Where are you from?

India but now I am a US citizen

What is your occupation? 

I am retired, but I also teach junior achievement, global marketing and global entrepreneurship. I also do a lot of medical camps with my wife where we go to Mexico, Haiti, Honduras, Ecuador, Uganda, Kenya and India.

What was it like growing up?

I come from a low middle class family, my parents were farmers and money lenders. I grew up in a small village known as a Bardoli, India, with only 10k people. We had very few resources, no library no sports no entertainment.

Why did you choose Cleveland?

When I came to US, I came to Champagne Illinois for your masters in electrical engineering. Then I got a job in Wisconsin. I worked there for 6 years then I went back to India for a few years. When I came back, 1970 I got a job in Wickliffe Ohio. Since then I’ve been in Cleveland.

What were your first thoughts about coming to America? Did those change?

I came with a dream, that they highways are paved with gold and life would be very easy and you can make lots of money. I never realized it would be a lot of hard work. My vision has changed, I’ve learned that if you’re willing to work hard the rewards are there. This is a free country you can enjoy freedom at every point and every place but you have to earn the respect of your community. You cannot be isolated in a cubby hole coming from a different country and expect and the community to be welcome, you have to get engaged and life and people will be very fair to you.

What challenges did you face as an immigrant transitioning here?

  1. I grew up with British systems so my English was different from American English.
  2. I was a vegetarian I had a lot challenges selecting food once I arrived here. There wasn’t a lot of vegetarians in the 60’s
  3. I had to learn the basics of sports, I didn’t understand. It took me 4 or 5 years to get use to it.

What traditions or customs do you continue to practice?

We have an Indian Association in Cleveland with 10k people and we follow Indian holidays. We have temples so we go regularly to practice our religion.

How have Clevelanders made you feel welcomed?

Cleveland is an amazing city. I was welcomed and able to engage with the white and minority community. That really helped me. They were cooperative and helped me professionally.

What do you love about Cleveland?

I love that Cleveland Cavs are the champions. I love the Indians, I followed a lot when they played at Jacobs Field. I love the Browns, the arts and museums. I love parade the circle.

What’s your favorite thing to do in Cleveland?

I love the local Indian and Mexican restaurants. They have spicy food. I go to Saffron Patch.

Why is it important to welcome immigrants and refugees?

Our country, USA is huge smorgasbord of immigrants. They bring so many ideas and energy to create jobs, create products, create wealth and that’s our main strength, the immigrant landscape.