June 22, 1987, my late father Baba Dr. Dina Nath Bedi hosted a large party to commemorate his 30th anniversary of coming to the United States. The party welcomed guests from around the world. My father was at his Zenith in his career, and as a Professor of Computer Science and Business Entrepreneur. His businesses were expanding so rapidly it was difficult for him to keep track. His vision and depth were well known; and if he had said he would build a castle in the sky, I would have believed it was possible. My father made anything possible. For me, he was more than just my father, he was also a hero.
My father came to the United States on June 22, 1957, en route to attend college at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. He landed at what was then called Idlewild Airport in New York, later be renamed John F. Kennedy Airport. It had been a long arduous flight as the first plane which had left Palam Airport in Delhi, India had caught on fire and had to make a forced landing in Karachi, Pakistan. My father was immediately taken aback that Karachi had a modern airport and American cars. He was even able to stay in an American branded hotel while he waited for his next flight. The India he left was under the rule of Prime Minister Nehru. It was an India with chronic food and electric shortages and an economy which had been devastated by 190 years of colonialism and a radical partition just 12 years before.
The airport in India had dim lighting and only one runway. In Karachi, he saw multiple runways, which was considered to be much more modern. It saddened him that India has to make do with so little, while other counties seemed to be flourishing. By the time the flight arrived the next day, my father had an idea of what to expect America to look like as he was able to see a glimpse of a modernized society in Karachi. The plane that arrived in Karachi to continue to journey also had issues, and made a short maintenance stop in Tehran, Iran. Again, my father was able to witness another nation emulating prosperity. The flight was finally ready, and with great fear due to the prior mechanical issues, my father boarded to continue his journey. His next stop was London, England, where he would wait for his connecting flight to the United States.
Check back for Part II.