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Love and compassion are practically

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Day I Stopped Drinking Milk (Life Stories from Here and There) by Sudha Murty is a book that touches the heart. Any initial impression that this could one set of tall tales from the spouse of a corporate biggie, (she is the wife of India’s esteemed IT giant, Narayana Murthy of Infosys), is dispelled right from the first story itself. In addition to being the chairperson of Infosys Foundation, she is an accomplished and award winning writer, and this is the fourth book of her experiences as a teacher, writer and social worker, of stories that reveal the beautiful aspects of love and large-heartedness.

Bombay to Bangalore is the heart-warming story of little girl, Chitra, alone and ticketless in the crowded long-distance Udyan Express, who is about to be dragged off the train by a TC and handed over to the police. Moved by her plight, the author offers to pay for the child’s ticket. At Bangalore, unable to overcome her protective instincts, she takes the girl along and entrusts her to a shelter, monitoring her progress from time to time. Thanks to such nurturing, Chitra advances in education, goes abroad for work and succeeds like a dream. The self-effacing nature of Sudha Murty is evident in her reply when the girl expresses her gratitude, “No Chitra, I am only one step in your ladder of success. There are many steps which led you to where you are today – the shelter which looked after you, the schools which gave you good education, the company which sent you to America and, above all, it is you- the most determined and inspired girl who made your life yourself. One step should never take the credit for the end result.”

Rahman’s Avva is a touching story about motherly love being blind to caste or creed. Rahman, a successful BPO employee and a Muslim, talks about his childhood in the care of a peasant Hindu family that took him in after his parents died one after another. Foster mother Kashibai, ‘uneducated but far advanced in human values,’ sent Rahman for namaaz every Friday and for Koran class at the local mosque on holidays.

Ganga’s Ghat is about Ganga, a coolie from a tiny village in Karnataka, who gives a bucket of bath water to an old destitute man, setting off something like a mission, awakening the generosity in hundreds of souls. 23 moving, real-life stories, each a must-read.

The Day I Stopped Drinking Milk

By Sudha Murty
Penguin Books India

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