Sundeep Bhutoria

Welcome to my blog. Do share your views and thoughts with me. Request visitors to keep their comments brief and to the point. I shall respond to you to the extent possible.
Thank you.
ess bee

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Phone: 91 33 2281 6934

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Email: essbee@essbeeindia.com

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Friday, January 29, 2010

Reminiscences – Sri Ram Niwas Mirdha

Today morning a close friend gave me the sad news of Sri Ram Niwas Mirdha’s demise. Sri Mirdha was in hospital in critical condition since last week. I first met him in Luxembourg in 1994 or 1996 and thereafter accompanied him on a number of delegations to foreign countries including China, USA and Switzerland. In fact, I spent more time with him abroad than at home.
In December 2009 I was at his house in Delhi for a couple of hours. We discussed national and international politics and India’s role in the UN at length. Mirdha ji’s demise is a national loss. Indian politics and NGOs would feel his absence the most.
After my marriage, Mirdha ji paid us a luncheon visit and presented my wife with an exquisite Nagori painting. There are so many unforgettable shared memories with Sri Mirdha but I would recount one that revealed his immense popularity and respect.
During one of the visits to China, the Chinese government officials took us to see the diamond factory of one of the leading industrialists. On our way to the factory, the Chinese officials lavished praises on the industrialist, a person of Indian origin, who had made it big in a short time. Sri Mirdha was leading the delegation. On reaching the factory, the industrialist, who the Chinese officials were praising no end, graciously touched Sri Mirdha’s feet and said, “Sir! Do you remember me?” Mirdha ji said “No!” The great industrialist said, “About 25 years back, I was your chauffeur on duty when you visited the United States. You only had advised me to start my own business.”
We all stood there speechless.
ess bee

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Resolutions or friends

Wednesday January 27, 2010: The Book launch! Can’t think of anything else it seems. One more extremely busy day that began on a manic note tying loose ends for the mega event. Last week my resolution was to stay off parties and social events till the Book Launch is over. Well, what transpired left me wondering about how much control do we really have over ourselves. Perhaps, it is foolish to make resolutions when you don’t always live for your own self.
On Sunday Jan 24th I was at Arindam Sil’s launch party straight from my office. He is too good a friend for any resolution to stop me. He has selflessly supported my social projects and I value his friendship a lot.
Again, today Jan 27th eve was the same story. I had to skip work to attend Sanatan Dinda’s solo exhibition at Hyatt. Sanatan is a fantastic artist and two of his masterpieces, a painting and a sculpture, adorn my house. 
Sanatan’s superb creativity is surpassed only by the kindness of his heart. I was overwhelmed when he introduced me to the legendary Ustad Amjad Ali Khan as the “strength behind his solo exhibition”. Filmmaker Gautam Halder also put in some very good words about me to Ustad ji. My ties with Sanatan go a long way back when I did an event with him. I remember Mani Shankar Aiyar, the then Youth Affairs Minister, drawing sketches on a canvas with Calcutta youth achievers and the final touches were given by Sanatan.
ess bee

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Time flies

Frantic fortnight. I was too tired to even think of rest. Republic Day today – brings some respite at last!
A string of events on the cards kept me on tenterhooks. Expectedly, the run up preparations for Jan 31st Book launch that would spin off into eight high-voltage programmes packed into two days can only be hectic. With international guests on the list, VIPs, media coordination and hundreds of other modalities to be worked out, one can ill afford to relax even for a moment.
Last 15 days were very eventful. A visit to the hospital to see our ailing former chief minisiter Sri Jyoti Basu with Dr Shija F William, Secretary-General, CPA, opened the floodgates of fond memories. One of the most memorable and best compliments till date was from Sri Jyoti Basu, who, after attending one of my programmes, commented that he had never seen such a wonderful programme in his five decades of social and political life. And his was no ordinary life.
The last time I met Sri Jyoti Basu was with the eminent litterateur Sri Sunil Gangopadhyay and the Commissioner of Police when Sri Basu accepted to become the first signatory to a programme for senior citizens  `Pronam' jointly organised by an organisation called The Bengal and Kolkata Police.
Sri Basu’s compliments still inspire me and it has been a personal challenge to ensure that my every programme is better than the last one. But then, there were thousands whom he had inspired as was evident by the sea of humanity at his funeral. I was at the State Legislative Assembly to pay my homage to him and witnessed how international and national leaders from different political parties and organisations along with people from varied walks of life converged to pay their last respects.
As I stood wondering how many people Sri Basu had inspired in his lifetime, I remembered how aptly someone once said, “If death is so glorious who would not want to die”.
ess bee

Republic Day - My first blog.


Friends.
The Republic Day, when Indians near and far salute the nation, is quite a day to start a blog.
For the past 10 years the Republic Day of India has invariably been a day of attending various functions from sun up till well beyond sun down. Even day before yesterday, when I was at the swearing-in ceremony and greeted West Bengal’s new Governor Sri M K Narayanan, I was cocksure that I would be at the Raj Bhawan on Republic Day. But this year I broke a trend that had almost become a ritual - I missed the Governor’s evening tea at the Raj Bhawan today. All these years, whether in Kolkata or Jaipur, I always made it a point to be at the Governor’s on Republic Day. The only exceptions were on two occasions when I was at the Rashtrapati Bhawan. But January 26, 2010 turned out to be different with preparations for my next week’s Book Launch demanding my undivided attention. So here I am keying in my first blog. There is a first time for everything, I guess.
ess bee