Wise and Otherwise by Sudha Murthy is a collection of interesting anecdotes each with profound life lessons. It is a personal account of the author herself while she travelled through our country – The Great India – A land of values and disparities. The title captures the contrast too – with two opposite words – Wise and Otherwise!!
There are many people about whom she has written in her book – a thoughtful old village man, a secretary, a nurse, a bridegroom, a sales manager, a local vendor. All of them have crossed her path as a part of her social work (which she carries out through her company Infosys Foundation) or coincidentally. What is beautiful is the chord that she could strike with each person/character and situation!! The way, in which she has put the commonness in perspective, leaves the readers with a message at the end of every story.
All the stories are relatable and on some random day, the message might directly apply to you while you are at home or in office. The titles of each story are intelligently worded, because at the end of every story I went back to the title to correlate and find the essence. A few interesting ones are – ‘Salaam Namaste’, ‘The IT Divide’, ‘Bonded by Bisleri’….
Quite a few narratives have a predictable and dramatic end as if straight from Bollywood, and many others have a surprising turn towards the conclusion. This book is good for some casual mindful reading. The language is simple and the length of the anecdotes is short, so one can easily flip a few pages while waiting in traffic. The cover page carries a line ‘A Salute to life’ – it indeed is through its realness and plainness.
I would like to call it India’s ‘Chicken Soup’……