I was born in Sowpadu, Andhra Pradesh, India. It is a small town near Guntur in India. These are the schools that I attended:
- Elementary School, Sowpadu: Small village in Guntur District with population 1000 people. It is near the coast (less than say 30 miles) — and yet the first time I saw the sea was when I went to IIT Madras.
- Special panchayat upper primary school, pallapadu: Slightly bigger village, one mile away from Sowpadu. Our village did not have beyond 5th grade, so I walked to this village everyday to attend school. Thankfully, it was not too far to walk.
- Zilla parishath high school, Katrapadu: I studied here only for two months after my 7th grade. Unlike the earlier school, where we had idealistic teachers who paid special attention to me, this school did not offer the right stimulation. Even within these two months, I became a backbencher, reading pulp fiction hidden in the text books, and drifting in ambitionless mediocrity, until I recieved the letter from APRST, which is where I went to next.
- AP Residential School, Tadikonda: I studied from 8th to 10th grade here. This is a special school for all the students all over rural coastal Andhra Pradesh district. These schools were started based on the Nehru’s philosophy and vision where the students study with teachers like the ancient Gurukul. The competetion was fierce to get in — with 15 students per each district, and with government completely paying the expenses, it was a tough school to get into. In our days the school toppers usually were state X class toppers too. Ahem, I got 2nd in X class in the state for my year. Actually, more importantly, I learnt from some of the most committed teachers. I especially remember my social studies teacher (N. Venkata Ratnam), who used to walk to the class with a newspaper and explain the lesson of the day from that. I became interested in Math, Telugu, Social Studies, and sciences so much that it was tough for me to choose which branch to choose when I went to college. In fact, I got nearly the same marks in Social studies and maths!
- AP Residential Junior College, Nagarjuna Sagar: This school belongs to the same government society that takes in students from all over AP. Typically, most students end up in good professional schools, including IITs. Naturally :-), I got into IIT with a JEE rank of 86.
- IIT, Madras: I did my bachelor’s in Computer science (it was the first B.Tech. batch in CS).
- Rice University, Houston: I finished my PhD from Rice U.
I am married and have two children, Kamala and Mallika.