It is a common thing to be judged by your outer appearance, by whether you’re wearing branded clothes, apparels or not. Infosys Foundation Chairperson shared an experience of similar in nature, Sudha Murthy in her new book, Three Thousand Stitches: Ordinary People, Extraordinary Lives. The 66-year-old wife of industrialist Narayana Murthy narrates an incident which reflects the prevailing biases. While waiting in the queue at the International Heathrow airport in London, a well-heeled lady rebuked Sudha Murthy saying ‘cattle class’ – all based on her simple appearance. The shocking revelation made Twitterati voice out their opinion against such class-based discrimination and in general, the excessive importance given at the superficial level. Also Read - TCS 3rd Most-Valued IT Services Brand Globally, Infosys & HCL Also Secure Spots in Top 10
“Go and stand in the economy class queue. This line is for business class travellers,” said a voice to the chairman of Infosys Foundation. Sudha Murthy drew out personal experiences which she shared in detail in her recently launched book, ‘Three Thousand Stitches’. The social activist realized that she faced such harsh reaction because she was dressed modestly – a simple salwar kameez, which made her an unfit to stand in the business class queue. Also Read - Infosys Records 16.6% Growth in Q3 Net Profit at Rs 5197 Crore, CEO Calls It ‘Excellent Result’
Sudha Murthy who could have shut down the high-headed lady’s doubts in a matter of seconds by showing her boarding pass but instead chose to understand her thought process which made her call ‘cattle class’. She narrates, “Soon I realized it was because of my dress!” This amusing anecdote mentioned by Sudha Murthy in her 22nd book tracing her journey as the Chairperson of the Infosys Foundation got the social media talking, especially on the micro-blogging platform. Also Read - Narayan Murthy's Daughter Richer Than Queen, Husband Rishi Sunak Faces Flak For Hiding Wealth
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Ironically, the renowned philanthropist later ran into the same lady on same day at an Infosys Foundation event to sponsor funds for the overhaul of a government school. From her Indo-Western silk outfit paired with an expensive pair of heels, and complemented with a Gucci handbag at the airport, the latter had slipped into a plain khadi saree to suit the theme of a meeting and needless to say, the lady was shocked to see Sudha chairing the meeting. Sudha Murthy writes in her book, “The clothes were a reminder of the stereotype that is still rampant today. Just like one is expected to wear the finest of silks for a wedding, social workers must present themselves in a plain and uninteresting manner.”
Sudha Murthy said the attitude of the woman didn’t angry her as much as it upset her. “So when I experienced the same myself at the airport I was more upset than angry,” she said. She expressed grave concern over the existence of an “external force” dictating people to appear in a certain way to be part of the “elite” club. The constant pressure led many people into “wrong habits”.
“In most metro cities, many college going girls become part of high-level prostitution because they want to earn quick money to buy designer clothes. This is because of the pressure created by the external force.” She had launched Three Thousand Stitches: Ordinary People, Extraordinary Lives at the Indian Institute of World Culture which is about her experiences and observations for last 20 years.