When a US client made Infosys’ Narayana Murthy sleep on box in storeroom

NEW DELHI: Indian-American author Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni recently released a biography that sheds light on the early years of Sudha and Narayana Murthy‘s lives.
Titled “An Uncommon Love: The Early Life of Sudha and Narayana Murthy,” the book explores their courtship, the founding years of Infosys, their marriage and their journey into parenthood.
The biography reveals various anecdotes, showcasing the challenges faced by the iconic couple.
During one of Narayana Murthy’s trips to the US for client work in the initial days of Infosys, he had to endure a rather unpleasant experience.
A temperamental American businessman, Donn Liles, who was a client of Murthy’s, made him sleep on a large box in a windowless storeroom surrounded by cartons, despite having a home with four bedrooms.
The book also highlights Murthy’s perseverance in dealing with Donn’s erratic behavior for the sake of his growing company.

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However, the incident with the box shocked Murthy, as it contradicted his mother’s teachings that guests should be treated with utmost respect.
The biography further delves into the dynamic between Sudha and Narayana Murthy.

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Although Sudha was a talented engineer, Murthy initially resisted the idea of her joining Infosys, fearing that their relationship would overshadow the professional nature of the company.
He wanted to avoid the pitfalls often associated with family-owned businesses and the perception of nepotism.

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Divakaruni’s book also explores the different upbringings of Sudha and Narayana, which influenced their perspectives.
While Murthy was influenced by his father’s socialist ideals and admired the USSR, Sudha believed in the enduring power of the English language. Their contrasting backgrounds shaped their unique outlooks on life.

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Divakaruni says capturing in words the lives of two extraordinary people from ordinary backgrounds, who have changed the face of entrepreneurship and of philanthropy was challenging.
“At its heart, this is a love story, an uncommon one. It chronicles not only Sudha and Murthy’s love for each other, but also their love for their values and for their country – and their determination to use the former to transform the latter. It shows us that human love – no matter what the romantic movies profess – is fraught with failures as well as successes, sadness as well as joy,” she said.
(With inputs from PTI)

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