feel shy after getting compliment from a woman, he take her home for tea and after the admiration of his child he boast about himself when his lie was caught because woman read in same collage same year and won gold medal which he claim that he get.
An old man teaches the chapter of humility of give and take, even he had nothing much to offer but his ancestors philosophy make him do so ,even if it's just a bottle of special juice they made in village.
We people are become insensitive towards our old parents as narrator mother asked her to go and pay her condolences to our neighbour as the mother of the house died but 10 days later when she visited all were very cheerful and happy and wife is angry with her mother in law as she said she tortured them . She felt sorry for the diseased woman.
A doctor who share anecdotes to keep class engaging to his lecture give biggest advice to his daughter a death in hospital is just another death, but a permanent loss for the family so one must be careful.
A village in Kalahandi where people still believe in king and use barter system for daily use and think still ruled by east india company but say truth of nature that we don't own anything in the world.
A NGO worker helped a old man to live in old age home before he died he met his son who left him to the woman who paid for the old man and thinking way to help him, and money driven people just take away there old parents money and let them die and woman feel bad for old man and boy feel ashamed of his act.
A guy talks about people don't know the history of festival and just there to enjoy, and then he talk about how fund raising happens in children orphanage and then he eavsdropping on women who talk about software engineers and merits and demerit so at last he speak up and come to know they are marriage brokers.
A woman who work in city when there telegram was only communication available, received a death news she got scared and left for home found out that her cousin father died and not her's she felt relieved and come to know about her engagement with boy from Delhi.
An old man came to Author to buy his book for her library project as she have build 4000 libraries in a state and going for inauguration of an another one , he try to influence her by telling he knows Sudha and Narayan murty without knowing that she is Sudha and she rejected him saying if he was honest she would have think of buying it but now not even for free she gonna get it..
A woman was sold in red light area on rakhi and she gone through enough when Sudha say akka to tara on rakhi day, she anger and said on relationship she has to offer is between man and woman and there is no other relationship.
A pessimist Friend who see negative in everything, left for Bombay after few year they met and she has complete change over on enquiry about the change important lesson learn from beggar changed her life , as he was enjoying even we he doesn't have anything and she is sad all the time and now she sponsor his grand daughter study in boarding school.
Author told 2 ignorant youngsters the story of Rani Jhansi and her courage story and they listened to her talk carefully.
A curious passenger next seat give Author tough time with her questions so in the end when author didn't feel well , the passenger girl Just give her balm of her company she is working with and both smiled.
Anecdote on uneducated girls got ill treated after marriage and some face the fate of stove burst author met the case through her gynaecologist friend whose in laws burnt her for she is carrying girl child from pregnancy so they lit her up in fire and she died when author was consoling her mother.
Author and friends had get together and they changes there experience the one who is bright and beautiful now become opposite of it, and the one who is mediocre step up and become a business woman. Things changes because beautiful and bright didnt take decision for themselves but mediocre did and got success.
Independence day have become a holiday for us and not to remember the saga of our heroes.
Earlier people were good and easy going and listen to advice of the elders and behave maturely but today they are altogether different and arrogant behave improper even when they are wrong.
Sometimes not shawls and garland but just a Jasmine string given with respect is important to us , author feel the same when her hardwork was credited to some politician who was just there to get honour without lifting the finger for the hospital they build in village.
Leprosy stricken state was in abject poverty as people don't get job and woman have left with no clothes on her body author take a leap and given every woman a sari for covering there dignity and feel sorry for the situation.
A woman on death bed thinking about helping other with remaining money which author gave for her treatment, she passed away leaving her wish to her brother to fulfill for her sake. Author feel proud to helping such honest people in the time where fraudster are all around you. Her brother was the book supplier in the author office.
An author novel change the thinking of the boy who loved a girl but backed up as he come to know she is suffering from leucoderma but after reading her book he changed and are getting married now she feel proud of it and the sari they gave her is precious to her.
Author visit friend's house warming party in 2002 and after holy puja got over talk shifted to Gujarat earthquake 2002 and she saw insensitivity of people towards other people but believe in show off her at the wedding with useless gifts.
One must respect there teacher wherever u met them because they teach us and made us who we are.
We should ignore unwanted letters send for us and help who actually needed it not who try to please us to get there work done.
every generation have complaint with new generation but can be solved if we have talk with them like author have with her son.
Contentment is important because demand are ever going and we ruin our present with what we not have rather than what we have.
Author felt the pity for woman who are sex workers and want to change living.
2 different women 2 different personalities but actual difference is there thought processing one wants gain experience one doesn't care at all.
Difference of rich and poor told by the fruit seller to Author. Through there work and dowry related things
Difference between philanthropist people back in 20th century and now a days , earlier want no recognition now want the acknowledgement for there donation.
Women's has to educated well not mere bookish but practical life experiences too and have to self dependent and have authority over her decision and stand firm on that.
Jealous and self centred people are dangerous, they make negative remarks regardlessly knowing what really one feels by there remarks . And there relationship deteriorate.
Country where goddesses are preach stand at bottom 2 on respecting women but th scandanavian country norway sweden Denmark respect there woman more than anything.
Few sages are true Sanyasi and rest are all the fraudster and demi god who mock and ruins life of many but true Sanyasi become leader a play a role accordingly.
Negative and positive view's of the people on author column in newspaper.
Idea of noble prize is to recognise the help provided to mankind by people who work selflessly.
Unwed mother is a curse in the Indian family but cool in scandanavian countries
Marriage of Friends daughter who is going to US and doesn't have to gave dowry except for the tickets to US first time how time changes and thing follows.
Confidence of guy few decades back to learn and understand computer and today's youth is different.
Telephone and how it is abused by children in author Friends house by his daughter upset the situation in there life because they can control there needs and desires.
Hypocrisy of people between relationship in the same house like what daughter did in her in-laws house is good but, id there daughter in -law did it's wrong why.
Gujarat earthquake make the life of the family as they were beggars in Mumbai but now they are kind of kings of the houses in the shelter home of government. And eating and drinking Bisleri and full food.
Difference between the educated Friend son who is waiting to join a software job to earn big and don't wanna settle for less, where as a child wake up 5 in the morning till 11pm and work to earn 5 rupee to buy the stuff they can't if he thinks the pay is low.
Difference of teacher who lead by good and bad example same happens here once teacher take student home and treat them like family and want nothing in return and now they exploit there resources for there benefits.
Difference in people thinking as people want to treated like humans and not mere machine and children should be treated as per there age.
Donations should be unanimous and show how 2 different personalities believe in donation one wants recognition for mere 10000 and one don't want for 4 lakhs rupees.
A friend who never spent a money on unworthy things when came to retirement age woman lost her mind and started using money unnecessarily and man use his to do philanthropic work for society.
Money changes people for different and make them arrogant , one must respect there partner because they are the one who sacrifice and stand by them in tough times
Mental health deteorating because love is Missing in relationship and torture and taunt make a person mad money can't make you happy for long time.
Things are different from people to people. One is grateful other don't feel like it author helped 3 boys with there fees and one behaved like she is family one behave like arrogant guy she is yet to meet 3rd guy to see what he is like..
Hats off to Mrs. Sudha Murthy for her philanthropic deeds. It requires special mention even before reviewing the book! Frankly speaking the book was a change from the stereotype books of fiction and its ante! Gracefully written, the book is about Mrs. Murthy's experiences while doing her work as a social worker. Most of the stories are reflective, and many contain comparative studies. Both are excellent. Though written by a female author and containing details of outlook according to a feminine mindset (example: color of saree, bangles! even girly gossip at places), the book contains "it" to engross even the macho-est of men! Witty, truthful and vibrant. A 5 out of 5 for perfect content for a book in the "lifestyle" shelf.
The book is a wake up call for our moral senses. She portrays the lives of the poorest of poor people of India, human attitudes and character and makes us realise how blessed we are. I now know the true meaning of the word 'philanthropist'. I'm proud of Mrs. Murty for achieving heights and also for being a true human. One is sure to turn kind to people who are less fortunate than us after reading this book. It was also a chance to know the "real" India.
Sudha Murty's story telling is one of a kind- simple language, even simpler story and simplest of it all is the way she chooses to convey her message, leaving it to the reader to infer what they can.
"Wise and Otherwise" is a collection of 50 short stories giving examples of simple people and their actions which she leaves it to us to judge as wise or otherwise. Every story catches up on one specific detail we as society either aspire too much for or neglect,alienate and choose to not associate with- be it human relations, the way we talk to strangers, the way we judge and exclude people, prioritise materialistic aspirations and so on.
On a concluding note, the line etched with me is from the short story-Price of Jealousy where she writes "The best Culture is one in which we rejoice each other's success" . Her writing will always remind me of my roots and why I am proud of where I come from.
I read this book when I was going through yet another mental crisis. And needless to say, so many knots in my head opened up so quickly once I finished it. The sheer passion with which Sudha Murty has composed each story is remarkable. Moreover, she does not want to show herself as a saint or yet another achiever out to help people. She talks to you, me and so many of us - to never stop introspecting and interacting with life. The stories in this book could be anyone's, for that matter. But reading them made me realise a lot, and feel humbler. At the risk of sounding cliched, I'm truly grateful to the author for that.
Wise and otherwise is an eye opening book about various people around us. Sudha Murty has depicted various experiences of a variety of people who came across her. She has described the examples of generosity to the meanest acts one can expect. The directness in her language touches the heart and helps in better understanding. The entire book helps us understand how people live their and how two people act differently in the same situation. 'Death without grief' is one of the short story I liked the most form the book. 'Wise and otherwise' encouraged me to look at the world with new eyes.
Firstly this book is a much needed break from the Chasings, Murders, Mysteries, and Crime and others.
I picked this book thinking what might it reveal and in the end I was awed that I chose this one to read. Kudos to the author for giving such a script to the readers. The most I liked about is the elegance and simpleness in writing. A book of 50 odd short stories of real life experiences of the author which has enough power to tease one's heart and at least one fable will have close resemblance to our own character. A must read one to all
Picking up this book was probably not a good idea. I had to travel by train for thirteen hours and I needed a book to keep me occupied during the journey. So I bought this book at the store thinking it would be a nice and simple read that wouldn't be too demanding in the general chatter and noise of the train. It did work in those terms. But it also ended up boring me. Non-fiction, however simply told or enlightening, cannot hold my interest for too long. The stories seemed repetitive and draggy. Perhaps I shouldn't have tried to read it all at once. But the bottom line is that it wasn't a very good experience.
I agree with each word, experience shared by Ms. Sudha Murthy. This was the first time I read her book. It is truly amazing. Each story will touch the chords of your heart. Along with that It will motivate you to help those needy people. It will teach you that there is still innocence, love and sympathy left in us. Looking forward to her books!!
There are few good stories but not impressive. I do have a great Respect for Sudha Madam but I didnt like the way she criticize of other people, she should have also thought about other peoples point of view.. There's even a chapter where she criticize the readers who criticize her.
"Tell the truth, respect your elders, be sincere, work hard to be successful, be humble" - all these clichéd advice, if given in a matter-of-fact tone would appear bland and there is a risk of getting lost in deaf ears. Hence, Mrs Murthy, employs the form short tales to dispense those moral values. These stories are not some fables you find in the classics, rather, taken from Mrs. Murthy's own life experiences. Every person you meet is a story. Courtesy, her philanthropic works, Mrs. Murthy has met many many people in her life. These tales are like the pages from her diary. Simple, yet effective. Like Sudha Ma'am herself. :)
Sudha Murty Ma'am is a teacher in her essence. This book is a book of teachings that she puts out as small anecdotes from her life, which is indeed rich with experiences. It is full of life lessons, simple and often forgotten but she puts it across with her own tales from personal life and makes it an interesting reads. There are 51 stories from different experiences of her life. Overall, it was a small, quaint read with life lessons. Suitable for everyone.
I became Sudha Murty’s fan after reading her novel, “Mahashweta”. “Wise and Otherwise” is a book of real-life events in the lives of different people in various settings in different parts of India. Murty writes simply, yet effectively, about people’s temperaments, behaviour and situations, turning ordinary, everyday incidents into interesting stories through her laudable writing skills. These perceptive pieces of writing include incisive observations (both here and other people’s).
A couple of excerpts are: 1. “When a writer really experiences life, only then can he or she write about it. Language is just a tool but in no way can good language alone make a readable article. It is the personal experience along with suitable language that makes an article interesting to read. By reading your experiences, I have realised what kind of work you do and how passionately you do it”. (Written in a letter to Murty by a generous donor). 2. “I always feel that I am young at heart irrespective of my age. The reason is that I am a teacher, so I mix with the younger generation. Their energy is contagious. They share their secrets with me. They are my inspiration”.
Sudha Murty is an IT teacher, a committed social worker, runs the Infosys Foundation, has written books of numerous genres, and is also a columnist. Her stories are not only beautifully penned, most pass on powerful messages too. She says she learns valuable lessons from the destitute, deprived people she meets during her projects.
Nice collection of her (author's) self-confrontations of varied experiences across diverse cultures & diverse mindsets of people. It gives the reader very simple things of life to be looked at and to be considered. It makes you think to be more humane which people tend to forget.
Someone once told - We, all, are *social animals*, trying so hard to become humans !!!
What a positive and inspiring read!!!! This book taught me that it is not the beauty of language but the way it is told that makes a story interesting. These are mostly anecdotes in the life of Sudha Murty during her charity work sometimes in remote villages..The author's personality shines throughout the pages..Will read more of this simple sweet lady.
The innocence in many child gets corrupted when they get older, either by their own bad experiences or by people's opinion. This book is a collection of short stories of those experiences of Sudha Murty. The stories, some of them are so innocent which makes you want to be a good person and do good for the people. It's gonna bring tears to your eyes, its definitely a must read. This is going to be my all-time favourite❤️
No words are enough to describe the beauty of this book, all the stories are so much interesting, Inspiring & yet so easy to read. I had a beautiful and soothing reading experience ,the kind of feeling I always get when I read Sudha Murthy mam's work.
Quote from the Book I Liked - 'Travelling opens the doors to knowledge. Without it, education is incomplete. (Page 67)' Also 'I often feel that studying peoples behavior is more interesting than reading a bok. (Page 167)'
Rating - 4 Stars
Plot Summary - Fifty vignettes showcase the myriad shades of human nature
A man dumps his aged father in an old-age home after declaring him to be a homeless stranger, a tribal chief in the Sahyadri hills teaches the author that there is humility in receiving too, and a sick woman remembers to thank her benefactor even from her deathbed. These are just some of the poignant and eye-opening stories about people from all over the country that Sudha Murty recounts in this book. From incredible examples of generosity to the meanest acts one can expect from men and women, she records everything with wry humor and a directness that touches the heart.
First published in 2002, Wise and Otherwise has sold over 30,000 copies in English and has been translated into all the major Indian languages. This revised new edition is sure to charm many more readers and encourage them to explore their inner selves and the world around us with new eyes.
My Review - The book features vivid life instances of Author Sudha Murthy herself. In these 50 tales, she jots down 50 incidences she came across which somehow affected her deeply. May it be a small comment she heard or some person's Aura she felt. In these 50 tales, a reader learns about Human Behaviour. It may or may not be bold but the way she wrote them in this book, makes you focus on those particular moments and Instances. Her writing is what makes those not so important moments, some Great lesson and Life stories for a reader. I enjoyed reading this book, though I felt these Short stories as too short (just 3-4 pages max.). After reader a few, a reader feels a bit bored and lethargic to continue in one go. That's the reason I took so long to finish this.