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A Sikh IN USA 1950's
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A SIKH IN USA - 1950's


On coming out of the mine while taking the community shower, ice was gradually broken - I got invited for a drink at the Moundsville bar. It was tough going for a Masters Degree holder but Swarn stuck on. In the meantime I moved to a mobile home which was rented on weekly basis. After about fifteen days Swarn was told to report to the V. P. at the Company HQ. I was asked straight away by the V.P. if I wanted to become a U.S. citizen as the Company was willing to sponsor me. Evidently they had been monitoring my attitude and competency etc. Imagine V.P.'s disappointment when Swarn regretted the offer. He appeared to be hurt.

I explained that arising out of my promise to my parents I had to return. They really could not understand my approach to career and life. The VP thereafter offered me the allowed 18 months period(student visa requirement) as work experience in the work areas of my choice. So I rotated around in different departments and mines. I was invited to VP's house for a pool party. An experience worth relating is of my being sent to another mine. As I entered the Mine Manager's office, he said to me in somewhat hostile manner that if I was the VP's man who had come to teach him how to run his mine. Indeed, the mine was industry famous in operational efficiency on all counts. He asked me to go down the mine with a foreman. Here was a cruncher! I refused and sat down in the chair which had not been offered to me. I told the Manager that since we seem to have a problem there was no point in my going down the mine. We got talking and within a few days became buddies - the criterion being that when a big baseball game was on, he would ask me not to go underground but stay back to watch the game with him on his office TV. Now that I look back, hardly any of the employees invited me to their homes - a life far different from student days. However many folks, organizations, schools etc were keen to meet with me and learn about India and the Sikhs. There was a fair bit of coverage on me in the newspapers starting with the Moundsville Daily whose editor and his son became good friends. Soon after joining the Company, Hanna Coal's in-house magazine had my full page photo on the front cover. So within the Company, I got known to the employees and their families. Professional organizations like Rotary, Kiwanis, Junior Women's Club etc invited me to speak to their members. Various Church Groups e.g. Methodist, Presbytrian, United Council of Church Women and Unitarians invited me to speak to them. Some Schools also wanted me to interact with their students...

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