ForeverMissed
Gone too soon.

Friend, mentor, wise counsel, beloved colleague. Wizard of one-liners and witty repartee. An anchor in stormy seas, a rock we depended on. Abhijeet, we are bereft without you. 

This memorial wall is where we grieve together. It is a place we remember him, and mourn his loss. It is a place we share our memories of tales of days gone by, and of "Abhi-isms" so unique to the man. 

Together in grief, we will remember him forever.
Posted by Sangeet T on October 23, 2020
Dear Anika,

Abhi is a legend. Period.

His contributions towards the social good has made us proud and it’s simply priceless; while the rest of us were busy with the rat-race. And this level of focus and determination takes an immense level of grit and focus.

My fond memories of Abhi revolve around the below where I fondly reminisce:
- The “Abhi-isms” that he’s fondly known for - witty, catchy one-liner’s that makes anyone crack up even during the most difficult of times - which at that point for us was before the exams and even after the exams!
- Abhi on his TVS Scooty with his cricket kit lunged around his back or in the front, before and after cricket matches/practice sessions.
- Abhi sitting at the boundary of the quadrangle at St. Joseph’s (our college - SJCC) during and after matches and also before and after exams sharing notes and also laughing it off. That’s the thing - his laugh. Which basically meant that everything shall pass!
- Lunch at this South Indian Dharshini called Payasam which was in the basement of a complex next to St. Patrick’s (next to Catholic Club). There were also these rare instances when we used to indulge in a hearty “luxurious” North Indian Thali constrained to our pocket money - at Shanbag on Residency Road. Then there were these “Thatte idli” sessions at Hotel Sangam on Residency Road! Memorable times those weeks - having a hearty meal and chatting away along with many one liners and jokes aplenty!
- Last and not the least, the good old Malleswaram boy who was super talented as a cricketer and one I always used to try my best to enlist for our local “gully” cricket matches. IPL was nowhere in sight those days, else Abhi would have definitely been an IPL demigod for sure!

Then the proverbial “Life” happened. All of us got busy with work, family and other responsibilities. Sad but true.

But then all we have now is to cherish and celebrate Abhi. Relive the memories because Abhi continues to be there with us through those memories.

At the end of the day, what really matters is that Abhi truly made a difference to everyone he was surrounded by and immensely enhanced the quality of life of the students and the wider community that he was able to touch. The tributes and stories in this page is a testament. Honestly, this is the best achievement by far that us mere mortals can aspire for. Money, fame, etc in today’s superficial world pales in comparison to what Abhi achieved. He made a huge difference, and a massive positive impact on all the people whom he touched.

Abhi simply epitomised life’s innate purpose - help the deserving without expecting anything in return. And this in itself is super difficult in today’s transactional world.

Kudos Abhi. God bless. (And I’m sure you will have a wise crack for this too!) Keep on smiling.

Best wishes to Anika & Ankura,
Sangeet

Posted by Aditi Rasquinha on October 17, 2020
A few years ago I did an exercise to reflect on 5 people who had the greatest impact on me – right from childhood, school, university and my career. For the AIESEC part (which is a massive part), it was Abhi.

I’m glad I called him and got to tell him. I used to be a fairly shy person and Abhi’s belief in me, gave me confidence. He helped give my passion a voice. He had this amazing ability of kicking my ass and raising me up at the same time. He kept me honest to myself.

The greatest things I learn from him and I use today are that our job as leaders is to help people be the best versions of themselves and to help them develop that potential. That you learn something from everyone – good or bad. To be determined – because when you put your mind to it, you can do anything. And to always speak up about how you feel.

Those were lessons from 20 years ago. You have been in my left and felt accountable for my development for 20 years now.

Thank you for being my boss, mentor, friend and big brother.

Hasta manana Abhi. Your passion and determination will always inspire and anchor me, until we meet again……
Posted by Brenda Barritt on October 17, 2020
Dutch poem translated by a friend of mine that made me think of so much of what was shared today. 

There should be people
that ignite suns,
before the world drowns in rain.
People that fly kites
in the ice cold winter,
and that sprinkle confetti
between the snowflakes.
There should be people like that.
There should be people
who sell ice cream
at the exit of the cemetery
and play the harmonica
on the ruins.
There should be people,
who stand on their chairs,
to hang stars
in the fog.
Who make Spring
out of fallen leaves,
and out of fallen shadows,
light
There should be people,
who keep us warm
and who, under a clear sky,
still walk with their heads in the clouds
so high
they jump rope
on the rainbow
when someone says to them:
come into my arms
With that kind of people I want to belong
That CONTINUE dancing in the rain at the garden party
Even after the musicians have gone home
There should be people
who, on the gray asphalt,
in large white letters
paint ‘LOVE’
People that carve names
in a tree
full of ripe fruit
because there are so many others
fleeing the butterflies
and throwing stones
to the first Spring blue
because they are afraid
of flowers
and afraid of:
I love you
Yes,
there should be people
with tears
like silver beads
that shine like rays in the dark
and greet the morning
when the daylight enters
silently
You know,
there should be people,
that blow bubbles
and know of no time
that can still be as amazed as a child
about something that bursts
with beauty
They shout from the rooftops
that there is love
and miracle
and when all others scream:
nothing makes sense
they continue to shout:
No, the world will not end
and they see in each ending
a new beginning
They are a little clown-like,
First the heart
and then the mind
and they write with their umbrellas
I love you in the sand
because they are so immensely
immersed in life
and fall
and fall
and fall
and RISE
With these people I want to belong
who CONTINUE dancing in the rain at the garden party
even after the musicians have gone home
the music plays ON
the music plays ON
and ON


Toon Hermans
(translated by Kim Philips van Buren)
Posted by Vaibhav Khandelwal on October 17, 2020
Abhi,

There are so many memories of you from our time in different places.. you always stood out with your voice. You demanded of us as team mates to look out for the other.. to ground our world changing ideas into practicalities of funding & stakeholder value.

You had the gift of balance.. you could be effective in your work by shutting shop at 5pm. You had the gift of giving yourself to others, to share your cooking, your passion for music and beers and to explore the world and all it’s joys. You took up running and were a virtual coach to many with your blog entries.

I fondly remember travelling in a bus with you from Vancouver to Calgary in 2002. Our big idea was to camp in Banff and go upto Lake Louise. It was wonderful.. The majestic Canadian Rockies on a shoestring budget with our youthful opinions on the world and what it could be.

You had the grit to pursue your dreams and not be in a race. You were in a marathon, literally, and with life’s purpose. You knew early that the best lived life was one of giving, for others and by finding happiness in small things. You remind us in your absence how it all can be done with good cheer and child like joy.

You lived by first principle. You experimented with the possibilities of life and left a career in corporate world to pursue a cause you could dedicate your life to. I greatly admire what you and Aakash have created with Quest Alliance and your legacy will continue to grow for the years and decades to come.

Your courage to pursue your dreams inspires me even today. If it were, I would want to give you a send-off with a Gun Salute and Amazing Grace on Bagpipes… But then, you won’t like the fuss & attention.

You were the best of 'Fighters' and 'Zealots'.

I wish I had seen more of you while I was intermittently living in Bangalore.

We will dearly miss your laugh and good cheer.

Rest Well my friend. Om Shanti. See you on the other side.
Posted by Vishal Talreja on October 13, 2020
Abhi, I am still struggling to process this loss. I have been deeply affected by your passing. I still remember the day you came to meet me at the Dream a Dream office - all bright-eyed wanting to create a better world for children and I was wondering why when you had the whole world awaiting you. You chose your path and your destiny then and I am honoured that it was with us. The year we spent together, I came to deeply admire your humility, your grace and your commitment to children. Over the years, I have seen you grow by leaps and bounds as you have come to be admired and respected in the sector. The silent giant. 

Yours is a life gone too soon, my friend. There was so much to do yet, so many roads to travel. Our last meeting at the beginning of this year was when you fondly and excitedly spoke about Annika and how she has changed your world. We promised to meet again soon to catch-up on work and life, believing that we had all the time in the world. and, here I am wishing it were true.

I hope you are partying well my friend and will catch you at the other side of the rainbow. Much love.
Posted by Avneesh Saluja on October 11, 2020
My memories of Bangalore are simply incomplete without Abhi. Late night discussions over food and drink, a wicked sense of humour, and the patience to tolerate my conspiracy theories ("it's all a nexus!"). Even after I left Bangalore, I looked forward to his work visits to the Bay Area, since we shared so much in common. Abhi was a true gem to be around, and it pains me to think that I will no longer get to experience that anymore.
Posted by Shruti Parikh on October 10, 2020
At work, we would often joke that Abhijeet was leading the race for our "favourite person in the sector." I've been fortunate enough to work with him closely these last 8-10 months, and in this short time, I've learned so much that I'll keep with me. I always wondered how someone with as many responsibilities as Abhijeet would still patiently make the time for a series of (sometimes repetitive) interviews, meetings and site visits with us. I always felt lucky to have access to him and to have the time to pick his brains. I would leave nearly every call and meeting with him feeling inspired, energized, and included. That was his effect on people - regardless of who was on the other side, he treated people with compassion and respect. Regardless of how many more productive ways he could be spending his time, he was patient enough to give his attention and thought to any conversation. Regardless of how long the day, he always radiated a positive energy. It's unsurprising, then, how great of a leader he was. He was such a big influence and role model for so many people. In the years that we were all lucky enough to have him here, he made the places and people he came across better.

Abhijeet lived a life of meaning; consistently creating spaces of inclusion, acceptance, and nurture.

The last day we met, I had the chance to travel to and from a site visit with him in Gujarat. I'm so happy we chose to talk about things beyond work that day. I'll remember him joking about the blasphemy of buying a Nestle chocolate in the hometown of Amul. I'll remember him talking about putting off business school because Quest alliance was at too exciting a stage in it's journey to miss out on. I'll remember him proudly championing his team. I'll remember him talking about Latin America and wanting to go back there some day. And I'll remember him fondly sharing stories about Anika.

This is how I'll remember Abhijeet - as someone jovial, driven, insightful, authentic and kind. 

Words are insignificant to describe the void we feel now - but he was also someone who taught us to uplift one another, to embrace challenging situations with reason and grace, and to live purposefully. His legacy will be carried on in the organization he built, the family and friends he loved, and in the hundreds of people who he unknowingly left his mark on.
Posted by Karthik Shankar on October 9, 2020
“Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither; the Lord gave and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” Thus said the old Jewish saint when suffering the greatest calamities that could befall man, and he erred not. Herein lies the whole secret of Existence. Waves may roll over the surface and tempest rage, but deep down there is the stratum of infinite calmness, infinite peace, and infinite bliss. “Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.” And why? Because it is during these moments of visitations when the heart is wrung by hands which never stop for the father’s cries or the mother’s wail, when under the load of sorrow, dejection, and despair, the world seems to be cut off from under our feet, and when the whole horizon seems to be nothing but an impenetrable sheet of misery and utter despair–that the internal eyes open, light flashes all of a sudden, the dream vanishes, and intuitively we come face to face with the grandest mystery in nature–Existence. Yes, then it is–when the load would be sufficient to sink a lot of frail vessels–that the man of genius, of strength, the hero, sees that infinite, absolute, ever-blissful Existence per se, that infinite being who is called and worshipped under different names in different climes. Then it is, the shackles that bind the soul down to this hole of misery break, as it were, for a time, and unfettered it rises and rises until it reaches the throne of the Lord, “Where the wicked cease from troubling and the weary are at rest”. Cease not, brother, to send up petitions day and night, cease not to say day and night–THY WILL BE DONE.

“Ours is not to question why,

Ours but to do and die.”

Blessed be Thy name, O Lord! And Thy will be done. Lord, we know that we are to submit; Lord, we know that it is the Mother’s hand that is striking, and “The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.” There is, Father of Love, an agony at the heart which is fighting against that calm resignation which Thou teachest. Give us strength, O Thou who sawest Thy whole family destroyed before Thine eyes, with Thine hands crossed on Thy breast. Come , Lord, Thou Great Teacher, who has taught us that the soldier is only to obey and speak not. Come, Lord, come Arjuna’s Charioteer, and teach me as Thou once taughtest him, that resignation in Thyself is the highest end and aim of this life, so that with those great ones of old, I may also firmly and resignedly cry, Om Shri Krishnarpanamastu.

May the Lord send you peace is the prayer day and night of– Karthik (I humbly offer the words of a saint, for I am speechless!)
Posted by Kevin Shane on October 9, 2020
Abhi always brought such a positive light into any room he entered. His smile would immediately put people around him at ease, and he had an infectious laughter that you couldn't help but join in on. He had a heart of gold and dedicated his career to helping improve the lives of others. He was one of those people who didn't see strangers, only friends he had yet to meet. He was a living example of how to be a good person and he will be deeply missed by everyone who was fortunate enough to know him.
Posted by Shirish Raut on October 9, 2020
I still haven’t been able to process this so I will be brief.

The 2 words that come to mind when I think of Abhijeet are calm and smiling. He was never ruffled, even during some of our hairy work calls. And he was always ready with a smile that seemed to say “relax, it’ll be alright”. To reference another Bangalorean, he was The Wall that his friends and team leaned on.

I read somewhere that a person isn’t truly gone till their name is spoken. And QUEST Alliance, the organization that Abhijeet helped build, is testament to the fact that Abhijeet’s name will be around for years to come.

I have been privileged to have Abhijeet as my friend and my colleague.

I bid thee farewell! Rest in peace!
Posted by Sameer Kumar on October 9, 2020
Extremely sorry and shocking to hear the unfortunate news.

An inspiring personality and large-hearted gentlemen!! You will be remembered for your commitment & concern for the cause.

I always remember your Great Words ' One should be Possibility Oriented and not Problem Oriented. Motivating words indeed!!

Its been my privilege to have known you.
Rest In Peace
Posted by Ragini Lall on October 8, 2020
My first year at Quest, I remember being slightly apprehensive of you. Out of all the senior folk out at Quest- you had a slight stern manner at times which from afar could be misconstrued. But then one Learning Lab workshop, you presented a prototype of a Music and LifeSkills Lesson, and were so so passionate about the potential of it. It was difficult to be scared of someone once you had seen the side of them that was so sincere and passionate. In my second year, I became a part of your team, and grew to know you better, and learned that you were a great mentor. I started to imbibe your passion for edtech and you nurtured my interest in education technology- sharing dense reports to read, discussing the themes the field was reeling with, and I never once felt that you underestimated my capacity to contribute. I grew and learned so much in those years. Thank you, and I wish I had the chance to share this gratitude in person and in time. I remember having the most fascinating conversations with you- we would discuss the world, the role of technology, data so much. I learnt so much about Bangalore through your eyes, how it was changing and how it had come to develop to be the Bangalore that it was, and the list of discussions can go on, as I was always amazed by how widely read you were and the impact and focus of purpose you had for your community. Abhi, I am sorry that life threw this curveball. It’s difficult to believe that this is true.
Posted by Parul Verma on October 8, 2020
"Death leaves a heartache no one can heal Love leaves a memory no one can steal."

The little boy who stole my heart the moment I saw him in the hospital crib on 30th of March 1981, my nephew Abhijeet..( called him Abhi or my Gubbi n many more names ). He was the apple of my eyes n my life revolved around him. His cute antics , adorable smiles kept us all at home spell bound.. he had immense power over the whole house hold..we would do anything n everything for him.. My friends adored him too !!
He slowly learnt how to crawl , then walk n talk.. he called me Palul aai ( in gujarati a paternal aunt is called Fai ) instead of Parul Fai. That name remained till the end only changed from Palul to Parul Aai. In marathi Aai means mother n I always felt like one to him..my child, and was so protective n so very proud of him.. Always a very intelligent n sensitive child.. The years rolled by playing joyfully with him, telling him stories while feeding him ( his fav veggie being bhindi ), making him study n putting him to sleep singing lullabies. Then when Abhi was 6 n a half years old I got married..
My heart broke when my lil Abhi cried n cried saying please don't go Palul aai as who will tell me stories n who will sing "Nanni kali sone chali" and put me to sleep..
I left for Delhi and would meet him on n off during summer holidays..time flew by n he grew up to be a wonderful young man. By 21 he was working and independent..
My children looked up to their Abhi bhaiyaa. He would come to Delhi for work.. come home meet us all.. then take his cousins out for lunch or dinner, buy them gifts. I so much looked forward to his visits.
With time he got busy & his visits stopped..and we did not meet for quite a no of years..then I went for his wedding n met his better half Ankura , thereafter I last met him n Ankura in January 2015 . We were in touch on & off via whatsapp or a few calls. Little Anika, whose videos I saw, always reminded me of my lil Abhi.. intelligent with an adorable smile n her cute chatter.
Reading about him makes me regret for the lost years of not having truly known Abhi as a grown up young man..an intelligent, wonderful, caring n sensitive human being.. My loss. !! A lesson learnt - please keep in touch with your loved, near n dear ones..else it may be too late one day..!!
But to sum it all up never did I stop loving my Gubbi..n will love him till my last breath. ❤ till we meet again..
Your Parul Aai
Posted by Apeksha Verma on October 8, 2020
As I sat numb, alone with my diary in the wee hours of the night on 5th October, I could see Abhi Bhaiyya's face and all our childhood memories floating by in front of my eyes. I was lost and couldn't believe what had actually happened. My pen just got a life of its own and poured my insides out.
My Abhi Bhaiyya, my mother's favourite child who used to call her Parul Aai. I have heard numerous cute stories about his childhood from her and how he was so adored by everyone. Even I have such fond memories of him from my childhood, when I used to go to Bangalore for my summer vacations. He was a prankster who used to try and scare me all the time. I remember this funny episode when I rode behind him on his scooty and he kept freaking me out by saying that we are going to some scary place and then we ended up having ice cream at Baskin Robbins! Then as I grew up and I stopped going to Bangalore, he used to sometimes visit us in Delhi and send me Rakhi gifts. He has taken me out while I was in college, gifted me books, music CDs, a Fab India pink dress and perfume that I loved, amongst other things. He introduced me to R.E.M. and Evanescence. I have this beautiful memory of meeting him at the Kala Ghoda festival in Bombay during the time I studied in Xaviers. We hung out there and then had dinner at Indigo in Colaba. It was such a warm feeling to have a cool big brother like him. We used to chat on emails and I laugh hard when I read them now. He was such an intelligent, witty and hard working man. I really looked up to him. It used to be fascinating listening to his AIESEC stories and world travels. I was so proud of being his sister. His passion for cricket was awe inspiring and I have seen him receive an award from Kapil Dev for his fantastic bowling. He was an example of how one can always turn life around into something worthwhile and beautiful, that hopes and dreams never end and one can turn every obstacle into a stepping stone. He was a true winner, never defeated and always smiling with that naughty twinkle in his eyes.
I regret having lost touch with him the last couple of years. I wish I could have told him how much he meant to me. I wish he would come back and pull my leg again and laugh his hearty whacky laugh...
I love you Abhi bhaiyya and you will continue to live in my heart forever..
Till we meet again❤️

Posted by Kshitija Krishnaswamy on October 8, 2020
Abhijeet, Am still in shock about what’s happened. Not sure I can express how much I, personally, and the entire Corporate Citizenship team at Accenture is going to miss you. You have been our go-to person for over 12 years and I just took your ever willing support, your calm unfazed attitude, your positivity and that BIG smile absolutely for granted; whether it was about work or if we wanted to gatecrash the Quest office lunches.
Your legacy will live on in all the impactful work you, Aakash and the Quest Team have accomplished.
Its been my privilege to have known you. My thoughts are with your family.
Rest In Peace
Posted by Roshan Paul on October 8, 2020
Dear Anika,

I knew and admired your dad, Abhi, in 2 different phases of his life. More recently, in the last few years before his death, as a fellow leader of a social enterprise that was having a massive impact across India and shaping and improving countless lives. Abhi was always ready to share notes, offer wisdom, participate in events, and generally be a great peer leader. I'll always treasure our last conversation just 2 weeks ago and how he went out of his way to be helpful whenever he could. He had more impact in his short career than most people do in their whole lives. A legacy to treasure!

But I also knew him in another time, more than 25 years ago, when we were teammates in the St. Joseph's Boys School cricket team, and there lies a story that shows us how early his character shone out. During a semifinal match, he broke/sprained his hand and could not play anymore. I was batting on around 75 when the second last wicket fell. Knowing Abhi was injured, I started to head back to the pavilion as well, but there he was, walking out to bat (never his strong suit, anyway) with a bandaged hand and barely able to hold the bat. "I'll just stay with you", he said. And he did. I ended up with 137 and he so courageously defended everything the other team threw at him, and held strong. Those runs allowed us to win that match, and later the tournament.

I've never forgotten how, even at the age of 12, he displayed the courage, self-sacrifice, team spirit, grit, and good humor that would make him become the leader and role model that he was.
Posted by Santosh Kumar on October 7, 2020
This is incomprehensible! I am shocked and incredibly saddened by this news. Abhi and I were at Josephs together. Both of us being off spinners, we competed for the same spot on the cricket team for a few years - at school, district and state. We had a healthy rivalry and respect for each other. I always enjoyed our conversations and thought that he was super balanced in his approach to life.

My prayers are with his family at this difficult time.

Will miss you, buddy.
Posted by Deepika Singh on October 7, 2020
Dear Abhijeet,

I met you in 2005-06 when you were travelling around trying find some answers or direction in life. I heard you say that you wanted to work in some of the most deprived communities such as South America , Carrabein region. I remeber that you travelled to all the field areas of Kutch and Panchmahals in Gurjarat where Janvikas-Udaan worked. You met some of the leaders of not for profit sector. I barely knew you, did not know that our paths would cross soon in life and I would get to work under your and Aakash's leadership at Quest.
With each interaction that we had, I admired your eye for detail, being upfront and seeking clarifications, being stright forward...I had begun to admire you and many of your one-lines what all your friends have termed as Abh-ism were such relefe in moments of stress.

Remember hugging you and admiring how humbel you were and being what you were. A beautiful soul and such a well cultivated personality. The discipline that you had, you were one of the few who I knew were spending time with family, with your daughter and also being able to give your best to the professional work life. I admired that and want to cultivate that discipline. I was looking forward to work with you closely.

I pray for you, you be smiling and happy whereever you are. I pray for the family, for Anika, Ankura and your parents. I cannot even imagine what you are going through but all that one can say that we all are proud of Abhijeet, a beautiful soul that touched so many lives.

Abhijeet shared with us his receipy of choclate chips cookies and that Anika and his mother loves the cookies. Love to you Anika. In a short span of life your father Abhijeet has accumlated wealth of relationships, friends and touched many many lives including mine and I will always be thankfull for it.
Posted by Dhivakar Janarthanan on October 7, 2020
My earliest memory of Abhi was as a new kid in 5th standard. He was soon a popular back-bencher, belting out Alistair Maclean plots, showing off a pencil-box featuring the Toronto skyline, sharing his delicious aloo-paratha lunches and foodie-wisdom on Bangalore's best-burgers.

As whimsical boys' high school nicknames go, he was named ‘Batha'. I don't think anyone remembers why. What everyone does remember is that he never let that bother him, doling out ‘revenge’ nick-names and ‘coining’ others - many of which stuck for a long time in all our lives (like my own). He was also ruthlessly blunt - he told me ‘I ran like a duck’ after a listless performance at a sports-meet, killing my sporting ambitions. 

He came home for a stay-over and being ever the charmer, left a great impression on my parents with his seemingly infinite (and sudden) politeness. All the boys in my neighborhood wouldn’t stop talking about his spin-bowling wizardry for months to come. He also gave us a lesson in teenage moral-science back then - he told us about his pocket money arrangement, where Vasanthi-aunty would give him money whenever he ran out. I gave him some unsolicited advice that he should run out of money everyday so he could maximize his Fountain Pepsi intake (the drink of that year). To which, he retorted with righteous anger "Now...why would I do that to my own mom". 

Abhi was like that - lighting up dinner-tables, classrooms and playgrounds with his quick wit, talent and mirthfulness - all while maintaining a strong moral-compass.

We lost touch since school, but I had heard he was doing great things - pursuing his passions, running marathons and living life to the fullest. He had an outsized impact on all that he took on and the lives he touched. 

I will celebrate your life, Batha, my friend - by running, reading Alistair Mclean and having a burger - because I know that's how your 6th standard self would have thought of a perfect day.

Condolences to your family at this difficult time. Please let me know if I can help in any-way.

-Dhivakar (Abhi's high-school classmate)
Posted by Harsha Rao on October 7, 2020

Abhi as we all knew him, Baby as only some of us did, thanks to his adorable Mom calling him that and never failing to embarrass him. As a true friend, I always called him Baby for all his growing up years.

Remember eating meetha Gujarati achar at one of dads business associates house for the first time as a 9 year old and meeting his 8 yr old son Abhi - a chubby lil boy. As boys a year apart, we were very different - he was heavily into sports and I was well not into anything. Little did we realise that our futures would be entwined.

His dad was proud of Abhi all his growing up years from when he pursued shooting at the rifle academy, through his cricketing years he proudly narrated tales of Abhis conquests when he was over to meet dad. But if I even mentioned it to Abhi, he would be deeply embarrassed. Always followed by a wry one-liner that we all have come to know as Abhi-isms

Abhi then came into SJCC as my junior and I ragged him, a lil bit. We chatted often and taught me the concept of heart rate and given his cricketing career he spoke of fitness and what it demanded of him at length. He was more chatty one on one. He was a terrible dancer those days. As a teenager, my sister and I would push him to dance at Rotary parties. Not sure if that changed later.

One afternoon in his first year and my third I remember bumping into him on the the basketball court in college. We went out for lunch to a tiny Darshini where we stood and ate a full South Indian meal. He was disillusioned by his sporting career not moving ahead and I introduced him to AIESEC. Something that would eventually change the course of his life.

Just as I graduated. We both were brought up on the idea of going abroad for our MBAs and returning to take over a fancy Pre-press business (First Generation Reprographics or FGR) with fancy iMacs and Silicon Graphics servers. A business both our dads had invested in.

Come 2001, both our families came face to face with a rather severe financial disaster when FGRs winding up was imminent. I was a bit more distraught but Abhi seemed fairly calm, maybe the sportsman in him knew there would be a different innings to play.

We started to lose contact but he built his life all by himself, supporting his family and dad at times.

AIESEC I was told gave him a huge leg up, I started a design firm also with another AIESEC friend. A few years later at Vishal Talrejas Dream a Dream, i met him clearly plotting a career in the social sector.

And we all saw how he rose, every single day.

Baby and I lost touch over the past 10 years but I would read articles that made me proud.

His mother and my mom are still thick as thieves and I have no clue how she is going to handle losing her Baby.

My last msg to him was the day his daughter was born. Not managing to process this quickly. Sleep well my friend.
Sleep like a baby (Had to do this!)
You’ve left the world a better place.
Posted by R V on October 7, 2020
I am deeply saddened and shocked...I know Abhijeet since 2006/7 when he first joined Quest. Such a lovely person, and so passionate about bringing meaningful change in the hardest to reach communities.

When we met last year in Singapore, he was telling me about one such transformative work - Anandshala. His excitement and conviction shone through - he was such a strong advocate for those less fortunate and an inspiring role model for people who want to make the world a better place.

My heart-felt condolences to his family and all who know and loved him. Rest in peace, Abhijeet.

Roshni
Posted by Sumalini Shrikumar on October 6, 2020
Very saddened to hear this news. Our heartfelt condolences to all his family and friends.

Abhijeet had visited us at ANEW in Chennai, to observe our work. The keen personal interest he showed in understanding us was evidence of the person he was - committed to serving society! We are sure he has guided and groomed many to follow his footsteps and will be remembered fondly for it ..

All of us at ANEW pray that God be with his family and help them through this very difficult time!
Posted by Arvind Lodaya on October 6, 2020
Abhijeet was such a gentle, soft-spoken and good-humoured colleague at QUEST. He made everyone feel comfortable and acknowledged, and yet he could disagree and speak his mind without hesitation. He had a lot more to accomplish and contribute to the world, but he was obviously more needed for 'higher-level' work than ours. Will always remember his smiling face and shining eyes.
Posted by Munithanamma Mysore on October 6, 2020
Proud aunt

Abhijeet we have known you since you were born and watched you evolve rapidly into a wise soul.

Your love for your was mother expressed playfully, your love and respect for your grandparents was exceptional.

Uncle Suresh and I will always remember this poignant moment when you and your then new wife Ankura invited us to dinner. The candle lit table was set, the music of Bob Dylan's wedding song playing in the background said it all. You had found your soulmate !!

You were self taught and guided many through difficult times. I will always cherish our conversations about life and appreciate the values you adopted and instilled in others around you.

May Anika follow in your footsteps.

Om Sadgati

Muni masi
Posted by Chitra Dev on October 6, 2020
Dear Abhijeet,

You were one of those few leaders who we'd listen to and walk out of the room, inspired - like some dormant part of the brain just started working. You had a way of bringing in ease and simplicity to an idea/conversation that can otherwise seem like its a daunting task. No jargon, straight to the point! I vividly remember that question you asked during a workshop "What is the worst that can happen if you write online?" when I spoke about my apprehensions in sharing stories to the world - online. Did you know that question is forever etched in my mind, and changed my perspective forever? I am just one of those people who you've helped, even without realizing it. Grateful for the interactions while I was at Quest and for the opportunity to hear your stories.  Thank you for being you <3

Love,
Chitra
Posted by Jeevan Kumar C on October 6, 2020
Abhijeet ,

A dynamic individual who embodied the virtues of dedication, passion , experience.

A humble person who genuinely connected with everyone he met , right from a person who had just joined QUEST team to a high profile CSR executive or a high ranking Govt. official .

A technology enthusiast who understood its immense power for transformation in education and set high standards for QUEST , being aware of the latest trends that young people are attracted to ; but also sensitive to the need for technology to be accessible by all and customized to learners from diverse backgrounds.

A business development professional par excellence , who boldly declared that ensuring resources will never be an issue for QUEST as long as we do excellent work on the ground and are able to communicate it well.

A leader who,

       commanded respect among his peers and colleagues by giving equal importance to theory and praxis.

         kept himself informed of the various trends in the sector and constantly reflected on it.

         took out time to document different success stories , including one of an alumni from a partner center in Trichy and shared it proudly on his linked in profile as an impact of QUEST Alliance work and also at the same time acknowledging all other stakeholders.

         regularly visited various events in different States , including a Govt ToTs in Chennai and spending a day at NGO partner in Chennai , to understand their work better and QUEST’s role in it.

         guided a diverse team in the difficult post COVID 19 phase with a clear, to the point , rationale approach but equally sensitive to diverse views.

A trail blazer who left us all too early , but shall always continue to inspire those who have worked with him for many years to come.

Om Shanti , Abhijeet !

                     
Posted by Lisa Neuberger on October 6, 2020
Abhijeet,

You will be remembered and live on in all of us as we do our best to channel your light, your joy, your positive and caring spirit. Wishing your friends and family strength to make sense of and get through this difficult time in your absence.

With love,
Lisa
Posted by Vinodini Sudhindran on October 6, 2020

You will be always remembered for the enthusiasm and support you had for our students at ANEW . You wished the best for them !
Om Shanthi !
Vinodini
For ANEW
Chennai
Posted by Brenda Barritt on October 6, 2020
Abhi ,

I hold dear in my heart our many Tuesday (?) evenings cooking supper for the AI team and chatting about life and love. You taught me much. 

I hold dear your love of music and the concerts we shared: Norah Jones and Simon & Garfunkel will be even more precious to me now.

I hold dear how you hosted and supported me through my trip to Bangalore and Mysore, allowing me to see some of your India. 

The world misses your light and laughter.
Brenda (Schroeder) Barritt
Posted by Meena Amblee on October 6, 2020
Dear Abhijit
I had seen you as a little boy, but I knew
you through your mother.Vasanthi was so very proud of you and your achievements you were her universe.. You went too soon child. May be you were needed more on the other side. Rest in peace Abhijit. My prayers for your family to have the strength to bear this terrible loss
Posted by Vasanti Vinekar on October 6, 2020
Sorry, we lost you ABHIJEET, too soon, at such an unbelievable, tender age! It’s too shocking!
May you find PEACE IN HEAVEN! May God give strength to ALL your family members to bear the loss.
I will feel very sad as we share the SAME BIRTHDAY
Posted by Sunita Saini on October 6, 2020
From the little that I interacted with you Abhijeet, I experienced being at ease as a new person and could relate to you. I remember at lunch (my initial weeks at Quest), you said something to another colleague and I was sitting there hearing it all. I remember saying to myself, 'I'm not the only one who feels strongly about this'- I recall feeling connected. With you around, being Vegan also felt normal.
I will always miss the fact that I never got a chance to work with you closely. It was something I was looking forward to.
Thank you for being so easy to speak with and for being approachable. Thank you for being 'You'. My wish as I write this, is that all the love being poured here reaches you wherever you are and you are at peace, looking down at the beautiful journey you had and the lives you touched.
Anika - Your dad taught us all how to make chocolate chip cookies and he did not forget to mention he specially bakes them for you because they're your favourite. I am sure he would have wanted you to have a life as sweet and one with moments you would cherish. As you read through these heartfelt notes, feel the love that is pouring for you and your mom and know that you can count on all these amazing people.

Love
Sunita
Posted by Srividya Mohan on October 6, 2020
Extremely sorry and shocking to hear the news. Condolences Vasanthi, from all of us in IWCB Orchards.
Posted by Shahid Ahmad on October 6, 2020
Dear Abhijit
My deep condolences...you have left us so early and so soon. I was in shock and took sometime to believe the news of your demise. You were discplined, methodical and a cheerful human being...you encouraged us to share what do we feel and how we can add values in our work...I will miss you hamesha...
Posted by Jaiti Jaiti on October 6, 2020
Dear Abhijeet,
I still cannot believe that I am writing this message. Definitely today is one of the days when despite of sun being out there it just feels gloomy and dull.
Always admired the energy that you brought in the space and learnt so much from our conversations.

May you find peace and love wherever you are.
Posted by Sanjay Xavier on October 6, 2020
Dear Abhi...
It's too early to leave all of us....your smiling face and purely positive approach on issues will always remembered...Still remember your recent visit to our organization CEDRA during Quest Alliance board visit....Our youth had a chance to interact with you and we too had an opportunity to discuss best practices of S2S ... I personally have sweet memories with you during Bangalore visits and Quest Day celebrations....Your contribution on Youth development will always remembered as thousands of youth and their families have stable livelihoods due to Quest S2S under your leadership...Will miss you dear ... Praying for your family...God bless them...RIP dear Abhi...
Sanjay Vincent
CEDRA Ahmedabad
Posted by Shahee Deepak on October 6, 2020

It is unbelievable for me that you are no more......! You will be always in our heart and remembered to give us right direction, thoughtful Insights, asking powerful Questions and giving Futuristic perspective. Proud to be work in your leadership.

You will be missed forever!!
Posted by PAVANI DASARI on October 6, 2020
It's too early to leave your loved ones Abhijeet.

You will always be remembered through your QUEST WORK for reshaping many young lives.
Posted by Priyanka Kalmane on October 6, 2020
Grateful to have known you, Abhijeet.

My first interaction with Abhijeet was in May 2019 during my final round of interview at Quest. I distinctly remember how articulate, focussed and clear his questions were. His clarity of thoughts, pragmatism and working with constraints was absolutely commendable and my brief meetings and interactions with him reminded me of how much more there was always to learn. He had an ability to ask thought provoking questions and find the right balance. I remember how fondly he spoke about Bangalore, MG road and his time at St. Joseph's during our time at Pondicherry. I shall always cherish these brief encounters.

I'm grateful to have known Abhijeet and I hope he rests in peace.
Posted by Siddharth Nambiar on October 6, 2020
This comes as such a shock and is so hard to believe.

I’ll always remember Abhijeet as an extremely friendly and warm person from our days at SJCC and later, as a fellow runner and marathoner.

My thoughts and deepest condolences to Ankura, Anika and his family and friends. Wishing them all the strength to tide over the loss.

May his soul rest in peace.

Sincerely,

Siddharth Nambiar

(Abhijeet’s batchmate/classmate from St. Jospeh’s College of Commerce)
Posted by Namrata M on October 6, 2020
Dear Abhijeet,
I never got the chance to work with you but I always admired you at a distance. When I first joined Quest as an intern, you were one of the few people I talked to since we'd be the only 2 people in office at 7 am. I'd feel nice thinking that someone at your level of work would ask me about mine. I guess you were my first glance into the values Quest stands for. I hope you are at peace wherever you are.

To Anika and Abhi's family, I wish you all the strength and courage to get through this. Sending you lots of love.
Posted by IFFAT ANJUM on October 6, 2020
Dear Anika,
I interacted with Abhijeet, you father for the first time in 2014 which inspired me to believe that in the short span of life one can be successful through determination, and by being pragmatic. His professional ethics influenced me to raise my benchmark after every milestone. The passion and dedication he had for his work has made me strong and strengthen the trust in the organization. Abhijeet and Aakash have set example of collaboration to challenge the stride and surf the strongest waves to help people thrive in Quest.

When there was so much to learn from him, I feel sad that he is too early gone. His attitude, values and ethics encompasses every single person in the organisation, be it at any level.
I admired his firmnes and attitude towards following the system, process and donor management. He was one of the best person in my professional life I have met. You will be in our memory forever.

Quran, Chapter 2, verse156 - "we surely belong to almighty and to him we shall return".
May this good soul rest in peace and almighty gives you and family fortitude to bear this loss.
Posted by RAJNISH CHANDRA on October 6, 2020
Even writing this, I cannot believe that you are no longer among us. When I saw the message posted by Aakash on our official WhatsApp group about you last night, there was only one thought in my mind that how could that happen? You were a very straightforward articulate person. We have been hearing about the Quest journey many times from Aakash and Amitabh that how a small team along with you worked together and that has been a source of inspiration and courage for all of us. You will always be a source of inspiration among us. We all would remember you for your unprecedented contribution.
Posted by Rosline Rashmi on October 6, 2020
Dear Abhijeet, I just remember your worm simle whenever come across. Had a chance to spend little time with you. Which I never forget about your encouraging talk and sharing new test that comes across in different places.
You have set foot print to walk easily in life.
My deepest sympathy.
Posted by Chetan H on October 6, 2020
Dear Abhi ,

Going back to our days in Joseph's, we shared the same bench during the last couple of years at the great institute. Your one-liners always brought a good laugh, your commitment on the filed as our star off spinner, the wins you bought us and the nick name "Hooli Boy" will always be cherished.

You always showed great character, always well grounded, although being part of the greatest cricket team school's in the 90's could ever produce was nothing short of being a super star. 

Shine bright my friend, I will always see you as a star looking down upon us.

Rest in peace Batha !



Posted by Sunitha Francis on October 6, 2020
Dear Abhijeet, it's not about how long we live, but how well we live and You set footprint in sands of time. You were the first person in Quest from whom I heard, there is no right or wrong answer. You will be remembered for your Leadership and humility. Haven't had much interactions with you, I just remember the warmth in your smile everytime I met you....
Posted by Nitin Mathur on October 6, 2020
I haven't known Abhijeet too long, and the loss is entirely mine. In the little time that I did, I found him to be extremely professional, generous with his time and knowledge, and possess an extremely positive and helpful nature.
A lot of leaders are respected for their qualities, but Abhijeet was someone who was also loved by his colleagues. That's rare.
His legacy will live on through Quest and the wonderful and talented people who comprise it.
Farewell Abhi! Strength to the family, friends and colleagues.
Posted by Ayush Rastogi on October 6, 2020
I've had the privilege to work with you and report to you.
A great mentor, guide and having empathy for each and every person around, that's how I have known you.
You have impacted so many lives just by the way you treated them, you made sure everyone felt comfortable.
I have truly learned a lot in this little time from you.
May God give you eternal rest and the family, strength to bear this painful time.
Will Miss you Abhijeet!
Posted by Oscar Horo on October 6, 2020
Dear Abhijeet , You etched your charisma into our hearts and our work. You will be missed forever.
Posted by Rathish Balakrishnan on October 6, 2020
Dear Abhijeet - You are gone too soon! I have enjoyed each of our meetings. You are a rare breed of a person who is constantly looking for win-wins. Your best years were ahead of you - But I want use this moment not just to lament but to celebrate what you were able to do in the time you were here. You have been able to impact so many lives - and all of us are proud to have known you. My condolences to your family!
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Recent Tributes
Posted by Sangeet T on October 23, 2020
Dear Anika,

Abhi is a legend. Period.

His contributions towards the social good has made us proud and it’s simply priceless; while the rest of us were busy with the rat-race. And this level of focus and determination takes an immense level of grit and focus.

My fond memories of Abhi revolve around the below where I fondly reminisce:
- The “Abhi-isms” that he’s fondly known for - witty, catchy one-liner’s that makes anyone crack up even during the most difficult of times - which at that point for us was before the exams and even after the exams!
- Abhi on his TVS Scooty with his cricket kit lunged around his back or in the front, before and after cricket matches/practice sessions.
- Abhi sitting at the boundary of the quadrangle at St. Joseph’s (our college - SJCC) during and after matches and also before and after exams sharing notes and also laughing it off. That’s the thing - his laugh. Which basically meant that everything shall pass!
- Lunch at this South Indian Dharshini called Payasam which was in the basement of a complex next to St. Patrick’s (next to Catholic Club). There were also these rare instances when we used to indulge in a hearty “luxurious” North Indian Thali constrained to our pocket money - at Shanbag on Residency Road. Then there were these “Thatte idli” sessions at Hotel Sangam on Residency Road! Memorable times those weeks - having a hearty meal and chatting away along with many one liners and jokes aplenty!
- Last and not the least, the good old Malleswaram boy who was super talented as a cricketer and one I always used to try my best to enlist for our local “gully” cricket matches. IPL was nowhere in sight those days, else Abhi would have definitely been an IPL demigod for sure!

Then the proverbial “Life” happened. All of us got busy with work, family and other responsibilities. Sad but true.

But then all we have now is to cherish and celebrate Abhi. Relive the memories because Abhi continues to be there with us through those memories.

At the end of the day, what really matters is that Abhi truly made a difference to everyone he was surrounded by and immensely enhanced the quality of life of the students and the wider community that he was able to touch. The tributes and stories in this page is a testament. Honestly, this is the best achievement by far that us mere mortals can aspire for. Money, fame, etc in today’s superficial world pales in comparison to what Abhi achieved. He made a huge difference, and a massive positive impact on all the people whom he touched.

Abhi simply epitomised life’s innate purpose - help the deserving without expecting anything in return. And this in itself is super difficult in today’s transactional world.

Kudos Abhi. God bless. (And I’m sure you will have a wise crack for this too!) Keep on smiling.

Best wishes to Anika & Ankura,
Sangeet

Posted by Aditi Rasquinha on October 17, 2020
A few years ago I did an exercise to reflect on 5 people who had the greatest impact on me – right from childhood, school, university and my career. For the AIESEC part (which is a massive part), it was Abhi.

I’m glad I called him and got to tell him. I used to be a fairly shy person and Abhi’s belief in me, gave me confidence. He helped give my passion a voice. He had this amazing ability of kicking my ass and raising me up at the same time. He kept me honest to myself.

The greatest things I learn from him and I use today are that our job as leaders is to help people be the best versions of themselves and to help them develop that potential. That you learn something from everyone – good or bad. To be determined – because when you put your mind to it, you can do anything. And to always speak up about how you feel.

Those were lessons from 20 years ago. You have been in my left and felt accountable for my development for 20 years now.

Thank you for being my boss, mentor, friend and big brother.

Hasta manana Abhi. Your passion and determination will always inspire and anchor me, until we meet again……
Posted by Brenda Barritt on October 17, 2020
Dutch poem translated by a friend of mine that made me think of so much of what was shared today. 

There should be people
that ignite suns,
before the world drowns in rain.
People that fly kites
in the ice cold winter,
and that sprinkle confetti
between the snowflakes.
There should be people like that.
There should be people
who sell ice cream
at the exit of the cemetery
and play the harmonica
on the ruins.
There should be people,
who stand on their chairs,
to hang stars
in the fog.
Who make Spring
out of fallen leaves,
and out of fallen shadows,
light
There should be people,
who keep us warm
and who, under a clear sky,
still walk with their heads in the clouds
so high
they jump rope
on the rainbow
when someone says to them:
come into my arms
With that kind of people I want to belong
That CONTINUE dancing in the rain at the garden party
Even after the musicians have gone home
There should be people
who, on the gray asphalt,
in large white letters
paint ‘LOVE’
People that carve names
in a tree
full of ripe fruit
because there are so many others
fleeing the butterflies
and throwing stones
to the first Spring blue
because they are afraid
of flowers
and afraid of:
I love you
Yes,
there should be people
with tears
like silver beads
that shine like rays in the dark
and greet the morning
when the daylight enters
silently
You know,
there should be people,
that blow bubbles
and know of no time
that can still be as amazed as a child
about something that bursts
with beauty
They shout from the rooftops
that there is love
and miracle
and when all others scream:
nothing makes sense
they continue to shout:
No, the world will not end
and they see in each ending
a new beginning
They are a little clown-like,
First the heart
and then the mind
and they write with their umbrellas
I love you in the sand
because they are so immensely
immersed in life
and fall
and fall
and fall
and RISE
With these people I want to belong
who CONTINUE dancing in the rain at the garden party
even after the musicians have gone home
the music plays ON
the music plays ON
and ON


Toon Hermans
(translated by Kim Philips van Buren)
Recent stories

You are there, somewhere...

Shared by Somasree Basak on October 13, 2020
I remember my days at Quest. Those were meaningful days. I would reach out to you with one huge doubt, and you would calmly listen and explain in two lines. I would return to my desk with all energy and work towards with a full plan.

I always thought I had a lot of time to go back and work with you more closely. I feel you are there somewhere, with all of us. Just your presence needs to be felt in a new form. Your energy and positivity will be remembered always. 

I have heard stories of your daughter. I want to share with her that Abhijeet was a gem of a person who impacted almost everyone around him. 



A man of details but also of concern

Shared by Nanditha Menon on October 12, 2020
I was new to Quest, barely two months in, when the annual retreat of 2019 happened at Pondicherry. I had spent only about a week at the Bangalore office before joining at Bihar and I doubt Abhijeet knew my face. As one of only two vegans at the retreat, a lot of my meals were basic rice, dal/sambar and veggies with no frills and no dessert. I didn't have an issue with that and didn't bring it up. But Abhijeet somehow found out, made it a point to come find me in that crowd and told me to feel free to order anything from the A la carte menu.  
I never did order anything but the fact that he cared enough to do that left an indelible impression. He was just that sort of person, quick to notice the details but also quick to care.

Thank you Abhijeet, for being you. 
Shared by Ali M on October 8, 2020
Abhi made me feel so welcome when I first came to Quest. He was always fulls of smiles and full of questions. I can vividly remember his particularness when it came to, well, just about anything. It made working with him incredibly rewarding. I knew he was challenging thinking in ways that could only improve the ideas. And it made him so very human. He was a deep empath with a lust for life that you don't come across too often. We lost a kind and generous soul. My thoughts go out to friends and family.