On a flight from Cologne to Mumbai, to land around 10:30 pm and to reach Ashram by 3 am, I suppose. Well, last week has been on fast forward. But this week is truly on steroids. From a YPO event in Jaipur along with Mystic Eye event for the first time in the Pink City. This trip to Jaipur has been special for many reasons, if not just for the summer temperatures, this city could be among the best cities to be in. The Royal hangover from the past leaves a unique but sometimes troubling taste in one’s mouth. With the “Padmavati” controversy raging, many issues that are truly gory but historically glorious are crawling out of the woodwork. For one like me who enjoys architecture and perfection of geometry, this city is a feast. Also presented the Draft Recommendation of Rally for Rivers to the Chief Minister who is already doing significant work in water conservation in the desert state.
On to Delhi for the RFR board meeting, a few significant decisions taken for furthering the cause. Wonderful contribution from Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw and Pravesh Sharma that will go a long way. Also addressed Niti Aayog along with all concerned ministries – great enthusiasm and commitment from the bureaucrats. Wonderful to see much excitement and inspiration among the bureaucrats, known to be generally dour. In continuation of RFR, sort of progress report to the Media Partner TOI. Since Oct 2nd when the driving part of the Rally ended, much has happened that is significant to say the least.
On to Mumbai Golf Jaunt, got significantly more response to Isha Vidhya than all these years. Just watching the children’s faces in the videos, can’t help tears of tenderness. How little it takes to light up hopeless lives is something that needs to be conveyed to the world. Next day another Golf Jaunt in Kolkata, a first in the ‘City of Joy’. Very touching response from the community. Another first for Kolkata, a Mystic Eye event. Full house with over 3000 participants. A Lions International event and opening of Westin hotel event, all in one day. Next morning flying a rickety ‘Caravan’ plane to Guwahati. Flying over Assam and Bangladesh over a very unique terrain is an experience. And Meghalaya too, living up to its name - truly in the cloud.
RFR event of signing with Hon. Chief Minister delayed due to fog and landing problems. After addressing the assembly of officers from the govt. of Assam in the presence of the Hon. Chief Minister and a host of other ministers, needed to rush to site visit of Adiyogi. Being an eastern state, sun sets at 4:30 pm. Got to the site only at 5:30 pm. Pitch dark at this remote place on the banks of Brahmaputra. This river flows through four Nations and is among the largest rivers of the sub-continent. Our team was all there but could spend only 12 minutes at the site as had to be at the airport before 7 pm for a flight to Delhi – onward to Cologne (Germany). Thanks to the police drivers of the escort vehicles, they tamed impossible traffic situations to get me there just in time for my flight connection. In the Delhi Airport was literally sleeping on my feet.
But this week has also been a golfing bonanza like never before for me. Totally 5 rounds of golf in eight days is a never before for me. But of course was golfing for a cause…
In Cologne, the Global Landscapes Forum, an International body doing pioneering work in ecology has recognized RFR as an outstanding movement. My conversation with Erik Solheim, the Executive Director of UNEP and also few other engagements, all in less than 24 hours. Erik is deeply committed for sustainable development that is Eco-sensitive, has highest regards for RFR.
All this and much more has happened in just over a week. Life in full throttle. Our teams, travelling ones and the local volunteers have been incredible in supporting all this and more. The level of commitment and love that they are all pouring leaves me tender. What a fortune.
Flying Swiss Air, here one of the hostesses comes to me, sits down on the floor of the Aircraft with folded hands and tears of too much tenderness. For these tears and the angelic face of love that this young woman and many others around the world show me every day, well I am willing to die for it.
Here for a packed 24 hours and travelling to Bhubaneswar – a city that has a significant place in my making. Kalinga Lit–fest, just there for a few hours and on to USA via Mumbai and Dubai. Will be at iii for Christmas.
May you have a great festive season and a fruitful Uttarayana (Northern run of the Sun).