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Nadella is still rooted to his village in AP

Satya visited Bukkapuram even two years ago and listened to the residents’ problems on the perennial drought in the district.

S RAMA KRISHNA  Hyderabad | 8th Feb 2014

Satya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft. AFP

ou are the eagle, to soar is your destiny. There are other worlds to discover, other horizons to explore," are famous poet Iqbal's words inscribed on the building of Hyderabad Public School (HPS), at Begumpet in Hyderabad. Perhaps no other student imbibed the spirit of these words, than Satya Nadella, who became the CEO of Microsoft this week.

Satya Nadella, or Bukkapuram Nadella Satyanarayana Chowdary, studied at HPS from 1978 to 1984. An above-average student in both curricular and extra-curricular activities, Satya has a vast friends circle at HPS even now. If the celebrations at Satya's parents' place in Banjara Hills in Hyderabad were subdued, it was the opposite at the HPS, where the partying went on for three days, with scores of alumni pouring in to share the occasion.

It's not that HPS hasn't seen celebrities or VIPs on its alumni. This premier institution established in 1923 has seen many students becoming leading bureaucrats, diplomats, sportsmen and ministers, but Satya Nadella's elevation has surpassed them all.

"From being an average to above average student, Satya went on to become the head of a top notch international company," is the reason for their joy, said Faiz Khan, Satya's batch mate, who is now one of the directors of HPS. Because of Satya "average" nature, many at this institution are celebrating his success as their own.

"Satya never burnt the midnight oil for his exams, yet he excelled in his studies," recalled Jalagam Venkat Rao, Satya's classmate, while talking to The Sunday Guardian. Venkat Rao, son of former Chief Minister Vengal Rao, is a former legislator. Satya's classmates never imagined that one day the boy would become the chief executive of an iconic global company.Image 2nd

Satya's father, Bukkapuram Nadella (BN) Yugandhar was a 1962 batch IAS officer, who worked as a secretary to then Chief Minister N.T. Rama Rao from 1983-85. Yugandhar, a close confidant of NTR, was instrumental in shaping the popular Rs 2-a-kg-rice scheme. Later, Yugandhar also worked with the then Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao in the early 1990s.

Yugandhar's father migrated from Nadella village in Guntur district to Bukkapuram village in Anantapur district in Rayala Seema four decades ago. That's why the family retained both Bukkapuram and Nadella in their surname. Yugandhar still has some agricultural land in Bukkapuram and Satya makes it a point to visit the fields, whenever he goes to the village.

Satya initially studied up to Class 5 in Anantapur, as he grew up at his grandparents' place. Moreover, Yugandhar preferred his only son to be connected to his village. "Yugandhar used to take Satya to the fields whenever they would visit Bukkapuram," Hari Prasad, a villager, now settled in Bangalore, told this newspaper.

Satya visited Bukkapuram even two years ago and listened to the residents' problems on the perennial drought in the district.Image 3rd

At HPS, Satya, a boarder, hung out at school and was active in cricket and football. Satya's biology teacher G. Jayanand (now retired), recollected his skinny student's days at HPS, saying: "He used to spend a lot of time at the library, not necessarily reading text books." Satya was active in debating too.

Satya wanted to do engineering at Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University in Hyderabad. But he couldn't because of his average ranking at the entrance test. He went to Manipal Institute of Technology (now an autonomous institution) in neighbouring Karnataka and did his BTech in electronics and communications, from 1984 to 1988.

Many of his BTech classmates think that it was in Manipal that Satya changed from being an above average student to a determined student driven by his passion for technology and innovation. "We had a great time at Manipal. Satya was very bright in those days," recalled Srinivas, who works for Achieve Technologies from New Jersey, US.

"Satya's circle is vast because of Anupama too," said Sridhar who too studied with Satya at Manipal. Anupama, a year junior to Satya, both at HPS and Manipal, is the daughter of K.R. Venugopal, another 1962 batch IAS officer. Venugopal is a close friend of Yugandhar and both of them have worked in the PMO when Narasimha Rao was Prime Minister.Image 4th

"Many think Satya had a love marriage with Anupama. Not exactly. Theirs was partly arranged and partly a love marriage," recalled Sridhra, now in the US. Satya joined Microsoft in 1992 and married Anupama the same year. The couple has three children: son Zain, and daughters Tara and Divya.

Yungandhar was more restrained when he spoke to The Sunday Guardian on Thursday. "My son has made the country proud by his sheer contribution and excellence."

Hyderabad as a city is rejoicing the ascendancy of Satya. "We felt happy when Microsoft opened its second biggest campus (after Redmond) in Hyderabad in 1996-97. But we are now feeling proud that we gave them their third CEO," said a city based IT company owner, B.V.R. Mohan Reddy.

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