Sam passed away last evening, 14 Feb 16. He had been been having problems for the last few weeks and was at home with his family when he moved on in his sleep.
What does one say about one’s oldest friend, a squadron and course mate, at a time like this? It’s difficult to find words through the sorrow. A simple person, family man and a friend to all. In fact my yard stick to judge another was his relationship with Sam. If a guy had problems with Sam, he was not worth knowing.
Our Sam was a cool cat. So cool that often he made you pull your hair out. Then when you were at your wits end, that smile would melt you. An avid sportsman, we played together from our cadet days and then with each other in squadron teams and sometimes against each other when we were in sister squadrons. Never giving away an inch, yet knowing that he was the truest sportsman you could meet. One of our last meetings was when he came visiting us in Pune and we played golf together.
Weeks before the war broke out in ’71, Sam did what I think was the bravest act of his career. He stood up like a man to the flight commander, a man who was ruining the squadron. Sam had the guts to talk it over with the Boss. Though he later said, for a moment he thought the Boss was about to blast him, he heard him out. The flight commander was sent packing and the squadron became a close knit unit again and performed its task most creditably. It needed that one man to stand up – Sam was that man!
To Sheila, Rahul, Chaitali and Guru, our deepest sympathies and heartfelt condolences.
Rest in peace Sam, your work in this world is done, and you did a very good job of it. We are the richer for having known you.