Sundeep Bhutoria

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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

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