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This is my diary....what I make sense of, around me. You'll find short prose on contemporary topics that interest me. What can you expect - Best adjectives? …. hmm occasionally, tossed around flowery verbs ?…. Nope, haiku-like super-brevity? … I try to. Thanks for dropping by & hope to see you again

November 14, 2009

A memorable evening in Dakar

In the early part of this year I made a Business trip to Senegal, a west African country located near the borders of south-eastern continental Europe. Dakar, its capital city displays an eclectic mix of Arabic & European influences and is heavily influenced by French urban styling & culture. During my week long trip in this country, I had several interactions with Businessmen, Officials & contacts of Indian origin staying in Dakar. Among the memorable one was the meeting I had with his Excellency Shri Parthasarathy, Indian Ambassador to Senegal.

I had the privilege of spending a delightful evening with him & his gracious wife at their sprawling official residence. The Ambassador’s residence is perched on top of a hillock in the heart of the city with a well laid out garden giving a panoramic view of the Atlantic ocean . What really amazed me was the natural settings , adding a touch of class to this panoramic view was some large stone cliffs with sharp edges that emerged right out of the sea as if someone had done some artistic landscaping for the Ambassador’s residence. Maybe the prestige of the location signifies the importance Senegal attaches to India which is its 2 largest trading partner. I guess India too attaches a lot of importance to this francophone country for geopolitical & strategic reasons.

Interacting with the Ambassador was quite lively & insightful; an unassuming Engineer and MBA , he has a sharp analytical mind with a strong grasp of geopolitical realities of this part of the world. He also speaks fluent French. Like a true blue diplomat his knowledge & interests spanned a range of topics from Poverty alleviation, 3rd world Technology adoption , Political climate, World affairs and even topics like Gold price movement & its underlying global factors etc that made interesting conversation . Naturally time flew in his August Company. They served me traditional Indian food which was simple & unostentatious and was a welcome break after a couple of days of strange alien food that I had survived on. But the dinner was doubly interesting to me for one simple novelty; the cutlery in which the food was served by the orderlies. Fine white porcelain dishes , gold rimmed alongwith the official insignia (Ashoka emblem)on it certainly gave me a whiff of what state hosted dinners could be.I signed off the evening in style when the Ambassador's smartly dressed black hunk of a chauffeur dropped me back to the Hotel in his S class black Mercedes.
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