Narayana Murthy on his Pune connect: Chung Fa, Cafe Goodluck & Alka Talkies

Infosys co-founder N R Narayana Murthy at the Pune International Literary Festival. Photograph by Sanket Wankhede

Infosys co-founder N R Narayana Murthy was in Pune on Friday to inaugurate the Pune International Literary Festival. The IT legend’s interaction with the audience, revealed a rather personal side of his life journey with roots in the city of Pune. Murthy spoke about spending nearly five memorable years in the city. Right from telling it all about meeting his wife, Sudha Murthy, whose contribution of Rs 10,000 formed the seed capital of Infosys to why Pune is such a great city. Let’s hear Murthy reminiscence about his time in Pune, in his own words.

“Pune is a unique city. It’s where I started Infosys and met my wife-to-be. My interest in literary activities began right here while I was trying to catch Sudha’s attention. My years in Pune perhaps has been the best time of my life. I had a friend of mine introduce me to Sudha and it was love at first sight for me. I don’t know about her, that is something you will have to ask her. I still remember, those days she was staying at Mahila Niwas and the curfew would be 9 pm. My motive was always to violate that curfew and we must have violated it at least 30 times. I distinctly remember, it was the year 1977 and for three years I had no success with pursuing her. We would go for dinners, movies, long walks which were all the way from Deccan Gymkhana to East Street. Finally, one day while heading to our frequently visited restaurant Chung Fa in an autorickshaw, I asked Sudha to marry me and, as they say, the rest is history. Another reason why I call Pune a great city is because it has produced people like Rahul Bajaj, Raghunath Mashelkar, Pu La Deshpande, Gauri Shinde and Manjiri Prabhu.”

Taking time out to speak with Pune 365, Murthy spoke about the Pune he once knew of and its people. “Pune has been one of the most liberal cities along with Mumbai. I would see men and women belonging to various backgrounds, even a large number of foreigners from Africa and Eastern Europe. Puneites tend to be very tolerant and kind, therefore, outsiders like us could live the way we wanted to. I remember Pune hosting a lot of wonderful functions where authors would come and speak or Bhimsen Joshi’s concerts. Even the restaurants were great, I remember Café Goodluck and, oh, which was that theatre.” As everyone present throws in names of famous theatres in Pune, Murthy thinks hard and smiles, “Ah, it was Alka Talkies.”

Zeenat Tinwala

Zeenat Tinwala

She’s our Employee #1 and is often the first to come in and last to leave office. And she’s an accomplished kickboxer. Stay clear!
Zeenat Tinwala