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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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Patriotism or adrenalin rush

While the whole sub-continent went crazy over yesterday's World Cup Cricket semi-finals between Indian and Pakistan at Mohali, I was some what indifferent to the whole affair. As I have said in my blogs earlier, cricket holds little interest for me. And honestly, my knowledge about the game is very limited. I agree with the view that cricket is like a neo-religion in our country. You may like it or not, but you cannot ignore it.
Sometimes, I feel that the patriotic fervour of the citizens of India manifests itself in full strength when it has something to do with Pakistan. More so, when it comes to playing a game like cricket. It is a fact that at the end of the day what matters in cricket are winners and losers, heroes and villains. There is a systematic hype and tension that builds up around every India-Pakistan match. Whatever fair words the Prime Ministers of the two countries may say, there is always a strong under current of anti-feelings on both sides. A rivalry that goes beyond cricket.
Frenzied cricket fans may forgive the players for losing the World Cup finals but losing to Pakistan is out of question. Beat them and you are heroes, lose and you are the villains. There is no doubt that winning over Pakistan seems to be more desirable than winning the cup itself. For millions of cricket fans in India, defeating Pakistan is like scratching an unreachable itch.
The Kolkata Police and The Bengal had made arrangements for a big screen to view the semi-final match at the Police Bodyguard Lines auditorium for Pronam members (senior citizens). I was there with the Commissioner of Police, Mr R K Pachnanda, and other Kolkata Police officials during the interval after India finished batting.
I left when the match resumed with Pakistani innings. There was hardly any traffic on the road. It seemed that everyone had retired early and glued up before the television at home to catch the action. I always go out during the bandhs and Wednesday late afternoon seemed like one.
I don't know what to say. Was it the true spirit of cricket or was it an adrenalin rush that triggered a deep desire in millions of countrymen to see Pakistan vanquished (we all know that the same scenario exists in Pakistan as well). If this is an outpouring of patriotism, strangely, it is found wanting when it comes to issues like corruption, poverty, backwardness etc. These real issues ailing India fail to move the same citizens who remain sedate.
I had nothing much to do the whole day as every body was busy with cricket. Apart from spending time with the Pronam members I took time to read Srijit Mukhopadhyay's book based on the movie Autograph. This is the first time somebody has written a book on a Bengali movie. I must thank Prosenjit Chatterjee who autographed and presented me the book at the special show of Moner Manush on Saturday, March 26 (2011), that I had organized at Nandan 3.
ess bee

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

At the Honorary Consul reception

Rajiv Arora
On Sunday I had a couple of meetings in the afternoon and hosted a dinner for Mr Rajiv Arora, Member, Central Board of Film Certification, who was in Kolkata for a Board meeting. Mr Arora is an active Congressman from Rajasthan and also a key person for various cultural films and literary events.
Mr Arora, in fact, is also the founder member of Jaipur Virasat Foundation which later gave birth to the much-talked about Jaipur Literary Festival with which he is actively involved at present.
It was on on Sunday morning that I decided to host a dinner in the evening. Thanks to my friends from the Tollywood, the dinner meeting was a great success. 
It was attended by Prosenjit Chatterjee, Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury, Arindam Sil, Suuchanndra, Anandi Ghosh, Rupa Ganguly, Ananya Chatterjee, Sangeeta Datta and others.
Everyone enjoyed the gathering and the evening ended in an impromptu song by the guests. Barun Mukherjee, the famous cinematographer who has done films like Chakra, Baghban, Baabul, Gehrayee and others and also impressed everyone with his voice for singing old Hindi film songs, joined in. He is currently in Kolkata shooting for Suman Ghosh's new film based on the theft of Nobel Prize.
Monday evening I missed the musical performance at the ITC as I attended the reception of Swiss Ambassador in India, His Excellency Mr Philippe Welli, at The Oberoi Grand.
At the reception, Mr Umesh Chowdhury was appointed the new Honorary Consul of Switzerland in Kolkata.
He took charge from his father Mr J P Chowdhury who really did a lot of justice to the post he held.
ess bee

Sunday, March 27, 2011

At Nandan

I spent quite a lot of time at Nandan yesterday from 3 pm to 10 pm attending the annual charitable award function organised by the Ladies Study Group. This was followed by the screening of the film Life Goes On at Nandan I.
Prior to the screening there was a discussion-cum-interactive session addressed by the film's director Sangeeta Datta along with Sharmila Tagore and Soha Ali Khan.
Sangeeta di and Rinku di both wanted me to see this session and I complied. But I could not see the film as it screening was delayed and I had another function in Nandan III from 6 pm.
So after the interactive session spent time at the Nandan Conference Hall with Ladies Study Group committee members Abhilasha Sethiya and Madhulika Kanoria (picture)
I also met their president Anuradha Dalmia.
From 6 pm, on behalf of
Prabha Khaitan Foundation, I organised a special show of award wining film Moner Manush at Nandan III. The governor of West Bengal M K Narayanan and his wife Padmini Narayanan and few other select guests like Jogen Chowdhury, Manoj Mohanka were also there to see the film along with Prasenjit and director Gautam Ghosh.
This was the first Bengali film watched by the Governor and he really like it. After the show, he commented that it was much better than his expectation (picture).
ess bee

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Surprise invitation

Yesterday evening I hosted a post-screening dinner for the film Life Goes On on behalf of Prabha Khaitan Foundation in association with The Conclave.
The director of the film, UK-based Sangeeta Datta, is known to me as is Rinku di. As expected, it started around 10 pm and finished late.
I met Soha (picture) after almost a year. I had last met her at the London Ananda Utsav. Many celebs from Tollywood and other eminent Kolkatans were there at the get together.
The attendance was a shade less than what Sangeeta had expected but still it turned out to be a lovely enjoyable evening.
Before dinner I went to Hotel Hyatt Regency to attend a reception hosted by J K Saraf, Honorary Consul of Chile. The reception was in honour of His Excellency Cristian Barros, Ambassador of Chile, in India and his wife (picture).
I was surprised to receive this invitation as one of my earlier articles on Honorary Consuls, published in the Hindustan Times, had upset Mr Saraf and others. He had raised the issue that I should not be invited to the diplomatic functions and neither should Honorary Consuls attend mine.
Though I was hosting the dinner on my own at
The Conclave, I made it a point to attend Hyatt. Mr Saraf was quite warm and hospitable. But my presence did raise eyebrows of couple of other Honorary Consuls. 
Mr Saraf introduced me to the Ambassador and his wife whom I had met years ago in UK.
I also met artist Sunil Das at the reception (picture).
ess bee

Friday, March 25, 2011

Project Pronam

(File Picture): R K Pachnanda, Special CP 1, with members of The Bengal and the then DC South, Rajesh Subarno, at the construction site of Pronam office.
Today afternoon I went to the police headquarters at Lal Bazar to discuss about Project Pronam and also to meet the new Police Commissioner R K Pachnanda. 
First I met and had a detailed discussion with Debashis Roy, IPS, who was in charge of Pronam Project and then I met the new Commissioner of Police.
Mr Pachnanda has been involved with the
Pronam Project since its inception. He was the one who shared ideas and saw the completion of Pronam office. 
I discussed with him the current problems and some other pending issues. He issued necessary instructions and the meeting was fruitful. He has called for a meeting of hospital representatives on the evening of 30th of March.
It was decided that a cultural event be organised for Pronam members in one of the Saturdays. It was also decided in the meeting that The Bengal and Kolkata Police should send greetings and some sweetmeats or cookies to all Pronam members during the Bengali New Year's day.
The current membership base of Pronam is about 3500.
ess bee

Monday, March 21, 2011

Holi and Dol

Smt Sita Sagar, Sampat Saral, Mahendra Ajnabi, Pradeep Choubey and Surendra Sharma
Every year the Holi weekend is always full of interesting programmes and events. This time there was the reception of the Ireland and Dutch cricket teams at The Oberoi Grand organised jointly by Mahendra K Jalan and Namit Shah, the Honorary Consuls of Ireland and Holland in Kolkata respectively.
Though I know very little about cricket, I attended the reception as Mr Jalan is known to me. The Irish Ambassador to India, His Excellency Kenneth Thompson and Dutch Ambassador to India, His Excellency Bob Hiench were also there.
I greeted them and the Irish Ambassador introduced me to the Captain of the Ireland cricket team William Porterfield (picture).
I attended all the programmes on dol and Holi. I also attended various kavi sammelans at Kalamandir and Birla Sabhahagar. In fact, on the 18th evening I hosted a dinner for the visiting Kavis (pictures) at my residence. Surendra Sharma, Pradeep Choubey, Mahendra Ajnabi, Sampat Saral and Kaviyatri Sita Sagar came for the dinner a little late after completing their program at the Calcutta Swimming Club.
I have known and met all of them earlier, except for Sita Sagar whom I heard for the first time. 
I really liked her choice of Hindi words. On 19th morning I went to the Sunny Park residence of Mr P R Agarwal of Rupa & Co. Every year, early in the morning, Mr Agarwal organises this Holi meet over breakfast. 
All the leading city industrialists turn up in full strength. Later in the evening, I missed the Bhojpuri songs program at Dilip Jaisawal's residence.
On Sunday evening I attended the Holi Utsav at Dona Ganguly's residence. This is perhaps the only function in Kolkata which happens in traditional Shantiniketan style.
This time, with elections in the air, lot of political colours were also evident alongside Holi.
ess bee

Thursday, March 17, 2011

No sense, no sensibility

Last few days were full of events – interactive session with Jeffrey Archer, Kavi Sammelans, Holi get togethers, engagements, wedding functions and others.
In one of the wedding receptions at a five star hotel in city, just as I entered the function area, a renowned city industrialist also arrived. The hosts warmly greeted him and a while later took him to the dais where he was photographed with the couple.
Soon after the photographs were taken, the industrialist pardoned himself saying he had to leave. The hosts thanked him for taking time out of his busy schedule to grace the occasion. They requested him to have something to which the industrialist once again excused himself saying "I avoid having outside food."
I stayed on for another 15-20 minutes and after having little soup I left the banquet hall for another function. On my way out I saw the same industrialist having dinner with few friends or relatives at the hotel's restaurant. There is nothing wrong in dining out with friends but this one struck me as very odd.
If someone attends a function and declines to have any food by convincing the hosts that he or she does not take outside meals and then moments later goes on to dine out at one of the restaurants housed in the same premises is outright rude and uncivilized behaviour. Had the hosts seen the industrialist having his fill at the restaurant they would have surely felt humiliated and their sentiments deeply hurt.
I personally think that such an act is a display of pseudo superiority complex at its worst. This also has a strange parallel with our age-old caste system mind set "I belong to a different league."
In today's busy life it may not be very uncommon to show up at a wedding and dine out with others elsewhere. But certainly not in the same premises. I too attend several events daily. At times I also show up at such functions for a few minutes and I don't take any food and then go on to join my friends to dine at another hotel or at a different venue.
We may be under obligation to attend certain functions and there are unavoidable business dinner meetings and diet restrictions. I can understand all this and see no wrong in it. But when you say “I don't eat out” and then go on do exactly that – have the same cuisines made at the same hotel kitchen - shows utter disregard for other people's sensitivities. After all, action speaks louder than voice.
May be my thinking and outlook isn't modern enough and I continue to cleave to the old values. Or is it that I have got it all wrong. But this how I feel about the whole thing and I don't mask my feelings. I am sorry for all my friends who'd pass this as normal behaviour. I'd say it all about inflated egos, self agrandizement and zero sensibility. Stuff that make us less human.
ess bee

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Birthdays, weddings, puja and adda

Today Sunday I shall leave Kolkata for Jaipur by afternoon flight.
Yesterday I attended the birthday party of Mou Roy Chowdhury (picture) at the Royal Bengal Room in City Centre and also dropped in at The Taj Bengal to attend the engagement of Harsh Patodia's son and Rekha Mody's daughter. Both the families are known to me.
On Thursday evening there was the Jeffery Archer function and my regrets that I could not attend the wedding reception of Raghu Mody's grandson Varun at the same Taj Bengal banquet hall.
But after leaving The Bengal Club, I went to The Taj for coffee and while coming out around midnight I met Varun and his wife at the hotel lobby and wished them a very blissful married life.
On Wednesday too there was a wedding function at the Short Street in the family of Sajjan Saraf.
Last week, apart from my social engagements and a small puja at home (picture).
I had a good adda session with Victor Banerjee and few of my other friends after a long time. I also met up with some of my school friends.
ess bee

Friday, March 11, 2011

In the company of Lord Jeffrey Archer

With Lord Jeffrey Archer, Siddharth Pansari and Anuj Sharma, IPS
Last evening I attended an interactive session with Lord Jeffrey Archer (picture) at The Bengal Club. It was a gathering of about 70 people and I was invited by Siddharth Pansari of Crossword and The Telegraph.
I also met the O'Brien brothers, Derek (picture) and Barry, during the session.
Lord Jeffrey Archer has been a controversial politician, a master storyteller and a popular novelist with a literary career spanning over three and half decades. His novels, plays and short stories have earned his a fan following across the globe.
Currently he is in India on a book tour for his latest novel Only Time Will Tell that has become a best seller in India. He has already visited Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore before arriving at Kolkata. Not just India, Jeffrey would be visiting Hong Kong, New Zealand and Australia this month.
For someone who has lived life king size and courted controversy every now and then, the highs and lows of his eventful life has been as dramatic as the plots of his novels. Jailed for nearly three years in 2001, Jeffrey penned a three-volume memoir A Prison Diary during imprisonment.
Celebrities, bureaucrats and a large number of other eminent citizens of Kolkata queued up for his autograph. During the interaction, I asked him if he would agree to sell the rights of his book for a film in Bengali. To which he said that he had turned down offers of 1 million pounds during his literary career by various people.
As the list of political nominations and candidates are being announced, the stage for the local electoral battle is picking up.
ess bee

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

End of winter sojourn

I met Somnath Chatterjee yesterday at his south Kolkata residence. While I was in Delhi he had called me up saying he wanted to see me. He told me that it wasn't anything very important, I told him that I would meet him the day I return to Kolkata.
Last when I was in Kolkata I read in the newspapers that he was unwell and had to be hospitalised. I called him up and spoke to him and we decided to meet later once he got well and back home. So after coming back from Delhi, I called him up for the first time and fixed up an appointment.
Somnath da wants to introduce me to his grandson Shashwata Chatterjee who stays in Los Angeles. He said that he wasn't sure how long he would survive as his doctor had advised him against travelling due to his health condition. Somnath da said he wanted to introduce his grandson to the people known to him. We also discussed various other issues.
I was to leave for Delhi again today evening as I had confirmed to attend a series of events of Sahitya Akademi and Raza Foundation on March 11 but had to cancel it and stay back in Kolkata as some important work came up that I had to attend in person.
I think my annual winter Delhi sojourn has come to a sudden end with the cancellation of my evening flight.
ess bee

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Q for queues

From the terrace suite of Hyatt Hotel, during my recent stay in Delhi, I had been watching a sizeable number of people queue up before a gate across the road every working day from 7 am onwards, patiently waiting for the gates to be swung open. On being asked, my concierge told me that it was the passport office.
This reminded me of the long queues that we get to see during school admissions. Many people often take positions the previous night fearing that the admission forms, to be given the next day at 10 am, would soon run out of supply. The result, endless serpentine queues.
An average Indian spends a substantial portion of his life standing in queues. Queues have almost become a tradition with millions of Indians cutting across the length and breadth of the country line up each day to get access to potable water. Some of them have to walk miles and then stand in the queues and wait for their turn. Pots and vessels, marking their position in the queues, are a common sight in India.
Many foreigners in India and abroad have shared their observations with me on this. They feel that standing in queues is not at all an average Indian's cup of tea.
But I don't think this is true.
Whether it is getting access to the bare necessities of life or seeking divine blessings, an ordinary man’s life in India is a story of standing in the queues. Wherever he goes – to procure water for daily needs, ration shops, jobs, hospitals, for voting, seeking darshan of the holy deities in the temples, while boarding the general compartment of a train and even at the burial ground there is a queue for cremating the deceased.
So I find it hard to fully believe the foreigners' contention that Indians are notorious for jumping queues.
But many foreigners travel widely across the globe and have much experience of various types of life and culture. Also, we often hear of hapless victims dying in stampedes while jostling in the queues. Thus we cannot wish away their observations altogether.
The Mumbai terror attacks have changed the lives of hotel visitors forever. Gone are the days when one could simply walk in and out of hotels without much ado. Even in the Star hotels one has to go through the process of security check. This is time consuming and often involves standing in a queue.
Although very irritating, queues have become a part and parcel of our everyday life and most of the Indians or the aam junta have learnt to cope with it. It is only the educated and sophisticated Indians who grumble and curse when they have to stand in order and wait for their turn at any public place.
I feel that the well-healed Indians, who represent India abroad, are the indisciplined lot. The masses or aam admi is actually more disciplined than his privileged counterpart. I wonder if it is the fear of queues among those erudite citizens, who debate the Indo-US nuclear deal and talk politics from the confines of their drawing rooms, that keep them away from going out to vote.
The Indian queue is indeed a fascinating subject for sociological analysis.
ess bee

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Events aplenty

It was a busy Saturday as I returned to Kolkata from Delhi by Friday night flight. Dinesh Trivedi, MP, was on the next seat and had quite a chat with him. Saturday afternoon there was the Education For All book distribution program in collaboration with Bharat Relief Society.
Aniruddha Roy Choudhury was the chief guest (picture) of the program where 1500 students were given books. 
President of Bharat Relief Society, Chiranjilal Agarwal, and General Secretary Bishamber Newar shared the dais with me.
In the evening I attended the 50th marriage anniversary of Smt Bimla and Bhaniram Sureka at The Taj Bengal Hotel. I know Sureka family from my early college days as his younger son, Anup, was my classmate. I used to spend a quite a lot of time in their house. Two other brothers of Bhaniram ji and their families are also known to me. I and Bhaniram ji are also associated with social organisations in the city.
Just prior to the dinner at The Taj Bengal, I attended the Gulab Bari programme at Harsh Neotia's residence. Gulab Bari is an important event in the city's cultural circuit from many years now. The performers were vocalist Padmashri Pandit Ulhas Kashalkar and sitarist Ustad Shujaat Hussain Khan. I have heard Khan sahab earlier but this was the first time I heard Pandit ji.Besides these events, I did attend three more functions and missed two. The function at the ICCR, a cultural extravaganza Ho Chi Minh Cultural Night by a troupe from Vietnam. A 40-member socio-cultural troupe is on tour to India led by His Excellency Mr Nguyen Trung Tin, Vice Chairman, Ho Chin Minh People's Commitee. The troup is on an India tour due to the joint efforts of Vietnam Mission, Delhi, and Indo Vietnam Solidarity Commitee, with which I am associated.
I was to host a dinner for them but since my routine clashed, I could not. I also missed a dinner at Swabhumi hosted by Suyash Borar, celebrating the 4th Anniversary of BM Birla Heart Reaserch Centre. There was an early noon function organised by the Bharat Chamber of Commerce & Industry at The Park on the Union Budget with Yashwant Sinha. But that was not my cup of tea.
ess bee

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Bengali poems and Nobel laureate Roald Hoffmann

In one of my blogs few days back, I had written about how Ashok Vajpeyi, head of Lalit Kala Akademi, had shared with me his experience in USA about a Noble Laureate in chemistry who had translated some of Joy Goswami's Bengali poems.
Vajpeyi ji, who had met many people, could not recall the name of the Nobel Laureate.
This had aroused my curiosity and I had decided to find out some more information on this.
Vajpeyi had delivered a lecture in February 2011 on “How Not to Approach Indian Art, Literature, and Culture" & "Poetry Reading in Hindi and English" at the picturesque Ithaca Campus of Cornell University, nestled in the heart of New York's Finger Lakes region.
During the course of his lecture, Vajpeyi emphasised the fact that some words used in poems in Hindi and other Indian regional language carry and convey a deep sense, often rooted in its culture, which is lost during translations in other languages. This happens because there isn't any appropriate word in English to correctly express the sense and the meaning it carries.
After he had delivered his lecture, a gentleman who happened to be a Nobel Laureate in chemistry, walked up to him and said that he had edited an English translation of select Bengali poems of Joy Goswami and had even written a different introduction but was yet to find a publisher in the United States. He said that after hearing out Vajpeyi he knew the reason why the publishers did not come forward.
I thought Joy da knew about all this. But when I spoke to him he was pleasantly surprised to learn about a Nobel Laureate based thousands of miles away found interest in his poetry.
Next, I did what anyone these days on a search mission does – I Googled. And then I came to know about Roald Hoffmann, a holocaust survivor who won the Nobel in Chemistry in 1981. He currently teaches chemistry at the Ithaca Campus of Cornell University.
Hoffmann, an accomplished poet and playwright, had visited Kolkata in 1999 to deliver a lecture at the Indian Association of Cultivation of Science and was moved by Ritwik Ghatak's Meghe Dhaka Tara that he had watched at the Jadavpur University Film Club. I also learnt that two of his published poems - The Reflection and The Bond - have been translated into Bengali (
I am aware of the fact that many Latin American embassies in Delhi are working on Bengali to Spanish translations and also Spanish to Bengali translations of works on various subjects. During the past three years at the Kolkata Book Fair, Peru, Brazil and other countries have launched many translated works. But it is not very often that one hears about a Nobel Prize winning scientist evincing keen interest in Bengali poetry.
ess bee

Friday, March 4, 2011

Meeting up with old friends

Usha Punia
The weather in Delhi got a little colder since last week probably due to the snowfall in Himachal. I enjoy this kind of weather very much. I had lunch with Usha Puniya at the Trident Hotel Coffee Shop in Gurgaon yesterday.
Usha Puniya is one of the finest person in my political friends' circle. 
She was the tourism minister in Vasundhara Raje's government in Rajasthan and had visited Kolkata many times (picture). She has also been to my house.
In the evening I met Mr Om Thanvi at the India International Centre (IIC) bar. We share a common interest - travelling. Whenever we meet we discuss about travelling. Had a long adda with him. His new book Mohenjodaro would be released at the IIC Annexe by the famous poet Kunwar Narayan tomorrow. He wanted me to stay on for this event, but I have an Education for All event in Kolkata tomorrow and have to be there.
Om Thanvi
Thanvi (picture) also informed me about the new book on Ageye which he is currently editing and bringing out. I will try and make it to the book release function at the Sahitya Akademi on 9th March 2011.
ess bee

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Bengali poems and a Nobel laureate

It was a routine busy day today in Delhi. I met Ashok Vajpeyi over lunch. Ashok Vajpeyi, who heads Lalit Kala Akademi, is well known in the cultural circuit. We discussed various issues and he told me about his recent US trip where he delivered lectures in different cities.
One piece of information that he shared with me was particularly interesting as it goes like this. 

A Nobel laureate in Chemistry has translated Joy Goswami's Bengali poetry into English. Vajpeyi learnt about this while talking on the subject of problems faced by publications in India. 
The Nobel Laureate approached him and told him that he had translated two of Joy Goswami's poems but was yet to find a publisher in the United States.
I though Joy da knows about all this. But when I spoke to him he was pleasantly surprised to hear it all. Tomorrow I shall try and get some more info on this from Ashok ji.
In the evening I met Hindi scholar Ramsharan Joshi who was in the news last year and penned the biography of Arjun Singh (picture).
ess bee

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

At the `Twenty 20 Paintings' exhibition

Aqueela, Seema and Mohan Kumar
I arrived in Delhi this morning. I was planning to be here yesterday night but stayed back in Kolkata to attend the inaugural function of the exhibition of paintings on Mother Teresa at the Victoria Memorial Hall. The exhibition called Twenty 20 Paintings, organised by Victoria Memorial as a part of the year-long Centenary celebrations of Mother, had on display 20 paintings by M F Husain and Sunita Kumar respectively.
The West Bengal Governor M K Narayanan inaugurated the exhibition and Sister Nirmala was the chief guest. There was a gathering of about 100 people from around the city.
I met Husain's daughter, Aqueela A Husain (picture). The exhibition was initially scheduled to be inaugurated by the Dalai Lama a few days back but had to be rescheduled due to his ill health.
At the exibition I met Naresh Kumar, Shamala Dudeja, Rita Bhimani, Mohan Chandran, general manager of Taj Bengal Hotel and his wife Seema, Zubin Songadhwala, general manager of ITC Sonar and his wife Monisha and others. 
There were arrangements for high tea on the terrace outside the Hall where I met and had a chat with Madhu Neotia (picture).
Today evening, here in Delhi, I met Jawhar Sircar, IAS, Ministry of Culture, Government of India, Namita Gokhale and poet Ashok Chakradhar at the India International Centre (ICC) and discussed different issues with them.
In fact, meeting up all three was very much a part of my Delhi agenda and I was planning to call them up tomorrow to fix up appointments. But this chance meeting at the IIC saved me much time and effort. No wonder, I like this Centre so much.
ess bee