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Sunday, 30 October 2011

Book Talk followed by Lunch at the Asian Voice Group

I was so thrilled when C.B.Patel told me over a lunch in parliament earlier this year that he planned to hold a launch for the book "Sonia Gandhi."

He kept his word. Before I knew it, he and his associate editor had organised the lovely event taking place Thursday November 3rd 2011 at the Asian Voice offices in Hoxton Market, in the city. Lord Navnit Dholakia, a great friend and supporter, has agreed to chair. Lord Dholakia is not only Deputy Leader of Liberal Democrat party and one of the highest ranking Indian politicians in the West, he is also a member of the Privy Council, the group of advisers for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second.

Ashis Ray, President of the Indian Journalists Asssociation, will also be on the panel.

CB Patel is an amazing pillar of the community. Always elegantly dressed in a suit, slim and happy-looking, CB gets up at 4am every day to practise yoga and follows a strict diet. He looks much less than his 75 years and is every bit as alert and sharp as when I first knew him some 20 years ago. His group of newspapers in English and Gujarati is very popular and the magazines and special issues the conglomerate produces are must-haves for every South Asian household in the UK and abroad.

This event is by invitation and we are expecting an interesting set of people in the audience; some old friends, some new acquaintances. There will be a delicious vegetarian lunch after the talk which will give guests a chance to network and mingle.

CB makes really personal, kind speeches which cut straight to the quick and stop me in my tracks as they are direct and, when aimed at me, deeply affectionate. He will speak on Thursday and already I anticipate I will be moved by what he will say. He is not afraid of anyone and speaks his mind. Yet he is respected all over the world and if he invites a government representative, British or Indian, to his events, it is unlikely that that person would ever dare refuse. When CB calls, people will jump through hoops to do his bidding.

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