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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Saturday, February 28, 2015

Back from Beawar

February 28, 2015, Jaipur: I came to Jaipur from Beawar yesterday evening. The Beawar trip was quite enjoyable . I had made plans for a 10-day visit to Beawar, Bera and Jodhpur last year as well but could not make it and had to stay back in Kolkata due to heavy work pressure.
I went to Beawar to attend a function hosted by Shree Cement Limited which is an annual affair. Every year the company organizes its two-day annual function on February 25 and 26. I have close family relationship with the company and I always try to make it to their annual function.
This time singer Arijit Singh was there and performed for over two hours. He has a number of hit songs to his credit but I personally feel he isn't much of a stage show artiste, but an excellent singer for the genre he represents.
I drove back to Jaipur on February 27. I had a couple of meetings to attend on Friday evening.
Today, on the way to the airport, I dropped by at the residence of Thakur Surya Pratap Singh and his wife, Suman Singh, for tea. Today is Thakur Surya Pratap Singh’s birthday and since I would not be able to attend his party, I thought of paying him a visit and wish him in person. It is nice of them to extend invitations to me on various occasions but somehow I keep missing them.
Tomorrow evening is again packed with a Holi event at the Taj Terrace and then Iti and Dr Pronab Dasgupta’s 40th Wedding Anniversary bash at their residence and also one of the most popular events in the city’s calendar – the ABP Quiz at the Royal Calcutta Golf Club is also scheduled tomorrow.
I do regret missing the event hosted by Pradeep Khemka, Honorary Consul of Brazil, and his wife Sangita Khemka, although they had sent to me a block-your-date letter well in advance. An enchanting musical soiree by pianist Ms Christine Chareyron from South America was followed by cocktails at their residence.
ess bee

Thursday, February 26, 2015

At the Times Food and Nightlife Awards 2015 in Jaipur

At the Jwahar Kala Kendra, Jaipur, "Tribute to Common Man" Exhibition
February 26, 2015, Jaipur: I was extremely tied up during the past three days in Jaipur. 
After landing here on Monday evening I went to the Times Food and Nightlife Awards 2015 at the Jaipur Marriott Hotel. 
After the Awards function, I had dinner with few friends at the Marriott Coffee Shop.
After having dinner I once again dropped in at the Times Food and Nightlife Awards 2015 party which was still going on and from there proceeded to meet another group of friends. 
By the time I left Marriott, it was 2:30 AM. 
As in the past few years, this year too I did the honours of giving away few awards at the Times Awards 2015.
On Tuesday morning I visited the Maharaja Sawai Bhavani Singh School. I had heard about this school a lot and am known to the school Principal, Vaidehi Singh, for quite some time now. I, however, had no idea that the school has such great infrastructure and layout plan. 
A 400-seater auditorium would be ready by next winter in this school. I will think of how to collaborate with the school for organizing a programme at its premises.
The school has already agreed to launch the Sanskar series which is an initiative of Rajasthan Foruma non-profit cultural organization that I have initiated in Rajasthan and has been operational for some years now.
After visiting the school, I had lunch with a friend at her residence and then went to the Jawahar Kala Kendra for the inauguration of an exhibition called “Tribute to Common Man” organized by Media Foundation. 
With Cartoonist Keshav, Editor Yashwant Vyas, Arun Agarwal (Social Worker) and Mr Umrao Salodia, Director, IAS, Jwahar Kala Kendra
Rajasthan Forum is associated with the exhibition which was in memory of late R K Laxman the great cartoonist of our era. Cartoonist Keshav of The Hindu came for this event as the chief guest and I also met veteran journalist Yashwant Vyas after quite a few years. the evening I attended a private get-together which was hosted in my honour by the President of a prominent womens' organization. It was nice of her and her husband to organize an evening where I got to meet quite a number of known friends and also gained some new acquaintances. This evening was long due and I am glad it finally happened.
On Wednesday (Feb 25) I took up thirteen meetings for various forthcoming events/collaborations and also few initiatives that I am planning for Rajasthan. Today afternoon I will drive down to Beawar.
ess bee

Monday, February 23, 2015

An easy weekend

February 23, 2015: On Saturday I could not attend the launch of Magnum brand ice cream event at the Taj Bengal which was followed by cocktails and dinner.
In fact when June Malliah called to invite me, I had told her that I would definitely come to the event provided my engagement with some guests at home got over.
I wanted to be there to meet Soha Ali Khan who had come to Kolkata for this event along with Chef Kunal Kapoor. I have not met Soha since her wedding. 
However, since I had guests at home, who were with me till late, I could not finally attend the event. On Saturday evening, I also missed out on an anniversary party of an IPS friend for the same reason.
At Ananya Chatterjee's wedding ceremony
On Sunday evening I dropped in at the wedding of my actress friend, Ananya Chatterjee. She had bagged the National Award for Best Actress for her role in the Bengali film Abahoman. I met quite a number of people from the film world at the wedding ceremony.
Today afternoon I shall fly off to Jaipur.
ess bee

Friday, February 20, 2015

This winter was somewhat different

20 February, 2015: This winter turned out to be busier than my expectations. In fact, I wasn't able to go to the golf course on the foggy mornings or for that matter to the India International Center (IIC) where I love to sit in the wintry weather in the verandah or the lawn. I could not even go to Ranthambore this winter.
A two-day personal trip abroad happened suddenly and there is a lot of travel in store for the next two weeks to Jaipur, Delhi and Bangalore.
Yesterday evening I had three different meetings and one conference call with WFUNA. These meetings were long due and were necessary to take a call on the future of some of my events. Same with the conference call with WFUNA secretariat.
In the last couple of winters, this is perhaps the only winter when I have not gone to any of the city hotels' poolside dinners that are so popular at this time of the year.
Today evening I am planning to go to The Oberoi Grand poolside. I am keeping my fingers crossed hoping it will not rain and at the same time not be too hot.
ess bee

Monday, February 16, 2015

Everyone talking about AAP victory in Delhi

16 February, 2015: I was at the AAP’s Delhi on a historical day when Arvind Kejriwal’s oath ceremony took place. From the Taj Chambers to the India International Centre (IIC) lounge the only talking point was Aam Aadmi Party.
Somehow, it was the common man's belief during this Delhi election that the loss of AAP would be their own defeat. This feeling of AAP's win as their own is undoubtedly the biggest achievement of Arvind Kejriwal. Making the common man a stakeholder in the elections is perhaps the reason for the massive victory.
Om Thanvi wrote an excellent editorial in Jansatta regarding this historical electoral victory of AAP and an unexpected loss, or should we say a jolt, to the current government.
In his article, he mentioned, and what I do agree with, that Delhi votes are basically decided by the urban rural or the basti votes. The Lutyen's Delhites hardly come out to vote. That is why, along with security issues, the Delhi elections are also considered to be below the dignity of the Prime Minister as far as campaigning is concern.
I had quite a few meetings in Delhi and landed back in Kolkata on Saturday evening.
Since I was in Delhi, I missed Sanjay Budhia’s private dinner on Friday the 13. Sanjay organizes this annual dinner get-together at his home and he divides his guests into a different dates so he can accommodate more people and also have like-minded people together. Few of my friends were at his residence on February 7, 2015.
I, unfortunately, was occupied on the 7 February evening as well, else, I would have requested Sanjay that instead of 13 February if I could attend on 7 February. Today evening I am again flying overseas for two three days.
ess bee

Monday, February 9, 2015

Derby season at RCTC

At the RCTC
February 9, 2015: I am back to my Kolkata office almost after ten days to a pile of pending deskwork. I shall have to again fly out of station on February 12, 2015.
Sunday was quite easy on me but on Saturday I went to the Royal Calcutta Turf Club (RCTC) to attend the 64th edition of Queen Elizabeth II Cup. This was quite a low key affair compared to last year. 
I and my friends were quite surprised that this high profile event had all of a sudden become such a low profile affair. I am still at a loss to figure out the reason for this.
With Rupa Ganguly
After the Queen Elizabeth II Cup derby, I went to the north Kolkata to attend the 30th Gyan Yagna Vidya Dan Samaroh event at the Tantia High School Auditorium organized by Bharat Relief Society and Prabha Khaitan Foundation
The event was attended by many dignitaries including Rupa Ganguly.
ess bee

Saturday, February 7, 2015

A Wiccan in Pink City and the passing away of a legend

February 7, 2015: Yesterday was a very busy day again in Jaipur. In the morning, I went to Prakash Surana’s residence to pay my condolences to his family members. I wrote an obituary in the DNA After Hours in his memory which was liked by his family members and other well wishers.
May I mention that Prakash ji, who lived up to his name, had opened the doors of the Pink City for the Indian classical music fraternity. He wanted to be an engineer but fate had other plans for him. He entered the jewellery business and created and nurtured a jewellery brand for over five decades.
The A to Z of musicians from far and near knew him in person and had visited his house and dined with him one time or the other. Prakash ji was what legends are made of.
Prakash ji was a tireless worker who carved out a niche in the jewellery industry. He was a connoisseur of music and its patron. He, along with his friends, created a music society called “Shruti Mandal” in 1962. I was introduced to Prakash ji by singer Manesha A Agarwal.
Life is so full of uncertainties. Only last week I met Prakash ji for a short while at the Polo Club where Sudhir Mathur was hosting a Polo Exhibition match for his family trust. He seemed healthy and fine for his 76 years of age.
It is easy to run an institution successfully for few years, but it takes a Prakash Surana to run one for several decades, maintaining the same high standards. He was a gifted and self disciplined man. I think every auditorium in Jaipur and elsewhere would miss his presence.
In the afternoon, I had a meeting with Vishwamohan Bhatt for planning out the future of Rajasthan Forum. Later in the evening I took a flight back to Kolkata.
With Jane Himmeth Singh, Ipsita Roy Chakraverti, Rani Vidya Devi and Apra Kuchal
On Saturday evening I attended the event organized by FICCI FLO, an evening of mystery and revelations with Wiccan high priestess Ipsita Roy Chakraverti on The Spirit World & How does Wicca Interact with it. The event was held at The Sapphire Hall in Hotel Marriott where I was the Guest of Honour.
With Ipsita Roy Chakraverti
Ipsita Roy Chakraverti is a very interesting personality - a Wiccan high priestess who is adept in the occult. She is also an author and a woman activist. She is said to invoke the elementals as per the ancient Wiccan tradition and has worked her way up to become a high priestess in the Wiccan hierarchy. She is a woman of strong personality and at the same time mysterious and charming. In 2006 she founded the Wiccan Brigade where men and women come together to study the long lost ancient traditions and mysteries.
With Apra Kuchal and Ipsita Roy Chakraverti at the Ficci FLO event
Ipsita made some very interesting revelations at the FICCI FLO event regarding the haunted havelis and forts of Rajasthan. She said that besides the Bhangarh Fort, the Nahargarh Fort in Jaipur too was a spooky place that abounds in the presence of spirits which she found after a daylong stay. She and her team had investigated on the paranormal using scientific instruments and cameras. The results were startling. She said she gathered empirical evidence of strange orbs. A strange green light was also detected by the cameras in that fort during day time she said.
The FICCI FLO event was immensely liked by the members.
ess bee

Thursday, February 5, 2015

With the students of Step by Step School

February 5, 2015, Jaipur: On Monday and Tuesday, February 2 and 3 respectively, I have had fifteen individual meetings. On Tuesday evening I was at Tapri’s again.
On Wednesday afternoon, I met the students of Step by Step School who had gone to Rome to attend the WIMUN, organized by World Federation of United Nations Association (WFUNA), over tea. I wanted to meet the students to collect ideas and share their thoughts on how interested they are in international activities as I am planning to initiate international youth activities to Jaipur.
Today, I will go for lunch to Jai Mahal Palace where I have invited a couple of friends to have lunch with Ipsita Roy Chakraverti and her daughter Deepta who are in Jaipur on my invitation to attend the FICCI FLO’s event at Hotel Marriott at 4 pm.
Yesterday night I also got the sad news of the demise of Shri Prakash Surana. May his soul rest in peace.
ess bee

Sunday, February 1, 2015

At the Rajasthan Polo Club

February 1, 2015, Jaipur: I am once again at the ITC Rajputana. On Friday after landing in Jaipur I headed straight for my favourite spot in Jaipur – “Tapri” restaurant. The weather here is still quite cold in the evenings.
Awarding trophy to the winning polo team with Sudhir Mathur
On Saturday afternoon I went to the Rajasthan Polo Club to attend the Raghu Sinha Mala Mathur Memorial Cup (pic) where I was the Guest of Honour and did the honours of giving away the award to the winners and the runners-up. 
With Maharaj Narendra Singh
The Raghu Singh Mala Mathur Memorial Cup has been organized and hosted by my good friend Sudhir Mathur and hence I made it a point to be there.
On Saturday evening I dropped in for 15 mins at the City Palace where Vodafone Managing Director & CEO, Marten Pieters, and Rajmata Padmini Devi of Jaipur, hosted cocktails and dinner to commemorate the Vodafone Simur Cup 2015
With Rajmata Padmini Devi
After greeting the host, I went back to the ITC Rajputana where I met a few friends after midnight.
Today, I had a few meetings lined up for restructuring the Rajasthan Forum and also took up some other initiatives. So I will not be able to go for the finals of the Vodafone Simur Cup as miss out on the high tea as well.
In the evening I shall go to a friend’s residence for a private dinner which is long overdue.
ess bee