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!! 

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