As standard operating procedure, weeks before my visit, I send emails to Indian Embassy in every country on my route, to inform them about my activity. I did not need to send email to Indian Embassy in Lima as Ambassador Sandeep Chakravorty, 1996 batch IFS officer had seen a tree planting tweet of Indian Embassy in Brasilia and asked me about my plans for Bolivia and Peru?
Coincidently, when I crossed Brazil and Bolivia border and reached Santa Cruz, Mr Chakravorty was also in same city. He invited me to join him for an inauguration of a Yoga programme organised by Tata Motors. It was like a privilege so I could not say no. Programme was in another part of city. I took a cab and rushed. It was for the first time in my 16 month around the world journey that I hired a taxi.
After the programme, while going back to hotel I could not control myself so asked him, “Sir, what made you come all the way here?” He answered, “I am a public servant and paid to look after the interests of my country and countrymen.” I had no other question.
After the programme, he had some free time. Instead of sitting in air conditioned hotel, he went to meet Indian family in Santa Cruz suburb. He asked me to join him in the visit. This Indian family had migrated in 80s when Bolivian government sold forest land to private people. The project did not work out so all of them went back except one family. He sat with him and listened to their story.
In Bolivia, I had sent a request to the President Evo Morales to plant a tree at his official residence. The President Office asked me for authentication of myself and my activity. I requested Mr Chakravorty for guidance. Instead, he quickly wrote a reference letter and directly sent to President Office.
Meanwhile, President Morales went to France for Climate Change Conference. His Environment Minister Carlos Ortunos invited me to plant a tree in Environment Ministry compound.
Same way, I had put a request to the President of Congress (Parliament) of Peru. They had asked me to write an application in Spanish. I don’t know anyone in Peru so I put a polite request to him. It was very childlike/childish on my account to request ambassador for help to write an application.
His office helped me on his direction to write application. They also helped to follow up with Congress. Unfortunately due to my visa issues, I could not stay longer to plant a tree in Congress. But thanks to Mr Chakravorty I could plant a tree in the Embassy.
While working as journalist in Mumbai I have seen work style of several IAS, IPS and IRS Officers. Several of them (I am not making a general statement) have a common ‘Babu attitude’ – just do the daily work and take away monthly salary. After Adarsha issue in Mumabi, the fear of inquiry was tangible among several of them.
For International Yoga Day festival, Ambassador Chakravorty proposed to perform Yoga at Matchu Picchu 2400 meter above the sea level. Take more than a hundred people including students has a potential risk and any other officer would have dropped this idea. But he took the risk.
On the Yoga day, Embassy has organised a ‘Mela’. It was a full day activity. After morning common yoga as per protocol, there was yoga by different teachers, yoga for small kids, yoga for elderly people. Besides yoga, they have organised Indian Classical dance by Peruvians. He had his staff made meticulous arrangement and everything went as planned. The programme was super hit. His work was appreciated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and by world press.
I just read in newspaper that India’s Ambassador to Peru Chakravorty appointed as the head of the Indian consulate in New York. Wish you good luck for new assignment, sir.