Cheat Sheet Fact of Life: There will always be people who are not grateful for your help. Learn to accept it.
Sudha Murthy is a social worker and a writer. I read her book, ‘The day I stopped drinking milk’. This book is about her life experiences. There is a proverb, ‘A wise man learns from the mistakes of others, the fool has to learn from his own’.
What I learned from this book is that the world has become a place of personal gain and selfishness. Sudha Murthy recounts two of her experiences in which she helped two youngsters complete their education by providing monetary aid. After these two people completed their education and became successful they do not acknowledge her help. When they meet her after a few years by chance, they pretend not to recognize her.
After I read these two stories, it really made me question philanthropy. Sometimes we help others thinking they are in need but if they are not, then they end up thinking, ‘Well he/she is too rich that is why that person helped us. He/she has nothing to lose’. There is no gratitude from the beneficiary and such kind of ungrateful attitude hurts the philanthropist. In the end, every human being craves for recognition and appreciation.
I also liked her story in which she questions the overseer of a temple, as to why she cannot perform shradha for her father. The overseer does not have any explanation for that question but simply tells that this ritual was performed by males since generations so it has to be done that way. In this regard she tells a story about how we foolishly follow our traditions without knowing the reason behind the traditions.
A person did puja everyday in the morning. He owned a cat. The cat used to disturb him at his puja time so he tells his son to tie the cat and feed it milk at his puja time, so that it will not disturb him. Every time the man did the puja, his son used to tie the cat and pour milk in the cat’s bowl. After a few years, the father dies and the son continues the puja along with the cat ritual. One day the cat dies. The next day the son gets a new cat, ties it up, pours milk to it and only then does the puja. He never knew the reason behind tying up the cat while performing the puja.
Eventually Sudha Murthy succeeds in performing the shradha with the help of a priest and a few other women follow her example and perform shradha for their beloved.
In this book, Sudha Murthy writes her experiences in the form of short stories, in no particular order. The book is written in a very simple language with no frills. Few of the stories were interesting but most of them were written in a report format. It would have been more captivating if there were a little bit more showing & telling. She fails to paint a picture of her memories to the reader and we are not part of her world. There is also very less dialogue, reading through most of the stories was more like reading a text book. I feel that she is much better at writing magical stories for children rather than her life experiences.
Background modified to include the picture of the book.