Sunday, December 20, 2009


On 16 Dec, I left for Delhi, to attend a meeting on Lessons Learned in Inter-Agency Coordination, which was to be held on 17-18 Dec 2009. The travel to Delhi was uneventful. But, it was only when I booked the prepaid taxi did I realize that the venue is going to be really far. We were traveling towards south-east direction, got into the nearby State of Haryana, beyond the Ashoka Wildlife sanctuary and the Shooting Range (which is being readied for the Commonwealth Games 2010), and reached the picturesque Surajkund hills where our Hotel Atrium was located.

About Atrium: it is so beautiful from outside, and interiors well done, but services and food: minimal, and upkeep: absolutely poor. I wouldn't recommend you to go there, and certainly if someone is going to offer me a room for a stay there, I would refuse.

The meetings went on well and it was a great opportunity to meet some really great people. I was pleased to meet Anil Sharma, Prof. V.K. Menon, Sarbjit ji, G.Padmanabhan, Nupur Arora, Raghavan, Annie Joseph and many more. I could also meet some of my old friends: Myank ji from Gujarat, Ravi from upper Assam, Vikrant from Delhi, Dr. Bhanu from Uttar Pradesh, to name a few. The most surprising element was my chance to meet J. Radhakrishnan, whom I admire a lot, and have read about him, heard about him, but never seen him.

I must say something about Radhakrishnan. He was the Collector of Kumbakonam when a fire in a school killed about 23 innocent children. Radhakrishnan took prompt action: to get the guilty punished; and the most important of all: he did not allow the bodies of the children to be further mutilated by sending them to post-mortem. Such sense of respect to the feelings of the parents, and respect to the bodies of the young children, is rarely seen in administration. When I announced this fact, not known to many in the group, everyone clapped hands to appreciate him. He was also made the Collector of Nagapattinam district in Tamil Nadu, immediately after Tsunami, to take care of the relief operations, and brought in accolades to the administration. I wish I could spend more time with him. (I miss another friend of mine: Sunil Paliwal, who was the Collector of Kanyakumari district, and handled tsunami relief operations there. I have lost touch with him. Any one knows where he is?)

With severe cough, cold and mild fever, I required some good rest, at least in the evenings. But I lost it on both the nights as hundreds of mosquitoes attacked me and found my room a safe haven. Atrium: a place for attrition.

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