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From struggle to success: The journey of Sundar Pichai

While video conferencing with the students who have graduated in 2020, Google CEO Sundar Pichai shared an anecdote from his journey from India to Stanford University and then to the position of CEO of Google. He shared the story on a platform that was shared by former US President Barack Obama, former First Lady Michelle Obama, singers Lady Gaga and Beyonce, South Korean band BTS and alike.

He advised students not to lose hope about the future due to the current situation. “Remember that our ancestors too have overcome similar situations. The progress of one generation becomes the foundational premise for the next. You are capable of taking the world to a new level and discovering new levels of technology,” he said. He added that one should always look into the future with optimism.

In my childhood, technology was not easily accessible. We got our first telephone when I was ten. Our television had only one channel. The current scenario where we have millions of channels and social media connectivity was unimaginable then. I didn’t have regular access to a computer until I came to America for graduation. But today’s generation is living amid all kind of computers and mobile phones. You are living in a period where you can ask your computer about anything.

My first flight ticket to America cost as much as the annual salary of my father. That was the first time I boarded a plane. When I came here, everything was amazing. At the same time, life was costlier for me at times. Calling home would cost me two dollars per minute. My father had to send a month’s salary to buy myself a backpack. I missed my home and friends. But I could access the computer anytime I wanted. Internet was available. That period made me realise the potential of technology.

From an Indian student who reached California 27 years ago to this moment of addressing you as the CEO of Google, what led me throughout was my unwavering passion for technology and an open mind. Find ways that excite you. Do not do what your parents want you to do or what your friends are doing or what society expects you to do. Go where your deep passion leads you. Be open-minded, impatient, and never give up. I can tell you. You have the opportunity to change the world, said Pichai. This is not the first time Pichai delivered such an emotional speech. His words are widely accepted in the world.

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