Here is my father, who passed away on Thanksgiving Day, an immigrant who came to the US with practically no money from India and eventually ended up providing an upper middle class income for himself and his family.
Look into his eyes, and you can see his intelligence. He held an Economics degree in India and came to the US to get his MBA at Utah State University. He loved numbers, not in a scientific way, like me, but in a business and accounting way. He loved it so much that he became a professor and taught Accounting Principles I and II at both Jackson State University and at Alcorn State in the evenings, after working a full day as a comptroller at a state agency. Later on, he’d do the same at Houston Community College.
Look into his eyes, and you can see his curiosity. He was an unapologetic Politico and reveled in current events. He used to come home early from work to watch the Nixon Impeachment hearings and never missed Face The Nation on Sundays, or the Evening News with Walter Cronkite on weekdays. I learned about important people, things, and ideas, both national and local, by reading his subscriptions of Time magazine that came in every week, Esquire on a monthly basis, and The Clarion Ledger that came in every day.
Look into his eyes, and you can see his lively manner. He oozed charisma. There wasn’t a party where he wasn’t the center of attention or ended up knowing everyone by the time he left. Growing up, he had the heartiest laugh and the biggest smile. According to my half-brother, he played a large role in forming the Hindu Lingayat group in Houston. His friends thought the world of him, but somehow it didn’t always translate to his family.
Look into his eyes, and you can see his regrets. Or, so I’d like to think. Things weren’t rosy growing up with him. He was a controlling person. Maybe, like any immigrant parent, it was because he was afraid if his kids didn’t do better than others, they wouldn’t make it. In reality, I guess that would be any parent. He sometimes just went too far. Without going into details, my parents eventually divorced.
Years later, we reconnected, and the father I grew to know as an adult and a mother was very different than the one I knew as a teen. During his seldom visits, we sat around the dining table and had great conversations, full of laughter, talking about current events, politics, and even climate change. He still had his quirks, but they were easy to forgive and forget, since he no longer held power. Now that he’s gone, this is the father I’ll remember.
Rest in peace, Dad.