Sundeep Bhutoria

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ess bee

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Monday, April 15, 2013

RPG passes away

In Delhi: Yesterday morning when I entered the gym at the ITC Maurya around 9 am and switched on my cellphone, there was a text message from an industrialist friend that Rama Prasad Goenka or RPG had breathed his last and was nor more.
At the same time I saw a news flash on Times Now that the King of Takeovers, R P Goenka, had died in the morning. Popular as Rama Babu in the industrial and political circles, he was not only a leading industrialist based out of Kolkata but also served as member of the Rajya Sabha from Rajasthan.
I was first introduced to him when he had hosted a dinner at the Ram Bagh Palace, Jaipur, during his Rajya Sabha elections and then few months later I had again met him at his home in Alipore when a senior Congress delegation from Rajasthan came to Kolkata.
After that, on numerous occasions, he accepted my invitation to grace social and cultural events, including when Pratibha Patil was the governor of Rajasthan he came to attend the Rajasthan Diwas celebrations in Kolkata organised by me (picture above).
My last meeting with RPG was also in connection with Rajasthan Foundation only. He was the recipient of Rajasthan Foundation's Pravasi Pratibha Puraskar, which, in the past, was also conferred on Kanhaiyalal Sethia, Shyamanand Jalan and Sarla Birla. RPG's function was long over due.
Three times the Chief Minister of Rajasthan's visit got cancelled at the last minute and the function could not happen. My last visit to his home was with few other members of the Foundation to invite him formally for the function. The function never happened due to the death of former Prime Minister, Inder K Gujral, and the national mourning.
In fact that time also he was bed-ridden with tubes and all but his brain was absolutely fine and a strong will power. About three days ago I heard that his health was deteriorating and today morning the sad news, that he is no more, came.
Of many places he will be missed at the Taj Health Club where he used to go every afternoon for so many years. Several times I have met him while entering around 4 pm.
Saturday evening after attending the IFUNA meeting at their office in the Qutub area, I went to Safdarjung for dinner at Namita Gokhale's house. I met Ashish Nandi, Lord Meghnad Desai and his wife Kishwar and few other writers and acquaintances from Delhi and others who were in Delhi. Lord Desai was in Kolkata but I could not meet him as I was here in Delhi.
Today evening I shall return to Kolkata.
ess bee

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