The beginning of my fathers time in the United States was not easy and remained quite difficult for many of the following months. At the University of Madison Wisconsin, student housing immediately tried to group him with other foreign students; unfortunately, the grouping did not work because my father and his roommate were not compatible at all. However, my father had learned from the Airport incident and he was not going to be silent. He demanded to be moved, and after an immense amount of difficulty, he was granted a new roommate. My father had a strong desire to learn what America was about from a social perspective. In a pleasant turn of events, he found a friend for life in his new roommate, and he went to his first Thanksgiving in America in 1957.
He saw that America was a nation where working people could own homes and drive “Cadillac’s” as one of the janitors in the University Owned a brand new 1957 Cadillac. He would write back to India about this and it was to the disbelief of so many family members that this was possible. But in America in 1957 it certainly was. He saw a country which rewarded hard work and it seemed that everyone who wanted to work could find opportunities. This was in stark contrast to India back then where only people from established families could even think of traveling abroad or seeking higher education in other countries. My father viewed this as a respect of humanity by providing these basic opportunities.
He began to become interested in the mysterious “Mainframe” which people kept talking about in the University. He managed to become an assistant to the Professor who was in charge of its operation. This device was a hybrid of mechanical genius and vacuum tubes. It could compute operations, yet had no intelligence of its own, it was a machine. It would take hours and sometimes days to load programs into this device. And there were constant errors which could happen and all the work would have to start over.
My father went on to state that today his company sold computers which had the processing power of nearly all those computers put together. He would remark about his later journeys and subsequent degrees and ultimate Doctorate; which came about because even with all America’s racial problems, that things had changed in his lifetime. America had embraced the path of human rights and embarked on a course of betterment through technology during the Cold War. My father had participated in a global revolution in technology. He ended by saying that had he gotten on the flight back to India in 1957, none of this would have ever happened. He stated, “One immigrant owed a debt for the knowledge they acquired, but the debt was paid by spreading this knowledge and giving hope to those who had none before.” This was my Father’s message and his experiment with the American Dream. For if time could have stood still I would have wished it be that day.