Distinctive tales of women in an honorary collection called Three Thousand Stitches broke the convention of the society. From visiting the red-light areas to encouraging the women to start something decent, she has acquired a venerable position in thousands of women’s lives. In the second chapter, “How to Beat the Boys,” she penned her journey of her Engineering days. The story only revealed her confidence and courage to be an engineer at the time when women were restricted in a few homebound professions.
Sudha Murty has been an inspirational figure in shaping the women empowerment in India; her pedagogical way has taught many Indian women how to balance their career and the family at the same time. Ingenuity in her stories, from childhood until the day of being an important part of Infosys Foundation, reflects vivacity towards life. She has been a positive soul throughout; her upbringing and firmness make her what she is today.
In this blogpost, we are going to explore three stories out of eleven, replete with determination and courage that might change your vision of looking at the life. Here are the stories as follows:
Murty’s Engineering Days in B.V.B College
For a woman, pursuing Computer Engineering in 1968 was a massive jump and more like taking a road that is less travelled by an ordinary woman of that era. Murty has beautifully surmised her dream of pursuing engineering in a phrase, “It was akin to expecting pigs to fly.” This is how women were seen and they were expected only to be part of Science and Medical college because that seemed to be a safe road.
In her early days of the college, she had to face lots of trouble from the boys in the class because she was the single lady out of 150 students. Her harassment reached at its zenith; boys used to throw paper boats and split blue ink on the middle seat. She, instead of showing vengeance towards them, decided to attend the class regularly and concentrate on studies to prove her excellency in the class.
However, she learned a good amount of flexibility from the same gang of boys eventually and some of it were being a good sport, looking at things differently with varied perspectives, and not getting too worked up when challenging situations hit. Her class stories have unmasked before us how courage and zeal in an individual can change someone’s surroundings.
A Wonderful Story from the Chapter, “A Life Unwritten”
Murty’s source of courage and determination came from her father that gets reflected in the part of the story, A Life Unwritten.
By unraveling the story of her father, R.H. Kulkarni, helping a woman in need could encourage us to contribute more in the society and being the ally of those people who are in actual need. Her father was posted in Chandagad, a place in the border of Maharashtra and Karnataka, forced to operate a sixteen-year-old girl who was pregnant out of wedlock. Needless to say, Murty’s father had no previous experience of assisting in a delivery process.
He stood dumbfounded when the local hooligans forced him to operate the young girl with a condition that girl had to be saved. The girl, on the other hand, pleaded to him not to save her life and the child’s because her family members would kill the child and beat her to death. Murty’s father at the end of the delivery process went out from the room and at the moment when he was about to leave, he re-entered the room in the pretext of taking the scissors, handed some money to the girl and asked her to escape the village and meet an individual in Pune who would guide her to take the next move.
Later, in the same course of the story, we became to know that the same girl fled to Pune and raised her child singlehandedly. The same child who would have been dead, if Mr. Kulkarni did not help at the right moment, became a doctor, and founded a hospital under the name of R.H. Diagnostic, inspired by Mr. Kulkarni.
Now, we can realize the source of Sudha Murty’s burning passion to eradicate the devadasi system from the society and helped thousands of sex workers in need and encouraged them to build their own banks and found a different source of income. When Mr. Kulkarni was so liberating and had the philanthropic zeal, this is obvious that her daughter would be no exception in following the same route alike her father.
Intriguing Stories of Strong Woman from Andhra Pradesh
Think of a time when women had the less access of job opportunities in India and were highly starved because of poverty, they had to take seemingly lucrative opportunities in the foreign land. Women were lured to take jobs in the Middle East with a promise that they would be given 15 days of vacation in a year and a lumpsum salary would be handed back in their home. Such a story of Nazneem that could break your heart in pieces.
Nazneem, a mother of three children, was underpaid in India as a maid; at that point, she was deceived by an agent claiming that she could earn double for the same work she had been doing in India. Hoping that she would earn a decent amount in aboard which would be sufficient for her daughter’s marriage, she gave her confirmation and took the job in Middle East. As few days passed by, her work responsibilities at the owner’s house got almost doubled; she had the assurance that she could do the hard work as long as she received a decent pay check.
Every month, she was told that her money would be deposited in the bank account. She was not allowed to take a leave or a rest day even when she was extremely sick. She then realized how she was misled by the agent; she had no ways left to come back to India to her family. It was almost a year she was staying far away in the Middle East, aching to meet her husband and daughters. But all her attempts of escaping went in vain because her passport and all testimonials were seized by the owner.
After few months of intolerable torture and viciousness that Nazneem went through, she devised a plan to escape from the place. Nazneem collapsed after she finished narrating her story. Her story can give us a picture of how Indian women were abused in the foreign land at the time when job scarcity in India for women was at its peak.
Nazneem’s story out of all the eleven stories in the book hit me hard. To conclude, I would like to share the reason behind selecting above three stories from the book because these stories exude the power of the positive and successful ending. I am a firm believer of “All’s well that ends well.”