It is blissfully encouraging to envision a space in which women offer their shoulders to one another to lean on and take a step together in the right direction. Twinkle Khanna’s Tweak India is one such initiative. It is a digital media platform for women in India to challenge stereotypes and come up with new ideas for a positive, refreshing change.
As a part of the second anniversary celebration of her company, Twinkle launched “The Icons” series where she chatted with screen icons and real life heroes to show how powerful women can be. I watched a few of these very interesting episodes and wanted to reflect upon some of my favorite moments from the chat with Sudha Murty.
Twinkle Khanna shared that there was no better way to draw the curtains of the anniversary celebrations than by spending some time with “Tweak’s unofficial patron saint”!
An author, teacher, and social worker as well as the chairperson of the Infosys Foundation, Sudha Murty wears several hats. She is truly a shining example of woman empowerment, and it is the grace and humility that sparkle in her personality which make her so endearing and respectable. Like her other interviews, here too she gives some brilliant insights.
The value of education deemed large in life
Sudha Murty comes from a family of achievers. Twinkle Khanna jokingly asks what masala her mother had put in the sambhar for her and her siblings to turn out to be such great achievers. It was a good value system, Murty replies. Her family was a staunch believer that education should be respected. Books were treasures for her mother, and the children, other than special occasions like Diwali, were not gifted anything else besides books. To quote her, “love for knowledge became a passion, and that passion probably excelled us!”
The grit and determination stood strong and unhindered.
Being the only female student in her engineering class, acceptance was not what came in the way for Sudha Murty. She says that her classmates looked at her as though she was an animal in a zoo. They never shared any notes with her and did not offer help of any kind. That was the time she realized that she had to depend on herself to be successful without having any expectations from others. What still leads her on is the belief that an individual is the best friend and worst enemy to oneself. She was determined to prove to her classmates that contrary to what they thought, being a woman could not stop her from becoming an able engineer like any of them.
The ideals that guided the journey of life
How unbelievable does it sound that one of India’s richest men was broke and without a job when he got married? Sudha Murty happily talks about an incident in which someone once asked her if she was an idealist and if she had been impractical her entire life. The individual pointed to two facts. First, she could have been successful as a doctor by following her father, which she did not. Then, she married a man who was jobless and to whom she had to give her savings. Her response to that question was that she had always done something which she thought was ethically and legally correct.
When Narayan Murthy looked quite different from how Sudha Murty visualized him
It was a humorous moment when Sudha Murty talked about how surprised she was when she met Narayan Murthy for the first time. For a knowledgeable person like him who was so widely traveled even in the 70’s ,she did not expect him to be so straight or simple or to have such a humble disposition. She talks about coming face to face with a short, thin, spectacled person who she said looked like a student younger to her although he was older to her by four years.
What is the secret to a marriage of equals?
The marriage of the Murtys is built on the edifice of friendship. Sudha Murty says that she has always been open with her husband like a friend. She has never hesitated in pointing out mistakes if she has ever thought that he was not doing something in the right way. She would leave the final decision to him though. The couple has always given each other their space, and she believes that “Behind every successful woman there is an understanding man”.
A simple life is what Sudha Murty believes in
She is happy to lead a simple life and enjoys coming home after work to immerse herself in books. Humbly she says that since they started their life without money, money has never charmed her. It is not fame but rather love for her work that has enchanted her.
The parenting gospel
Sudha Murty has taught her children to lead a life of simplicity in spite of the wealth they have. She recognizes the importance of the blessings of both God and elders in one’s life.
Being a good human being with empathy is very important whether or not one is an achiever. She tells her children that at the end of their lives when they look back, what will matter are not their achievements. What will hold value is how kind and helpful they were to others and how much they have done for the society and their country.
The interview ends on an absolutely beautiful note with Sudha Murty saying that she is grateful to God for all that she has in life and has no complaints. With Twinkle Khanna’s impeccable sense of humor and Murty’s down-to-earth, enlightening views on life, this chat is definitely a must watch!
(This article was featured in Women’s Web )