A viral forward claiming to be the life story of Infosys chairperson Sudha Murty is being widely shared online. It is claimed that a stranger named Mrs. Usha Bhattacharya paid for the train ticket of a runaway girl named Chitra while travelling from Bombay to Bangalore and took the girl to an NGO so she could be taken care of. It goes on to state that the little girl grew up to be the Infosys chairperson Sudha Murty and wife of co-founder of Infosys, Narayana Murthy.
Upon conducting a keyword search of the viral story on Google, Newschecker found that the same story had been posted on popular blog The Speaking Tree, which is a Times of India publication. According to their website, it covers a large variety of topics including wellness and spirituality, also incorporating aspects such as health, money and relationships which make the website appeal to a wide range of readers all across the country.
According to the blog entry made on 17th December, 2016, the story was written by Sudha Murty, “Chairperson, Infosys Foundation is known for her ability to glean interesting stories from the lives of ordinary people. The following is extracted from her latest collection, ‘Bombay to Bangalore’.” The story is written entirely in first person, and speaks of the young runaway girl in third person. Nowhere in the blog does it say that the little girl in the story named Chitra grew up to be Sudha Murty. The story published in the blog also has a slightly different ending from that on the viral forward, forcing Newschecker to probe further.
Upon further investigation, Newschecker found the same story uploaded on another blog on 28th August, 2012.
The blog entry reads that “Sudha Murty, author and chairperson of the Infosys Foundation, is renowned for her capacity to collect fascinating anecdotes from the lives of common people and weave them into original fables and anecdotes.”
It further states that “her latest collection of stories, ‘The Day I Stopped Drinking Milk’, features a fascinating cast of characters, each of whom made an indelible impression on the author. Extracted here is a nugget from ‘Bombay to Bangalore’, one of the most heartwarming stories in this collection”.
The blog entry reproduces the longer version of the story from the book ‘The Day I Stopped Drinking Milk’, and carries the same ending as in the Speaking Tree website.
Newschecker also found a review of the short story and other stories in the title on Goodreads. According to the website, the short story was published as a stand alone story along with other stories titled ‘Bombay to Bangalore’.
“Over the years, Sudha Murty has come across some fascinating people whose lives make for interesting stories and have astonishing lessons to reveal,” the review reads, once again confirming that the book is not autobiographical in nature, but carried the experiences of other people.
Newschecker further perused the book in question, ‘The Day I Stopped Drinking Milk’. The preface of the book reads “One may wonder why I am writing about the personal lives of many people who have confided in me about their problems. Isn’t it unethical to do so? However, most of the people I have written about requested me to change their names and use their problems as case studies…”
The preface makes it clear that Sudha Murty has written about real life experiences, but of others rather than her own life story.
Newschecker also found a video on the popular YouTube channel BeerBiceps in which Sudha Murty recollects her childhood. In the video, Sudha Murty can be heard thanking her parents and teachers for all their support, and also describes her growing up years in Karnataka. She also describes her engineering education in Karnataka, where she was the only woman in her batch. She does not mention any stint in Bombay or about relocating to Delhi, proving that the story is not autobiographical.
We also attempted to reach out to Sudha Murty. The article will updated when we get a response.
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