The Life of a Traveling Salesman

Traveling on work is not generally a pleasant task. It gets worse when you have to put up with the nonsense that Indian airports dish out. I don’t intend to rant about it (at least not right now). Of late, my life has become that of a traveling salesman. Yesterday I went to Ahmedabad in the morning, and returned in the evening. Tomorrow I am leaving for Hyderabad. Then back on Monday and off to the US on Tuesday.

Now for the good stuff. I am attending the Hyderabad Roundtable of the Takshashila Institute. For those of you who care, you’d be happy to know that I am a Takshashila Institute fellow (for he’s a jolly good fellow . . .)

We start on Sunday at 10:30 AM. “What should be the bases of government policy” is the matter under discussion in the first session. The leading discussants are Bibek Debroy, Ajit Ranade, and yours truly.

As I see the question, the most fundamental basis for government policy has to be the individual. If you think about it, much of the murky thinking, and the subsequent disasters of wrong-headed policy, arise from considering groups as the object of attention. An individual matters. He or she has rights, responsibilities, needs, desires, capabilities, handicaps, and so on. Groups, in contrast to individuals, are abstractions. That’s a critically important distinction and conflating the two is at the root of many of our problems which arise from misguided public policy.

I hope to report back on the roundtable. Perhaps I will be tweeting. You can follow my tweets at

I get back to Mumbai on Monday. I have to pack my bags and get a boat-load of stuff done. I have left too many things for the last minute being the inveterate procrastinator. I leave for sunny California on Tuesday night.

I am flying Swiss Air. Mumbai to Zurich, and after a lay-over of 7 hours, Zurich to SF. I suppose I should get my Swiss banking done while I am there. I am sure that a few dozen of my fellow travelers in the BOM-ZRH sector will be making the trip to do some banking business. I hope all my money is still in my account, unlike Mr Hasan Ali’s account which appears to have been emptied out. I am sure he is a very troubled man these days.

Laters, alligators.

Categories: Random Draws

9 replies

  1. Hello Atanu,
    Do visit Zurich Polytechnic , that gave the world Albert Einstein.


  2. Is it really the issue with traveling salesman or being “Arm Chair Intellectual”…

    I think the later – “Arm Chair Intellectualism”, which is dearly loved !!


  3. Atanu, it is all electronic banking by tech savvy netas these days! 🙂


  4. Sumit,

    I did visit Zurich a few times years ago when I was hanging out in Europe. I am a big fan of Albert Einstein. I even went to the patent office at Berne where he worked as an examiner.


  5. SB,

    Armchair intellectuals also have to moonlight as traveling salesmen. 🙂

    BTW, are you referring to this post, On Being an Armchair Intellectual?


  6. Have a safe trip Atanu. Talk to you soon


  7. Traveling salesman … What do you sell? Ideas? What sort? Aren’t chain stores more efficient?


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