BENGALURU: What does Sudha Murty do when she’s not reading, writing and participating in philanthropic activities? Learning Halegannada or old Kannada under the guidance of a tutor who helps her understand the texts. “I’ve read 45 classic works so far. Whenever I have some time on hand, I utilise it to read these classics,” says 69-year-old Murty during the launch of her book, The Daughter from a Wishing Tree.
The announcement of her son Rohan Murty’s wedding has just come in a day before, but it’s business as usual for Murty, who has arrived in the Metro for her book launch, in order to avoid the city’s peak hour traffic.
Murty has always been vocal about women’s rights and gender equality, which is clear even through the choice of her subjects in books. The Daughter from a Wishing Tree features fearless women – from Parvati to Ashok Sundari and from Bhamati to Mandodari – frequently led wars on behalf of the gods, were the backbone of their families and makers of their own destinies. “This story has been in my mind for the last 50 years,” she says, adding that she had never thought of penning it down, until her daughter was looking for some easy-to-read stories on mythology.
Flipping through her previous works, Murty recalls her first tryst with writing being through newspaper columns post which she went on to write books in English. “I write because I enjoy it,” says Murty, who has been nominated for the Crossword Book Awards for her book The Upside Down King under Children’s Book category. “I enjoy writing whether I get an award or not. My readers liking my work is what counts,” says the avid writer who particularly loves the structure and humour British writers are able to bring out through their works.
As the only girl in her engineering class, and subsequently the few in the information technology space, Murty has always been used to doing the different. While she admits that much has changed for women in the last 50 years, there’s a still a long way to go for women to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with men.