Flashback

Impact of Chance Happenings

Courtesy: Wikimedia

(Scanned copy of my XII school book)

I was reminded yesterday while reading Economic Times paper, of a book “Far from the Madding Crowd” by Thomas Hardy. The book was in my 12th Standard syllabus and our English Teacher “ShantiShri” was very fond of the book that she made us read it an umpty number of times. The most likely question on the book was to be on “Chance Happening” – on how few of the unplanned events resulted in big turning points in the characters lives.

Anyways, the reason for me to be reminded on “Chance Happening” and hence the book, was a piece on the paper’s ViewPoint section. The piece was an extract from a lecture given in New York University-Stern by Infosys Founder Mr.N.R.Narayana Murthy. The lecture was titled “Learning from experience: Some lessons I have learned from my life and career” where Mr.Murthy talks about “Chance Events” that changed his life and hence Infosys. What I enjoyed most was his first paragraph where he talks about the impact role models or a one-off speech can have on an individual. I could relate to that in an indirect fashion.

“The first event occurred when I was a graduate student in Control Theory at IIT, Kanpur in India. At breakfast on a bright Sunday morning in 1968, I had a chance encounter with a famous computer scientist on sabbatical from a well-known US university. He was discussing exciting new developments in the field of computer science with a large group of students and how such developments would alter our future. He was articulate, passionate and quite convincing. I was hooked. I went straight from breakfast to the library, read four or five papers he had suggested, and left the library determined to study computer science.”

The LIFCO's (our family publishing firm) Guide to Far from the Madding Crowd (Published:1957)

The LIFCO’s (our family publishing firm) Guide to Far from the Madding Crowd (Published:1957)