I still remember that evening in February.

Vamsi and I were meeting a friend (and colleague) at a mallu joint called Coconut Grove in Chennai. Apparently that was the only place we could think of – which served syrian beef and beer. So over pungent morsels of delight and broth made from the finest barley hops…we set about discussing the epochal topic of this friend’s future choices in career. This particular discussion was all the more important, as one of the choices was a place as a peer in our team. I still don’t remember why we (Vamsi and I) wanted this guy in our team…I think it was a mixture of personal rapport, recognition of his talents and someone who looked like he could share our load. So in a systematic brain-washing sort of way – we started destroying his preset notions on marketing and expectations that he had from his other options. With the beer acting as a trusty lubricant to our agressive arguments – this friend was (to our sense of victorious contentment) totally sold on joining the “elite” Category Marketing team.

That friend was Sachin. And now 20 months hence – after having worked with him at close quarters – I know for sure…that fateful night it was Sachin who convinced us that he was the right guy for the job and made us feel as if we won. That in a nutshell describes Sachin – with him it is always a win-win situation. Master interlocutor and a cunning charmer – Sachin is a living example of clarity of thought, purity of intent and potency in action. But what really makes him special? He always has been a great friend and guide.

I still smile when I think of all those times when we as a team have worked together on tough and demanding projects and events – which were only successful because as a team we always were greater than the sum of the parts. And each experience was all the more fun because Sachin made everything look so easy, because he always managed to find a solution when everyone else was scraping the bottoms of their intellect, because he never lost his sense of purpose and sight of the objective…and always managed to find the lighter side of a tough and sometimes de-moralizing job. He helped us when he didn’t have to – and at the same time demanded (more like cajoled) out of us better work and more value.

We will miss you Sachin. This team will never be the same without any one of us, and especially holds true for you. The bright side of the moon says you will still be in the same company…and there is hope that our paths will cross professionally, time and again. But, it is upto us to ensure that the more important part of our relationship – one that of buddies – stays alive and that the beer continues to flow. Over Syrian beef.

Take care and Godspeed.

Karthik, Vamsi and Abhishek.