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Gandhi 3.0

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October 2 marks the 148thbirthday of Mahatma Gandhi. He was shot dead 69 years ago. Most millennials have not heard about him or do not realize his greatness. provided the world with a disarming and yet powerful method of civil disobedience. His words are relevant even today as the world tethers at the edge of a nuclear war.  This little list rephrases Gandhi for the present generation.

 

  1. Whatever you do may seem insignificantto you, but it is most important that you do it. post it on Facebook.
  2. An eye Tweet for an eye Tweet only ends up making the whole world Donald Trump blind.
  3. First they ignore you, then they laugh like at you, then they fight retweet you, then you follow you  and then you become Presidentwin  .
  4. My life is my a text* message.
  5. Fear has its use but cowardice  MySpace has none.
  6. The pursuit of truth does not permit violence’s on one’s opponent checking your ex’s Instagram every two minutes.
  7. The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treatedYouTubed.

 

  1. Healthy discontent is prelude to progress turning on Waze maps.

 

  1. It is the quality of the work that will please God and not the quantity – Now forward this to 100 people in your whatsapp contact list in the next 5 minutes to please God.

 

10.Be the change retweet.

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Written by Sudarshan Suresh

October 2, 2017 at 10:25 am

Life in the HOV lane

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“Discuss parking, just discuss parking” , I tell myself as my algorithmically asssigned carpool driver was pulling to a stop. For finding someone to carpool, I use a smartphone app that uses a sophisticated mathematical algorithm to combine the worst principles of blind dates with carpools. So your driver could be random- intelligent, handsome, round, ignorant or a neo nazi with tikki torches. I am looking for a safe icebreaker with this stranger – something that wouldn’t give me a black eye or a belly rub during the morning commute. After much contemplation, I decide to use parking because no one likes parking and there can be no debate about it.

Just as the driver pulled in and I was parking my resolve, I heard the music change from chest thumping Bhangra dance beats to the funeral voice of Michael Krasny. Something about me makes people change their radio stations to National Public Radio. Initially, I thought it was my shaggy hair and went with a marine crew cut but it happened again. I thought it was my bad breath and got three root canals and some wisdom teeth extracted. I even switched to Axe deodorant. It has just kept happening. If it does not stop, I may soon have to check in with a therapist or a gastro-enterologist.

As soon as I get into the car, I introduce myself and compliment the driver on a really compact car that can be easy for parking. He goes silent and then tells me that he has had marital issues due to this car especially the parking. I press no further as I don’t want the ice breaker to turn into a jaw breaker. I spend yet another ride in silence reading a Mashable article on 21 things to discuss with a carpool buddy.

The next day, the algorithm matches me with a Tesla. I feel the need to be ready for her. I show up clean shaven and nattily dressed. I even polish my shoes. I don’t prepare for an ice breaker for the driver. It has one hell of a cruise control so I don’t feel that obligated to engage the driver. To my surprise, there is another rider. Sometimes the algorithm does it – speed date combined with carpooling. Instead of riding shotgun in the car, I am pushed into the oblivion of the backseat and I have to be satisfied with just the cup holders.

Then came the big announcement that has changed the carpooling discussion- Amazon’s search for a Big HQ. I have played it off in different ways and every single time it has worked. “By the way, where do you think the next Amazon HQ is going to be? “, “Do you think El Paso, TX and Boring, OR can be the next HQ”, “Will give you a real estate tip- try buying a place around where Amazon opens a HQ and the value is going to shoot up”, “I read somewhere that they are building the new HQ in the shape of the River Amazon “, “Whichever city gets Amazon’s HQ better have good salons because Bezos wants all employees in that HQ to look like robotic clones of him” Amazon has quickly taken over as the Facebook of the middle aged adult. Even people who cannot name the prime numbers are prime members. Everyone loves to discuss their shopping exploits even if it is as ridiculous as solar powered tongue cleaner or a microwave safe hair comb. Amazon is my new comfort zone.

When the ride ends and I get off at work, sometimes I feel perfectly fine and sometimes I am not and there has even been a time when I felt nauseated due to poor driving. Despite its many shortcomings, I do not regret it. As one person driving an expensive electric car, who picked me and another person up on a balmy Wednesday morning, puts it – “I succeeded in taking two cars off the road and I am happy about it.”

Epilogue: Even if you not an environ”mental”, there are ton of other benefits to not driving everyday. I am sure Mashable has a piece about the 33 different benefits of not driving everyday to work.

Written by Sudarshan Suresh

September 27, 2017 at 2:24 pm

Posted in Commute, Uncategorized

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ACEing the commute

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ACEing the Commute

Some don’t even look up from their books , some adjust their hair like a diva, some run furiously with a hint of worry on their face, some close their ears and some pace nonchalantly – the train is approaching . But one man at the station, hears the train and immediately starts pumping out push-ups. He is my morning inspiration. After seeing him, I tell myself to stop at least at 4 donuts per day.

Once you are in the train, if you made eye contact with a fellow passenger, you will definitely ensure side effects of their constipation. So be forewarned and never look up from your smartphone.

“Ram, Ram, Ram…” she wrote on her notebook, reminiscing the Hindu God as the train meandered through a tunnel . You felt reverential until you notice the smartphone playing a mother in law and daughter in law cat and mouse quarrel from an Indian TV channel . Between this lady and the guy watching women’s WWF, I don’t need any further proof that if the world is not consumed by global warming, it is going to be consumed by abuse of free wifi.

The dentist chair look, the aviator look, the baseball hat look, the zen look, the cool casuals look, the double breasted blazer look, intellectual look, the audacious royal look, the loud volcanic look, the low croaking frog look- sleepers come in all styles and sounds. So if you are going to be on a work conference call, look before you leap into that empty seat.

A person is loudly discussing his plans to go to Yellowstone and he probably thinks that he is disturbing no one because he is speaking Tamil(my mother tongue). Seeing my brown skin, he goes into a low whisper. He once again picks up steam once I am out of sight. The rest of the train sees my influence on him and gives me a lonely, hopeful look(yes, even the ones with constipation). I take one for the train and go sit next to the Tamil speaker. He hangs up the phone. I tweet “My random act of kindness today: Helped an entire train car sleep #MAGA

These are the people who ride with me on an everyday basis. Some are weird, some are busy but all of them are not on the road driving their cars. I am thankful for that.

Written by Sudarshan Suresh

September 27, 2017 at 2:22 pm

Robert Frost

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A few nights ago, I spent time at the airport having missed a connecting flight. Robert Frost came to mind

“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood
I took the one with free wifi
The woods are long dark and deep
I have Gigabytes to go before I sleep
Gigabytes to go before I sleep”

Written by Sudarshan Suresh

September 27, 2017 at 2:21 pm

Posted in Bookish

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When breath becomes air

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Paul Kalanithi was a young, accomplished neuro surgeon in training with multiple degrees including one in Literature. Suddenly, lung cancer decides to ride shotgun with him. The promising and earnest doctor paints his life as it withers away. You cannot but put the book down a few times and empty your tear glands. Your heart goes out to him and his young family and also to his parents. (Dad, wife and brothers are all doctors. I just bawled at the mention of his mom moving closer to him after the illness and making Dosa with coconut chutney for him. )

If you have had family members go through terminal illnesses or are facing terminal illness or are facing end of life issues, it helps you to connect with their pain and suffering. As Paul goes into lengths about some of everyday decisions he has to make in his life as a neurosurgeon, you are left wondering whether some of the medical decisions that were made in your family emergenices were made with such clarity and conviction.Paul’s grace and integrity in the face of death spreads a pall of gloom but it is essential for all of us to digest it and add a dimension to our life.

As you read it, it is hard for you not to come in touch with your own mortality. I almost felt an immediate urge to chronicle my life – start writing a journal just to maybe share a piece of something with my daughter.The book puts you in the space of naked insecurity and the need to cherish your blessings.

Lucy, Paul’s wife has penned a very poignant epilogue. More power to her and their daughter Cady!

Not only a definite read but also a must own.

 

Written by Sudarshan Suresh

September 27, 2017 at 2:20 pm

Me Habla Espanol

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⁃Meaningless recollections from Cancun, Mexico

Our sincere thanks to United Airlines  for keeping it civil on our flight.

Most travel writers will tell you that the first thing you notice about Cancun is the turquoise blue water. But the first thing I noticed were the long immigration lines. Please practice mindfulness or take some Ambien.Post immigration, wear your snorkeling mask. It will help you navigate the ocean of timeshare sharks in the airport premises.

 

During your Grandmom’s times, most people went to Cancun for the beach. Now, most people come to take a pic in front of a sign that spells Cancun. Millennials head there first. There are no lines at the beach and it can wait. Talking about the ocean, the water temperature is really warm. Some say use sunscreen but I say let it burn.The Mayans never used sunscreen, you thin skinned dimwits!

 

After a long  family discussion about which tour to take, I decided democratically to pick the one with free alcohol. We went to Chichen Itza. You are not allowed to climb the pyramid there. Go with a tour guide who does not compromise the truth for tips. We went with Jaime Garcia. He was stupendous. Even the six year old who was getting deep fried in the hot sun was riveted .

 

We also went to few other ruins in Coba and Tulum. They let you climb the pyramid in Coba. The climb is a moment of epiphany. 1000 years ago, the Mayans were figuring out how to build these incredible structures and now we are worried about taking the perfect selfie and posting it on social media. A precipitous fall indeed !

 

One of the other highlights of this trip was swimming in sinkholes called Cenotes(Google them). A deeply refreshing swim, so get in even if you are not a swimmer. Life jackets are mandatory so your risk of sinking is the lesser than the risk of getting bruised up by  a United flight attendant.  

 

We went snorkeling in the reef near Punta Nizuc. I recommend the crew at Aquaworld but the reef was a little bit of a letdown with just some fish and a few underwater sculptures. First snorkeling trip for the six year old so it was still worth it. Another moment of epiphany – As we were putting on the life jackets, one of the woman asked the crew for a next size life jacket as she was worried that the smaller size would pop her artificially enlarged breasts. That that person, that that problem.  

 

Regarding food, as non consumers of red meat and seafood, our options were limited but we did relish the local Mexican cuisine. A personal note to restaurants in America, please trade Nachos for Chilaquiles. We did the most atrocious thing of eating at a fancy Indian place(Elefanta) one night. I have never eaten in a place in North America which served four Gulab Jamuns and two large scoops of ice cream in a single order. So this place deserves its four stars!

 

All in all, a very relaxing trip. Go for the beaches but stay for that sign that spells Cancun.

Written by Sudarshan Suresh

July 28, 2017 at 6:11 pm

Posted in Travel

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Air , Space and Others

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We stayed with a friend in Maryland and commuted to Washington DC. We took the metro on all days. The metro was convenient and neat. I did not see any threat of miscreants during the hours we rode. (Late mornings to Late evenings). I would definitely recommend the metro if  you were commuting to see monuments. Stqaying in the city would be ideal but if life happens and you have to take the metro, please don’t be disheartened. 

The metro pulled into Union Station and the train station is a marvel. It was supposedly the biggest in the world when it was first built and yet it provided a very comforting feeling that you have arrived at an important place. The train station also serves Amtrak and other train networks connecting DC. It also eateries, rental car stations and a plethora of tour companies vying for your time and dollars during your stay at DC.
The Old Town trolley came heavily recommended to us and we booked a hop-on/hop-off tour with them. Hop-on and Hop-off your touches all the important monuments at DC and is a very good option. We had reserved a place ahead of time. The tour guide was humorous and his description of the monuments were both witty and informative. You can tip the tour guide so please have some dollar bills handy. I recommend tipping just like I recommend donating to Wikipedia- they are both knowledge sources and it is only fair you give them back something rather than just continuously consuming from them.
Our plan to hop on and hop off looked great until my daughter heard the words “Air and Space Museum” and followed by Smithsonian Castle. A castle in today’s era of Frozen movies, is something that cannot escape the attention of a pre schooler. We alighted at the Castle, which is supposed to be first Smithsonian ever built. It neatly captures the history of the Smithsonian and the serendipitous nature of this wonderful treasure. 
We did lunch at the castle. They have some healthy options at the cafe but parents beware, they have cupcakes- which are the second biggest danger to humanity behind selfie sticks. 
After lunch, we proceeded to the Air and Space museum. First surprise: Smithsonian entrances are free. Since we knew that we were not going to be able to museum hop with a four year old, we did not research the cost aspect of it, so it was a surprise.  If you are into anything that flies this is your playboy mansion. From the Wright Brothers first airplane to the moon landing to moon rocks, the walls are dotted with legendary moments in space history.  The exhibits around the aircraft carriers, planets and the room about how things fly intrigued my four year old daughter. 
The only sore spot of this museum is the world’s biggest McDonalds. The place attracts a ton of young kids and wannabe astronauts. It would be best to keep them healthy by encouraging them  not to eat unhealthy.

Written by Sudarshan Suresh

April 11, 2015 at 7:16 am

Posted in Travel

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