Sunday, March 13, 2016

What's REALLY wrong with Donald Trump. My thoughts on American Constitutionalism

Beej's Sunday Video Blog - Sunday, March 13, 2016 (North Andover, MA)

I discuss Donald J. Trump, my father Dr. Mukti L. Das, the Republican National Committee, Senator Hillary Clinton and President Bill Clinton, Senator Ted Cruz, Georgia, Jeb Bush the United States Constitution, my college friend Dan Haley and his former boss Mitt Romney, growing up in Massachusetts and other such topics. The first Sunday edition of my Video Blog is here for your consideration. I found inspiration from John Legend's very public discussion with his classmate at UPenn, Donald Trump Jr., in which he called Trump's father and many of his supporters racist. While I have not formally done the same, I feel Trump's danger emanates from an equally pernicious place. Let me know what your thoughts are.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

A Flooring Lesson Learned

I look forward to sharing my thoughts with you shortly. The post has been temporarily removed for edits. 

- Beej

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

UMass Lowell: Age Discrimination is Wrong

I wanted to share with you an important and difficult announcement. My mother, Prof. Mitra Das, started teaching at the University of Massachusetts Lowell in 1972 and became a tenured member of the faculty in 1979. She has nurtured the University's mission to educate its students and promoted its best interests during her more than forty-two years of service. Over the past several weeks, she made the difficult decision to sue the University for age discrimination. I cannot be more proud of her.

I did not initially believe that the institution that mom has spent the bulk of her adult life and professional career -- and a place I used to wander with amazement as a child -- had grown hostile to older faculty. Alas, after observing the legal process, which has included interviews with nearly a dozen faculty members at Lowell and analyzing the huge evidentiary trail, it now appears clear that there is a war being waged against older faculty members by the administration, and particularly by Dean Luis Falcon and Provost Ahmed Abdelal.

At an age when many of her peers have given in to the hostile work environment being created at Lowell and have retired under duress, I am so darn proud that my mother -- my intellectual and spiritual role model, has not. Universities are made stronger when they embrace both the innovation of youth and the wisdom of experience, and I feel more alive today because mom is standing up for those principles. Good luck, mother, on your fight. I know you will prevail, and we will all be better as a society for your efforts. You have always taught me to stand by my core principles. I love you for doing just that.

Prof. Mitra Das at the beginning of her teaching career at Lowell State College
(now the University of Massachusetts Lowell) in 1972

Prof. Mitra Das in her last few months as Chairperson of the Department of Sociology
at University of Massachusetts Lowell. She has served as Chairperson of the Department
of Sociology over three different periods, the first from 1987 – 1993, the second in 2004,
and most recently from 2011 - 2014, under the leadership of five different deans

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

You had me at Chatrapati...

I wrote about my positive arrival experience at Bombay's airport. With my departure to London today, I have completed my first arrival and departure sequence from the new international terminal.

I must admit, I'm impressed.

You had me at dedicated, fast and friendly business class checkin, security and immigration. You just overwhelmed me with flowing natural light, convenient gate access, impressive retail, moving walkways everywhere, high vaulted ceilings, creative art installations, green eco-walls, water features galore... and that's just the start.

People who read my posts know how critical I can be. First impressions here are very positive. Well done Bombay, well done.

Tons of natural light, high ceilings and no lines welcomed me to the new departures terminal.

Moving walkways, eco-walls, and convenient gate access? Yup.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Hello Boston!

According to the Boston East India Hotels business plan, "instead of catering to primarily Western or American travelers, hospitality companies of the future must plan to be conversant and proficient in the needs and desires of global travelers."

This "Hello Boston" ad for Emirates Airlines' new service to Boston from Bombay (via Dubai), which blanketed Linking Road in Bandra, Mumbai, today shows the resonance of our vision as we build our Troca Hotels brand into a collection of exceptional lifestyle luxury hotels in global gateways designed for travelers from around the world exploring an ever expanding universe.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Bombay's Airport Grows up - First Thoughts

I had heard a few rumblings about the new international terminal at Mumbai's Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport. Having lived in Bombay for several years a few years ago, I remember the airport being the bane of my travel existence. Dusty, dirty, functionally difficult, it was everything I didn't want in a travel experience.

I am happy to report that things have changed. Here are my first thoughts from landing at Bombay after a red-eye flight from London on BA199: Arriving at BOM was a breeze. Lots of carpeted territory to cover, but miles of moving walkways to assist.  I felt like I was at Delhi's airport, perhaps without the chauvinism and fear of being shot on the highway.  I thought the art and installations were - dare I say - interesting, and this was the first time in my life that Bombay immigration wasn't revolting. That said, the customs bit was still overkill, including the massive "x" marks they scribble in chalk on suitcases they suspect contain an extra few Rupees of goods. Saw a few nice suitcases indelibly marked so.

Parking and airport exit also happened smoothly. Yes, that's right. Smoothly. All in all, though, positive marks for an airport experience I once dreaded. Thankfully, the one hour backup steps away from the airport on the Western Express Highway traversing the ill-placed and poorly-timed construction effort on one of Mumbai major arterial highways reminded me, alas, I was back in Bombay. Unlike the US, however, this was likely sheer incompetence at the highway planning department and a healthy dose of low level corruption than the efforts of a New Jersey Governor Christie wannabe at work. Ahh, Mumbai, there you are!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The choices we make...

reveal the true nature of our character."  The message is strong, and in this moving Guinness ad created by BBDO New York, unmistakably powerful.  It made me pause, from an unbelievably busy week, to reflect for a moment on that.  In just two years, we now employ nearly a hundred employees on three continents.  As we steer our company onto the global stage, the choices we make do indeed reveal our true natures -- and to a large audience.  We have chosen to push forward and grow the right way, believe in our mission and goals, believe in people, smile, build better systems, learn, educate, laugh heartily at ourselves on occasion, make people smile genuinely, do the right thing without fail, and always be kind.  I'm proud of our choices and the people who are making them.

As we launch our new multimedia campaign to tell the world about Boston East India Hotels and our Troca Hotels collection, I look forward to our work being as compelling and ultimately effective as this piece.  Stay tuned and let us know.  

Click here for a link to the video

Saturday, December 21, 2013

The Consul and the Crime

I have refrained from making comments on the matter of Devyani Kohbragade, the Indian diplomat arrested in New York, because it seemed to be a diplomatic fracas of little long term import. On the one hand, you have Preet Bharara, the Indian born American US attorney for New York taking aim at the alleged illegalities of an Indian diplomat stationed within his jurisdiction. On the other, you have two countries awkwardly addressing an issue that should have been dealt with very differently.

I continue to be confused by why partial diplomatic immunity did not trigger a more gentle approach to Ms. Kohbragade and her arrest. At the same time, I am bewildered by both the decision by India's foreign service not to remove Ms. Khobragade from the US upon receiving notification that she was under criminal investigation (in September 2013) and its most recent decision to relocate her to India's UN Mission, also in New York. Ms. Kohbragade is no stranger to controversy, having been involved in the Adarsh Housing Society, a corruption riddled housing development in Mumbai. In this instance, she attempted to do something her limited diplomatic immunity did not allow her to do, namely commit visa fraud and violate US federal labor laws. While another American prosecutor may have been more deferential to Ms. Kohbragade's limited immunity, the rather aggressive Preet Bharara was not.

While US Attorney Bharara's posture smacks of a poor understanding of international relations (or blatant disregard thereof), India's childish removal of security barriers from the US Embassy in Delhi as retaliation does not even remotely befit the august role a country's official position must fill. India and Indians have far more important matters to address than this potential diplomatic misstep. At very least, Ms. Kohbragade's conduct -- and the apparent misguided insistence by the Indian government that she remain in the United States -- should not become the cause célèbre for a large swath of angry Indian citizens. US Secretary of State John Kerry has already expressed "regret" over the incident; India's government should do the same and move on from this silly affair.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

A prayer for Claire

Claire Davis is 17 years old. She is a student at Arapahoe High School in Centennial, Colorado. Karl Pierson is 18 years old. According to the National Rifle Association, Karl had the right to purchase a shotgun quickly and easily. He exercised that right. Then, while carrying his new shotgun through his school yesterday, he shot Claire in the head and at close range.

I have long decried the number of guns in America and the alarming ease with which we are adding more. Firearms have transformed our country into a constant battlefield. On this the one year anniversary of the carnage in Newtown, Connecticut, let us again ask why. Why does the most powerful country on earth seem so powerless in the face of this scourge?

Claire Davis is in critical condition tonight, suffering from severe head trauma from her gunshot wound. Please add her to your thoughts and prayers. Let us all pray that our leaders have the courage to take action to finally end this madness.

Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson holds a picture of Claire Davis, the 17-year-old student who was shot on Friday. (Ed Andrieski / Associated Press / December 14, 2013)

Saturday, November 02, 2013

Do we really need more guns?

Yesterday, it was a Naval facility, Last week it was a school. Tomorrow it might be a doctor's office. Last year it was a District Attorney's home. Today it was a TSA counter at LAX. Gun violence is raging in America. 
Add more guns, we are told by the NRA. 
As a former student of the US Constitution, I ask this question: at what point do we say, enough is enough? At what point do we realize that each additional gun circulating in society makes us exponentially more unsafe? At what point do we place the Second Amendment alongside the others, not above them? I weep for our country because we have become a literal battleground. Human beings will be born as they are and societies will continue to develop them as they do. When you add the number of guns we have in America to a mix which includes the naturally occurring rate of mental illness, you get a really toxic brew. More legally available guns is not the answer. It has proven itself not to be. Just as we cannot gauge and prevent the mentally infirm from acquiring weapons, we cannot entrust our future to a militarized life where you must live with your guns drawn at all times. 

America, it is time for a change.