19 August 2021

Meeting Anand after over 32 years!

It almost rings strange to my ear to call him “Anand”. Throughout my Computer Science days in IIT-Chennai, we always knew him as “Sivudu”. I have no idea how he got that name – perhaps it had something to do with his last name – Sivasubramaniam. Nevertheless, like many things from college days, that name stuck!

He left for the USA to pursue higher studies in 1989. Coincidentally, he landed up in Atlanta at that time (Georgia Tech) – which has been our home for the last 14 years now. I proceeded to do MBA in India.

While we have talked a couple of times (at least on his birthdays), I had not seen him over the years. Then one day, he wrote to me that he would be in Atlanta – dropping his son at his own alma mater!

That opened up the opportunity to get to see him. And what a meeting it was!

Rarely – and I mean very rarely – have I seen anybody straddle the academia and corporate life as well as Anand has. Sure, there are professors who start their own company and all that. But to adapt to a different culture and environment of an existing corporation – that too as huge as TCS (about half a million employees?) and succeed there while being a professor in a renowned school (Penn State) is not something for the feeble of the heart.

In fact, Anand talked about how he came very close to giving up once and then managed to prevail and succeed. Today, he splits his time between India and USA – teaching in Penn State and running a large Research Institute in TCS.

That was an amazing story.

“So, Anand, what have you learnt in life?”

“The virtues of patience,” he said. And then thoughtfully added…

“Ignore the small stuff”.

Now, of course, my challenge will be to figure out which are the big stuff and which are the small stuff in life. Maybe we can talk about that when he comes to Atlanta next to visit his son!


Posted August 19, 2021 by Rajib Roy in category "Intersection Points

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