A Presentation

HOREGALLU an anecdote by Sudha Murty

WRITER: Sudha Murty – D/o Dr  R.H Kulkarni, reputed physician and W/o Narayana Murty co-founder of Infosys – Social worker, member of Gates Foundation, founded many orphanages, – Writer of novels, Travelogues, Collection of short stories, books for children, etc

WRITINGS: Murthy is a prolific fiction author in Kannada and English. She has published several books, mainly through Penguin, that espouse her philosophical views on charity, hospitality and self-realization through fictional narratives. Some of her notable books in Kannada are Dollar Sose, Runa, Kaveri inda Mekaangige, Hakkiya Teradalli, Athirikthe, Guttondu Heluve. The book How I Taught My Grandmother to Read & Other Stories has been translated into 15 languages including Hindi, Marathi and Assamese. Her latest book is The Day I Stopped Drinking Milk. Other notable books by her are Wise and Otherwise, Old Man and his God,The Magic Drum And Other Favourite Stories and Gently Falls the Bakula. Marathi movie ‘Pitruroon’ is based on a story by Sudha Murthy.

Introduction:-‘HOREGALLU’ is taken from a set of short stories (25) entitled ‘The Old Man and his God’. Sudha Murthy introduces real life experiences of her works. She holds up a mirror to the lives of the people of her village and attempts to trace their stress and spirit of daily life.

Meaning of the Title:- ‘HOREGALLU’ literally means ‘a stone that can bear weight’ here it is ‘a large flat stone placed horizontally over two vertical ones, thus making a stone bench on which anyone could sit and rest a while, chat with a fellow traveller and exchange news of the road.’

Significance of the Title:- In deeper sense-In the journey of life we have to face a number of challenges, severe situations, conflicts and crises which disrupt the normal life cycle. In such situations we need to put down the burden and rest. Horegallu gives the opportunity to do so. It helps people to regain their strength. It is a symbol of people who are ready to give rest to the burdens (worries) of others by listening to them.


1. Author, Sudha Murty:- Remembers her childhood days andworking in an office in Mumbai

2. Grandfather:- A retired schoolteacher – used to sit under the banyan tree, talking to those resting there – refreshes the travellers by listening to their worries.

3. Ratna:- A senior clerk – middle aged – 25 years of working experience – did the same thing that of the grand father by spending time with fellow her workers during lunch hour – never betrayed secrets of others- always smiling – rejoices through the act of kindness.

4. Silent Characters

a. Horegallu:- A symbol of a place (or persons) where you can take rest by unloading your

burden (worries).

b. Banyan Tree:- Stands for nature (or persons) which (or who) gives comfort to those who are tired.

Theme and Message:

Sharing and caring – the social togetherness.

Importance of such persons who act like ‘horegallu’ (Grandfather and Ratna).

Be patient and listen to others, we have two ears to listen (but one mouth to speak).


Plot: Whenever the writer sees a horegallu, she remembers two persons who were true horegallu.  She tells the story of a banyan tree in a remote village in Karnataka that gives shelter to travellers under its shade, and of the man who sits on a stone under the tree and lets passers-by share the seat and their troubles with him, acting as a counsellor to them, letting them unburden their worries on him for a while.

Style:- Characterised by simplicity, minute observation, and wide knowledge of human behaviour.

Espouses her philosophical views on charity, hospitality and self-realization

Prepared by Thomas A A, GHSS Kattoor, Thrissur

Edited by Gija M B, G H S S Elavally, Thrissur

Sample TE questions and answers

1. Read the excerpt from ‘Horegallu’

The horegallu in our village holds special memories for me as it is inextricably linked with my grandfather. He was a retired schoolteacher and would spend hours every day, sitting under the banyan tree and talking to those resting there. When I would get tired of playing, I would sit next to him and observe the people he was speaking to and listen to their conversations. Most of them were villagers taking a break from their work in the fields nearby. They had to walk long distances each day, carrying heavy burdens on their heads. Tired out by the heat, they would drink the cool water, wash their faces with it and chat with grandfather.

Complete the sentences.

a. The central figure in the passage is ……………………….

b. The word ‘inextricably’ means …………………………….

c. Horegallu is important because………………………………………………

d. The implied meaning of the expression ‘heavy burdens’ is …………………… (4)

Ans:- a. The central figure in the passage is ‘Grandfather.’

b. Inextricably is an adverb that means in a manner that is impossible to unravel or separate from something else.

c. Horegallu is important because it gives comfort to those who are tired of their burden.

d. The implied meaning of the expression ‘heavy burdens’ is ‘the burdens in the heart of the travellers.’

II. “A Horegallu is important in any journey. People carry their burdens according to our situation or capacities. Once in a while we need to stop, put down the burden and rest. Only then can we be refreshed to pick up the load once more. The Horegallu does just that, it helps them regain their strength.”

Explain the message of the above lines in a paragraph. (6)

Ans:- The writer’s grandfather a retired school teacher used to sit under a banyan tree and listen to the travellers or villagers who came to rest there. He did not give suggestions/solutions to their problems, but just patiently listened to what they had to say.

III. ‘No one can solve your problem. You have to do it yourself’, ‘When a person is in trouble or under a lot of strain finds an outlet for his worries, it relieves half his burden.’ This way she relieved them of their burden for a short while, till they are ready to pick themselves up and carry on with their journey.

Explain the message of the above lines in a paragraph. (6)

Ans:- The second person Ratna who acts as a horegallu was a colleague of the writer. She was middle aged, always smiling & was with the company for 25years. She also did 1more thing. Everyday during lunch hour she would sit with a different person & has a long chat with them. When asked what they chatted she would say ‘They share their troubles with me. I only listen’. Everyone needs a Horegallu in their Life’s journey. It can be a break, a talk with a friend, vacation, or even an argument which refreshes/refocuses you on your path. Some people are good listeners and trustworthy not to publicize your secrets/problems. We need such people in our life’s and should thank them whenever we can.

IV. On the occasion of honouring Ratna for her selfless service to the society, one of her colleagues spoke the following words. (Fill in the blanks with an adjective/ adjective phrase/clause etc.)

a. Ratna deedi is a ——————– person. She is as simple as ————–. She spends hours with us————————-. She is very ————————— and ——————– in solving ——————-problems. !! Ratna who——————— ———————- is our true friend. We always recall her ———– words with gratitude. (4)

Ans:- selfless, ABC, particularly, meticulous, wise, hard, listens and cares, kind.

V. Compare the two characters Grandfather and Ratna or give character traits of these persons (6)

Ans:- Grandfather and Ratna have the role of a counsellor (Qualities of a good listener) – Liked long chatting with some persons during the break hours – Sharing troubles with patience and affection – Hear with sympathy and without any judgement – Never break the confidence and tell others secrets – Experiencing others problems – Passing through the stages of friendships – Attempt to discover what he or she was at the moment- Relieve their burden for a short while – Provide a safe, supportive and confidential space – Enable to find a better way of dealing with their situations – Helps to overcome the problems.

VI. Prepare a write -up on the significance of the title “Horegallu” .You may cite examples from the story to justify your stance. (8)

VII. Match box and Horegallu are the two inanimate objects which play vital roles in Ashapurna Debi’s story “Match box” and Sudha Murty’s anecdote “Horegallu”. How do such objects serve their purpose in stories? Substantiate your views with situations from the texts. (8)

VIII. Imagine that your class dramatizes the story “Horegallu” as part of Annual Day Celebration. You are assigned the task of welcoming the audience and introducing the play to them. Prepare the script of the speech for the occasion. (6)

Prepared from Teacher Text SCERT +2 English

Styles used…1) Fictionalisation of real life experiences 2) Use of simple words 3) Exploring the spirit of India 4) Capturing the essence of human life. 5) adopting the style of  the writer R.K Narayan 6) Conveys good morals from humility to humanity 7) Stories of every day people. 8) Sharing the feelings, emotions and experiences of her travels world-wide. 9) Real life-like quality 10) Makes us think about our life 11) Bringing female characters  with the excuse she says, “I can understand women better than men”


Sudha Murty’s grandfather says, “A horegallu is essential in any journey. “

“We all carry our burdens according to our situations and capacities. But every once in a while, we need to stop, put down that burden and rest. Only then can we be refreshed enough to pick up the load once more”

  • The stone bench gives everyone an opportunity to put down the burden of life and take rest.
  • It helps people regain their strength.
  • Horegallu attains a philosophical dimension at the end of the story.
  • The author’s grandfather sitting on the Horegallu and Ratna listening to her colleagues were giving kindness and joy to the people around them.
  • The symbol “Horegallu” carries the whole meaning of the story.  It allows different interpretation to the story.


  1. Do you think that one can comfort others and give a relief to them from their problems by listening to them? Prepare an essay on the topic, “ The importance of being a good listener”.
  2. Prepare a report for your school magazine on the Film-Festival you conducted in your School with the women characters and women film-makers.

prepared by joy peter c



3 thoughts on “+2 UNIT 1 LESSON 4 HOREGALLU Sudha Murty

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