Building a first house is everyone’s dream. But for C Manikandan, the place he is building his first property in, exceeds his wildest dreams. A small-time actor and producer in Tamil Cinema, Manikandan has bought the ancestral home of Google CEO Sundar Pichai in the quiet, residential neigbourhood of Chennai’s Ashok Nagar.
When he heard that the property where Sundar Pichai was born and raised was up for sale, Manikanandan immediately decided to buy it. “Sundar Pichai has made our country proud and buying the house where he lived will be a proud achievement of my life.”
But the deal took time. Manikandan had to wait for four months since the Google CEO’s father, RS Pichai was in the US at that time.
A real estate developer himself, Manikandan says he has built and delivered around 300 homes under his brand Chellappas Builders. He says it is not Sundar Pichai’s property but the humility of the Google CEO’s parents that has floored him.
Spellbound by humility
“Sundar’s mother made a filter coffee herself and his father offered me the documents right at the first meeting,” he recalls. “I was spellbound by their humility and humble approach,” he adds. Manikandan also said Sundar Pichai’s father was insistent on not using the Google CEO’s name to expedite the registration or transfer process. “In fact, his father waited for hours at the registration office, paid all necessary taxes before handing over the documents to me,” he said.
Sundar Pichai was born and brought up in Chennai and left the city in 1989 to study Metallurgical Engineering at IIT Kharagpur.
“He lived in this house till the age of 20 years,” recalled a neighbour. He said, when the Google CEO was in Chennai in December, he distributed money and some of the appliances from the home to security guards. “He also took selfies with his family members on the balcony,” the neighbour recalled.
Manikandan said the property was fully razed down by Sundar’s father at his own cost and handed over the plot for development.
“Sundar’s father broke down for a few minutes while handing over the documents since this was his first property,” Manikandan added.
Manikandan will build a villa in this space and expects it to be completed in the next one and half years.