Sundeep Bhutoria

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Thank you.
ess bee

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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Leaving for New York in Etihad

April 22, 2015: I will fly today for the first time by Etihad Airways. For the past few years, except for the South Asian countries, Emirates has been my favourite airline for Europe and America.
This time I want to experience Etihad and its much talked about facility of US customs and visa clearance at the Abu Dhabi airport itself. In fact, Etihad is the only airline in the world, which offers The Residence class, a 125 sq ft three-room private suite-in-the-sky designed for up to two guests travelling together, in select sectors. It is like being in a complete room of your own. A bedroom with sofas, exclusive entrance, and a butler.
Before leaving for New York, I had a hectic weekend with all kinds of events and social commitments. On Friday, April 17, evening I landed in Jaipur. 
With Ali Kiyaei
I had a meeting with Ali Kiyaei, the Secretary General of South Africa United Nations Association. This was his first visit to India. 
I also hosted a dinner for him and invited few people from Jaipur to meet and interact with him.
With Ashutosh of Aam Aadmi Party
On Saturday April 18, I attended the Write Circle series. This time the guest author was Ashutosh of Aam Aadmi Party
A Hindi newspaper carried a small piece of his arrival. As a result, what was supposed to be a closed-door event of select 25 guests, became an event of about 100 people and 30 media persons and television channels.
I was surprised to see uninvited guests entering with confidence and occupying seats after having a cup of tea. The same evening, I, along with Maharaj Jaisingh and former FICCI FLO chairpersons, co-hosted the felicitation get-together dinner at the ITC Rajputana for Neeta Boochra. She became the first National woman President of FICCI Flo from Rajasthan. Her tenure has just finished and we all thought we must have a get-together.
Mayor of Jaipur, Nirmal Nahata, presented a flower bouquet to Neeta Boochra on behalf of all the guests present there.
With Neeta Boochra, Mayor of Jaipur, Nirmal Nahata and Mrs Manju Nahata
On April 19, although a Sunday, I still concluded few meetings. Early morning the next day, I drove down to Sujangarh and returned by 6 pm. 
From 7:30 pm, I attended a cocktail & dinner hosted by ITC Rajputana to mark The Great Indian Travel Bazaar (GITB) 2015 in Jaipur. I was glad that I could make it. 
With Ranbir Bhandari
I met quite a few known people from the hotel industry after many years, including my old friend Ranbir Bhandari. Some of the hotel general managers also expressed their wish to initiate few activities with me in their cities as well.
With Benita Sharma
At 9:30 pm, I hosted few friends over dinner. Again, it turned out to be the fourth consecutive day when I went to bed after 2 am.
On April 21, before taking the Kolkata flight, I dropped by at the tea party hosted by the friends of Ms Apra Kuchhal for her.
With Apra Kuchhal, Vinnie Kakkar and Neeta Boochra
The flight, which was supposed to land at 7.45 pm, landed around 9.30 pm despite starting on time from Jaipur. The reason being Kolkata weather had suddenly become very bad and we were thus delayed. A couple of times the pilot announced that the flight may not be able to land and that he may have to divert the flight to Bhubaneswar, but on the third attempt he managed to land in Kolkata.
Rajasthan Chief Minister, Vasundhara Raje, is in Kolkata with her team of officials and ministers for the Resurgent Rajasthan event to showcase Rajasthan for investment opportunities. I missed the dinner get-together with her as well.
My itinerary in New York is going to be very hectic with WFUNA ExCo, meeting with UN officials and a presentation-cum-lecture at the New York University on tourism in tiger land.
One the first day I shall land at 9 am and have meeting scheduled from 12 noon, including meetings at the Permanent Mission of India with Ashok Mukherjee at 4:30 pm same day. I have never had such a tight schedule on any of my earlier New York visits.
ess bee

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Poila Baisakh at Hyatt

With Britta Leicke-Milde, GM, Hyatt Regency, Kolkata
April 16, 2015: Yesterday was Bengali New Year's Day (Nobo Borsho) and I, along with my friend Britta Leick-Milde, General Manager, Hyatt Regency, Kolkata, co-hosted a party to celebrate the successful hundred days of box office run of the Bengali movie Ebar Shabor directed by Arindam Sil.
It was quite a mesmerizing afternoon at Hyatt where people from different fields of life, including the Tollywood biggies, turned-up in full strength. The day being Poila Baisakh, the get-together dress code was Bengali ethnic wear and the guests had turned up in traditional attire.
The food section also boasted Bengali delicacies such as luchi, chollar daal, sukto, boiled rice, paturi, sondesh, mishti doi, langcha among others. The party was complete when Usha Uthup made the guests groove with her melodious voice.
Tomorrow, again I shall fly out of Kolkata.
ess bee

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

At the Desert Soul with Hemant Shesh

April 14, 2015: Got back to Kolkata yesterday. The last three days were quite hectic.
With Sunil and Anamika Gupta
at ITC Rajputana
On Saturday afternoon I went to Jaipur and attended a play by Welcome Theatre Production called The Mousetrap. The play, directed and designed by Aamir Raza Husain and Virat Husain, was held at Suryavanshi Mahal, ITC Rajputana
I had seen this play before but because of my association with ITC Rajputana I went on to be a part of the evening. It was indeed a very nice evening where I met quite a few people from the Jaipur social circle.
On Sunday, I attended another series of the Desert Soul with Shri Hemant Shesh organized by the Rajasthan Forum
With Shri Hemant Shesh at the Desert Soul event
Shri Shesh is a renowned poet, writer and painter. He talked about his life and experiences since early days and he also talked at length to explain how different forms of arts are inter-linked and backed by human values.
From Jaipur I took a flight to Delhi.
At the ITC Rajputana
Yesterday morning I went to meet General Dr V K Singh, Minister of State for Ministry of Statistics & Programme Implementation, Minister of State for External Affairs and Minister of State for Overseas Indian Affairs, Government of India, at his office. After that had a couple of more meetings and returned to Kolkata by the evening flight.
The saga of meetings continued after reaching Kolkata as I straight went for a meeting again at night from the airport. Today morning also I had a number of meetings. Two Ministers from Rajasthan, Janab Yunus Khan and Kali Charan Saraf along with Rajeev Swarup, IAS, is in town preparing for the Chief Minister of Rajasthan, Vasundhara Raje's visit to Kolkata on April 21 and 22, 2015.
Since I shall not be in Kolkata at that time, my responsibilities to plan out her visit has increased manifold.
There is a tentative New York visit on the anvil, let me see how things move.
ess bee

Friday, April 10, 2015

At FICCI FLO's 31st Annual Session in Delhi

April 10, 2015: I arrived from Delhi last evening. I had gone to Delhi on April 7 evening and the next day I attended the FICCI FLO's 31st FLO Annual Session at Federation House as the Guest of Honour.
With Neeta Boochra and Poonam Mahajan, MP, felicitating Baroness Verma
I felicitated five Women Achievers, Baroness Sandip Verma, Minister of Energy & Climate Change, Government of UK, Priyanka Gill, Founder and Editor-in-Chief, POPxo.Com, Anu Duggal, Founding Partner of F Cubed, Janvi Gaur, Karmic Healer, Arunima Kumar, Founder & Artistic Director, Arunima Kumar Dance Company along with Ms Poonam Mahajan, MP.
There were women representatives from all over India from FICCI FLO branches across the country. There were also the officials of FICCI i.e., presidents, incoming-presidents and vice-chairpersons etc. All were there. It was my first visit to FICCI’s Federation House, which is in Mandi House area in Delhi.
Speaking at the FICCI FLO event
While addressing a packed house, I said in my speech that FICCI FLO's role had been laudable but the road ahead was full of challenges due to lack of gender parity in India. Though progressive steps like induction of one women director into the Board of Directors of specified companies has been made mandatory by the government, it remain a challenge for corporate India to find suitable women candidates. I said this calls for much work to be done from the grassroots level of ensuring that more and more girl child attend schooling.
The lack of education and its spread among women has been one of the areas in which India has been lagging as per the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDG). From next year the MDG would would be strealined into UN's Sustainable Development Goals and there is a compelling need to address this area.
With women achievers Janvi Gaur, Priyanka Gill, Neeta Boochra, Poonam Mahajan, Pinky Reddy and other members of FICCI FLO
I have never been to the Federation House before, as I normally do not attend events of business organizations. I am quite familiar with the area which is surrounded by the Sahitya Academy, National School of Drama and many such institutions.
I must thank Neeta Boochra for inviting me and I wish to congratulate her on her successful tenure as the FICCI FLO Chairperson and of course the first lady National President of FICCI FLO from Rajasthan to hold this post.
On April 7 evening, after the FLO function, I went to Taj Mansingh for the book release event of Suhel Seth. Quite a few known faces were there. I am thinking of inviting Suhel for my next series of Author’s Afternoon in Kolkata.
Yesterday, before boarding the flight for Kolkata, I had a meeting over lunch with IFUNA officials and Mr Ali Kiyaei, WFUNA ExCo Member and Secretary General of UNA South Africa who is in India. We discussed possible international collaboration to strengthen relationship between UNA of South Africa and IFUNA. Mr Ali Kiyaei was very happy to learn about the formation of WFUNA Foundation in India.
ess bee

Monday, April 6, 2015

At a Wiccan exhibition

April 6, 2015: It was a mixed weekend, neither very busy nor very quiet either.
On Saturday, I worked as usual in the office and in the evening went to see the play Gardish Mein Taare which is another initiative brought to the city by Urvi Nopani and her recently formed company Central Stage Creations.
The play was designed and directed by Saif Hyder Hasan and was inspired by the veteran director and legends, Guru Dutt and Geeta Dutt. Both the cast, Arif Zakaria and Sonali Kulkarni played out their characters extremely well. Thank you Urvi for bringing some good theatre to Kolkata.
On Sunday evening I went to Ipsita Roy Chakraverti’s “The Hall of the Unknown” - a special and unusual exhibition and sale of paintings, photographs and Wiccan objects at The Taj Bengal.
ess bee

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Rework my agenda

April 2, 2015: I landed in Kolkata today evening from Jaipur via flight. On March 31 I had a couple of meetings with regard to the Chief Minister of Rajasthan, Smt Vasundhara Raje’s proposed visit to Kolkata in connection with Resurgent Rajasthan.
The visit is scheduled for November 19 and 20, 2015, in Jaipur.
The Chief Minister and her delegation are leaving for Japan and are scheduled to be in Kolkata on April 21 and 22. I will not be in Kolkata from April 17 onwards which I have already informed to the concerned State Government officials. I am trying my best to make all preparations for her visit before I leave town.
On April 1, I was supposed to be in Delhi to meet Gen (Dr) V K Singh, Minister of State for External Affairs, but since he left for Yemen a message from the Ministry of External Affairs has requested that the meeting be postponed. Gen Singh will be camping in Djibouti to overses the safe evacuation of Indians from the warn-torn Yemen.
Thus, I got a full day in Jaipur to do various meetings and some personal work as well that was long due.
Somehow, from January till date, I have travelled almost every week and still I have a busy schedule. If I do not travel to New York, it will be easier post April 20, 2015. It seems I will have to rework my agenda.
ess bee