full first name is Atul (pronounced Uh-tool with no accent on any syllable.) It’s not a nickname. It’s not shortened. It’s Indian and I’m proud of it. It’s only 4 letters and 2 syllables yet many
people have a problem with it. They
often see it or hear, don’t recognize it and then proceed to guess at what it
should be (as if reading 4 letters is difficult.) Even worse, they figure out that it sounds
like “a tool,” and get that smirk and snicker because they think it’s
funny. They’re thinking “you’re a
tool.” Turns out I’m not. Do they think they’re going to make me like
them more by trying to make fun of my name? What people don’t realize is that even with
English-acceptable names, there are many that sound like other words. We have just learned to accept them without
thinking twice. To show the ridiculousness
of people making fun of my name and other foreign ones, I have listed some
common names that sound like other words and some equally asinine comments that
could be used in response to their names…
- Matt You must enjoy getting stepped on when people walk in the door. - John You’re named after a toilet - Sandy Were you at the beach lately? - Chuck What do you throw, rocks - Dick You are a jerk aren’t you? - Randy Don’t get fresh with me
First of all, sorry that it has
been months since the last blog post.
I’m sure two or three of you are going through withdrawal. I started a new job, moved, and life got
busy. It won’t happen again.. at least
not for a couple of months.
may not realize it but right now, I am with you in a way… thanks to the
internet. I can communicate with you
without being in the same room. Books do
the same thing but the interweb takes it to a whole other level. I’ve said before that I love the internet,
think it’s making us all smarter.
But I’m realizing that it’s making us lazier and less alive in some
ways. It’s replacing many aspects of our
lives. The internet helps us find
information in a second. It entertains
us, allows us to socialize, helps us do things like pay bills, shop and find
recipes, news, and weather. We even
experience events or places through the internet. We can now interact with our homes and cars
through the internet thousands of miles away.
Basically, the internet is allowing us to do more and more of the things
that make us modern-day humans, and it’s kind of sad. Smart phones and tablet computers only
exacerbate the problem. We’re becoming “interbeings.” We live much of our lives through the internet. One day when they develop technology to hook
up our brains to it, we won’t need our bodies.
just as guilty and perhaps more guilty than the next person of living part of
my life through my computer screen and keyboard. I have become adept at getting things done
on-line. It makes my life more efficient. Why write a check, address and stamp an
envelope, put it in the mailbox when I can set up automatic on-line payments
straight from my checking account? Why
go to the mall to buy something if within a few keystrokes and clicks, I can
have it delivered straight to my door?
It doesn’t make sense to go manual when we are all so busy and when the
busyness of so many jobs and family lives gives us barely a second to spare.
there to be birth, there must be death and destruction. That is a basic tenet of Hinduism and
explains the fact that everything can’t exist forever. This holds true for man-made objects as well as things in nature. I have been fortunate
to have visited quite a few amazing places but there are many more to be
seen. We all have a bucket list and I urge
all of you to see and experience what's on your list as soon as you can, before the items are gone. In 2001, the beautiful towering Buddhas of
Bamiyan statues in Afghanistan were dreadfully destroyed by the Taliban. Nobody can see them
now and nobody in 2000 expected them to be gone forever a year later. I visited the World Trade Center
when it was still standing and I’ve been to the Taj Mahal and Niagara
Falls. Who knows what could happen
tomorrow? The 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Honshu,
Japan is proof of the instantantaneous destructive power that nature possesses. But man often destroys nature.
I was fortunate to grow up in the U.S. as part of a family from another country. That means I was automatically exposed to multiple foods. But back when I was a child in Northeast Ohio, there wasn’t so much ethnic food variety beside Italian food and Chinese food. There were hardly any Thai or Middle-Eastern or Greek restaurants around. Fancy “boutique” fruits and veggies weren’t available fresh and we somehow made do. I grew up eating mostly regular American food interspersed with dinners of Gujarati Indian food. Now that I know how good of a cook my mom is, I should never have complained. As I kid, I may have done so anyway. I preferred chicken nuggets over home-cooked Indian food. My parents policy was that we had to try everything. We did so, (even if accompanied by a chaser of Coca-Cola or orange juice that hid the flavor of foods we found unpalatable.)
When you meet somebody, you should remember the person’s name. That’s what we’re told is proper. If we don’t remember, it supposedly means we don’t care to know the other person. But I feel it is overemphasized in our culture. A name is just an arbitrary label given to a person by their parents or other relatives or friends. Granted, not having names would make life extremely difficult as we would have to use hard-to-memorize numbers or some other system I can’t even fathom right now. But I think people should care less about how much you know their label and more about whether you recognize them and how much you know them as a person.
A dog doesn’t know another dog’s name. A dog might identify another in a doggie park by appearance, but also by smell. They and many other animals rely on their sense of smell. As humans, we rely on our sense of sight. So shouldn’t we prioritize visual recognition more? Acknowledging that we recognize a person should be validation enough that the person created a (semi-)permanent impression in our grey matter. Just yesterday, a guy mis-took me for a fellow med school student that he knew. I didn’t get offended because the guy who he thought I was may look a lot like me. But if the reverse happens and somebody doesn’t recognize me even if they’ve met me multiple times, I would be more offended.
not be as worldly as a diplomat who has lived in multiple countries, but I have
moved around and lived in 5 cities. I’ll
acknowledge that since they all happen to be in colder weather climates near
the Great Lakes, they’re not the most diverse set of cities. But I’ve realized that moving around and
traveling has given me exposure to differences and commonalities and a perspective
that can make what other people say about cities irritating.
week, here in the Minneapolis area, it was -15 degrees Fahrenheit without
windchill! Yet, people in Los Angeles recently complained
that it was “freezing” when the temperature dipped below 50 degrees. (Nothing alive can freeze at 50 degrees so it’s
a ridiculout claim, but I digress.) It’s
all relative. People who never live in more
than one city or don’t care to learn about other places have no perspective. Then they tend to complain when it could be
much worse. Even if they don’t move to
different cities to live, they could always educate themselves by using the
internet. Then maybe they would stop
complaining and start understanding. The
same holds true for people who say their lives are horrible or that they’re the
only people with problems.