After so many unsuccessful attempts finally, I have developed the habit to read a book daily at the least 10 pages. I guess reading books is one habit which will be difficult to acquaint with but trust me it will be very hard to let it go once you are hooked into it. This is coming from someone who gets bored easily, who is very lazy to hold a book and who depends more on visual explanation of most of the things. I spend most of my time in front of the computer, so I was unable to get the initial kick start. Thanks to the Vardah cyclone which hit Chennai in December, 2016 there was no power in the house for more than 2 days and I had nothing to do apart from helping my wife in household chores. Then I started reading Shantaram by David Gregory Roberts and man I was hooked. But somehow because of the size of the book and slow narration and my eagerness towards what will happen next made the read a pain. So abruptly I stopped reading and took a lighter book Connect the dots by Rashmi Bansal which is completely different. I have always been a good reader of Entrepreneurial stories and that made me read this book to the end. I made it a routine to read the book while I travel in the cab to office. In that way I can pass the time which I was wasting previously looking at the traffic and cursing.
Then I picked up a Telugu novel named “Athadu Adavini Jayinchadu” (He Conquered the Jungle) by Dr. Kesava Reddy. The main reason to start the book was it’s size. It was hardly a 100 page book with my mother tongue so it became even more easier to read. I had always a kind of complex towards Telugu books and was always under the impression the writers lacked an outlook and are more focused on stupid erotic stories or personality development even though I am aware of great writers like Sri Sri and all. But this book has brought quite a difference in my perception towards Telugu literature. I didn’t know who Kesava Reddy was before but now I look upto him. The book has a very simple plot about an old man who shepherds pigs for a living. One fine day he loses his valuable pig (wild) which is pregnant. The rest of the story is about his journey into the forest searching for the pig and whether he achieves what he wants or not. Kesava Reddy tells a lot of philosophy very cleverly in that thin plot and from the view point of an uneducated old man who has developed a kind of intellect from his past experiences. The whole plot happens in one night in the forest and at the end of the book you will be very close to the old man and feel every bit of what he went through. I am very fortunate to find this book as it not only changed my perception towards Telugu literature but also towards life how the same thing can mean in two different ways because of the situations. On the whole it was a great book one cannot afford to miss. I am looking forward to read more of Kesava Reddy’s novels. They are short, simple and straight to the point with no nonsense.
The second author I got acquainted with is Sudha Murthy. I know her as wife of Narayana Murthy, founder of Infosys. I never knew she was a writer until recently. Again I had very low expectations from her as I read she deals mostly about feminist subjects. I picked up “Dollar Bahu”. It was a very small book with simple writing and was very easy to read. That doesn’t restrict Mrs. Murthy’s writing capabilities. The story is a very generic one that happens in a lot of Indian middle class families but the way Mrs. Murthy narrated the whole conflict between the characters especially Gouriamma, the mother in law of “Dollar Bahu” is quite gripping. The book presents so many realistic situations how money cannot buy you happiness and also characters who are stuck in the money without happiness but are unable to come out of it. The story makes a good plot for a TV serial with all the drama that happens in the lives of these characters. Later I read that it has been made into a serial. After “Dollar Bahu”, I picked up one of her other novels “Mahashwetha” which deals with the concept of Beauty. This book presents so many real life situations and conflicts between characters who value materialistic things like money, beauty etc and the lead character “Anupama” who is quite the opposite. The story is about the struggle of Anupama being an outcast in the society and whether she can make it big in the patriarchal society where men are treated as achievers and women as wives of those men without giving value to their individuality. It is about human being’s perception of real beauty. Mrs. Murthy provides a fantastic narration about this in the last chapter in the form of dialogue from Anupama. Finally, the climax is even more beautiful as how she ends the story on the lines of “Mahashwetha” play with a tragedy that justifies the plot.
I will continue to read both Dr. Kesava Reddy’s and Mrs. Sudha Murthy’s novels whenever I get hold of them and will keep my habit of reading going.