Top positive review
11 Anecdotes about Ordinary People and their Extraordinary Lives
Reviewed in India on 17 November 2017
Read the book ‘Three Thousand Stitches’ by Sudha Murthy. It is a beautiful collection of many interesting incidents (actually, 11 anecdotes) in Sudha Murthy’s life as a young girl, as a college student, and as Chairperson of Infosys foundation.
The book starts with the story “Three Thousand Stitches” which talks about how Sudha helped a group of women to leave their wretched profession and turn into ladies with respectable jobs and income. However, the path of helping 3000 women was not a bed of roses. Sudha got hit with chappals and tomatoes when she tries to approach the women first. Later, with a little mentoring and help from her dad, she broke ice with the ladies. During the rehabilitation phase, Sudha receives death threats and acid is thrown over some women who leave their old jobs. At the end of 15 growing years and three years of starting and running their own banks with 80 lakhs deposit, the ladies want to celebrate. They request Sudha Murthy to be the chief guest of the function. It is there they hand over Sudha an embroidered bedspread with stitch designs by all the 3000 women. That is how the first story and the book get their name. The takeaway from this story is perseverance against all odds exhibited by both Sudha and the women. The book cover has a pictorial representation of a bedspread. Recently, i read that it is the photo of the actual shawl.
Sudha later moves on to other incidents in her life. She explains her travels around the world with joy. She gets free food and discounts at many places abroad when she tells that she is from the land of Bollywood heroes and heroines. She feels Bollywood people have been our brand ambassadors across the world. She also lets us in on her secret of watching 365 movies in one specific year (that is one movie per day) as a young girl. It is funny to note how young kids were allowed only censored versions of the movie and how she becomes bold enough to voice her own interests about movies.
She explains how she gets to know about Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and how they help and mentor people. The story of each alcoholic is different, but a common thread is how they move from being casual social drinkers to hopeless addicts. But, they do revive and live a life with dignity.
There is a story about how her doctor father helps an unwed mother to pursue a career as a nurse. Later, the nurse educates her daughter to be a doctor. Due to a chance meeting after several years, Sudha’s father R.H Kulkarni finds that the daughter of the nurse has built a hospital named R.H diagnostics.
There is also a story about Indian vegetables and their actual country of origin. She explains how tomato which is considered very Indian did not have its roots in India but in Mexico.
She also narrates about a typical day as a Chairperson of Infosys foundation. It shows how she manages both genuine and limp requests for grants and help. For some requests of help, she believes that an initial disappointment is better than a disagreement at the end.
Yet another story describes her challenges and accomplishments as the only female engineering student in her college. It is yet another story of how she overcame social taboos against women and set out on a career path she dreamt of.
Of course, there is the famous ‘cattle class’ story that has been making wild rounds online. There are few more interesting stories all told in her unique and simple style. Her observations about the incidents in her life are noteworthy. The book has 179 pages and costs Rs.250. Go for it. Peep into the world of ordinary people who have extraordinary lives.