Wise and Otherwise

Wise and Otherwise
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Rating: 4.6 /5

Author: Sudha Murthy

Paperback: 232 pages

Publisher: Penguin India

Publishing Date: Revised edition, 18 July 2006

Language: English

Genre: Non-Fiction

ISBN-10: 9780143062226

ISBN-13: 978-0143062226

ASIN: 0143062220

Cost: Rs. 119 (Kindle edition)


Understanding human and human nature is one of the toughest jobs .Many time what seems right and good or vice versa can be completely different if explored to proper depth. In many instance, we all come across people and forms an opinion about the people we meet without actually knowing anything about them. But hearing and learning about such instances helps us to redefine our thought process and become wiser. Sudha Murty’s book Wise and otherwise will take you to a journey across the length and breadth of India through narrations of 51 stories inspired by the extensive travels of the author herself.

Wise and otherwise has generated interest not just as an inspirational book of people’s struggles and how they overcome it but also for its settings. It present a realistic picture of India with its values, traditions and imperfections and lay before the readers certain set of moral values whose validity they have to judge for themselves. It unravels human nature and shows all that is good and bad in it and how it is often shaped by intention and circumstances. From the story of a son who leaves his father in an old age home pretending he is a stranger to the story of earthquake aid being exploited and not reaching to victims, each story is a moving one and will generate myriads of emotions within the readers, ranging from anger to kindness to pity to the realisation of reality of the world. The book grabs the attention of the reader through its skilful narration of characters, setting and situations.


‘WISE AND OTHERWISE’ will definitely make you think about those who are not as blessed as most us are. It will give you an opportunity to know more about the "real India". And most importantly this book is based on her personal experiences and not fiction. There are so many instances in the book which make your heart go weak. This book is recommended for each and every Indian who wants to know more about the real state of India.

A lot of this book is about contrasts. From the changing dynamics of our modernizing society where grown-ups are more relieved than saddened by the demise of their old parents, to families who resort to deceit in order to rid themselves of their living parents, there is much to think and worry about the evolution path we are treading. She talks about human frailties and about that bloated ego which drives some people to resort to unfair practices when none is warranted - much ado about nothing.

In the other instance, she shows the other end of the spectrum where humility comes from a very unexpected quarter - sometimes from a handicraft seller family of Gujarat, sometimes from the uneducated Thandappa and sometimes from her own house maid. She marvels at the honesty of children and then lifts the lid from a darker issue - the ones who must set an example resort to exploitation at the expense of others. How bad a grouchy company can be is amply expressed in her moods when she talks about some people. Then, she goes on to showcase how thinking well can not only transform our own lives, but the lives we touch. All in all, the book covers a broad spectrum of social and personal issues - with a story coming from each extreme of the topics.

All in all, the stories are short, crisp and very matter-of-factly written. While the language flows smoothly, some stories do leave you with some heaviness in the heart and a lot more to think about.

About the author:

Sudha Murthy was born in 1950 in Shiggaon in north Karnataka. She did her MTech in computer science and is now the chairperson of the Infosys Foundation. A prolific writer in English and Kannada, she has written novels, technical books, travelogues, collections of short stories and non-fictional pieces and four books for children. Her books have been translated into all the major Indian languages. Sudha Murty was the recipient of the R.K. Narayan Award for Literature and the Padma Shri in 2006 and the Attimabbe Award from the government of Karnataka for excellence in Kannada literature in 2011.