Anusuya Chatterjee is a principal at Stradalytics and a fellow at the Milken Institute, an economic think tank. An economist, Chatterjee has led research efforts on a number of Milken Institute’s highest-profile programs, such as chronic disease prevention and management, obesity, the economics of nutrition, investment in medical technologies, and aging. Before participating in a panel discussion about technology’s impact on our health, she visited the Zócalo green room to talk about her medicine cabinet, her hometown of Kolkata, India, and her relationship to ghosts.
What superpower would you most like to have?
Lots of energy and lots of time for the day because I want to do many things, starting with work-life balance.
What’s the strangest item in your medicine cabinet?
I don’t have any strange items. It’s mostly Advil and painkillers.
What’s something most people don’t know about your hometown?
I’m from Calcutta, which is now Kolkata. I would like to say everybody knows it’s where Mother Teresa did her charity work. What others don’t know is it’s a very vibrant city and could’ve been one of the sister cities for London.
What’s the first line of your obituary?
Wherever I am, I’m happy.
If you could live in one other city, which would it be?
I now live in New York. Any other city would be Santa Monica. [Because you like to swim in the ocean?] I have swum in the ocean in Australia, at the Great Barrier Reef. Since I’ve done the best, I don’t go for anything below that.
Where and when did you learn how to swim?
I learned in my hometown, when I was a kid. I took classes at a pool.
What’s your biggest pet peeve?
I am very scared of ghostly presences. The other world haunts me.
You do research on the “economics of nutrition”—what is the most expensive thing you’ve ever eaten that provided very little nutrition?
I think at many fancy restaurants, they don’t necessarily provide you with good nutrition. I don’t remember spending lots of money on chips or anything, which I know are definitely not nutritious.
What’s your go-to karaoke song?
I would never do karaoke.