"We shared the same liking for cricket outside the class and maths, science inside it," says Mudraganam Chandrashekar (46), Satyanarayana Nadella’s classmate at the Hyderabad Public School.
"He was in the school team and was a good spinner. Satya used to be thin and tall, a frame he retained even now while many of us here have developed pot bellies," Chadrasekar, aka Chandu as he is called by his HPS friends including Nadella, chuckles.
After class 12 in 1984, both went for engineering – Satya in Manipal and Chandu in the city – and later a career in IT.
Chandrashekar, who served as a CEO of an IT firm, now runs his own ventures in Africa. "Satya was a cool, calm fellow who never had any issues with anyone in the school. He used to maintain his composure all the times. He was in Nagarjuna House and I was in Nalanda. And if I remember it right, he served as a Prefect."
"But at same time he was a bit naughty. I distinctly remember the way he used to mock my accent."
Chandrashekar said Nadella joined the HPS as a boarder in the 8th standard while he had been there as day scholar from class 2.
"Still, we were a very closely knit batch of friends in a section of 28 students," he recalls.
The two friends who diverged in 1984 reunited in 2009 for the batch’s silver anniversary reunion, for which Satya came from the US with his family. The batch is connected through social media and exchanges mails often.
"We wore the same T-shirts, went around the campus, dormitories, ate at the canteen, recollected our adventures and cracked jokes. It was a great moment and Satya, as usual, was humble and friendly," Chandrashekhar said.
"And now this is a thrilling moment. The news is still sinking in but my initial reaction would be that I am very proud of my friend."
"At HPS we are referred to as eagles, going by our emblem. Of all the eagles of ’84, Satya is the one who soared to the highest skies."