Sundeep Bhutoria

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ess bee

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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

IT, gulab jamuns and cigars

Today evening I kept myself free and did not accept any invitations since I hosted a dinner in honour of an IT delegation from Latin America visiting Kolkata for the first time. The members of the delegation were Ms Daisy Oropeza, Director,  Albet Company, Mr Humberto Arango, Director, Datys Company, Mr Leonel Iriarte, Vice Rector, Citi (Centre for IT) and Ms Marina Capo, Adviser, Ministry Informatics & Communications (picture).
It was an early dinner and I inquired about their experience in India and Kolkata in particular. The itinerary included a visit to the Jadavpur University to meet the Director and also the faculty members of  IIT Kharagpur. All the delegates spoke Spanish and thanks to Mr Luis Javier Baro Baez from the Embassy of Cuba, New Delhi, who made it possible for us to communicate at length. The delegates also visited Tata Consultancy Services but missed the appointment with the West Bengal IT minister as they were caught in a traffic snarl.
Our discussions, which began with IT, later stretched to topics of gulab jamuns and Cuban cigars. What I gathered was that their curiosity about gulab jamuns was no less than our cravings for the Cuban cigars. I was presented with a box of the famed Cuban cigars. Since I don’t smoke, I have decided that I shall keep it as a memento. The members of the delegation were fascinated by the gulab jamuns and I was coaxed into sharing its recipe with them.
The delegation is in India on an exploratory visit aimed at getting a first hand feel of the Indian IT scenario and the possibilities of forging business ties with Indian companies. On a serious note, I did ask them why they were in Bengal - often written off as the back waters. They told me that it was their perception that Bengal was one of the leading states in India as far as talent is concerned and thus it had to be on their itinerary.
Most of us in Bengal don’t realise the kind of talent the state has and exports. But people, like the members of this delegation, sure did their homework before embarking on a thousand-mile journey to India. They are here in India with a purpose and they know where to be. And starting with Bengal was a great idea - they all agreed.
The delegation was very impressed by the young beaming crowds pouring out of Tata Consultancy Services’ software centre in Saltlec. I realised that the youngsters from Bengal, who have fanned out across the global IT industry, are the biggest brand ambassadors of the state. I earnestly hope that something concrete materialises between Bengal and Cuba.
ess bee

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