Senthil Gopinath and Shekhar Grover
Shekhar | Editor | MICE INDIA | 11 March 2018
Senthil Gopinath (Regional Director, Middle East, ICCA) and Shekhar Grover
Being teetotalers and vegetarians, were not the only reasons why two SGs hit it off instantly. Neither was the fact that we shared our initials! Both of us work in the Meetings and MICE space, and both have one child.
I hardly knew SG, until I first received an email from his office in 2000, seeking an article on Sri Lankan MICE. Little did I know that the article would be an invitation for a MICE Workshop and a Fam-trip to Sri Lanka (Colombo-Galle-Kandy), and would end with us turning friends-for-life, whom time and distance would not do apart!
We developed a friendship bond, as we spent the next 5 days together (two days of the workshop and three days of fam). We kept in touch for a few years thereafter, but as time progressed and career graphs pushed us to different geographies, we slowly lost touch somewhere in-between, just out of sight, but not out of mind.
Last week, as the ACE of MICE Istanbul beckoned, both SG and I, prepared ourselves to speak at the platform, we were not aware that the Conference would bring us together after years. But the moment (a month before the show) our pictures were placed next to each other on the Convention speakers’ page, all the memories of yester years came back fresh in a flash. And we looked forward to meeting each other.
It was a grand hug that we shared the moment we finally met. Senthil had not changed over all these years, soft spoken and gentleman as he was always, though he had become thin. I, on the other hand, had grown a little fat. Our hair lines had also receded just a bit. Meeting after more than a decade, we spent a day together, chatting over the traditional Turkish teas and sweet baklavas. From Professional life, to families, to hobbies and travels, to highs and lows, we talked about almost everything, picking up from where we last left many years back. Three days just flew by and finally the Convention came to a close! It was time to bid adieu once again. But this time we made it a point to meet more often.
Thank you SG for a friendship I cherish and for being a colleague who revels in my achievements.