Monday, January 6, 2014

Coffee without water..

It was the year I started working with Nielsen (New Delhi office). Year 2006 to be precise. It was a great team to start work in the new industry. 7 years down the line, I am fortunate to be working with Nielsen, now in Sweden. 
A few months after my joining, one of my mentor's put in his papers. S dada is a gem of a person and an excellent professional. I learnt a lot working with him on a couple of projects. The vacant position was taken up by someone from the same team, working in Mumbai office, and wanted to relocate back to Delhi, to stay close to his family. His name was Sampath Atmakury. 

Sampath - the life, the exuberance, the love, the colleague, the friend. 

My first impression was - "what an arrogant brat". Well, we had to work together anyways. We were in the same team. Things changed, and from mere colleagues we became friends. Sharing knowledge, helping each other which slowly moved on to sharing secrets. Our workstations were next to each other, Samzie and Arps became good friends. 

Sampath had a penchant for thunder bikes (Harley Davidson types.. he owned a bullet though), and he loves jazz. I have a preserved pic of us in the nielsen office, dates back to 2006. 

Courtesy: Sushmita Sarkar ( ) 

Once he sprained his ankle in the morning, while I was on my way to work. He called up to ask if I could get some spray. At 8.30 am, no chemist was open, but I did manage to go to RML's 24 hour chemist to get the spray. Whenever I look at Volini or Iodex spray bottles, all I recount is this incident. 

The coffee machine at Nielsen was a tragic error installed for the pitiful employees. The pathetic liquid which slowly made its way in the plastic cups was far from coffee. Sampath derived this methodology, Of removing the cup away from the machine when water oozed out, which was twice in the process of filling one cup. Well, this one incident is etched on my brain, and now, in the past 8 years, whenever i fill my cup with coffee from nespresso or any other machine, i follow the same formulae. And everytime I perform this act, Sampath Atmakury makes his way in my thoughts. 

The post lunch walks, the Andhra Bhawan lunch visits (I have been there without him, I just can't), the visits to Sai Mandir, Lodhi Road, the memories are all so fresh. He gave my son the name - "Sai". 

Sampath moved to Dubai, to look for better career prospects, only to return in 2008. The patriot in him was always alive and he wanted to come back to his country, and was bored of the sand and water of Dubai. 16th June 2008, he was to visit us in Delhi. He called me on 15th June, and told me his flight is on 16th morning. Sampath didnt show up that day. I got a call from another colleague from Mumbai. 

Sampath died in a head on collision with a truck while riding his bullet in the wee hours of 16th on the Secunderabad - Hyderabad highway. He was 25 years old and left behind his parents and younger sister in grief. 

Ironically, I still have a note from him, a long email, which ended as follows: 

Its been an hour since I got back…am lying back on my bed…my body still aching pleasantly…still throbbing from our intense time together..the smell

of her on my fingers….traces of her on every part of me……and in my head
thinking…"what the hell am I doing?" …and as I started to write this…my 
attempt at catharsis, i guess….I am thinking about all of you….all of you
in your snug lives...who'll read this..and am thinking that she might be
just a 350cc bullet to all of you….but she'll always be more than a woman to me….

And here goes his favorite track. 

Hugs, wherever you are!! 

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Hum honge kamyaab ek din - Till the common Indian wins one day

It may take 65 years to reach the final destination, one which our freedom fighters dreamt of 65 years back. 65 long years, yes. But the good thing is that the walk towards it has finally started. Finally there is a faint light at the end of the long tunnel, which is the final goal, and reaching it may take years and years. 

Pretty recently, started a wave in India, name was Aam Aadmi Party. Neta was Arvind Kejriwal. The world was against the party, and its handful of members. Delhi Vidhan Sabha elections were fast approaching and AAP declared to contest it on all 70 seats (contested 69 seats). The whole world was still against him. The party kept on its walk against the storm. 
In the autumn of 2013 (end of August to be precise), I could see AAP workers with their Gandhi topi, talking to people on streets, meeting vendors, talking to people in cars, buses, etc. I have witnessed it (I was in India at that time). The wave was still to come. 
By November 2013, the mass had a drift towards AAP. It was clearly visible. Still the exit polls and most of the media wave was against AAP. AAP ignored all of it. they kept walking. 
Then, in the end of November 2013, Arvind did a election campaign like none other which I recall in my 33 years of existence. On the streets of Delhi, the dirty bylanes, the jhuggi clusters, the medium class areas, unauthorized colonies - I am sure many of the opposite party members have never ever heard that those bylanes existed, let alone visit them. A wave was on its tide. 
December 4th - Delhi voted. A night before, AAP volunteers tried their best to keep a vigil on the pre election day ration distribution (pun intended) to the garb junta, the voters, who will be forgotten on 5th December for next 5 years. AAP was successful at many places. 
The results were declared on 8th of December. Whoa, AAP emerged as the second largest party. Congress was left to a meagre 8 seats (mockery of Indian National Congress). Congress or INC (in free India) is the same party which had leaders like Nehru, Shastri, Morarji Desai, and the likes. BJP on the other hand, is another national party, and we all know much about them as well. 
BJP has maximum seats in Delhi Vidhan Sabha election 2013. No party has full majority. BJP stayed firm on its decision to sit in opposition - president rule, any other rule or re elections. Strange, everyone is reading this move in different ways. 
Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party forms a government (timeline of events). 
Today, 3rd of January 2014, history was created. Arvind Kejriwal is the Chief Minister of Delhi, and AAP is ruling Delhi. 
Salute to the zeal, salute to the passion, salute to the decision to save India. When everyone was talking about the much needed change, complaining about the system, running away from the Indian political system, one man shows India what to do about the complains and how to do it.
Enter the system to bring the change, don’t just talk about it. 
Aam Aadmi Party, India’s heart is with you!

Jai Hind. Bharat Mata ki Jai