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Book Review: Three Thousand Stitches- Ordinary People With Extraordinary Lives

It was a Saturday morning and I need to catch a flight from Chennai to join my husband who was in Gauhati. The flight flew via Kolkata and there was a five hour halt in Kolkata. I had ample time in my hand to catch the connecting flight. I had to keep my 3 year old son entertained through out the journey and through the every hour of my wait to catch the connecting flight. As we were fishing through the departure gate that kept changing. My son got excited to find his superhero spider man sipper in a random gift shop that sold books as well. While my son was picking up the bottle I was rummaging through the book shelf to find a decent book to read to kill the next four hours. There were a wide variety of books of different genre, but the book that caught my attention was a book called 'The Three Thousand stitches' authored by Sudha Murthy the chairperson of the Infosys Foundation. Initially I thought it was a self help book but as and when I leafed through the pages I realized that it is a selective set of stories from the author's life. From the first page till the last the writing style was simple and classy. It never failed to retain the interest of the reader. The author in one of her interviews emphasized that she doesn't believe in using fancy complicated English words to express her feelings as it demands the reader to keep checking the dictionary for the meaning of those words which would stymie the flow of reading. True to her words the language was simple, relatable, easy to understand and anybody can read it. I had felt that my grandma is reading it aloud to me and I could imagine her voice narrating through the entire story as I flipped through the pages. The book is about ordinary people with extraordinary lives as the tagline goes. There have also been instances that I have felt that how blessed my life has been in several ways and was thankful for it. The book is a compilation of 11 different stories from the author's own life experiences. It talks about the people from different walks of life, be it the unpriveleged one, or the rich and the affluent judging her for her simplicity, her travel experiences, her childhood memories, how the Infosys Foundation was established or being the only girl in an engineering college. I could not zero down my favorite story among them but I was awestruck by her knowledge, and narrative style. It is one of the books that never let's the reader to keep the book down without completing it. The book also gives us a whole new perspective on life and how to deal with people be it addressing the problems of the under privileged or dealing with the arrogant ladies who were judging her looks and calling her a 'cattle class'. She has aced it with perfection and maturity.

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The 3000 stitches

Mrs Sudha Murthy started her service to the society by uplifting the devadasi community who were into prostitution to make their ends meet and to provide a better future for their children. Eventhough initially she was pelted with tomatoes and shooed away she again tried with a determined mind, by taking her dad along with her, she approached the problem in a different perspective and won their trust. She broke every single barrier with grace and helped them to get out of that vicious circle and eventually won their trust. As a token of gratitude she was gifted a bedspread that was stitched by these devdasis which had 3000 stitches as the title of the book. That was the milestone in her life that gave her the confidence to bring tremendous changes in other people's lives.


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Glimpses from the Book

She was not only an active social worker but also a determined headstrong women who is clear about her ideas and her goals in life, she was a topper during her school days and she wanted to pursue engineering as a career. Back those days it was an unwritten law that engineering was meant for men and the teaching profession was meant for women and no other girl in her town dared to break the path. She was an intellectual, she excelled in her high school with good marks and was determined and all set to enter the engineering college. Eventhough her college was co-ed there was no other lady who had enrolled for an engineering program except her. She had even mentioned that the college principal met her father and explained him the situation that she might face bullying and ragging from other boys and was apprehensive about giving her an admission. During the initial years she never had any friends and she used to prepare her own notes while attending classes without asking anybody help. Such was her determination and dedication. The principal had converted the lab into a washroom for her to use as there were no separate women's washroom. There were boys who used to call her names and make fun of her. There were days were she broke down for being cornered but she never gave up on her dreams. At the end of the year she topped in every subject and gained a lot of friends with whom she maintains a good rapport even now. Now, she is also been invited as a guest of honor in her college functions which has now become a full fledgedco-ed college with better amenities for ladies.

There are loads of stories from the author's life that are worth a mention be it her travel to the abroad countries and the impact of Bollywood in those countries and being given some privileges just because she had come from the land of Bollywood, and her amazement of Bollywood songs being played in local restaurants and describing the culture of the people living in that country and their love for Bollywood movies or be it providing funds for rescuing ladies who have been forced into bonded labour in Arab countries, or her father 's act of kindness that had been reciprocated several years later or the story of the new age Mahabharatha that has been re-narrated by her grand daughters or the about her friend's father who was a botanist who gave her an insightful session about the vegetables and its origin from their kitchen garden or a day in Infosys and how she deals with different people, the stories never end.

The best part about this book is that every story has a take away at the end of the chapter. It shows her expertise in handling people and coming up with working plans to overcoming barriers to those people who taught her important life lessons. This book is a good read and a light read which has an everlasting impact on oneself.

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