Meeting Mr. Murthy

Some things you remember because they are dramatic.  Some things you remember because of circumstance.  I remember Mr. N.R. Narayana Murthy phoning me up to tell me how much he liked my first book, Monsoon Diary.

I had interviewed Mr. Murthy a couple of times and had exchanged emails and phone calls with him in that context.  One day, a year after our last encounter, I was in Chitradurga with my niece, Nithya, as part of her Indicorps fellowship.  We were having breakfast in a dhaba on the highway when my mobile rings.  It is Pandu, Mr. Murthy’s assistant, telling me that Mr. Murthy wants to speak to me.  Then, Murthy comes on the line and tells me how much he enjoyed Monsoon Diary.  I am eating masala dosa in Chitradurga; and holding this conversation at a highway hotel.  We had a ten-minute call and Mr. Murthy was very gracious and generous with his praise.

A few months ago, when we were looking for people to write blurbs for “Return to India,” I thought of Mr. Murthy.  I emailed him and he said he would do it right away.  There was one caveat: he wanted time till June 10th to read the book because he was travelling a lot.  We agreed and then the publishing schedule got pushed forward a bit.  So I sent a desperate email to Mr. Murthy asking if he could give his blurb by May 20th.  He asked me to email a soft-copy to read on his iPad and delivered the blurb on the day of the deadline.

Today, I made an appointment to meet him at his home-office in Jayanagar.  I wanted to give him a copy since he is leaving town today and returning only a month later.  We chatted a bit and I asked if I could take a photo and upload it to my website.  His assistant, Pandu, took the photo and Mr. Murthy wanted to check everything so that the “book was visible.”  With his permission, here it is.