The Punekar at PILF: In Conversation with Narayana Murthy

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PILF (Pune International Literary Fest) has kicked off at full throttle. And, the major highlight of the very first day was an enlightening session by Narayana Murthy, founder of Infosys and pride of India. We were lucky to have gotten a chance for a chit chat with him, not discussing business and profits but his humane side, which not many are aware of. Excerpts…

You have spent few years of your life in Pune. What are your memories of the city?

The span in Pune was one of the best phases of my life. Though, I was not earning much, I was enjoying courting my wife, Sudha. I have to admit, I relentlessly chased her for three years and we often watched movies, went to JM Road during the courtship period. Also, it was in Pune when I was introduced to books of different genres other than science by my then girlfriend and now wife. Not to forget, Pune welcomed me even after being an outsider with love and warmth.

You are an epitome of success. I wonder, does envy or jealousy ever strike you?


Honestly, I am human and sometimes, jealousy does makes its way to my thoughts. However, I have realised, envy always burns my stomach, not someone else’s. So, I try to overcome it as soon as possible.

You are known for a very simple lifestyle without indulging in luxuries. What makes you so simple?

I come from a lower middle class background. Since childhood, I have always enjoyed fuss free joys like books, music, movies and spending time with loved ones. Hence, I do not believe I am missing out on any luxury.

Your wife helped you in establishing Infosys by providing Rs. 10,000 as capital. How much credit will you give her in your success?

Immense! Apart from the monetary aspect she stood by me throughout. I used to travel most days in a year and she singlehandedly raised our children. Even when Infosys did not enter its heydays, she still managed to meet the ends efficiently. I remember an incident, my daughter Akshita wanted to participate in a skit in school, where she needed to buy a new costume. But, at that time we were not very well off, so she had to pull out of the cultural event. Till date, my daughter remembers that incident and that definitely instilled great qualities in her and it is because of my wife, as she managed all situations smartly.

What is your favourite genre in books?

As I mentioned, I started reading new genres because of Sudha, but my favourite genre remains science and will continue to remain so, I guess.

What do you have to say about PILF?

I am humbled to be invited and its a great endevour to bring together amazing minds. And, I am proud to be here for this festival especially on its premiere.

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