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

1A Camac Court, 25B Camac Street, Kolkata – 700 016, India.

Phone: 91 33 2281 6934

Fax: 91 33 2280 2930

Email: essbee@essbeeindia.com

For Events: events@essbeeindia.com
Appointments: assistant@essbeeindia.com
Invitations: secretariat@essbeeindia.com
WhatsApp Text: 9836383333

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

In Singapore from Delhi

February 27, Singapore: I landed here early morning today from Delhi. The Jet Airways flight from Delhi to Singapore was as bad as last time's SilkAir flight which I wanted to avoid.
The craft from Kolkata to Delhi was, in fact, much better than the Delhi–Singapore international flight. However, I must say that the in flight service and the staff's attitude was good and up to the mark.
I checked in at Hotel Grand Hyatt at Scotts Road. This one is the only Hyatt property in Singapore. This huge property is owned by the Sultan of Brunei. This time I have put up at the front tower of the Hotel.
Except for this wing, renovation work is on at almost all the other blocks housing the rooms. There is much noise and disturbance from dawn till dusk.
During my previous stay here last year, the lounge I had used in another tower is also under renovation. I was at the 21st floor lounge on the frontal side of the hotel. In the evening I met officials of Singapore United Nation Association and discussed about their activities and future plans. Though Singapore is a very small country but is a member of the Executive Committee (ExCo) of the World Federation of United Nation Associations (WFUNA). They had won elections in Republic of Korea about three-and-half years ago.
In the morning, while checking in, there was some issue with the front office. They were not duly updated or some internal communication problem delayed my checking in. This kind of issues are rarely seen in premium hotels.
ess bee

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

On to Singapore

February 26, 2013, ITC Green lounge, New Delhi International Airport: I just landed at the Delhi airport en route to Singapore. This time I avoided SilkAir, the regional wing of Singapore Airlines, because during my last visit to Singapore in July 2012, I had a bad experience. The airlines had misplaced my bag.
I decided to fly from Kolkata to Delhi and then to Singapore via Jet Airways. This is the first time I have opted for Jet Airways' international flight. The aircraft from Kolkata to Delhi was good as was the service. This is also the first time I have used the T3 at Delhi Airport - India's biggest airport terminal. I think T3 is a landmark. An accomplishment that makes us all proud.
During transit, instead of the regular business lounge at the Delhi International Airport, I decided to use the ITC Green Lounge which is next to the regular lounge used by Jet Airways. Last week, while staying at the Maurya Sheraton, I came to know about this lounge at the airport. ITC Maurya was kind enough to give me few vouchers for use. I would rate this Lounge eight out of ten, not only for the dinner buffet, internet, cleanliness but also for keeping international English as well as other international language newspapers for the guests.
On February 22 evening at Kolkata, I had just dropped in at Shisha Reincarnated to attend the launch of Agnidev Chatterjee's son Akash's new production house and also his latest film A Political Murder. Agnidev is a Bengali movie director and I have known his family for a long time now. Agnidev's son Akash is producing this film.
With Eric Vigner and Mr & Mrs Stephane Amalir
Today morning, before proceeding to the airport, I hosted a brunch to welcome and celebrate the Bonjour India Festival in Kolkata at the Taj Bengal poolside. 
The weather was just perfect for the brunch and I think probably this was the last week we could organize an open-air brunch.
With Neeraj Kabi and Nandita
Soon the sun would be too much for such events.
Nandita Das and her husband Subodh Maskaar, French director, Eric Vigner, who is casting Nandita in Marguerite Duras’ play India Song, and other members of the French production unit, diplomats from the French Consulate in Kolkata, were there at the brunch. 

With Nandita
I invited few other theatre personalities from Kolkata as well. The play would be staged tomorrow and the day after at the historical Jorasanko Thakurbari.
It wouldn't be possible for me to see the play in Kolkata, so I promised Nandita and Eric that I would try to make it to the show in Delhi where they would be performing from 9 to 12 or 13 March.
ess bee

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Bukhara - the Mecca of Indian dining

In New Delhi: Delhi weather is getting little warmer during day time. At the five star hotels' coffee shops and India International Centre (IIC) lounge, heated the discussions on the forthcoming Budget session of the Parliament are on.
After a series of meeting on Wednesday evening at the IIC, I was very tired. The Indian Airlines Jaipur-Delhi half an hour flight was late by two hours and I had no time to check in at the Maurya Sheraton and freshen up. Instead, I drove to the meetings straight from the airport.
The whole day rounds of coffee, tea and sandwiches, I was starved for a decent meal, and after many years, I decided to go to the Bukhara
A view of Bukhara
As I headed towards the restaurant, I noticed a posse of men in gray safari suits around the lobby area and the restaurant. Not a very uncommon scene at the hotel which has a huge list of famous and well-healed foreign and Indian clients.
As I stepped into the Bukhara, I realised that I had just followed in British Prime Minister David Cameron who was on a visit to India. Bukhara, with its rugged ambiance, an open kitchen, and its famous tandoor or clay oven, is often described in many elite circles as the “best Indian restaurant in the world” for north west frontier cuisine – kebabs and all.
It has an enviable list of heads of states, film stars, rock stars, celebs and Royal families among its clients. No visit to Delhi seems to be complete without a visit to the iconic Bukhara. This landmark dining destination offers a sophisticated yet totally ethnic experience where the kitchen is part of the restaurant. Stone walls and floors, carpets, rough-hewn trestle tables and wooden stools complete the rugged look.
Copper pots and urns are suspended from the ceiling and pillars; the crockery is earthenware in an earthy ochre colour, while the menu is painted on a block of wood. The chequered apron is also a totally novel concept that has become very popular. The view of the kitchen and its busy chefs adds to the warmth of the restaurant, inviting one to take time off to photograph the activity inside the kitchen.
The speed at which the food is cooked and delivered to the tables is proof of Bukhara's claim to “most efficient service among restaurants in the city”. There are 130 covers and during the rush hours the little bar-lounge area can also accommodate 25 covers or perhaps more.
Set up in 1977, Bukhara continues to add to its growing list of fans from across the world - Barrack Obama, Bill Clinton and family, Vladimir Putin, Tony Blair, Mick Jagger, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mahathir Mohammed, Corlos Menem and so on.
In last decade, Indian food has grown internationally and no doubt Dal Bukhara takes the lead. Who knew, one of the oldest Indian dishes, which can be cooked in any house in India, will get an international hype. Well done Dal Bukhara!
ess bee

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Aborto and Arindam's debut


Feb 22, Kolkata: Arrived in city from Delhi yesterday evening and went to a Park Street residence for a private get together. It was a diplomats' core evening. I met diplomats from US, Japan, Germany, Russia and few government officials.
With Jaya Ahsan, Arindam Sil and Bikram Dasgupta
At 10:15 pm, I left Park Street and went to The Oberoi Grand hotel to attend a party hosted by Mr Bikram Dasgupta, Founder and Executive Chairman, Globsyn group. The Globysn group has now ventured into media and movies for which a film fund under Globsyn Media Ventures has been created. Their first maiden production of the company Aborto is also a directorial debut venture of Arindam Sil who has also written the story of the film. The Thursday evening party was the music launch of Aborto and I was invited by Arindam.
I have been missing Arindam's events from quite some time now and I had kept my scheduled accordingly so that Ii could make it to the party. In fact, by 10:30 pm, when I reached there, Bickram Ghosh had finished his performance and dinner was on.
I met many Tollywood artistes and others from the media industry.
With actress Jaya Ahsan
Arindam introduced me to the film's heroine Jaya Ahsan, who is from Bangladesh. People were animatedly discussing about the good music and the film. Well done Arindam.
ess bee

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The effects of a late flight

Feb 20, Maurya Sheraton, Delhi: The Indian Airlines Jaipur-Delhi flight, which normally takes 30 to 40 minutes, took over two hours yesterday. I had no option and went straight from the airport to Taj Mansingh Chambers for a scheduled meeting at 2:30 pm.

With Satyajeet Krishnan and Dharmendra Kanwar
In the hotel's lobby I met Satyajeet Krishnan who has recently taken over as the General Manager of Taj at Mansing Road known as Taj Mahal Hotel, Satyajeet was in Jaipur taking care of Rambagh Palace and is known for his interest in culture and literature. Jaipur will miss him.
Today morning I came to know from the newspapers that I wasn't the only one who did not get time to freshen up prior to our meetings. Amir Khan, who was also on the same Jaipur-Delhi flight, faced a similar situation. I saw his picture with David Cameron visiting the Janki Devi Memorial College for girls. I noticed that Amir too was in the same dress that he was wearing on flight. I have a feeling it must be due to the flight being late.
Late flights can not only disrupt your appointments but also can put one in a peculiar situation leaving you with a hard choice of either making it to a meeting unshaven, dressed up casually, or to cancel the appointment altogether, which again is very rude. I chose to keep my appointments.
In the evening, while entering the iconic restaurant at Maurya'sBukhara - I realized British Prime Minister David Cameron was also there at the same venue with a posse of security guards all around. After a busy day of meetings at the Taj and India International Centre (IIC), I was in no mood to be in the amid of the buzz and crowd at the Bukhara. So I went to my room ordered food from Bukhara.
Today also I had a series of meetings. I had made it an annual practice of spending a month in Delhi during winters. But this time I spent most of my time in Jaipur during winters. Things piled up and I had these back to back meetings and appointments in Delhi to conclude.

In the evening, before having dinner with friends at the SET'Z restaurant's open terrace, I dropped in at Kimaya, which also at the DLF Emporio, to attend Jyotee Khaitan's exclusive preview of festive collection of this year. 
With Jyotee Khaitan
In fact, Jyotee's events also was in my missing list. For the past two years, somehow or the other whenever she invited me, I happened to be out of Kolkata.
As far as SET'Z and its seven interactive kitchen goes, it is a restaurant not be missed out if you are in the capital and have time to spare.
ess bee

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Wine-paired Italian dinner in Jaipur


With Sudhir Kasliwal
Feb 19, Jaipur: I arrived here yesterday evening from Delhi. After concluding a brief meeting I attended the Italian dinner hosted by Sunil Gupta, General Manager of ITC Rajputana
A select group of about 40 persons were invited to the four course sit-down dinner which was unique in many ways.
In Jaipur, coming on time for a dinner or an event is a big issue and the hosts were aware of this fact. So the dinner which was at 7:30 pm actually took off around 9 pm when all the invitees were at the table.
With Sunil Gupta
The novelty of the ITC Rajputana dinner, in collaboration with Fratelli wines, was that Fratelli wines were paired with signature dishes crafted by renowned Italian Chef, Francesco Costagli, who is a champion of slow-food movement (as an alternative to fast food).
Francesco is said to be among the best chefs in the world. He is also known as the ‘zero kilometre chef’ for his zeal, inspired by the slow-food movement, to cook with local produce grown in and around Castellina, where he lives. A level one sommelier, he works closely with many wineries.
With Chef Francesco Costagli
Some of the inspired creations include pappa al pomodoro – a traditional Florentine soup made with white bread, cooked with olive oil, fresh tomatoes and a hint of garlic served with Fratelli rosé or chenin blanc. Ravioli filled with duck served on a base of spring onion and potato sauce with bitter walnuts is paired with merlot, and for vegetarians like myself, there was ravioli filled with asparagus served on a base of saffron velvet to go with the sauvignon blanc. Piatto del nostro orto – fresh tomatoes with goat cheese and basil sauce topped with crusted bread alongside a potato and mushroom cake with puréed beans, is paired with Fratelli sette.
Italian sit-down dinner party at ITC Rajputana, Jaipur.
Many leading members of the social fraternity of Jaipur were present at the dinner. Today evening there is a Japanese performance at the City Palace titled `SOUL OF JAPAN' which I will miss as I have to catch a 11 am flight to Delhi.
ess bee

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Not so well for wellness

The very word Spa evokes an imagery of “water and wellness”. Like many others who frequent five star properties, I too consider the spas to be the quietest and the most peaceful areas. But couple of week before I was once again in for a shock.
While entering the Spa & Health Club of a renowned five star property in city, I was drawn to the painfully loud music being played out by an orchestra. It not just shattered the usual calmness but even made it difficult to hear out or communicate with the hotel receptionists.
When one of the receptionists came out of the health club, I had a glimpse of what was on and realized that some guests, who were staying at the hotel, were rehearsing for a performance which will happen in evening .
I was taken aback by the fact that spas always try to live up to their reputation of being the coolest place for unwinding. Even mobiles are restricted around spas in order to maintain the soothing calmness of nature for which hotels spend so much to recreate. It is a different matter that few people, including myself, care to turn off our cell-phones off before entering a spa.
I was informed that these performers had taken permission from the hotel management for the rehearsals. I am sure the hotel management had failed to realise how noisy it could be. I spoke to the duty manager and it was stopped.
A month earlier at the same spa, as I was entering the wet area, I was distracted by the high decibels of an antakshri in progress. I was told that it involved a wedding group, that had hired almost the entire hotel rooms and the banquet facilities. It was obvious that the group, having paid up for the place, cared a hoot for others and conducted themselves the way revellers at marriage parties do across India.
I agree that the hotel has its responsibility to maintain decorum and a certain standard at all times. But the main responsibility vests in the guests who should be sensitive enough to conduct themselves as is expected of them in any public place.
You may like seeing and hearing your raucous friends singing out old tracks, but that does not mean that it would appeal to all. As said, often one man's meat is another man's poison.
The hotel's code of conduct should be strictly implemented and no compromises made. Otherwise, you renege on your promise when you lure people through attractive advertisements that depict spas as “a haven of peace and wellness”. They should ensure that people behave well for wellness' sake.
This culture of getting strings pulled is pulling our nation down. Barging into hotels, trains, delaying flights, jumping the queue, foisting one's, hijacking and misusing government properties as one's own, it goes on. It seems that when it comes to marriage and other social events, the boisterous revelry that comes with it, whether at the streets or at the five-star hotels, its all the same.
ess bee

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Exhibition-cum-book release

I am back in Jaipur. I took an evening flight from Kolkata yesterday. I went to the Rambagh Palace hotel yesterday evening for a book release. The book, authored and compiled by Dharmendar Kanawar, has had its formal release in Delhi and Mumbai last month. I wanted to be in Delhi during the release but could not.
I am actually more interested in the exhibition (picture) or the exhibits on Rajmata Gayatri Devi that was arranged for along with the release of the book. The exhibition at one of the Rambagh Palace lawns at the front was amazing. The various aspects of Rajmata Gayatri Devi's life, captured in camera, was on display.
It is well known that Rajmata Gayatri Devi was very emotionally attached to the Rambagh Palace and it sure made sense to hold an exhibition along with the release of the book. Since Rajmata had a Bengal connection, I am in talks with the Royal family of Jaipur, as well as Dharmendar Kanawar, to hold this exhibition in Kolkata as well.
That was the primary reason why I came over to see this exhibition in person. The Rambagh Palace hotel was awarded the `Best Hotel of the World' in 2009 and the property remains the pride of India. The book delves into the history of Palace and Rajamata.
Today morning there was another series of Ek Mulaqat
This time with Amir Raza Husain (picture) who is in town to perform at the ITC Rajputana. Husain, a theatre actor and director is popular for his large outdoor stage productions. He is also the creative director of Stagedoor theatre company set up in 1974. He has been staging his plays at the ITC Rajputana for the past few years now. Last August Husain was at the ITC Sonar in Kolkata for a stage play Murder with his wife Viraat Husain. I will have to give the play a miss as I have a flight for Delhi today evening.
Ek Mulaqat is getting popular in Jaipur and there is a lot of pressure for invites. Also, the idea of holding the event each month, has not been stuck to and the last four Ek Mulaqat events happened in just 20 days.
ess bee

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Working on my Ranthambore diary

February 13, 2013: I am in Kolkata after a spell and in office, on my desk, working on my Ranthambore diary that I want to release in early April 2013.
This means that I shall have to hand over the draft to the publishers by end of this month (February). So not much time left.
I will have to travel to Delhi, and may be, another trip to Ranthambore.  I have few commitments in Jaipur for which appointments have already been lined up this week end. I am planning to travel from Jaipur to Delhi to complete the work my diary.
On Monday evening, I went to the residence of  Kanta and Dr Jugal Kishore Saraff’s residence for drinks and dinner. The occasion was the wedding of their grandson, Rajyavardhan with Aryata.
I also attended dinner at The Far Pavilion, Tollygunge Club, to celebrate Dr Sachin’s Varma’s 40th birthday over cocktails & dinner.  At both the places I met many acquaintances and friends from Kolkata. Today evening there are four wedding invitations and I am in no mood to attend any.
ess bee

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Look out - for the loony laws

Law is a serious matter but the fact that it can also be silly, stupid, strange, crazy and bizarre is something that I had no idea till I read in the news last week that France had repealed a 200-year-old law that forbade women from wearing trousers in Paris – the capital of high fashion.
I find it incredible that such a law was in force despite repeated attempts to repeal it. Finally, on January 31, Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, France's minister of women's rights, made the official announcement that it was finally done away with. Ladies in France can now wear trousers without facing arrest.
This reminded me of my close brush with the Canadian law in April 2010 while entering Montreal. A lady officer at the immigration section, who saw an apple in my hand, asked for it and said that since I was not hiding it she was sparing me this one time from fining $200. Clueless, I asked the officer – “Why so?” She said, “We don’t allow apples,” and gave me a cold look that made it obvious that she wasn’t used to being questioned. Wow! A $200 fine for carrying an apple, I was speechless.
Richard Happer's book The Law is an Ass uncovers over 250 craziest laws across the world. Almost every country has its share of wacky, loony laws but USA is the undisputed leader. How else can anyone explain a Texas anti-crime law that requires criminals to give their victims notice, oral or written and 24 hours in advance, of the crime they're planning to commit and the nature of that crime.
And while these laws may never be enforced, they are still legally valid because no one has bothered to repeal them. Most of these laws are so old, lawmakers themselves aren't even aware that many of them exist. The Blue Laws enacted to enforce religious standards in the US and prohibit certain behavior on Sundays or "God's Day" can honestly numb your senses.
Modern laws too can be equally, if not more, strange. Japan, the land of gargantuan Sumo wrestlers, has a law forbidding men and women of over 40 years from having a waist measuring beyond 80 cms and 90 cms respectively; it is illegal in Thailand to leave your house without wearing underwear; Switzerland has a law that says it is illegal to flush a toilet in an apartment building after 10 pm; it is against the law to drink water in a beer parlour at Saskatchewan, Canada. On the other side, there are instances when certain acts aren't illegal. For example, it is not against the law in Denmark to escape from prison.
As one reads on, the list evokes amusement and concern. These laws may trap the clueless travellers visiting foreign lands. Especially laws pertaining to decency, public nuisance or religion. Chewing gum in certain public places in Singapore can land you in jail.
During one of my visit to Singapore I had noticed a sign on public transport - No durians. I was told that consuming or even carrying durians - a highly odorous fruit - in countries like Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia can invite punitive action of the law.
India thankfully, given the huge Constitution and an elaborate criminal penal code, is by and large free of such laws. However, there are few that raise concern. As per Section 309 of IPC, attempted suicide is a punishable offence. If you succeed you die, if you fail you face arrest.
On a serious note, Section 497 of IPC holds that only a man can be proceeded against and punished for adultery. Though it takes two to commit one, the woman, according to our Indian law, is completely immuned to any charges of adultery.
ess bee

Friday, February 8, 2013

Meeting with Sachin

With Sachin at his residence
Maurya Sheraton, Delhi: I arrived here at 2 am from Mumbai. I took an afternoon flight from Kolkata and landed in Mumbai around 5 pm .
I had a meeting with Sachin Tendulkar in his new house at the Perry Cross Road near Jogger's Park in West Bandra locality.
Sachin was late by 10 minutes but his house staff made me comfortable. It was a personal meeting but we also discussed about NGO Apnalaya. Sachin told me his wife Anjali, son Arjun and daughter Sara were all very attached to Apnalaya which was set up in 1972 and is run by Sara's maternal grandmother Annabel Mehta. Apanalya helps slum children and works to promote community development, health and empowering women.
Sara has been championing the cause of Apnalaya and had donated her first earnings to Apnalaya and has also raised funds.
Sachin agreed to do an event in Jaipur in the next IPL season when he would be in the Pink City. I was touched by his warmth and hospitality. After the meeting I went to Hotel Taj Lands End and spent some time at the Chambers. It was my first visit to the Taj Lands End Chambers and I really liked the open verandah overlooking the sea and city. The verandah was a tad chilly than I had expected.
I have quite a few meetings lined up today evening in Delhi and will fly back to Kolkata tomorrow evening. I am looking forward to a secluded Sunday week-end after a long spell.
ess bee

Monday, February 4, 2013

Ek Mulaqat with Dia Mirza

With Javed Akhtar at Taj Bengal Kolkata
February 4, 2013: I went to Kolkata on Friday (Feb 1) to attend leading Bengali cine star Koel’s wedding. She was there at the Royal Calcutta Golf Club in her gorgeous outfit and I had a feeling that the entire film fraternity was there at the reception.
Before going to Koel’s reception I attended an event organised by Prabha Khaitan Foundation in association with Taj Bengal Hotel titled An Evening with Javed Akhtar.
Javed Akhtar, eminent poet, lyricist and scriptwriter, recited some his favourite poems like aansu, zoya, woh kamra yaad aata hai and others that reflected various aspects of his hectic lifestyle and his random thoughts.
On the occasion, I presented a cheque for Rs 1 lac to Javed Akhtar (picture) which he presented to the Diabetes Awareness and You (DAY) - an NGO that works towards spreading awareness to combat diabetes. Javed Akhtar, while extending his support for the cause called for a crusade against diabetes, urged those who were present to support the cause in whatever way possible.
The audience, including many eminent Kolkatans and lovers of poetry, were very impressed by the thought-provoking answers given by the poet at a question and answer session that followed the recitation. 
Javed Akhtar lamented the falling standards of language in general and the general acceptability being accorded to it. He reiterated the need to set up a “..... school for teaching poetry” to guide those who are naturally gifted and talented.
On Saturday afternoon I worked for the full day in my office and did not even step out for the annual book distribution of Prabha Khaitan Foundation in collaboration with Bharat Relief Society.
With Dia Mirza
On Sunday morning I took the 5.30 AM flight to Jaipur and organized another event of the series Ek Mulaqat with Dia Mirza in conversation with Pratim Dasgupta. The same afternoon I also went to the finals of the most talked about Polo Cup of Jaipur – Sirmur Cup. The team members to reach the finals were: Sahara Warriors (Salvador Jaurepche +2, Rechard Le Poer +5 , Samir Suhag +5, Adhiraj Singh +2). The members of the other finalist IPG Rajasthan were Tarun Bilwal +1, Himmat Singh Bedia +2, Bhawani Kalvi +3, Lokendra Singh +3.
The officiating members were umpires Maj Ravi Rathore & Nicolos; referee, Col N S Sandhu; Chief Guest, HH Rajmata Padmini Devi of Jaipur; Guest of Honor, Marten Pieters, MD & CEO, Vodafone India. 
In the last few years Vodafone has really done a great job in making the Sirmur Cup so very popular.
Although there was a difference of 5 handicaps between Sahara Warriors and IPG Rajasthan, it was a very interesting match in which IPG Rajasthan emerged the winners.
Tomorrow evening will fly back to Kolkata.
ess bee

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Castle Kanota's museum of memorabilia

For the past two weeks Jaipur has been at its busiest with some very high voltage events and functions – Jaipur Theatre Festival, Jaipur Literature Festival, Polo season, India Stone Mart 2013 and other events. Amid controversies like the Ashish Nandy case, that turned the national media glare on Pink City, there was a very unique and interesting event that did not get the kind of national media attention it deserved.
With K G Pramod at the Kanota Library
I am alluding to the inauguration of General Amar Singh Kanota Library & Museum on January 29th 2013 in the presence of Maharaj Gaj Singh of Jodhpur and Princess Dia Kumari at the Kanota Garh aka Castle Kanota. This hotel, located on 8-acres of land about 15 kms away from Jaipur on the Jaipur-Agra Highway, is one of the finest heritage hotels of Rajasthan.
Built in 1872, the 20-roomed hotel houses a built-in museum and library which displays gold work and unique collection of rare books and the walls are covered with frescoes and paintings.
For the first time I saw a collection of 44 years of diary by the dashing solider, booklover, diarist and respected senior statesman of the Jaipur State, Thakur (General) Amar Singh of Kanota, who was an extraordinary man. A graduate of the first batch of the Imperial Cadet Corps instituted by Lord Curzon in 1901, he was also among the first Indians to become a King’s Commissioned Officer in 1917; in other words, eligible to command British officers and soldiers.
After retirement from the British Indian Army, he was instrumental in establishing the Jaipur Lancers, that was later merged with other state cavalry units to become the 61st Cavalry of the Indian Army. He also had the spirit of a scholar and thinker. He wrote diaries for forty four years (1898 to 1942), leaving behind 89 volumes of what is perhaps the longest continuously-written diary in the world. The story goes that he wrote these diaries with an unfailing regularity on a daily basis for nearly four-and-half decades, except for one day, when he was ill.
These priceless collections contain astonishing details of its times and is a resource base of its era providing fascinating insights into both British and Rajput life. His legacy also includes several thousand books, journals, manuscripts and magazines in both Hindi and English which is possibly the finest period pothi khana or library in Rajasthan.
Writer Pramod Kumar K J took more than two years to arrange these 44 years of handwritten diaries into a library. Apart from the diaries, the museum showcases tables, pens, swords, suitcases etc., that have preserved and displayed nicely. Many of the erstwhile Thakurs and Royal families, after Independence, had sold off their royal properties or belongings.
The family of Thakur Amar Singh of Kanota has preserved all his memorabilia, from suitcases down to a pen nib, that is now a part of a unique museum opened to the public. This only-of-its-kind museum, I I think, would soon become a much-appreciated tourist spot. So don't miss it when you there in pink city next.
ess bee