Three Thousand Stitches — By Sudha Murthy

Book review

Photo by Anu Anniah

I love Sudha Murthy. Period. I doubt whether anyone can cross paths with her through her books or interviews and not love the wonderful human that she is. 

Sudha Murthy has carved her niche as a writer and philanthropist and impacted so many people that one can’t help but think this is her destiny — to change lives with her stories and her work.

Three Thousand Stitches is one of her many books — where each story and each sentence carries so much weight. This book is a collection of short stories from her life experiences. Like all her other books, it is written in her simple and down-to-earth style. Her stories are easy to read, relatable, and lay bare the lovely lives of ordinary people doing extraordinary things in a largely middle-class South India.

The first story in this book is about her work to uplift the devadasis in northern Karnataka as part of the Infosys Foundation. The story ends with a gift. An embroidered bedspread handmade by the devadasis for Sudha Murthy. It has three thousand stitches because all the devadasis wanted to have a hand in it. The lovingly handmade bedspread is a testimony to the impact Sudha Murthy has had on their lives. I’ve read this story 3–4 times and this part always brings me to tears. Simple gestures like this make all the effort worth it. One must read this book just for this story — a warmly goosebumpy narration. 

Then there is a story about her travels. She talks about how she finds Indian influences in a lot of places — about hearing Tuj Mein Rab Dikhta Hai in Uzbekistan to seeing photos of Shah Rukh Khan in Switzerland to drinking something called Piggy Chops (named after Priyanka Chopra) in West Hollywood. Sudha Murthy talks about these experiences with such joy that you feel your own patriotic spirit oozing out. She states these things simply, but the pride is palpable. That’s the gift of her writing skill — the ability to make us feel deeply.

One of my favorite stories in this book is called Three Handfuls of Water. It is a warm and endearing tale that takes us through Sudha Murthy’s life as a child as she hears about the specialty of Kashi from her grandparents. It was wonderful to learn about Kashi and Kashi yathra through the eyes of her grandparents. 

Years later, when she has a chance to visit Kashi, she decides to give up all forms of materialistic shopping. I found this story very inspiring. To give up shopping in this day and age is a feat of superhuman strength. Sudha Murthy is such a shining example of how to live a purposeful life.

Every single story in Three Thousand Stitches stands out for its simplistic style of narration. Nothing over the top. Yet, each story made me smile and tear up in equal measure.

Everyone must read Three Thousand Stitches and several of her other books as well. As an Indian reader, her books make me feel a sense of pride in our country and our culture. All her stories make me feel warm and fuzzy and leave me with a feeling of hope that there are many good humans on earth.

2 thoughts

  1. Anu, this is such a warm and beautiful review of the book.

    You have captured the essence of both, the book and the author.

    There’s a story by her in which she’s talked about the significance of History. I can’t recall the title but what I love about it and her works in general is that they always woven in a simple narrative and yet they make you think. Also, these pearls of wisdom are never ever preachy.

    Thanks for sharing this wonderful review. I haven’t read this work, yet. 🙂


    1. Thank you, Harshi! Glad you enjoyed the review.
      Loved this sentence in your comment – ‘they always woven in a simple narrative and yet they make you think’
      Agree with that statement. That’s what sets Sudha Murthy apart. Her stories are told so simply.

      Liked by 1 person

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