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Grandparents' bag of stories by Sudha Murty: a book review

short stories meant not just for kids

My grandmother was a stoic lady, not someone who would tie up my hair or tell me stories. Instead, she gave me a new pile of books to read, poetry to devour. My afternoons were spent wandering with the fictional characters. She never categorized books according to age groups, for her it was literature and pieces of art and it should be available to everyone. Sometimes I imagine myself in a parallel universe where my dida would tell me stories, just like Ajji in Sudha Murty’s book.

Although it’s filled with 19 short and sweet stories mostly for kids, it didn’t stop me from reading it in one go. As the prelude goes, the 2020 pandemic disrupted the normal workflow and education. The grandkids of this old couple were sent back to the village of Shiggaon in order to protect them from the grasp of the deadly virus. Sharing folklore with their own twists in it, Ajja and Ajji brought smiles on the faces of little kids and also on the face of the readers. There’s a magical spell in the simple narrative of Sudha Murty that makes me relive my childhood once again and be optimistic about life.

Ironically it has been more than a year and some states are crawling back to lockdown owing to COVID-19 relapse. This book is a perfect getaway to escape from the harsh, hot reality. What I like about this book and children’s books, in general, is how easily they explain certain emotions that we complicate as we grow older. Children’s books take me back to feel that innocence that I think is missing in this generation. Covid has made us realize the value of family and our loved ones. It stopped the world only for us to look back and regain our childhood and our innocent smiles that the metro cities and the work pressure snatched away from us. It sometimes becomes uneasy for parents living in such conditions to give time to their children. Grandparents turn out to be the ultimate support in situations like these. This book proves that the old Indian family structure has some reasoning behind it.

The illustrations in this book hold you till the end. This simple yet impactful book hits home. Keep it close as your grandparents keep you.


It’s 2020 and children are stuck indoors as the novel coronavirus finds its way into India. A nationwide lockdown is announced and amidst the growing crisis, Ajja and Ajji welcome their grandchildren and Kamlu Ajji into their house in Shiggaon.

From stitching masks, sharing household chores, preparing food for workers to losing themselves in timeless tales, the lockdown turns into a memorable time for the children as they enter the enchanting world of goddesses, kings, princesses, serpents, magical beanstalks, thieves, kingdoms and palaces, among others. The myriad stories told by their grandparents become the biggest source of joy, making the children compassionate, worldly-wise, and more resilient than ever.

Following the trail of the best-selling Grandma’s Bag of Stories, India’s favorite author Sudha Murty brings to you this collection of immortal tales that she fondly created during the lockdown period for readers to seek comfort and find the magic in sharing and caring for others. Wonderfully woven in her inimitable style, this book is unputdownable and perfect for every child’s bookshelf!

Grandparents bag of stories is originally published by Puffin Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House. To order your copy buy here.


Sudha Murty was born in 1950 in Shiggaon in north Karnataka. She did her MTech in computer science and is now the chairperson of the Infosys Foundation. A prolific writer in English and Kannada, she has written nine novels, four technical books, three travelogues, one collection of short stories, three collections of non-fiction pieces, and two books for children. Her books have been translated into all the major Indian languages and have sold over three lakh copies around the country. She was the recipient of the R.K. Narayan's Award for Literature and the Padma Shri in 2006.

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