“Infosys is like my child”: Sudha Murty – The New Indian Express

Express press service

CHENNAI: It is often difficult to associate an imposing personality with a severe phobia. And sharing it can be even harder. But last week, Sudha Murty, wife of billionaire Infosys co-founder Narayana Murthy, let us in on a secret.

“Narayana Murthy is extremely afraid of dogs. He was bitten by one early in his life and went through a lot of pain. This is the reason why we had never had a dog before”, explains the author and president of the Infosys Foundation. In his latest children’s book Gopi’s Diaries: Coming Home (HarperCollins, Rs 299), the first in a three-part series, Murty explores his family’s relationship with their dog Gopi. In fact, there was a flurry of activity at Sapna Book House in Koramangala, Bengaluru during the launch event, with Gopi also in tow.

“I grew up with dogs, so I’ve always enjoyed their company. One day the HarperCollins team came to my office and asked me to write a book. I told them I had no ideas. Gopi used to visit my office and they suggested I write about him,” she says, adding, “But there were already hundreds of books available on dogs. So I decided to write one from a dog’s point of view. What he thinks of me – his ‘Ajji’ and so on,” she says, adding that once she “became Gopi in her mind” she was able to write quickly, completing the book in one little more than three hours.

In The Gopi Diaries, Murty also explores her husband’s relationship with the dog and how he came to love the four-legged animal. “When Gopi first came into our lives, we were worried about Narayana Murthy’s reaction. Initially, if Gopi was in one room, he would be in another. But gradually, he got used to company,” she adds.

India’s software juggernaut Infosys recently turned 40. And Murty played a crucial role in its foundation, having lent Rs 10,000, part of the initial seed capital. “I supported Narayana Murthy and he then created Infosys. I always say that Infosys is like my child. In 1980 Akshata [Murty] was born, in ’81 Infosys was born and in ’83 Rohan [Murthy] was born. And when raising a child, what part of his upbringing can you talk about. Tell me, she wonders aloud. “I enjoyed the success of Infosys and struggled with its difficulties. I observed his trajectory like a mother, proud of the accomplishment of her child. I have been an integral part of the Infosys story.

While her husband tried to make Infosys fly, Murty was busy supporting her family, which meant her professional career was put on the back burner. “I stopped my job when my children were born. I stayed home until they were three or four and started working part-time after that. I managed my schedule so that I would be home by the time they got home from school. So, I changed my job profile according to the needs of my children,” she says.

However, once Infosys began to see success, Murty faced a different challenge while trying to raise his children. “When Infosys was better, news of its financial success spread. I always told my children that they could not spend wastefully. I wanted to raise my children with different values, I wanted them to be grounded, respectful and compassionate, but being surrounded by money made it harder for me to teach them to live a simple life,” she explains.

Coming from an Orthodox family, Murty initially faced resistance for his decision to marry Narayana Murthy, who at the time was still an unproven engineer. “He was unemployed to be precise,” she laughs. “If I was looking for money, I wouldn’t have married Narayana Murthy, because he didn’t have any. But he had good qualities – hardworking, cultured and honest. Those were the things that drew me in,” she shares.

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