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

1A Camac Court, 25B Camac Street, Kolkata – 700 016, India.

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Friday, December 18, 2015

Warming up to Kolkata's winter events

With Arindam Sil
December 18, 2015: I arrived in Kolkata from Bangalore on Tuesday December 15 night. For the last couple of days I have been catching up with office work that had piled up during my absence.
With Mimi
Last night I went to the premiere of my friend Arindam Sil's filmHar Har Byomkesh”. I did not see the movie but was there to just meet everybody and greet Arindam as I have not attended any Tollywood events for a while now. 
From the premiere I went to the residence of Irina K Bashkirova, Consul General of The Russian Federation, to attend a dinner and cocktails on the occasion of the 16th Russia-India Summit. It was an all diplomats gathering.
With Koel Mullick
From there I went to ITC Sonar for the Winter Barbecue thanks to the General Manager Atul Bhalla.
At the ITC Sonar
It is good I attended these social events and get to meet quite a number of those who move in Kolkata’s social circles.
With Ranjit Mullick
Again I shall be travelling tomorrow. To night I am hosting a dinner at the Taj Bengal for Ipsita Roy Chakraverti, high priestess of the Wiccan Brigade, to mark the release of her book Beloved Witch Returns’ and published by Life Positive Books.
ess bee

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Late night party at Gardenia

December 10 2015: Yesterday night I hosted a get together at the ITC Gardenia. Earlier, when I used to live in Chennai sometime around 1999 to 2001, I used to visit Bangalore frequently. Again, Bangalore was also my weekend destination when I lived in Coimbatore in 1995-96.
I know quite a few people in Bangalore and hosting a small get-together was in my mind. In fact, it was due for quite sometime now.
I used the opportunity of the wedding of my cousin's daughter to host a get together. I decided to do it differently from the regular cocktail dinners. So I hosted a desserts and coffee get together after 10 pm at the terrace of ITC Gardenia.
Some of my friends were little apprehensive about this theme and I was also in two minds but finally decided to go for it. The get together turned out to be an excellent affair and everybody liked this concept. Much credit goes to the ITC Gardenia team who did a fantastic job in creating varieties of liquor desserts with alcohol and coffee.
In fact the ITC Hotel's renowned pastry chef Arvind is based out of Gardenia only. My old friend Virendra Razdan, who is the general manager of Gardenia, informed me that ITC Hotels would soon come up with chocolate shops starting from next March at its Gardenia property.
The live dessert counter with liquor had quite a spread with fancy alluring names like Ice cream Sunday Pistachio Black; Rose Petal, sesame, coriander and strawberry; Spiced molten chocolate kullad; Grey goose flamed dessert kebabs; Flamed crepes; Dessert and liquer shots; Vintage desserts; Dessert-in-jars; One bite wonders and so on.
I was in Grand Hyatt Mumbai on the night of December 7. I shall never recommend this hotel to anyone for stay. Though I am a diamond member of Hyatt, which is the highest tier of membership for guests, the front office could not find my reservation and they had no knowledge of my membership either.
This hotel has many other flaws which is rather surprising and glaring especially after experiencing the Grand Hyatt's standards of service in Bangkok and Singapore.
I shall be in Bangalore for a few more days for the wedding.
ess bee

Sunday, December 6, 2015

At the Bangalore Lit Fest

At the Bangalore Lit Fest with Madhurantakam Narendra, Kulpreet Yadav, Pramita Satpathy and  Diwakar S
December 6, 2015: I landed in Bangalore on December 2 night. The weather here is nice and welcoming. No wonder when it comes to the weather, many people draw parallels between Bengaluru and California while others choose to call it the “California of India”.
This time I checked in at the Taj Westend instead of ITC Gardenia since my main reason to be in Bangalore was to attend a wedding scheduled at this Taj property. Indian weddings continue to get bigger and fatter and there seems to be no limits to this.
Apart from the wedding, this trip to Bangalore was also to attend the Bangalore Literature Festival which ran into some rough weather with the founder director of the Festival, Vikram Sampath, quitting over his tweet on authors returning awards.
Book signing at the Lit Fest
I came to know about the whole thing on reaching Bangalore. In fact, in the whole list of authors and speakers I found only Yatindra Mishra from the world of Hindi literature as many of them backed out of the Fest due to the tweet controversy.
I was the moderator of the session "The Short and Short of It: Writing Short Stories”. There were four speakers in my panel - Kulpreet Yadav, Paramita Satpathy, Madhurantakam Narendra and Diwakar S.
I was amazed to hear when Mr Diwakar mentioned about the world's shortest short story – “The Dinosaur” - which is only one line long and written by Guatemalan writer Augusto Monterroso. It just reads “When he woke up, the dinosaur was still there.” This enigmatic short story, the shortest one ever written, has inspired many a doctoral thesis.
A renowned French author had commented that it was the best short story he had ever heard. According to Mr Diwakar, this one-line is a story bacause it spurs the readers to think and wonder.
S Diwakar has published over 30 books of short fiction, poetry, essays, translations and literary criticism. As a journalist he has served as reporter, assistant editor and editor in such newspapers and journals like Samyukta Karnataka, Mallige, Sudha, Prajavani and The Times of India. He was was a Karnataka specialist at the American Consulate in Chennai for nearly two decades.
At the sidelines of every literary sessions at the Bangalore Literature Festival was the issue of tolerance vs intolerance.
ess bee

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Same frame moment with BigB

With Amitabh Bachchan and Vidya Balan at St Paul's Cathedral Kolkata
December 1, 2015: After returning from my North America trip I was jet lagged with a whole lot of piled up desk work to clear. Today there was another of the Receipe Rendezvous series with the very versatile celebrity chef Sabita Radhakrishna at The Conclave.
Sabita has traversed many professions from being a freelance writer, food columnist to a broadcaster associated with Doordarshan and All India Radio besides being a scriptwriter and programme hostess for over twenty years. She is well experienced with textiles and is an active member of the Crafts Council of India. Her book Annapurni is about authentic Tamil cuisine.
I, however, had to give the Recipe Rendezvous event a miss.
I went to see the shooting of the film Te3n at the St Paul's Cathedral
Sujoy Ghosh, producer of the film, called up in the morning for some work and I came to know that BigB, Vidya Balan, Nawazuddin Siddhiqui and others were shooting at the Cathedral which is only few stretches away from my house.
I wasn't keeping track of things happening in the Kolkata circuit due to my foreign trips. This wasn't the first time that I witnessed the shooting of Amitabh Bachchan – my favourite actor. Earlier, while shooting for Piku in Kolkata, I had met him and thanks to Shoojit Sarkar, I had watched the shooting quite a few times.
I also met Vidya Balan during the shooting and on a lighter note Sujoy also clicked my picture with Amitabh and Vidya Balan.
Since the past few years the frequency of my travels has been on the rise as a result I am having to stay away from Kolkata more often. It seems that now I have to actually plan in advance my stay in Kolkata.
Tomorrow again I shall leave for Bangalore as I have committed myself to attend the Bangalore Literature Festival and meet up with some close friends and attend family functions. My Bangalore trip will be for a fortnight and includes an overnight trip to Mumbai to attend another family function.
ess bee