Happy birthday Sameer!

Today would have been Sameer’s 33rd (is 33 right?) birthday. Sadly, he never beat his battle with leukemia, but he lives on in our memories, conversations, and laughter. It’s accurate to say that birthdays, whether for him or his friends, were some of his favorite times. Namely because he loved to pull practical jokes. Usually a birthday party involved posting an outrageous listings on craigslist, dressing up unsuspecting birthday boys in crazy costumes, and simply getting to see his friends. To celebrate this day, some friends have written some of our favorite memories regarding Sameer’s past birthdays and surprises.

Ok my most memorable samba story is when we threw a surprise birthday in his own apartment. I remember that he showed up in his basketball clothes all sweaty in front of all of us who were dressed up in cocktail attire. It was so fun and I remember how much fun samba had and happy he was that day. He always loved celebrating birthdays with all of his favorite friends. I miss him.

Your story made me think about when Samba had a house party for an “apartment” he was house-sitting. When I arrived on Chestnut, everyone there was happy and lounging in the living area. I couldn’t get over what a great space Samba had scored. He was giddy to the point of goofy and was bringing me around the apartment asking what I thought? Then he kept on pointing to a picture of San Francisco and saying what do you think of this? What do you think of that? The point of course was that everything there was his belongings and that this wasn’t a friend’s place but his new home. I was totally clueless. Now I was in on the joke. I couldn’t believe that this crazy guy would go to such lengths for a surprise! He bought a house and didn’t tell anyone until they came over!! Baba and I went down the street and bought doughnuts marveling over Sameer’s ingenuity and how happy we were for him owning a house.

The birthday I remember is one in which I couldn’t make it but we planned this elaborate hoax to make Sameer think his surprise birthday party would be a day later than the actual event. I accidentally revealed the fake surprise birthday via email and he wouldn’t let me hear the end of it for revealing the secret. I guess he thought I was an amateur. Sadly, I didn’t get to see the look on his face when he was duped! The pranks just got bigger and more elaborate. The other party I remember is the Robert’s American Idol party where Sameer was Judge Randy. I remember how much fun we all had together.

October of 2003, just about a month after I arrived in England…missing friends and family. “Samba’s birthday” was written on my datebook for Oct 22nd. I waited to call “at the right time.” I was 8 hours ahead of the crew in San Francisco. It was late evening for them, finally…where I could get in on the fun for Samba’s birthday. They were playing the newlywed game!! Why wasn’t I surprised?!?! Of course, it was a fun and creative way to celebrate :) :) I can remember samba’s voice, and him saying the crew had taken over and made him ask and answer questions with 3 girls he doesn’t know. It wouldn’t have been such a birthday without the energy samba poured everywhere he went. I felt like I was there! All great memories of Samba, happy birthday to you!

Tough guys wear pink! he wore that hot pink shirt :) what about the scary birthday where we had brunch and sohan and diya were petrified because sambakaka was looking like a woman! Diya couldn’t stop staring at him. I think he was wearing a Britney school girl outfit - um that one was scary.

Most memorable birthday? Oh my…where do I start?! Let me pick one that is a vivid memory in my mind, largely because of how he was dressed. Or rather, “how we forced him to dress”! We were all gathered for brunch one morning in San Francisco. Little did Samba know that it was for his birthday (though I’m certain he suspected). Oh, this wasn’t going to be just any standard brunch…not when we’re celebrating Sameer’s special day! Shortly after we sat down and ordered, a few of us ‘commanded’ Sameer into the restaurant restroom. We brought along our little bag of tricks which included the attire he was required to dress up in. It was complete with everything needed for a full-on embarrassment: a plaid skirt, blouse, eyelashes, and some gloss lipstick. Oh wait, and a blonde wig! That’s right - within minutes, he was transformed into a beautiful cheerleader. OK…scratch the beautiful. Aside from scaring the children at the table, along with the waitress and the other customers, it was the perfect Samba birthday celebration :)

From Samba to his friends after his elimidate birthday
i don’t know what i’m doing thanking all of you for what happened to me last night, but i do want to state (as i’m still drunk) that i have found some words in my vocabulareee to describe how i feel about you all…


i seriously walked into dinner expecting a normal happy dinner. you know, like other people do on their birthdays. and i left feeling like a drunk hooker. (that has definitely happened before, but last night was different…) that was by far the craziest buuurrddday i’ve ever had. yes, it beats walking around sno-drift as dodo’s daddy carrying dodo onto the dance floor. yes, it also beats being surprised by 40 of my favorite intruders in my own apartment. and, oh yeah, it even tops salsa dancing with the hairy-chested Senor Samba last year. my god, i don’t think i’ll ever forget this one…let alone remember all of it.

….i also don’t know if i’ll be functioning properly again until tomorrow. still can’t get this damn studded collar off.

samba “the stud”.
Please feel free to share more of your birthday stories in the comments section.

6 Responses

  1. Priya Says:

    Sameer your friendship is a significant loss in my life. love you. miss you. Happy birthday Samba.

  2. anon Says:

    Happy Birthday Sameer.

  3. Amitha Says:

    I only wish that I could have met you. I am at a crossroads in my life right now (call it a semi mid life crisis). I am stuck, pondering how best I can contribute to society and leave my mark. From all that I have heard about you, you were one of those people who contributed to society in a very significant way. This world is better because of you. And you achieved all your success by the tender age of 30! You give me hope that I can do the same.

    With love and mad respect,


  4. Mala Says:

    Sameer, please know that you and your family continue to be in our thoughts and our prayers.

  5. Jonathan Brown Says:

    I always enjoyed celbrating Sameer’s birthday since my own was just one week later. The October birthday was something special I felt we shared.

  6. A well wisher Says:

    This past year, I have been deeply pondering the unfairness that is life. You and Vinay…two people who have changed my world forever (truly) have passed away…and it seems unreal. So unfair. Why? How? You, someone who seems to have deep roots in poverty alleviation and social entrepreneurship…how can you be taken away?

    I hope there is a reason for all that you went through, for all that your family has gone through. I sincerely hope that it is true that you still exist, somewhere, beyond this earth and that I will somehow get to meet you someday. In the meantime, I hope you can give your family the strength to move on, to live inspired lives in your memory. I hope I can as well.