Much Improved

Go. Profit from exile. To see, listen, walk, pause beside wisemen; question savages and madmen; and listen to stories. It is always pleasant and, sometimes, improves you.

I have neglected the blog for most of the last few weeks because I have been busy. I have listened, walked, and paused beside the wise. Though I did not question savages and madmen, I did have an experience which I can only term as transformational. I had glimpses of instant satori. Putting that in words is obviously impossible. So I will not even try to do so here. Perhaps some other time. Now it is time to get back into the fray.

I had a wonderful visit to the US. Most of all, I acknowledge the undeserved kindness of so many people. You know who you are and you have my gratitude. Instead of naming people, allow me to name the associated places: Edison NJ, Chicago IL, Boston MA, Acton MA, Astoria NY, Jersey City NJ, Philadelphia PA, and Wilmington DE.

As it usually happens with me when I travel, I learnt a lot of stuff. The easy stuff I will put down in words here.

1. Avoid traveling Continental Airlines if you can. In fact, avoid all US airlines.
2. The duty free shops at Mumbai’s international airport are getting better. Buy your stuff upon arrival. Exception: perfumes are best bought abroad.
3. Do all your shopping at Costco. But then, you know that Costco has been my favorite store for over two decades.
4. If you are traveling economy (as I did), try and check-in last. That way, you can quickly identify which bunch of adjacent seats are available and grab a seat that will guarantee a nice lay-flat 16-hour journey. The obvious drawback is that you could end up in the middle-seat if the flight is full.
5. Don’t expect free booze on economy class. The airlines are hurting and some are charging five bucks for a drink in cattle-class. There’s no such thing as a free drink on most American airlines.
6. Kindle, the ebook reader from, should have been designed by Apple.
7. GPS is better than the old trusted Rand McNally road maps.
8. Carry a jacket and an umbrella. It was cold and rainy, but not in an unpleasant way.
9. Invest in a top of the line noise canceling headphones.

That’s it for now. More to come.

Author: Atanu Dey


One thought on “Much Improved”

  1. Dear Atanu,
    a) Can you elaborate what was wrong with Continental. If possible a complete blog on your analysis of US airlines.
    b) I was stunned by Costco prices when I saw for the first time. But why are such chains not coming in India?
    c) I have an Idea aboud duty free. Most Indians from Gulf bring expensive stuff (Electronics, Jewels, etc.) when they come back to India. Why did no one think about making them available in Indian arrival duty free shops and flood with Indian products. This would be a business worth few thousand crores.


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