Sundeep Bhutoria

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Thank you.
ess bee

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Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Rabindra Jayanti with Pronam members

With Agnimitra Paul and Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury

9 May, 2018: Today was the 157th Rabindra Jayanti or the Birth Anniversary of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore. 
With Agnimitra Paul
I attended a Rabindra Jayanti function organized by Pronam at its office in Ballygunge Police Station.
The function was attended by officials of Kolkata Police and members of Pronam who are all senior citizens. Film director Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury and Ms Agnimitra Paul, Jt Convenor of Pronam, were also there.
The elderly members paid rich tributes to Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore by performing Rabindra Sangeet, recitation of his poems and excerpts from his works.
I visited the Pronam office after a long time and took note of some of the infrastructural requirements needed there.
ess bee

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Of Palais de Nations peacocks and WFUNA meetings

A proud moment to meet our Indian National Bird at the Palais de Nations, Geneva, premises

May 2, 2018: I came back to Kolkata from Geneva today. I had left Kolkata on 25 April for Geneva via Dubai on Emirates and had reached Geneva in the evening. It is always a pleasure to fly Emirates and I notice the innovations and positive changes in services they keep adding.
In Geneva WFUNA ExCo meeting
The new first-class suites, which only fly Dubai—Geneva and Dubai-Brussels sectors, are really of high quality and very stylish. Although there is no spa attached to them like the A380 which fly to other sectors from Dubai, I presume the suites in A380 also would be like these in time. Each time I fly Emirates, I find the quality bar is raised.
I went to Geneva to attend the Executive Committee (ExCo) meeting of the World Federation of United Nations Association (WFUNA). My visit was packed with meetings and I got an opportunity to catch up with some old WFUNA colleagues and made some new friends in Geneva.
With Rajiv Kumar Chander, Permanent Representative of India to the UNOG
On April 26, I met Mr Rajiv Kumar Chander the Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations in Geneva at his office. Post that, I went to the WFUNA office which is located in the iconic Palais de Nations building. The imposing building, which is also called the United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG) and considered to be the UNO’sEuropean headquarters, is full of history.
In Geneva
Indian Restaurant in Geneva
This humongous complex is located on a 46-hectare prestigious Ariana Park overlooking the Geneva Lake. It was constructed from 1929 till 38 for the League of Nations
Over the years, additional buildings were added to the complex. 
Each year over one lac visitors tour the Palais de Nations and sixty thousand delegates participate in various conferences.
During my visit to Palais de Nations building complex, I was pleasantly surprised to find quite many of our National birds proudly strutting and roaming around the hallowed premises of one of Europe’s most iconic buildings in their splendid colours. Their occasional calls from time to time pierce through the stillness of Ariana Park. I came to know that these peacocks are the permanent members at the Palais de Nations since 1890 by decree. I was curious and made some queries. And what I came to know was very interesting.
The presence of about a dozen peacocks at the UNOG is a legacy of art collector Gustave Revilliod de Rive who bequeathed his park to the City of Geneva in 1890 based on three conditions that he be buried at the Park after his death; the peacocks should be allowed to roam freely in the Park; and the Park should be given access to the masses. All these three conditions are honoured by the City of Geneva. 
Thus the peacocks are the Special Guests of Palais de Nations as per the local law. A cenotaph or tomb of Gustave Revilliod has also been erected with the premises where his mortal remains to rest.
Since then, the peacocks and peahens have been roaming freely within the premises of Palais de Nations, often seen perching on many the more than 100-year-old trees planted from all over the world.
Indian restaurant in Geneva
Most of the peacocks at the Palais de Nations are from the Indian sub-continent. A Japanese zoo had initially gifted some peacocks to the Palais de Nations and the rest were gifted by the Permanent Mission India in Geneva. 
The birds are fed and taken care of by the park's gardeners. The cost of keeping these feathered guests in style is borne by the UNOG.
With Ramaz Aptsiauri, Kathryn White (WFUNA Canada) and Bonian Gulmohammadi
Before meeting the Permanent Representative of India to UNOG on 26 April, I had lunch with a Russian NGO at the Spice of India restaurant followed by a WFUNA meeting and then in the evening, I had dinner with WFUNA colleague Bonian Golmohammadi.
With Ramaz Aptsiauri, UNA Georgia
I had a series of meeting on 27 April and I met Mr. Ramaz Aptsiauri of United Nations Associations (UNA) Georgia at Hotel Royal Geneva
With Aarthi Krishnan of International Federatio of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
Next, I had a meeting with Aarthi Krishnan of International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. I also met Kathyrn White of UNA Canada and another meeting with Bonian Golmohammadi at Hotel Royal.
WFUNA meeting in progress
There was the WFUNA Finance Committee meeting followed by the WFUNA Executive Committee meeting at the Palais de Nations. In the evening, there was dinner at the UN dining room overlooking the lakes and mountains of Geneva.
With Bonian Gulmohammadi, WFUNA
On April 28 there were a series of meetings including another WFUNA ExCo meeting at CAGI International Welcome Centre
Indian restaurant Tandoori Grill in Geneva
In the evening I met Shishir Priyadarshi, Director Development Division of the World Trade Organisation for dinner along with his wife at the Rasoi by Vineet, an Indian food joint.
With Kiran Mehra Kerpelman
On April 30 I met Kiran Mehra Kerpelman over lunch at the WFUNA office in ILO.
With Michael Moller, Director General of UNOG
I met Mr Michael Moller, Director General of UNOG on May Day in the morning and left Geneva at night. I reached Kolkata today evening.
ess bee

Monday, April 23, 2018

Arindam’s 30 years in filmdom


With Arindam Sil and family Sonika and Shukla
23 April, 2018: Today was a lovely evening at Hyatt Regency Kolkata. I hosted a party for actor-director Arindam Sil who completed his 30 years in Bengali film industry. All the celebrities from the tinsel town were there in full strength.
WIth Gautam Bhattacharya and Arindam
Arindam started his acting career in an early stage. He has made more than thirty Bengali feature films, numerous television serials and tele-films. 
With Harsh Neotia
He made his directorial debut with Aborto and other films followed.
With Birgit Holm, Kalyan Ray and Aparna Sen
Last year he took up a challenging initiative and made a film on the controversial issue of Dhananjoy that was much appreciated by the audience.
With June Maliah
It was nice to meet Harsh Neotia, sports journalist Gautam Bhattacharya, film producer Moni and Srikant, actors Aparna Sen, Kalyan Roy, Abir Chattopadhyay and others.
With Mahendra Soni and Srikant Mohta
I am looking forward to my visit to Geneva day after.
ess bee

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Sunil Gangopadhyay Memorial Award 2018


With Prafulla Roy, Keshari Nath Tripathi and Nabaneeta Dev Sen
19 April, 2018: Yesterday I attended the 55th session of An Author’s Afternoon with guest author Joshua Pollock. He was in conversation with Varuna Shunglu. a practitioner of yoga and a law graduate. She works with NGOs and has started her own wellness community Kyogi.
With Joshua Pollock, Varuna Shunglu and Kanak Rekha Chauhan
This session of An Author’s Afternoon was a tad unusual in the sense it began on a meditative note. The author, an expert violinist who has evolved his own meditation style called “Heartfulness”, wanted the audience to have a glimpse of that experience one feels during meditation. 
With Neil and Bashabi Frazer
He guided the audience with basic relaxation techniques of calming the mind and getting prepared for the inner journey that lies ahead and also relate to his book “The Heartfulness Way”
With Keshari Nath Tripathi, Prafulla Roy, Swati Ganguly and The Bengal team members Agnimitra, Usha Uthup, Bickram Ghosh, Dona Ganguly, Arindam Sil, Jogen Choudhury, HM Bangur, Nabaneeta Dev Sen, Nayantara Pal Choudhury and Goutam Ghose.
With Usha Uthup and Keshari Nath Tripathi
Just as we have to make an effort to go to a rail station to catch a train which takes us to our destination. We have to make an effort to calm our mind and the rest the inner journey would follow, the author explained. A mix of effort in order to achieve a kind of effortlessness was the key message.
The audience asked some interesting questions pertaining to his style of meditation, the author said that we all have to experience meditation in our own way Pollock said.

With Prafulla Roy and Arindam Sil
Today evening, the third Sunil Gangopadhyay Memorial Award event was held at the Raj Bhavan. Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi conferred the 2017 Award on Prafulla Roy, a leading litterateur of Bengal. His work on subaltern societies is laudable. A citation, shawl and a cash prize of Rs 2 lakh was given to the author by the Governor.
The earlier recipients of this Award are Nirendranath Chakraborty, Shankha Ghosh, Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay and Joy Goswami.
With Swati Gangopadhyay
The Bengal members were in full strength to attend the event. Usha Uthup rendered Ganesh vandana to start off the proceedings. Actor-director Arindam Sil read out excerpts from Sunil Ganguly’s renowned novel ‘Protham Alo’. Director Gautam Ghosh recited e poetry on a dead river by Late Sunil da. Agnimitra Paul conducted the whole ceremony.
With Dona Ganguly
Chairman of The Bengal, H M Bangur delivered a speech on behalf of The Bengal along with Nabaneeta Dev Sen. Other members of The Bengal present on the occasion included Bickram Ghosh, Dona Ganguly, K Jawed Yusuf, Nayantara Pal Choudhury and Jogen Choudhury. Mrs Swati Ganguly, wife of Late Sunil Ganguly was also present.
About thirty senior citizens from Pronam also attended the event.
ess bee

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Lafz series takes off

With Guest Author Farhat Ehsas at the premiere of Lafz in Jaipur

14 April, 2018: I attended the first session of Lafz in Jaipur at the Hilton Hotel yesterday. Lafz is the latest in the events portfolio of Prabha Khaitan Foundation.
The guest author was Farhat Ehsas, popular contemporary Urdu poet, who is also proficient in socio-politico-cultural issues and is a renowned thinker.
After the success of An Author’s Afternoon, Write Circle, Kalam and Aakhar, which are events for English, Hindi and regional authors and litterateurs, Lafz has been started to extend a platform to the Urdu, Arabic and Farsi authors. We hope to take Lafz gradually to the other cities.
With ladies' team from Jaisalmer
Prabha Khaitan Foundation in collaboration with Ehsas Women-Jaipur and Rekhta Foundation organized this event in Jaipur. 
It was nice to meet some well-known intellectuals including Shakhir Ali, Anisur Rahman, Narendra Singh, Meghna Kumari and others.
I had a discussion with Vinnie Kakkar, national advisor of PKF, and Apra Kuchhal, Kulsum Malik, Minul Roy – members ofEhsaas Women – for literary activities in Jaisalmer.
With Kalam Guest Author Satya Vyas 
Today there is another edition of Kalam Rajasthan in Jaipur with author Satya Vyas.
ess bee

Saturday, April 7, 2018

EkMulakat with Abhishek Manu Singhvi


With Ek Mulakat Guest, Abhishek Manu Singhvi
April 7, 2018: Today evening I attended a session of EkMulakat at the Tollygunge Club. This time the guest was Abhishek Manu Singhvi the leading lawyer and Congress Party MP who recently got elected to the Rajya Sabha
He was in conversation with Jayabroto Chatterjee who, like Abhishek Singhvi, is an alumni of St Stephen’s College in Delhi.
With Tonushree
There was a protest organized by a section of the Congress Party supporters at the Tollygunge Club’s gate against Abhishek Manu Singhvi who courted arrest. There were many television channel reporters who had also thronged at the entrance of the Club
There was a strong contingent of police and the whole program took place under their watchful eyes to pre-empt any untoward incident.
The guests for the event turned up in full strength including actress Tonushree, film director Anik Datta, Nandita Pal Choudhury and others.
With Mr and Mrs Rampuria
Abhishek Manu Singhvi, who has been a spokesperson of the Congress Party, turned out to be an excellent conversationalist and touched upon many aspects of his life. He also expressed his views on some serious legal issues ailing the Indian judicial system.
With Dolly Basu and Abhishek Manu Singhvi
The Ek Mulakat series in Kolkata is organized by Prabha Khaitan Foundation in association with The Tollygunge Club and Calcutta Times and sponsored by Shree Cement Ltd.
ess bee

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

At the launch of Jasmin’s “Change Me”


With Bashabi Fraser, Usha Uthup, Neil Frazer and Vikas Jha
With Jasmin Waldmann
4 April, 2018: Today evening I attended the launch of Jasmin Waldmann’s book Change Me at the Hyatt Regency Kolkata. The event was organized by Prabha Khaitan Foundation in association with Hyatt Regency and Prayas.
Jasmin Waldmann, who is from Germany, calls herself a “Life Coach”. She helps people manage their life in a manner to achieve their goals. She often helps people pick up the pieces of their lives and achieve targets when they hit a plateau. She came to India six years ago after getting a letter from cricketer M S Dhoni’s company.
From then on she has stayed back in India and has many corporate clients. Some high net worth individuals also approach her. She has had small roles in the two Bollywood films Bhag Milkha Bhag and Padman.
Dinner after the Book launch
Her book “Change Me” is all about how to take charge of your life told through protagonist Amit. Usha Uthup and Vikas Jha were at the event, as were Neil and Bashabi Frazer. 
With Alexey Idamkin
There was an interactive session in which Usha Uthup, Bashabi Fraser, Birgit Holm, Hyatt General Manager, and Shraddha Agarwal of Prayas participated.
The Russian Consul General, Alexey Idamkin and Dy Consul General of Germany, Thomas Jurgen Schrod were present. 
I met Bashabi whose earlier program I had missed on 31st March held at the ICCR, organized by The Bengal in association with British Council and ICCR.
With Vikas Jha and Birgit Holm
I must thank Birgit Holm for organizing and extending excellent hospitality for the book launch.
ess bee