The newly appointed Microsoft CEO Satbir “Sat” Narela’s parents are ecstatic. When this reporter went looking for the residence of Sat’s parents in an upmarket neighbourhood in Delhi, she could feel the hustle and bustle almost half a kilometre before she arrived at the sprawling bungalow. The area wore a festive look, with colourful balloons and festoons fluttering in the mild breeze.
A large shamiana had been erected in the lawns of the mansion. At the entrance, some people were dancing to the beats of a dholak. When they realized that this reporter was from a reputed daily with a photographer in tow, they made way for the duo immediately.
Inside, floral garlands hung from the balconies, doors and windows of the house. Electricians were busy hanging series of coloured bulbs to be lit at dusk. Kids in their party clothes were running around, ladies in their finery sat occupying the plastic chairs that had been rented from a local tent house for the day, while men stood here and there in small groups. Some were talking to one another, but most men and women were busy sending messages or chatting to others on their cell phones.
It wasn’t difficult figuring out who Sat’s parents were. They sat on two decorated chairs, the kind used for the bride and the groom at wedding receptions. As soon as visitors entered the shamiana, they walked up to the couple to congratulate them on their son’s success. The couple sat on their thrones beaming, hugging their guests first and putting a laddoo in their mouths later.
This reporter was greeted in the same fashion by Sat’s mother. When she was told about the purpose of the visit, she informed her husband, whispering aji sunte ho in his ear. He got up from his chair, welcoming this scribe affectionately. He began rattling off his son’s achievements right from the kindergarten. He then called out to Ramu Kaka who had been with the family for decades asking him to also get the driver, the cook, the gardener and other help from the house. Soon, so much was being told about the prodigal son that this reporter had a tough time keeping pace with the details. Everybody wanted to pose for pictures and the photographer went on a clicking spree, capturing different groups in his frame.
When this activity reached a frenzy, the duo could not take it anymore and decided to leave the venue. On their way out, they paused to talk to some guests. Almost everybody they talked to, claimed to be a cousin, friend or teacher of Sat and were eager to tell how close they were to him.
Even the balloonwala outside the gate was not to be left behind. He said he used to bring a balloon for baby Sat every evening!