She is a veritable inspiration for people like me, who are in a nascent stage. As I pen this article on my blog, Dr. Sudha Murthy had her 200th title published across genres and languages - “Here, There and Everywhere” is a celebration of her literary journey. How is that for being prolific? If writing was the only thing she did, one could endeavour to understand, but she is also an entrepreneur, computer scientist, engineer, teacher and philanthropist. She was the first woman engineer to be selected in TELCO, the angel investor behind Infosys’ success story and she is the chairperson of the Infosys Foundation.
In addition to being a Padma Shri awardee, I am told she received seven honorary doctorates from universities in India, the R.K. Narayan Award for Literature, the Attimabbe Award from the government of Karnataka for excellence in Kannada literature, and the Raymond Crossword Lifetime Achievement Award. No mean feat, this!
Both of us do have something in common – we love writing, we were not students of literature and we belong to a family where books were treasured resulting in an inclination towards books at an early age. And oh yes, we both love curd rice. What I perhaps lacked was the sheer determination and perseverance that Dr. Murthy had to continue writing, irrespective of various events unfolding in her life.
As I look back, not necessarily in regret, but as lessons to be absorbed, persistence and dedication are the qualities that went missing. Habits that were ingrained from childhood, viz., reading, writing, exercise, yoga and meditation slowly waned and receded as life happened and other exigencies took priority. As Amish, another prolific Indian writer said, “to write one page convincingly, one has to read a hundred pages.” As my reading activity waned into oblivion, so did my writing. In the past few years, I have been striving to get to grips with my persistent passions.
With an inherent shortage of money in my childhood and youth, it was extremely difficult to get hold of books as cheap as possible – I scoured the pavements in King’s circle, Dadar and Fountain even as I made it a point to visit the once iconic Strand Book Stall and book exhibitions at Sunderbai hall. I had all the time in the world to read and no money to buy! Ironically, as life would have it, I can now buy many books, but have little time to read.
It is no surprise that reading the first tale of many tales in Dr. Murthy’s latest book brought a rush of nostalgic memories concomitant with renewed faith that -
the journey is always arduous
determination and dedication are important
one should never give up on their passion
For my first book, written more than a decade ago, I was rejected by over a dozen publishers, before one finally accepted me. My third book published in August 2018 after a long hiatus, was an attempt to start afresh with something relatively easy to pen. A logical consequence was self-publishing and that is how Akhyayikas happened.
I remain enthused and impassioned with a renewed commitment to myself. Perhaps one day, I shall have the opportunity to meet this amazing multifaceted lady and gain additional invaluable insights.