My story begins long before I was born. In September 1979, my father stepped into the Indian Customs office in Bombay. He was to meet with a government official to clarify the purpose of his journey. As he sat in the waiting room, he reconsidered his decision, trying to figure out if it was the right thing to do. He revisited all that he had done in the last few years to prepare for his journey: pay “grease payments” to the Indian bureaucracy and save money from an already inadequate monthly paycheck. He had made it farther than most of his friends and was ready to build a new life in America.
At the time, my father believed that once he was in America the most difficult part of journey would be over. His first job in America (a manufacturing company) taught him otherwise. Far from what he had imagined, the job was repetitive (machine assembly on a conveyer belt) and inconvenient (he worked the night shift from 9 p.m. to 4 a.m.). Regardless, he faithfully persevered for 20 years driven only by his belief that his persistence would eventually pay off.
During my childhood, there would be many nights where as I prepared to go to bed, my father would be getting dressed for work. I remember wondering as I fell asleep some nights, “why would anyone work such a difficult job?” What I did not understand was that my dad was committed to his job because he believed he was working his way to a better life.
Twenty seven years later, it appears that my dad is correct. Arriving in America with little more than the clothes on his back and the money in his pockets, he has transformed himself into a successful entrepreneur.
When I think back to my childhood, I often remember my parents saying things to me such as “Actions speak louder than words” or “Don’t do as I do, do as I say” to prove a specific point. Ironically, I now share my father’s value of hard work not because of what he said, but rather because of what he did.
Persistence pays off. This I believe.
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