Book Review: Wise and Otherwise

Wise and Otherwise: A Salute to Life is a collection of short stories by the eminent Indian writer Sudha Murty. This is her most appreciated work of non-fiction containing fifty vignettes that showcase the diverse shades of human nature. As the Chairperson of Infosys Foundation, she comes across all sorts of people in her office as well as during her travels related to her social work. These stories are based on her real life experiences.

Her stories cover different facets of human nature and have something to teach. There are some really touching and poignant stories about people from all over the country. An old tribal chief from Sahyadri hills teaches the author that there is grace in receiving too. A sick woman Zubeida remembers to thank the author for her help even from her deathbed. An old lady expresses her gratitude to the author for the new hospital wing by gifting her string of Jasmine. Her friend learns to live positively after she sees a poor beggar dancing in the rain. A poor college student returns the unspent money he received for his hostel accommodation.

Then there are some meanest acts which she comes across during her social work. A man lies that he knows her so that he could sell his books to the foundation but little did he know that he was talking to Sudha Murty herself. A man dumps his aged father in an old age home by lying that he is a homeless stranger and later comes back to claim his money when the old man dies.

The short stories are simple and touching. The author has narrated the incidents with wry humour and directness that strikes a chord within the heart. The book not only teaches you valuable lessons of life but also motivates you to help the needy. It teaches you to revive the innocence, love and sympathy lying dormant in us. With a wide collection of vignettes which are educative, motivating and enlightening, this book is definitely worth a read.

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