The Pictograph

Graphic by Aarathi K G

50 stories, 50 real-life occurrences, mirroring human behaviour in various shades. This book depicts experiences by Sudha Murthy, chairperson of Infosys Foundation. This book exhibits phases of humankind that are brilliantly portrayed and some way or another doesn’t neglect the impact it made on the writer.

Written by a female author, this book contains details of the outlook “feminine mindset”. For example, ‘colour of saree, bangles, every girl gossip at places’ and many such details from this keen observer. This book contains the “it” factor to engross even the macho-est of men! And this is entirely perceived from her writing. To summarise, the book consists of short narrations that involve numerous biographies and genuine encounters that were present in Sudha Murthy’s life. Her stories cover the length and expansiveness of India and she has tales about different kinds of characters like the genuine student, who regardless of being poor returned the unspent cash that he got for the hostel facilities. There is an anecdote about a man who lies while attempting to intrigue her and another with regards to an elderly person in the Sahyadri forest who tells her, “There is a grace in accepting too”. One story is about the youthful medical caretaker who followed her educator’s words and about an elderly person in the Kalahandi district of Orissa who doesn’t realize that India is currently a free nation yet says, “This little paper (Indian cash) can turn our lives upside down.” She mentions two youngsters she had met on the flight from Delhi to Bangalore who didn’t have a clue about our history, about her friend who positively takes life after she sees a bum moving in the downpour and there is this tale about that man, he knows her to offer books to the Foundation. 

These assortments of stories showcase how a small comment or a personality she came across during her initial days at Infosys created that space that provoked her to publish in this book after years.

The dash of authenticity makes the perusing pleasurable and comes to feel genuine that the illustrations were from reality and at no point, there was a flash of exaggeration. Highlighting societal rituals like dowry, killing for dowry, female infanticide which is pertinent in a nation like India and bright understanding on subjects like hypocrisy, relationships, rich and extravagance that covers the facet of human nature.

At the same time, the author is highly successful in portraying her work. From reading the book, we can very well understand the working of the Infosys Foundation and its vision. The role of the author in the foundation is also quite clear from the theme. It represents the working pattern of a well-known NGO and so forth.

The narration of every story evokes emotion without making it an extensive read.  Certain stories get too enormous or little, however, this book figures out how to keep up with the harmony between the two. One of the key components that make Sudha Murthy’s books hers, as I have felt from reading this book, is her ethical quality behind every one of them. She appears to have her perspectives behind every one of the occurrences. As a reader, there are some loopholes in every writing. It does not necessarily have to be from a critic, but every reader develops a certain standard of pros and cons. Likewise, this being a biography, there is a difference in looking at things. One aspect that can be noticed is the authors’ amplified emotion. It is visible in certain instances where Sudha Murthy seems biased. For example, in the last story wherein it is totally fine to express them in your book, but as a reader, had that part been left to the audience to decide, I would have loved it.

On the other hand, for many fiction readers, this book cannot hold interest for long. At one point it becomes draggy and repetitive. Of course, that’s the element that makes it hers. Hence, one can ignore that. From a reader’s perspective, this book energizes the reader to explore similar genres and read more such short stories illustrations. However, it opens an entryway for such writing. There is no harm in saying that this book has the potential to create an urge in writers to enter into a similar path.

This book is one I figure individuals from every age group could read and particularly for the adolescent, so they could appropriately comprehend their elders’ perspectives, likings, and so on and also so they could follow the great habits from them. Other than that, her simplicity is depicted in her writing. The language, the use of words, the portrayals and the hidden message, all sums up to create an impression about the author. As we read more, we can understand the kind of principles she has inculcated in herself as well as her impression of society. The book mentions that this prolific writer has helped society enormously and continues to do so.

In the pool of different personalities, this read brings back the memory of the ones present in our lives or was -present. The writer widely connects us to the society we come from and we belong to. Overall, this is incredible recounted writing with assembled perspectives and occurrences.

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