An Indian immigrant recalls his struggles to assimilate and build a career in America in the 1960s and ’70s.
In his debut memoir, Bedi relates the story of his tumultuous life. Coming to America by boat as a young man in 1961, he hoped to obtain a degree in engineering from the University of Tennessee. The author was eager to study in the U.S. because he did “not want to sell cloth” in his father’s small fabric shop in Punjab. But Bedi didn’t adjust well to university life, proceeding to fail his classes because he was more focused on “dating American girls” and working at McDonald’s to support himself. He transferred to Knoxville College and toiled at a series of odd jobs to fund his education. He took a position as a cook at a hotel in Wildwood, New Jersey, but because he had little culinary experience, he called a friend for advice on how to make pancakes. He even became a bus driver in Chicago. After five years in the U.S., Bedi received a bachelor’s degree in math, but his journey was far from over. He then concentrated on his “true goal”: earning a graduate degree in engineering from the University of Tennessee. The author is especially adept at relating the conflicts that came with his immigrant status in the ’60s. For instance, in college, a girlfriend’s mother angrily called to warn him that he should “stay away from my daughter if you know what’s good for you.” In another incident, he was nearly arrested because he didn’t understand that it was illegal to drive without a license. Throughout his vivid account, Bedi shows amazing resolve and determination in achieving his dreams. Readers will likely applaud the author as he skillfully narrates his many trials on the road to forging a stable life in his new home. This engrossing and timely book should appeal to anyone wishing to learn more about the immigrant experience in America.
A remarkable memoir about a young immigrant who becomes a successful engineer in the U.S. after years of hardship.