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Thursday, August 06, 2020

City boy Gurdeep Singh is Skype vice-president

It was exactly 29 years ago on November 1 when a train from Delhi to Ranchi was attacked somewhere in Bihar during the anti-Sikh riots .

Written by Express News Service | Mohali | Published: November 1, 2013 2:22:02 am

It was exactly 29 years ago on November 1 when a train from Delhi to Ranchi was attacked somewhere in Bihar during the anti-Sikh riots in the aftermath of Indira Gandhi’s assassination. Hidden somewhere in the train was a young man from Chandigarh,on his way to a Ranchi college,who saved himself by first hiding behind a rug underneath a berth and then sneaking into the train’s toilet,where he remained holed up for several hours.

Troubled by the ordeal in which he also saw an old man being killed,he decided then and there that he would leave the country for good,which he did. Today,he is the Senior Corporate vice-president of Microsoft’s Skype,a video-calling service firm,as well as of Lync,a corporate communications service.

Meet Gurdeep Singh Pall,47,the first Punjabi to reach such a senior position in the firm. His promotion was formally announced on WEdnesday. Born and brought up in Chandigarh till the age of 11,Gurdeep studied in Vivek High School and St John’s School before shifting to Dehradun where his father,an Army Officer,was transferred in 1977,and then to Kolkata (then Calcutta) in 1980.

“Gurdeep was not always interested in engineering. In fact,he had a literary inclination. He was an avid reader,especially of fiction,and topped Class X exam in English. He was also a football and cricket player. But when in 1983,he learnt that he would get to use a computer in an engineering college in Ranchi,he jumped at the idea. In those days,even getting a glimpse of a computer was a privilege. Of course,he has never looked back since then,” recollected Brigadier (retd.) Gajinder Singh Pall,Gurdeep’s father,in the middle of congratulatory phone calls and television interviews.

After completing his computer engineering from BITS,Ranchi,Gurdeep,true to his word,left the country to pursue M.Tech in the University of Oregon in the United States. After graduating,he joined Microsoft as a software engineer,and “remained wedded to it”,as his father put it.

“Gurdeep has always never believed in cut-throat competition or taking short-cuts. He knows hard-work is the only route to success. Instead of stepping over others’ shoulders to achieve something,he has tried to cultivate others to bring out their best in them. That’s why his team at Microsoft loves and trusts him,” said Tejinder Kaur,his mother.

Gurdeep currently resides with his wife Seema and two sons in Seattle,but with his new position,he’ll have to frequently fly back and forth to Europe. “I want him to continue his dedication and rise further in life,” added Tejinder.

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