The writer-next-door, Sudha Kulkarni Murty is not just a social worker but also an Indian engineering teacher. The Chairperson of the Infosys Foundation, Sudha Murty began her journey in the technological realm alongside her husband, NR Narayana Murthy. Apart from being the first female engineer to be hired by TELCO, she also won the Padma Shri from Dr APJ Abdul Kalam in 2006, and the RK Narayan Award for Literature. This philanthropist and eminent writer’s main aim still remains to provide government aided schools with better computer education and library facilities. 

Sudha Murty has written numerous novels, travelogues, short stories and non-fictional pieces in both Kannada and the English language for adults and children. Her books have been translated into all major Indian languages and generally revolve around different social issues, family, love, and so much more. With simple and genial words, her works capture vibrancy, excellence and robustness of Indian lives, and that’s truly why she resonates with the Indian readers, especially women so well. 

Top 10 Books By Sudha Murty That Every Desi Girl Should Read

Be it books on pushing yourself towards your dreams or stories about the struggles of women in middle-class families, Murty has authored words for readers of all ages. Let’s look into her top 10 books that must be an immediate addition to your reading list.  

1. Dollar Bahu

A realistic and thought-provoking take, this book by Sudha Murty showcases how people are so blinded by the glamour and money that they often neglect the far greater things in life. 

Vinuta, a young woman marries a bank clerk named Girish and settles in Bangalore with his family. She begins to adjust with her life quite well in Bangalore and even tries her level best to ignore the taunts from her mother-in-law, Gouramma. Nevertheless things take a turn for the worst when Girish’s elder brother gets married. Chandru, who is based in the USA, lives an extravagant life with his Dollar Bahu owing to his good pay there. This creates tension back in India between Gouramma and Vinutha, who faces constant comparison with her new sister-in-law, much to her dismay. Things take a turn when Gouramma decides to pay Chandru a visit in the U.S. Would this trip at all change the relationship between Vinutha and Gouramma when she realises that she won’t receive the same respect and love she does in India?

Dollar Bahu was adapted as a television series back in 2001 and remains one of Murty’s well-known books. This novel portrays the depth of human emotions in the most heart-touching manner and should indeed be a must-read for everyone. 

2. Wise And Otherwise

This is one of her most widely sold English books. On many occasions, we tend to judge people really fast without even meeting them and that can cloud our ability to make true judgements when really necessary. Wise And Otherwise depicts human nature in all its forms and colours. Through the various daily events in our life, we get to learn and redefine our thought processes which make us wiser. This specific book of Murty will take you through a journey of 51 stories inspired by the extensive travels of the writer herself. 

Starting from a selfish man throwing his own father out of the house to a grateful woman remembering to thank her benefactor even on her deathbed, this non-fiction book shows human sufferings through a vivid lens with strong messages. It portrays the realistic image of India with its values, imperfections and traditions laid before the eyes of the reader. Wise And Otherwise is a must-read for you if you want to ignite the reader in you. 

3. Gently Falls The Bakula

Sudha Murty’s debut novel Gently Falls The Bakula shows in a truly bold manner the agony of work ethics and modern lifestyle. The story is of a couple, Shrikant and Shrimati, and the changes they come across when Shrikant walks up the corporate ladder to the peak of success, while his married life slowly loses its charm and identity. With a magnificently straightway of writing, this book brings a simple but heart-touching story of this couple and the events that shake their life upside down.

Shrikant has always been attracted to Shrimati since his school days and later on when Shrimati also realises that she has fallen in love with Shrikant, they both get married. After he joined an IT company, he dedicated his entire focus on being successful in his career whereas on the other hand, Shrimati dilutes her own aspirations and stays back at home supporting her husband. Their lives were fine until one day Shrimati realises while speaking to an old professor about what she had truly missed out in life. Is it too late or did she really lose her identity in this modern world while just remaining a wife of a successful corporate worker? 

4. Mahashweta

Mahashweta follows the story of a woman whose idea of a beautiful life falls apart when she discovers a white patch on her skin. The castles that she had built in the air break apart as she struggles through a condition called leukoderma. Abandoned by her insensitive husband and cruel in-laws, Anupama is forced to come back to her father’s home in the village. The barbaric societal pressures and the fact that her in-laws had abandoned her forced Anupama to contemplate suicide.

Mahashweta is the story of this woman with undying spirit who later on moves to Bombay to learn and understand the meaning of resilience and courage. This poignant tale offers hope and solace to all those who are always being judged by the prejudices of the society. Once you decide to read this book, it will not fail to invoke the emotions in you. 

5. House Of Cards

Another bestseller by Sudha Murty, House Of Cards weaves a fantastic fiction of Mridula and her marriage to Sanjay, a talented yet penniless doctor. This bright and young woman who is characterised by intense enthusiasm hails from a village in Karnataka. The more she sees the world she realises how materialistic and selfish people can be. Soon Sanjay quits his government job and sets up a successful private practice chamber. But with success comes ambition and an over-ambitious spirit can often lead to corruption. That’s exactly what happens to Sanjay. For a long time, Mridula doesn’t even realise that Sanjay has sold his soul. 

What do you think is bound to happen? On this occasion, Mridula can either walk out of her marriage once she realises everything about Sanjay, or she needs to build a space of her own in her marriage. House Of Cards is a moving tale portraying Mridula as a fierce yet perfectly feminine character in the novel. 

6. How I Taught My Grandmother To Read: And Other Stories

This book has been translated in more than 15 languages, received 7 awards, and grabbed a spot in the 100 Children’s book to read in a lifetime. Unusual stories about a grandmother asking her granddaughter to teach her alphabet, and touching her feet as a mark of respect towards her teacher, several stories in this book will bind you to remain hooked to it till the end. It contains stories about believing what is right and having the courage to realise your dreams. By using simple instruments of storytelling, it’s a book that teaches life lessons in the simplest possible way. 

7. The Old Man And His God

Murty’s The Old Man And His God explores various forms of human nature. It’s everything real that you truly experience. As far as the reality of India is concerned, this book reveals many layers. The simple yet honest stories reveal the unspoken areas of human life which have never been touched upon. There are accounts of struggles and hardships that the people of India face on a daily basis. These emotions that emerge from this short story collection range from love to friendship to betrayal, and covers chapters on business, philanthropy, counselling, freedom, injustice, and selfishness. One such story is about a visually impaired old man who lives in his little Shiva temple. He doesn’t need help and refuses if provided any. He is his own true maker. Other stories contain unheard tales from the remote corners of India. Sudha Murty tried her best in representing people who didn’t have a voice until now. 

8. The Mother I Never Knew: Two Novellas

The Mother I Never Knew comprises two different novellas that explore pursuits by two different men. Venkatesh, who stumbles upon his father’s hidden past, which includes an abandoned wife and a child. Venkatesh, who after his father’s death realises that he’s actually adopted. Pushed by an impulse he sets out to find his biological mother but finds himself caught up at a crossroads of life. The Mother I Never Knew is one such dramatic work of art that would touch your heart and help you look at things in a different light. Bound by the same dilemma and the same complex emotions of life, the core impulse of this book is to try to come to terms with a reality which is blaringly accurate. Add this book to your latest reading list to get utterly inspired by thought-provoking yet sensitive incidents from daily life.

9. The Bird With The Golden Wings

Another great anthology by her, this book tells the story of a poor little girl who is rewarded with lovely gifts when she feeds a hungry bird all the rice she has. How and why did the once sweet seawater turn salty? How did such a learned teacher forget all his lessons? How did the king hide his horrible donkey ears from the people of his kingdom? Delve right into this anthology by Murty to read such heart-rending stories, which are bound to leave a bright smile on your face once you close it. 

10. Three Thousand Stitches

This is by far the most important book from Murty’s life. Often, it is the simple acts of courage that touch the lives of others. Sudha Murty, through her exceptional work of the Infosys Foundation as well as through her own day-to-day life, weaves such heart touching stories which have moulded her into who she is today. In Three Thousand Stitches she talks clearly about her work with the Devadasi Community, her trials and tribulations as the only female engineering student in her college, and the unexpected consequences of her father’s kindness. This book not only unmasks the beauty and ugliness of human nature but also reveals stories of people who have lived their life through sheer grace.

Hope this reading list gives you enough inspiration to bring out the reader in you. If you are a Sudha Murty fan, don’t forget to tell us what are some of your favourite books by the author!