Chai for Pichai⁠: The lifestyle of Sundar Pichai⁠— not a ‘morning person’ ⁠— who mixed Sambhar in Payasam

Chai for Pichai⁠: The lifestyle of Sundar Pichai⁠— not a ‘morning person’ ⁠— who mixed Sambhar in Payasam
  • The new CEO of Alphabet wakes up between 6:30 and 7 am and likes to have tea and toast with omelette.
  • As a child he would mix spicy Sambhar into a sweet dish called Payasam because he didn't really like sweets.
  • Pichai reads the Wall Street Journal in the morning and check out New York Times online before he begins his workday.
Pichai Sundararajan ⁠— that is the full name of Sundar Pichai ⁠— is the new Chief Executive of Alphabet, the holding company of Google. He is worth $600 million even before he takes the top jobs at one of the world’s most important companies in the internet era.


For many, his modest upbringing in Chennai would explain his humble demeanour. The fact is that he does lead a simple lifestyle.

Chai for Pichai

He wakes up between 6:30 and 7 am though he would like to remain tucked in bed for longer. “I am not a morning person,” Pichai said in an interview in 2016 adding that he loves tea, omelette, and toast for breakfast.

​Works more, works out less

Pichai is a good example to follow except when it comes to exercise. By his own admission, he goes to the gym “sometimes”, mostly in the evening.

However, he walks a lot⁠— in office! He does many of his meetings pacing up and down. It helps him think, he said.

Reads news but not on Google

Millions of people around the world get their news on Google but Pichai can’t do without the physical copy of the Wall Street Journal to go with his morning tea. He also reads the New York Times online.

Back-up for a back-up for a back-up

Pichai has 20 to 30 smartphones at his home and he uses most of them for various tests. He bought his first smartphone in 2006 but his first mobile phone ever was a Motorola Startac in 1995. Early starter indeed.

Mixed Sambhar in Payasam. Why?!

Pichai is known to be a nice guy without a sweet tooth. As a child, he mixed Sambar ⁠— a tangy, spicy gravy with vegetables⁠— with Payasam, a sweet dish, that goes by the name kheer in north India. "I just.. I just wasn't very fond of sweets,” he said in a 2016 interview. Fair to assume it wasn’t a proud moment for Pichai’s parents.

If not for his wife, Pichai wouldn’t be what he is today

Like any other professional, Pichai was very tempted by the many offers he got during his career. But it was his wife Anjali, who fell in love with Pichai in IIT Kharagpur, who advised him to stay on in Google. They have two children ⁠— Kavya and Kiran.