Sundeep Bhutoria

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ess bee

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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Friends leaving Kolkata

June 30, 2015: After a long spell I am at my desk in Kolkata and also getting back to the city's social life.
With Consul General of China, Wang Xuefeng, and his wife Tong Xin Xuefeng
Yesterday evening I hosted a small get-together at home. The Chinese Consul General Wang Xuefeng of the Consulate of People’s Republic of China and his wife, Tong Xin Xuefeng, who is also the Vice Consul of the Chinese Mission in Kolkata is about to leave Kolkata.
We became good friends while they were here for just a year-long stay in Kolkata and I decided to invite them over dinner at my residence before they leave for their country. 
With Samrat Datta, the new GM of Taj Bengal
The new Taj Bengal General Manager, Samrat Datta and his wife Jennifer, along with other diplomat friends like Liz and Mr Scott Furssedonn, British Deputy High Commissioner, Maiko Morita, Vice Consul, Consulate General of Japan , Lasantha and Mr Frederic LeCourt, Consul and Deputy Head of Mission, Consulate de France and Chandra Kumar Ghimire, Consul General, Consulate of Nepal, and few others also attended. It was an early evening get-together.
This year Kolkata will witness quite a lot of churn in the diplomatic circles as new appointments are on the anvil.
In fact, I am scheduled to attend the farewell party of the Consul General Rainier Schmiedchen of the Federal Republic of Germany in Kolkata on July 10, 2015 at the Taj Bengal. My regret will be that I could not persuade the German Consul General’s wife, Annette, who is a Sanskrit Scholar, to agree to do a talk in Sanskrit in Kolkata during her stay in the city.
The US Consul General, Helen LaFave, would also be leaving and I am scheduled to attend the 239th US Independence Day – “The Fourth of July” over cocktails & dinner at The Oberoi Grand. I shall organize a small dinner for her also before she leaves for US.
Fabrice Etienne, Consul General, Consulate de France, and the Italian Consul General, Cesare Bielliere, will also be leaving Kolkata this year. I also heard that the Italian Consul General would be moving over to Mumbai from Kolkata. Sometimes I, as someone who is nestled in this city with a residence, wonder how difficult it is for those who are constantly on the move and just as they get acquainted with people and the city have to move on to some other destination.
The Chinese Consul General, Wang Xuefeng wrote a very touching note in my diary in Chinese which means:
The letter
We don’t want to say goodbye to Kolkata, the City of Joy, rich in culture and history, particularly we do not want to say goodbye to our dear respected friends, Mrs & Mr Sundeep Bhutoria, to whom we have been attracted, like many other friends also have, by your warm charisma as well as your expertise and interests in varieties of fields.
Near or far, wherever we are, we will miss you, our dear friends. We will miss you, especially in the midst of the joyful ambience of Durga Puja this year."
I have very fond memories of many diplomatic friends who were based in Kolkata and left. In fact, the same is the case of the General Managers of different hotels and even the Governors of West Bengal.
In the case of ITC and Taj General Managers. I keep meeting them even after they leave Kolkata as I travel frequently to other cities and stay at various ITC and Taj Group properties. However in case of Hyatt, I was in touch with Timothy Bruce once he shifted to Delhi from Kolkata and lost touch with him after a while and came to know that he is now in China somewhere with his wife, Somarati.
ess bee

Friday, June 26, 2015

At the South City Mall

With Dev
June 26, 2015: Yesterday evening I went to see the movie Roga Hawar Sahaj Upay at the Inox in South City Mall presented by Shrikant Mohta and Mahendra Soni. 
It was a Shree Venkatesh Films production written and directed by Debaloy Bhattacharya. The film's music is by Indradeep Dasgupta; lyrics by Prasun and Debaloy Bhattacharya; cinematography by Sirsha Ray.
I got stuck in a meeting and reached around 8.15 pm. I thought I will join my other friends during the interval but because of some technical problem the movie had not started by then. When the movie started it was about 8.30 pm. I watched the movie till the interval and then returned home.
Routine wise, the coming weekend is going to be easy. However, the following week would be full of activities involving the diplomats.
ess bee

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Recipe Rendezvous with Nikhil Chib

June 24, 2015: I am back in office. Today morning I went to the Lal Bazar – the police headquarters - for a meeting with the Kolkata Police officials. On Monday (June 22), after a meeting with a digital media team for The Bengal and Pronam, I attended the Recipe Rendezvous event at The Conclave.
With Chef Nikhil Chib at the Recipe Rendezvous
Recipe Rendezvous is one of the series initiated by me. It is a demonstration-cum-conversation session with food book authors and renowned or celebrity chefs. The interaction is with a select group especially invited for the event. It is interactive and the demo for a chosen recipe is live.
The idea of holding the event is to invite 20 to 25 guests at the most, usually they are selected in such a manner that they represent all walks of life. The guest chef or food author gives a hands-on demonstration of his culinary skills for a particular recipe or recipes while taking in questions and queries at the same time from the guests.
With Agnimitra, Nikhil Chib, Sahana, Neeta and Namit Bajoria
This time the guest chef was Nikhil Chib, the managing director and celebrity chef of Busaba chain of highly acclaimed restaurants in Mumbai. Previously an investment banker with a degree in finance from Rochester University, Nikhil has been in the food business for over 15 years with Busaba celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2011. He has also been a food columnist with The Hindustan Times and The Indian Express and a television food show host.
Nikhil, along with his wife Natasha, did 50 episodes of the popular show The Chef and His Better Half with NDTV Good Times in 2007. He is an active board member of the Spastics Society of India, founded by his mother Dr Alur, a Padmashri recipient herself.
There were more guests than I expected and in future I have to ensure that it is a more cosy affair like the first two Recipe Rendezvous with Mita Kapur and H.H. Raja Shreeman Vikram Singhji Bahadur, Raja of Sailana.
ess bee

Saturday, June 6, 2015

World Environment Day in Jaipur

Saturday 6 June, 2015: I returned last evening after an overnight trip from Jaipur. Yesterday I had a series of meetings one after the other on various initiatives that I intend to start, especially the cultural evenings, at the historical Hawa Mahal in Rajasthan.
Watering a Golden Juniper plant
On June 4, on the eve of the World Environment Day, the who’s who of Jaipur converged at hotel ITC Rajputana on my invitation for planting of the saplings. The event was jointly organized by Prabha Khaitan Foundation and ITC Rajputana.
It was a rare gathering where people from all walks of life got together. Representatives of as many as 30 prominent social, cultural and business organizations of the city, while participating in the plantation ceremony, also hobnobbed with each other in a spirit of camaraderie over a spread of a variety of shakes and juices.
I shall be leaving Kolkata today for about a week to ten days at attend to some personal business.
ess bee

Friday, June 5, 2015

Author's Afternoon with Anuja

June 5, 2015, Jaipur: I landed in Jaipur early morning today. During the summers, the early morning flight leaves Kolkata at 5:25 am for Jaipur. I am not a morning flight kind of person but yesterday I couldn't avail the afternoon flight as I had to finish off a couple of meetings as I shall not be in office till the middle of this month.
Although I will be in Kolkata just one night tomorrow and again leave to attend some personal commitments.
With Anuja Chauhan in front of the Book Corner at Taj Chambers
Day before yesterday on June 2 was the twenty second series of Author's Afternoon with Anuja Chauhan as the guest author. She has written her fifth book and carried the whole session with great panache. She is said to be one of the best in the Indian commercial fiction genre.
Anuja signing a copy of her latest book
Anuja is also the lady behind some of the biggest advertisement campaigns in India having worked for brands like Pepsi, Kurkure, Mountain Dew, Nokia. She was also behind campaign slogans like Pepsi's “Nothing official about it” and “Yeh dil maange more”. Due to the Maggi controversy her phone was buzzing continuously as journalists from television channels wanted her views on the matter.
The Author's Afternoon session was a packed one and one of those editions which was almost looked like a ladies' special session.
ess bee