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

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