Sundeep Bhutoria

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ess bee

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Sunday, January 2, 2011

2010 – the highs and lows

Sikar Circuit House, Rajasthan: I arrived here today to a chilly evening with the mercury plunging below five degrees. I shall leave for Churu early tomorrow. I lost my 96-year-old biological grand Nani (my mother's grand mother) recently and I would be attending the condolence meet and the last rituals. The whole of last year I was thinking of sitting at the Circuit House.
The New Year always gives us a reason to celebrate and Kolkata too had its share of events and bashes. The spirits are usually high this time of the year, but I find myself in a sombre mood as I take a rear view mirror look at 2010.
Nationally, 2010 will go down as a year of scams. But for me it was a year of personal loss in the sense that besides my grand Nani, two towering personalities who influenced my life also passed away during the year.
First of all Jyoti Basu, whose compliments about my program that he had never seen such a wonderful event in his five decades of social life, will always remain a source of inspiration in my life.
Another great loss was the demise of Ram Niwas Mirdha in early 2010 with whom I had visited so many countries as a member of his delegate. One could learn so much merely by being in his company. There were so many unforgettable shared memories with him. I shall recount one that revealed his immense popularity and respect.
During one of our 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.
Mirdha ji was leading the delegation. On reaching the factory, the industrialist, whom 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.
2010 was also the year of the Birth Centenary of Mother Teresa. Mother had once said about me, "He is a boy with a different vision altogether." These words are a great source of strength and inspiration and had instilled in me the confidence to take up social work.
2010 was also the 150th Birth Anniversary of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore. In this context, I claim a personal milestone having started off the process of initiating a Tagore and Indian section in one of the libraries in the small town on the Island of Montreal in south west Quebec in Canada. I took up this initiative after I learnt from my many foreign visits how much respect and love people have for Gurudev internationally.
For the first time I played out a small role in a Bengali film and my first book Aapbiti Jagbiti hit the market.
I hope 2011 too would be an inspiring and interesting year. Happy New Year.
ess bee

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