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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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Rajasthan Diwas 2015 lives up to its name

With Governor of Rajasthan, Shri Kalyan Singh, at the Raj Bhawan
March 31, 2015, Jaipur: Today morning I went to the Raj Bhavan. It was nice of the Governor of Rajasthan, Shri Kalyan Singh ji, to give time on such a busy day when Rajasthan Diwas 2015 was being observed. He spoke very well and invited us to witness the State Government celebrations of Rajasthan Diwas 2015 where he was the Chief Guest.
At the Raj Bhawan with Shri Kalyan Singh
In the evening I went to Janpath to witness the Rajasthan Diwas 2015 celebrations that has been reduced from a 8-10 days mega event to a one-day event. 
I was happy to see Rajasthan in Rajasthan Diwas as the folk art, tradition and historical symbols of all the seven regions of Rajasthan were showcased, not to forget the daredevil acts of Rajasthan Police commando force.
I was most surprised to see the security arrangements made for the occasion as almost the whole of the State Government was there. 
However, the people were coming from every direction once the programme started on the stage as the idea of having the programme in the front of the dais was not practical.
This forced the audience to attempt to come in the front of the performing area. However, on a personal note, I was happy to see Rajasthan only in Rajasthan Diwas 2015.
This time, the Rajasthan Diwas 2015 has really lived up to its name.
ess bee

Monday, March 30, 2015

In Jaipur for Rajasthan Diwas, Youth Conference and the Write Circle

March 30, 2015, Jaipur: I am in Jaipur and today is the Rajasthan Diwas. I arrived here on March 28 and have been very occupied since then.
Based in Delhi, his first story was 57 Saal Purana Admi.
With Surendra Mohan Pathak at the Write Circle
On March 29, 2015, I did a conversation with the author Surendra Mohan Pathak who is one of the bestselling Hindi fiction writers
A prolific writer, he is the creator of the very successful Sunil series and Vimal series. With two hundred and ninety-one books to his credit, he has mastered the genre of pulp fiction in Hindi. His latest novel, Goa Galata, is the eighth book of the Jeet Singh series.
It is the first time in Write Circle that a Hindi novelist has been invited and also a first time for me to engage the honoured guest author in a conversation in Jaipur
The response from the audience and media for the Hindi author made me think that I must start another series for Hindi authors on the lines of Author’s Afternoon and the Write Circle.
With the delegates and guests
In fact, I am already in touch with few people in Raipur, Patna and Ahmedabad to initiate a similar series for regional authors titled “KALAM”. 
Addressing the youth
Let us see when and how it matures.
On the evening of March 29, I inaugurated the 4th WFUNA International Youth Seminar at the Jayshree Periwal International School.
The first three International Youth Seminars were held in Buenos Aires (Argentina), Oslo (Norway) and New York (USA).
With Rajendra Singh Rathore
I was happy that my efforts to bring the 4th WFUNA International Youth Seminar to India had matured and that too in Jaipur. At the inauguration, I met the State Cabinet Minister, Mr Rajendra Singh Rathore, whom I have known for years. 
As I have stopped interacting much with politicians over the last few years, I have not met him since he became the Minister in the current Government. 
With Rajendra Rathore, Jayshree
Periwal and Kiran Mehra Kerpelmen
The students from Jayshree Periwal’s school put up an excellent cultural performance during the inaugural session and I am sure this five-day conference will be a very successful one. 
I must especially thank, Pablo Angulo-Troconis, Youth Programme Consultant from WFUNA office and Aakriti Mittal who has really worked hard to make this conference possible. 
I very much appreciate her organized way of working and I enjoyed working with her.
Group picture post inauguration
Today afternoon, under the banner of the recently formed WFUNA Foundation in India, a student delegation, alongwith UNIC and WFUNA delegation, will visit Raj Bhavan for a cup of tea with Shri Kalyan Singh ji, Governor of Rajasthan, for an informal interaction.
ess bee

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Get-together to meet Mr and Mrs Narayanan

With Smt Padmini Narayanan
March 28, 2015: Today afternoon I hosted a get-together over tea for Smt Padmini Narayanan and Shri M K Narayanan, the former Governor of West Bengal. 
With Shri M K Narayanan, former Governor of West Bengal.
Since leaving Raj Bhavan, this is the first visit of Shri M K Narayanan to Kolkata and I decided to invite a few friends for the get-together.
With Shoojit Sarkar, panelist, and Mukul Agarwal at the LSG Award function
Shri Narayanan, who is a thorough gentleman, has not only visited my residence a few times when he was the Governor of West Bengal, but has also been kind enough to grace several events of the various organizations I am involved with on my request.
Art work display at the Ladies Study Group Charitable Trust Annual Awards Ceremony 2014
Before the tea party get-together, I dropped into Taj Bengal, Crystal Hall, where the Ladies Study Group Charitable Trust Annual Award Ceremony 2014 was being held.
ess bee

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Gearing up for the WFUNA International Youth Seminar

March 26, 2015: I left for an overseas trip on March 19 (Thursday) and returned to office the following Wednesday (March 25). Kolkata is quite well connected with few of the east Asian countries yet it hasn't developed as a main centre of tourism or industry nor as the much touted “Gateway to the East” like Bangkok or Incheon. 
March end is quite busy as there is the WFUNA International Youth Seminar will from March 29 to April 2, 2015. The World Federation of the United Nations Association (WFUNA) and Jayshree Periwal's Step by Step International School is hosting this Seminar at the school campus in Jaipur, Rajasthan. 
The Seminar will witness a confluence of international participants from various countries such as USA, Bulgaria, Russia, Norway, Sweden, Philippines, Uganda, Syria, Botswana and Azerbaijan among others. Students from all over India will also be participating. I have to be there for the inauguration on March 29 and also brief the international students about the Rajasthan Diwas the next day. 
Rajasthan Diwas which falls on March 30 was initially a 7 to 10 days of gala celebrations planned by the Government of Rajasthan earlier this year. But later it was decided that only one-day celebration will take place on March 30. The Rajasthan government has cut short the Rajasthan Diwas celebrations to one day in view of the heavy losses to the crops due to recent rainfall and hailstorm. 
Quite a few senior artistes of Rajasthan also wrote to the Chief Minister, Smt Vasundhara Raje Scindia, on the same day expressing their feelings thatnot enough credit has been given to the Rajasthani artistes and culture in the Rajasthan Diwas celebrations and that she should look into this. 
Apart from the Rajasthan Diwas and WFUNA Youth Seminar, the coming weekend I am also scheduled to attend another Write Circle event with author Surender Mohan Pathak who is a bestselling Hindi fiction writer based in Delhi. His first story was 57 Saal Purana Admi. A prolific writer, he is the creator of the very successful Sunil and Vimal series. With two hundred and ninety-one books to his credit, he has mastered the genre of pulp fiction in Hindi. His latest novel, Goa Galata is the eighth book of the Jeet Singh series. 
It is the first time a hard-core Hindi novelist is being invited to the Write Circle. 
After this weekend, I may have to go to Delhi for a day. 
ess bee

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

With Jaya Bacchan at the Birla Sabhaghar

With Jaya Bacchan
March 17, 2015: Yesterday I went to the G D Birla Sabhaghar for the inauguration of Theatre Festival titled "Pratibimb". The festival will be on from March 16 to 18 and three plays "No Ordinary Love", "Hum Mukhtara" and "A Million Sitas" would be presented during the three days.
Jaya Bachchan, Member of Parliament, and veteran actress of India, was there to grace the opening of the Festival. 
With Jaya Bacchan and a student at the Birla Sabhaghar
Before the staging of yesterday's play, I presented a cheque along with her to the differently-abled student from the Indian Institute of Cerebral Palsy.
Jaya Bachchan, in her short speech, spoke about women power and requested that everybody should raise a voice for women as she does in the Parliament. I met many people from the city's social circuit thanks to Jayabrato Chatterjee and his daughter Sahana.
Today evening there is a dinner hosted by the Honorary Consul of Ireland in Kolkata Mr Mahendra K Jalan at the The Oberoi Grand Ballroom to mark St Patrick's Day. As I shall be travelling overseas either tomorrow or the day after, I will give it a miss as there's a lot of desk work in office to be cleared.
ess bee

Monday, March 16, 2015

Dinners and comedy show in city

March 16, Kolkata: I returned to Kolkata on Friday the 13th from Jaipur. On Friday morning, I again took the morning flight as I was committed to attend “Dolce Kolkata with David Rocco” cocktails and dinner at the West View Bar & Grill at the invitation of Atul Bhalla, General Manager, ITC Sonar.
With David Rocco
David Rocco is a Canadian actor and producer who is famous for hosting the television series David Rocco's Dolce Vita. He was also the co-creator and host of travel and food series Avventura: Journey in Italian Cuisine.
On Thursday, I had a day long trip to Sujangarh and Salasar in Rajasthan.
I missed Indrani Dasgupta Paul’s cocktail party to celebrate a year of Michael Kors being in Kolkata. I missed out because I had mis-calculated the time. I thought, I would go to the ITC Sonar dinner and leave at 9:30 PM and then drop by at Indrani’s cocktail party at the Quest Mall. But by the time the ITC Sonar dinner party concluded, it was 11:30 PM.
Yesterday (Sunday) was a day for me to relax. On Saturday evening I went to the Birla Sabhaghar to witness the King of Comedy – “Stand Up Comedy” live with Jhonny Lever. I think it was one of the finest live shows that I have seen in recent years in Kolkata as far as comedy is concerned. My compliments to Urvi Nopani for bringing this show to Kolkata.
This week, it seems, again another overseas trip awaits me.
ess bee

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

At WFUNA's "Mission Possible" project in Jaipur

March 11, 2015: Both Monday and Tuesday (March 9 and 10) turned out to be unusually busy days.
With Andrea Choi and Bonian Gulmohammadi
I landed in Jaipur on 9th morning by flight from Bengaluru. I hate morning flights but had no options since the officials from WFUNA - Bonian Golmohammadi, Secretary General, and Andrea Choi, Education Officer - were on a week long trip to India and Nepal. They had included Jaipur in their itinerary on my request. Their flight was scheduled to arrive in Delhi at 8 AM hence I took an early morning flight.
The WFUNA officials were in Jaipur to initiate the “Mission Possible Project” which is one of the latest projects of WFUNA. “Mission Possible” is an innovative education program that aims to create global change agents by training and empowering youth on important development issues.
With Irina Garg and Shailendra Agarwal
The students will not only gain a “UN perspective” on global issues but also learn invaluable skills like project management. This would equip them with requisite skill sets and enable them to implement projects in their community in a far more efficient manner.
Through “Mission Possible”, the students will become effective change agents and ideal global citizens.
With Suman Singh and Surya Pratap Singh
On Monday (March 9) evening I hosted a dinner to meet and greet Bonian Gulmohammadi who is my colleage in WFUNA and also the Secretary-General. The dinner was well attended and about 75 prominent individuals of Jaipur attended the dinner which was an early evening form affair.
On the 10th morning, we met the Chief Secretary, C S Rajan, Government of Rajasthan, and had a 45-minute meeting in which we discussed various possibilities to work in Rajasthan. The Chief secretary briefed us about the different state projects and government priorities.
With Aakriti Periwal, Ayush Periwal, Jayshree Periwal, Bonian Golmohammadi and Andrea Choi
On 10th evening, Jayshree Periwal, a well known educationist and the woman behind Step by Step School hosted a dinner for us at Hotel Rambagh Palace. It was a informal get-together at their popular restaurant Steam. This restaurant is well known for its Italian pizza and pasta.
With Princess Diya Kumari, Bonian and Andrea
After dinner at Hotel Rambagh it was 11:30 PM when I dropped in for another private dinner at the Chinese Restaurant in Hotel Holiday Inn.
Today is a tad easy so I finished up with some of my pending meetings in Jaipur. Tomorrow I am planning to have a day trip to Salasar.
ess bee

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Holi and staying at the ITC Gardenia, Bengaluru

March 7, 2015, Bengaluru: I landed in Bengaluru today afternoon and checked-in at the ITC Gardenia at around 8 pm after attending a high tea get-together at a private house.
ITC Gardenia is considered a better property than ITC Windsor because of its modern amenities which includes a helipad and a man made green landscape which goes right up to the 12th floor of the hotel. Also, much of the lighting needs during the day is met by allowing daylight to filter in creating an atrium effect.
I have always liked Windsor although it is a much older property than Gardenia. I have been staying at the ITC Windsor for the past twenty years whenever I visited Bengaluru. I have very fond memories of this property, especially its colonial-type architecture, since the time Suresh Kumar was the General Manager.
When I was based in Chennai, I used to fly to Bengaluru for the weekends. At that time, Windsor was my address. My fondness towards this property continued to grow over the years and it soon became my address in Bengaluru for most of the times. However, this time I checked-in at the Gardenia because of the very unfriendly approach of the Windsor while making reservation. I was very disheartened and decided against putting up at the Windsor.
Honestly, it has nothing to do with the property. I think it is the individuals and their behaviour which make or mar things in the service industry.
Though it wasn't my first stay at the Gardenia as I had stayed once before to experience its hospitality. Somehow, Windsor and Gardenia have a history of general managers who were posted one time or the other at the ITC Sonar in Kolkata.
With Britta Leicke-Milde, General Manager, Hyatt Kolkata
Yesterday, in Kolkata, I went to Hotel Hyatt for the Holi festivities. It was much better organized than last year and so were the arrangements. In the morning, 250 tickets were sold and by the time it ended there were about 700 guests. 
With Aditya Makharia
I am surprised and wonder how these hotels arrange for the logistics to cater to such large increase in the number of guest in a short time. I was there till the end and witnessed that there was no shortage of food in any of the food stalls, my compliments to Hyatt.
Like last year, this year too I went with a group of friends and enjoyed myself thoroughly.
Although yesterday was a working day in Kolkata, I worked for the full day on the 5th and was very much at ease. I shall fly to Jaipur on the 9th by an early morning flight.
ess bee