Where are you from?
I am from India
What was your childhood like?
A very happy childhood indeed. Nine(9) siblings, caring parents, loads of friends, bunking school, picnics–everything nice.
What brought you to Cleveland?
Ethnic/ religious issues made me leave India. Came to Cleveland because there was someone (a relative) here already.
What were your first thoughts about coming to the United States? Did those change?
I found the life in the US everything I had imagined plus more. Good life, plentiful of everything, work appreciation, jobs etc.
What challenges did you face transitioning here?
I used to be an engineer and found good jobs with supportive people, willing to guide and show the way. The weather was and still is the only challenge. But we get our share of good days–so no complaints.
What is your occupation? Are you a member of a sorority, fraternity, or any other civic or social organization?
I have been retired for 17 years. I serve as an officer on the boards — India Association, Aligarh Alumni Association (my alma mater), Bazm e Adab Cleveland, Islamic Center of Cleveland, the Refugee Masjid on Detroit Ave.
How have other Clevelanders made you feel welcomed?
Cleveland has been most welcoming in all my 48 years here–no regrets.
What traditions or customs do you continue to practice?
I follow all of our religious and cultural traditions.
What do you love about Cleveland?
The easy life style, access to cultural, educational and medical facilities. Traffic. Opportunities. The ethnic mix of the city and many other etceteras.
Why is it so important to welcome immigrants and refugees?
Being an immigrant myself I value the help, the welcome and the guidance I received. Without it would have been so much harder. Refugees are, mostly illiterate, already traumatized and need so much more help.
Why is it important to travel abroad?
In the 48 years here I must have left the country at least 24 times. Mostly to visit my homeland. Family ties are very important to us. Electronic media is great to reach out, but nothing like being there in person.