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.

Phone: 91 33 2281 6934

Fax: 91 33 2280 2930

Email: essbee@essbeeindia.com

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Thursday, June 30, 2016

Indian Accent in Manhattan

June 30, 2016: Yesterday evening I went to the much hyped up Indian cuisine restaurant that goes by the name of Indian Accent located at the Le Parker Meridien Hotel on 123 West 56th Street.
I had heard a lot about this restaurant in New Delhi run by restaurateur Rohit Khattar but have never been there. Some three months ago the New York joint got operational. It was a little difficult to get a table on two day's notice, but by the afternoon I got a confirmation.
It is quite common among hyped up Indian restaurants all over the world that when you call to book a table they say “It is full” and then you get a call back informing you have a table. I have noticed this trend with many Indian restaurants in Dubai, Bangkok and London as well.
But Indian Accent was full house when I got there and there weren't any other Indians in the whole restaurant. Apart from the hostess and couple of senior staff, I did not find any Indian bearers serving food. Given the non-Indian footfalls it is no surprise that Indian Accent has also created few dishes especially for New Yorkers, including beef items.
The d├ęcor of the restaurant can best be described as being minimalist designed by Rohit's wife Rashmi in collaboration with designers BHDM to give a modern look. The restaurant's chef is Manish Mehrotra who I think is also a partner of Khattar.
The restaurant offers about $100 per person fixed meal menu. I did have a meal there but honestly was not satisfied. Although the meal served was more than enough to fill up your belly but wasn't good enough to live up to the taste of an Indian meal.
How can you define Indian food without roti, naan or rice. That's true! A three-course 100-dollar meal in this restaurant does not include Indian breads and rice because as they say they serve “modern Indian cuisine”.
ess bee

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Quite a day at the UN General Assembly

At the United Nations General Assembly
29 June, 2016: New York always keeps everybody busy and so do I. Yesterday I went to the Indian Mission and met Ambassador Mr Tanmay Lal, who is the deputy permanent representative of India to UN
It was a courtesy call and from there I went to the United Nations General Assembly to witness what turned out to be an important day in the history of United Nations.
The 193 members of the United Nations General Assembly today, after rounds of secret ballots at the UN Headquarters in New York, elected Sweden, Bolivia, Ethiopia and Kazakhstan to serve on the world body’s Security Council for a period of two years, starting from 1 January 2017.
There is a election for five non-permanent seats in the Security Council divided on the basis of geographical grouping. Ethiopia and Bolivia were elected uncontested from the African region. Sweden did extremely well and won one of the two seats in from the Western Europe and others group in the morning rounds itself, competing with Italy and Netherlands.
With Dy Foreign Minister, Sweden, Annika Soder
Thailand lost to Kazakhstan among Asia-Pacific region. The real contest took place between Italy and Netherlands vying for the only one non-permanent Council seat. After many rounds of voting there were no clear winners and by 5 pm both the countries got 95 votes each.
The two countries suggested sharing the two-year term, each with one-year period. This is an unprecedented situation since 1963 when UN initiated the rotational membership of countries. The Assembly will take a decision on this tomorrow.
With Arlan A Idrissov, Foreign Minister
of Kazakhstan
In the evening I attended a reception at the UN hosted by Thailand in the beautiful hall overlooking river Hudson. The foreign ministers and ambassadors of several countries were there. Though Thailand lost, it was a gracious gesture to host a reception.
I personally congratulated the deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sweden, Ms Annika Soder and also the Foreign Minister of Kazakhstan, Mr Arlan A Idrissov.
ess bee

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

At the Grand Hyatt in New York

At the Grand Hyatt in New York
June 28, 2016: I landed in New York on Sunday. This time I am staying at the Grand Hyatt hotel near the Grand Central station.
I have visited this hotel many times to attend conferences but had never stayed here before. Because of its location, the hotel has one of the busiest lobbies and makes you feel that you are either in the station itself or at the airport. Although it is Grand Hyatt but its quality of service comes no where close to that of Grand Hyatt Singapore or Thailand.
The hotel industry in this part of the world is totally different from that of south east Asia. If you have stayed in the those hotels in Asia you will know what grandeur and excellent service they provide. Honestly, Grand Hyatt New York, or for that matter any other hotels in the vicinity, are a pale version of the ones in south east Asia.
On Sunday evening I met few of my friends and yesterday there was series of meetings with the UN officials of various department. Today, I will go to the United Nations General Assembly to watch the elections of the Security Council.
ess bee

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Praktan special screening

With Atanu, Prosenjit, Shiboprosad, Rituparna
With Rituparna Sengupta
June 25, 2016: Yesterday, I organized a special screening of the film Praktan at INOX Quest Mall. It was attended by some of the Kolkata-based diplomats and their family members and eminent industrialists and celebrities. 
With Utsav Parekh
The lead cast of Praktan, actress Rituparna and Prosenjit were there along with others. 
Director Shiboprosad Mukherjee and Producer Atanu Raychoudhury were also there.
Industrialists Utsav Parekh, Sanjay Budhia and C S Ghosh of Bandhan Bank were there along with other dignitaries.
Some of the guests were stuck in a massive traffic snarl and called up to say they would be little late. 
With Mr & Mrs C S Ghosh and Sanjay Budhia
Also there was the premiere of another film in city and some of the guests attended both the events.
With Italian Consul General Damiano Francovigh,
wife Barbara and son Alessandro Francovigh
This was the second special screening in a fortnight. I shall be busy today and leave for an overseas tour in the evening.
ess bee

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

At the Write circle, Desert Soul and Kalam events in Jaipur

21 June, Kolkata: I landed in Jaipur on 18 June and spent the weekend there as there were many events lined up.
With Priyanka Mookherjee and Akriti Mittal Periwal at Write Circle
First there was the Write Circle event at the ITC Rajputana with the young upcoming writer Priyanka Mookherjee as the guest author. Priyanka was engaged in a lively interaction with conversationalist Akriti Mittal Periwal who did a great job. Priyanka mostly talked about teenage love which is deals with in her first novel.
Priyanka's book Hedon which is about a teenager's coming-of-age journey has been praised from many quarters. Priyanka, who studied narrative theory at Ohio University, was the youngest guest at the Write Circle so far. In fact, this session of the Write Circle was also conducted by Akriti, who is another young lady. I must congratulate the young duo for doing a session.
I attended a private birthday party late at night and by the time it got over it was dawn.
With Chinmay Mehta at Desert Soul event in Jaipur
On Sunday June 19 another of our events Desert Soul by Rajasthan Forum was held. Renowned artist Dr Chinmay Mehta was the guest of the session. Dr Mehta shared his life's journey. A two-minute silence was observed at the beginning of the program in memory of Late John Singh.
Architect Ritu Khandelwal was the moderator of the Desert Soul and was in conversation with Dr Mehta. It was a very insightful session.
On Sunday was there was the 10th episode of Kalam Jaipur with Ira Pande. I could not attend the event as I had to come back to Kolkata to prepare for my oncoming overseas trip.
ess bee

Saturday, June 18, 2016

In few of those many events

June 18, Kolkata: Yesterday evening, on a day full of events in the city, I was stuck in a massive traffic snarl.
With Harkaran Singh of Hyatt
It took me one hour and forty minutes to reach The Oberoi Grand from ITC Sonar. The traffic congestion was apparently caused by some super sale night at the Quest Mall.
With Shibu
Among the many events I could make it to three events. I attended the “China House Pop Up Lounge Party” organized by Britta at the Hyatt Regency.
I met quite a few people from city social life.
The other two events that I attended included the celebrations of film Praktan's success at The Bengal Club by the director and the cast of the film. 
Director Shibu and many others were there.
With Paoli Dam at the Premiere of Mahanayak
From there I went to attend the premiere of the film Mahanayak by Venkatesh Films at The Oberoi Grand. I had to miss out on so many events but giving the timings it wasn't humanly possible to attend.
After some time I shall leave for Jaipur as quite a few events are lined up.
ess bee

Friday, June 17, 2016

A day of making hard choices

17 June, Kolkata: Today is one of those days of the year when all important events seem to take place in the city offering an either or choice to attend. The sheer number of high voltage events on a single day has put me in a fix as to which ones to attend and which ones to let go.
The last couple of days I was occupied as I hosted a lunch at The Taj Bengal and also had an appointment to meet the Kolkata Police Commissioner with a delegation of The Bengal at Lalbazar. Agnimitra Paul, who has rejoined as a member of The Bengal, Arindam Sil and Usha Uthup accompanied me to the police headquarters for the meeting for our project Pronam on Wednesday 15 June.
I checked out my diary and found that there were invitations for eight events in the city. Let me share these with you. There was the inauguration of wild life exhibition "Woods Away" at the Welcome Art Gallery in ITC Sonar at 5 pm. Being a wildlife enthusiast this event was cut out for me. After this there was an Alliance Francaise du Bengale and Sanskriti Sagar play at the G D Birla Sabhaghar at 6:30 pm.
There was the premiere of the film Mahanayak from Venkatesh Films followed by cocktails and dinner at the The Oberoi Grand at 7:30 pm. More or less at the same time there was a cocktail & dinner party invitation at The Bengal Club at 8 pm to celebrate the success of Praktan from the director and the cast of the film.
Then there was the invitation from Hyatt Regency General Manager, Britta Leicke Milde, for the launch of the "China House Pop up Lounge Party" from 9 pm onwards. Also there was an Eid get together at Hotel Lalit Great Eastern, a premiere at the Priya cinema and yet another event at the Lalit Great Eastern of Jyotsna Suri.
In short all the major star hotels had some big event or the other. I had to make some very hard choices for I wanted to be in all of these events.
With Tonushree
On Wednesday (June 15) evening I attended the inauguration of the restaurant American Cave launched by actress Tonushree.
ess bee

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

With Sujoy and Ribhu at the special screening at Quest Mall INOX
June 15, 2016: Yesterday evening I hosted a special screening of the film TE3N at the Quest Mall Inox. It was after a long time that I hosted a special screening.
Being a working day, I did not expect such an overwhelming response for guests. But as the time of the screening drew closer requests for attending the show began to pour in.
The debutant director of the film Ribhu Dasgupta and producer Sujoy Ghosh attended the special screening along with celebs from the Tollywood silver screen and some of the eminent Kolkatans.
With Sujoy Ghosh
It was good to see some of my old acquaintances and friends including Arindam Sil, Madhu Neotia, Dr Sudip Chatterjee, Koneenica, June, Abir, Bidipta and others. I had earlier witnessed the shooting of the film in Kolkata and had then also met the lead cast including Amitabh Bacchan and Vidya Balan.
Cinematographer Tushar Kanti Ray has done a great job shooting Kolkata beautifully and adding a lot of vim to the film which is considered to be a remake of 2013 South Korean film Montage.
Today I shall be hosting an early lunch at the Taj Bengal.
ess bee

Friday, June 10, 2016

At The Bengal board meeting

The Bengal Board meeting
June 10, 2016: Yesterday there was a meeting of The Bengal board members at the Taj Bengal hotel.
Chairman of the organisation, industrialist and philanthropist, H M Bangur discussed the possibility of taking up other social welfare projects under the aegis of The Bengal with working president Jogen Chowdhury and president Nabaneeta Deb Sen.
The presentation on banning plastic was given by Anirudha Roy Chowdhury and it was decided that Usha Uthup would be record a special song to promote the banning of plastic bags. 
With The Bengal board member, Dona Ganguly
Dona Ganguly gave her views on more effective way of making people aware about negative effects on the use of plastic bags while Arindam Sil talked about the PRONAM project.
For quite some time I was thinking about taking up another project and today we had a serious discussion on promoting the idea of dicarding the use of plastic bags.
After the The Bengal meeting, I dropped in at the function to launch the website of Jogen Chowdhury. On Wednesday 8, I had a number of meetings at the Hyatt Regency Kolkata.
ess bee

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

At the Russian National Day reception

With Zac O'Yeah at the Author's Afternoon
June 7, 2016: On Saturday there was an An Author’s Afternoon session with Zac O’Yeah. It was a lively session and the author's witty and humorous narratives of his Indian experience down south made it a very interesting session. It gave us a outsider's perspective on India. 
With Priyanka Mookherjee
Zac has through his books made India very popular in Sweden and the Scandinavian countries.
After the Author's Afternoon session, in the evening, I hosted a dinner for few of my friends from the diplomatic core.
On Monday June 6 evening I attended a reception on the occasion of the National Day of the Russian Federation on the invitation of the Consul General, Mrs Irina K Bashkirova which was held at the Rosewood Hall of The Park
With Andrew Posner, Public Affairs Officer, US Consulate
The reception was attended by diplomats of USA, Russia, Germany, France, Italy and other countries based in the city. Some other eminent Kolkatans also attended the event.
With Zac and Damiano Francovigh, Italian Consul General in Kolkata
Earlier, I attended the re-launch function of Ipsita Roy Chakraverti's book Beloved Witch at the Starmark bookshop in Quest Mall
With Wiccan high priestess Ipsita Roy Chakraverti
I did the honours of releasing the book which is Ipsita's autobiography and narrates an a very unique story of her illustrious and unconventional life. I also delivered a brief speech on the occasion.
Today, the whole day, I shall be in the office and clear up my desk work.
ess bee

Saturday, June 4, 2016

My circle of events in Jaipur and Kolkata

Rajasthan Forum meeting in progress
June 4, 2016: I returned to Kolkata yesterday night after a three-night stay in Jaipur. First three days of June were packed with activities and circle of events.
On June 1 there was a Rajasthan Forum meeting in which a brainstorming session took place on various ideas its implementation. Some crucial decisions were taken after deliberations.
With Aparna Jain
On Thursday there was a Write Circle event with Aparna Jain who is the Chief Executive Officer of Zebraa Networks and author of Own It: Leadership Lessons From Women Who Do – her first book on business and management genre which touches upon happy, ugly and whispered stories about women leaders across industries.
With Vinnie and Saurabh Kakkar
On June 3 there was the World Environment Day function and Prabha Khaitan Foundation organized a tree plantation function in collaboration with ITC Rajputana. The Indian Federation of the United Nations Associations (IFUNA) and Spagia Foundation were the collaborators for this event.
The event was held at the Prakriti area of ITC Rajputana where the Pink City’s prominent social, cultural and business organizations planted tree saplings together to mark the World Environment Day which technically falls on June 5.
ITC Rajputana made arrangements for a great set up and the Shunya Aqua water bottles were a big hit. Shunya Aqua water is ITC’s flavoured water which they serve in their various hotels. My appreciation and thanks to Spagia Foundation that takes care of under-privileged children and a group of children came to help the guests to plant the saplings.
There will be another session of Author's Afternoon session with Swedish author Zac O'Yeah today evening. Zac had earlier been a guest writer at the Jaipur Write Circle event.
ess bee