When Narayana Murthy Slept In A Windowless Storeroom In America
BENGALURU, (IANS) – Infosys founder N.R. Narayana Murthy was asked to sleep on a large box in a window-less storeroom surrounded by cartons by a temperamental American businessman in the formative years of Infosys.
Indian American author Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni’s book “An Uncommon Love: The Early Life of Sudha and Narayana Murthy” has revealed many such interesting snippets about the lives of Narayana Murthy and his wife, Sudha Murthy.
The storeroom episode dates back many years ago when Narayana Murthy once visited the US for some work and to meet one of his clients.
Donn Liles, who helmed ‘Data Basics Corporation’, was “temperamental”, as the chapters of the book recall, and was harsh to Narayana Murthy on many occasions.
The client often delayed the payments and as Narayana Murthy would not budge on the matter, he would become Liles’ target.
The book recalls that whenever Narayana Murthy or his colleagues visited Liles in Manhattan, they would not get timely authorization for hotel bookings.
Once, Narayana Murthy was made to sleep on a large box in the storeroom, surrounded by cartons, even as his client had a four-bedroom house.
According to the book, Narayana Murthy was tolerant of Liles’ behavior “to groom his company”. However, the incident shocked him.
He had shared the episode with Sudha Murthy, and he recollected his mother saying that “a guest is like a God and the way you treat your guest reveals what you are”.
Narayana Murthy also remembered how his mother served food to guests and went to bed without dinner.
Published by Juggernaut Books, the book takes the readers deep inside the mind, heart, and values of the Murthys.
Divakaruni tells the story of the iconic couple from Karnataka with emotional depth, bringing them and their world vividly alive.
The book is about the sacrifices it takes to forge a powerful and lasting marriage and also narrates the early story of Infosys and the Indian business scenario before liberalization.
The highlight of the book is that it gives insight into the lives of the couple before they became a well-known name and often got credited with transforming business, and the idea of philanthropy.
The book also delves into Sudha Murthy’s proposal to join Infosys and how Murthy bluntly refused that. “Infosys will become a husband-and-wife firm rather than a professional company,” the book reads.
According to the book, Narayana Murthy did not want Infosys to have the “same horror stories” of family-owned businesses and be perceived as dynastic or nepotistic.
The book also throws light on Narayana Murthy as a socialist and how he was influenced in his teenage years by his father’s ideologies and late Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru’s open admiration for the erstwhile USSR.