What do a slab in a little village in Karnataka and a teacher have in common? How can a highly qualified working woman be jealous of her domestic help living in a small slum? Is blood relationship the only guarantee for a lifelong bond?
Answering several questions with her anecdotes, Sudha Murty’s The Old Man and His God is a collection of 25 stories. The stories itself are so strong that even without a great narrative style, the book leaves a indelible mark on your mind.
Simple and lucid, the twenty stories are incidents and stories that Sudha Murty experiences in her journey through the length and breadth of the country. Sudha Murty is the chairperson of the Infosys Foundation. She also teaches Computer Science to post graduate students.
My favourite stories are the Horregallu. The story is set in a village in Karnataka. Horregallu means “a stone that can bear weight.” And, Sudha Murty narrates how her grandfather used to sit on the Horregallu and speak to farmers who are on their way to the city carrying the burden of their produce. Speaking to them and then going on their work, would be a refreshing experience. She then tells that at her workplace, a teacher does a similar job. She just listens and advices accordingly.
An excerpt of the same story:
Perhaps in their own small ways, without access to great wealth, both these people were doing some tremendous social work. No one thought of acknowledging their work, or rewarding them for it, but they continues to do, as these small acts of kindness gave them joy.
The story reminded me of several listeners in my life who do it compassionately. And, it does take a lot of patience and commitment to be interested in others problems, while you have your own. So, when you read this story, do think of the listeners in your life and acknowledge them in your own little way.
The 131-paged book can be rated a comfortable 3.5/5. Do read it for the powerful experiences and the invaluable lessons that the author gift wrapped in this book. Each story is about four pages long so one can comfortably munch on it between work or busy hours for motivation.