US client once made Narayana Murthy sleep on box in storeroom: Book

New Delhi:  When Narayana Murthy once visited the US for client work during the initial days of Infosys, a temperamental American businessman made him sleep on a large box in a windowless storeroom surrounded by cartons though his own home had four bedrooms.

Indian-American author Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni has come out with a biography covering the early years of Sudha Murty’s and Narayana Murthy’s lives that is replete with many such nuggets about the iconic couple.

Published by Juggernaut Books, “An Uncommon Love: The Early Life of Sudha and Narayana Murthy” is the story of the Murthys’ early years – from their courtship to Infosys’ founding years and from their marriage to parenthood.

“He would often delay payments when he could, and Murthy would then be the target of his ire because he would hold his ground, refusing to budge on timely payment for services. Or Donn would not provide timely authorization for Murthy and his Infosys colleagues to book hotels when they had to visit him in Manhattan,” reads the book.

“Once when Murthy visited the US for client work, Donn made him sleep on a large box in the storeroom, surrounded by cartons, though his home had four bedrooms. Additionally, Murthy had to manage Donn’s many last-minute demands for resources,” it added.

Murthy put up with Donn’s behaviour for the sake of his fledgling firm but the box incident was shocking to him. “My mother used to say that a guest was like God, and the way you treated your guests revealed what kind of person you really were,” he told wife Sudha.

“When my father invited someone over without advance notice, she often served the guest her own food and went to sleep without dinner. And here was Donn enjoying a good night’s sleep in his luxurious bed after making me spend the night on a big box in a windowless storeroom,” he said, leaving Sudha furious.