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« Why do we transfer our fears and our rage on to our children? * | Main | A Few From The Gipper (on his 106th Birth Anniversary) »

January 26, 2017


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It's a wonderful story. Thanks for sharing your history and historic photo.
I believe that Andrew Vitterbi (co-founder of Qualcomm) was also at USC studying semiconductor physics, since there is now a "Vitterbi School of Engineering" there. It was however 10+ years before you arrived, I guess. If only you had been born 10 years earlier, perhaps we would now have the "Anand Shah School of Engineering" at USC? :-)
Funny about those "dogs" you encountered.
Here is a silly joke about hot dogs that I heard recently.
** A Zen master visiting New York City goes up to a hot dog vendor and says,
** "Make me one with everything, please."
** The hot dog vendor fixes a hot dog and hands it to the Zen master, who pays with a $20 bill.
** The vendor puts the bill in the cash box and closes it.
** "Excuse me, but where’s my change?" asks the Zen master.
** The (enlightened) vendor responds,
** "Change must come from within."
Posted by: micro CEO | January 24, 2014 at 12:58 AM

Wonderful story... thank you for sharing!
Posted by: BHSC | January 24, 2014 at 06:07 AM

Congratulations on 40 years of rich life experience in US.
It was so vivid to read your story feeling I was there as well, very different 40 years ago, and the world seems a little smaller now.
Posted by: sizzling in Shanghai | January 24, 2014 at 06:10 AM

I enjoyed this one a lot! It sounds like Part 1 of a great story....
Posted by: Green Vibrance | January 24, 2014 at 07:23 AM

One of the things I have always loved about working here is meeting people from all over, learning about their origins, and hearing all the wonderful accents. It’s like being a world traveler without ever leaving home. I think being immersed in this mixture makes us more tolerant and accepting of differences, and more likely to pass it on.
Posted by: AZ friend | January 24, 2014 at 07:39 AM

The end of "The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost has a terrific ending:
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Posted by: Mark Dennen | January 24, 2014 at 08:16 AM

I love this story. I’ve heard it several times, and I still love hearing it
Posted by: Still loving it | January 24, 2014 at 08:33 AM

Thank you Anand for the great sharing! 
Posted by: Shenzen Friend | January 24, 2014 at 08:36 AM

great post: engaging, funny, kind, - also, lots of shared memories for those of us who came as newcomers to this country, albeit, at diffrent times...
Posted by: alex | January 24, 2014 at 08:54 AM

Very nice and humorous story, Anand. Thoroughly enjoyed. Thanks for sharing.
Posted by: Reddy M | January 24, 2014 at 09:21 AM

and who was the first movie star you witnessed face to face? great story.
Posted by: KEW | January 24, 2014 at 10:25 AM

Wonderful story Anand. I’ve always said that is what makes America so great. It is the most diverse country in the world. Walk around New York for 10 minutes and you’ll hear 20 different languages.
That picture of yourself embarking on your journey is great!
Posted by: JK | January 24, 2014 at 11:30 AM

Good article! I laughed when I read the hot dog story.  Congratulations on your 40th anniversary in the land of the free! This year will be my 30th.
Posted by: SC: Fan | January 24, 2014 at 11:32 AM

Nice one. Definitely world is getting smaller and smaller/diverse. Good people are good regardless of the island / origin they come from.
Posted by: MS | January 24, 2014 at 12:25 PM

If you came here for college in 74’ then how can you be just 48. Hope you had a wonderful holiday with the family and yourself
Posted by: KW | January 24, 2014 at 03:23 PM

Great story Anand! Thank u so much for sharing this!!! Miss ya!
Posted by: Jennifer | January 24, 2014 at 08:13 PM

Thanks for sharing your experience of going to a new country. I cannot forget the night I arrived at Japan with another Chinese student 19 years ago. It was snowing heavily, we were so lucky that our professors and chair of Chinese student association of the college waited for us at the train station and sent us to the visitors house of the college, we stayed there for 2 nights before finding an apartment. Thanks to the people helped me, will remember them forever.
Posted by: Zhicong | January 25, 2014 at 06:02 AM

Love my dad - 40 years in this country and he took the road less traveled. And that's made all the difference in his life
"That semester, USC had launched a new degree program in the area of Semiconductor Physics and Processing. It seemed to me that it was 'A Road Not Taken' (by many) and a faster way of getting a degree"
Posted by: Analisa | January 25, 2014 at 06:08 AM

Thanks of a lot of wonderful story, I can see you of 40 years ago, just arrived at LA.
Posted by: Yoshinaga | January 26, 2014 at 10:35 PM

Thanks! Your vivid old story always brings something new to me.
Posted by: Thank You from TPE | January 27, 2014 at 01:35 AM

Thank you for sharing the wonderful and vivid story as always, enlighting and engouraging. The Blue Ocien Strategy then was to select the Semiconductor Physics and Processing.
Posted by: Japan friend | January 28, 2014 at 12:54 AM

Very nice story. It reminds me of my first time arriving in the US. I was 15 at the time and came by myself. I slept the whole way (well, woke up for food in b/w) and later went to the immigration counter to explain my visit. I learnt limited English at the time, so before he questioned me, I just said “My name is ...., I’m 15 years old, I came to visit my mother and I don’t speak English very well” The African American guy giggled for a few seconds and let me pass. While I was waiting for my luggage another African American guy helped me drag my suitcases from the belt onto cart, I don’t remember how he looked, but a big bright smile. I pushed my cart down the hallway and followed the crowd until an African American lady checked my boarding pass and sent me to a different exit (most of the people are on connecting flight, but mine was direct) and there was my mom waiving at me. It’s not as adventurous as yours, but that was my first impression of America – people are soooooo nice.
Posted by: Good Friend | January 28, 2014 at 09:52 AM

Thanks Anand- for bringing back some wonderful memories of my first days@ UTK. Standing on Kingston pike 3 things stuck me- No horns, cars actually stopped for me to cross the road, and folks entered the bus in a line vs. climbing all over each other.
On my 3rd day we went to McD- and a new friend wearing a “ Kurta (long tunic) and chappal (open sandals)- did not come in because the sign said” shirt and shoes required". I made my first Thai friend here- Noppavan Tanpipat. Growing up in India- and esp in St. Joseph's, I had met girls from other states. But- here I made friends from Poland, Tunisia and Portugal. From Andrew the Pol) I learnt- that warm beer w/ Cloves and cinnamon will treat most ailments - But I also learnt not to make fun of the fact that he eats Cow stomach- because growing up- at times that was the only affordable meat for his family. I learnt to find humor in curious questions from my neighbors’ teenage daughter- Do they have elephants on the street? No. Just cows.
My professor said to me ” Madhuri- In this country.. we s.p.e.a.k like this- implying that I was speaking too fast. – But also told me- my English was real English” and that in the US- they spoke American :)Each person I met- embraced my culture- to the extent- that when Ravi proposed- Dr. Van Hook, actually invited him and his parents over for dinner- to ‘ensure that this was the right guy’. Dale- my roommate of 5 years- made sure we bought Salt and Oil on separate days, because that is what we did in India.
I just read the book 2 States" by Chetan Bhagat- and it reminded me of really how much diversity was NOT appreciated when I was growing up.
I was in India last month- and countless times- found myself saying “ back Home.. we do this and that”. I thank my mom for having the courage to send me here to study- against all extended family wishes. I am indeed blessed to call this country my home.
And- I met Cameron Diaz at LAX last March.
Posted by: madhuri | January 28, 2014 at 10:51 AM

Thanks for taking us back in time. Thoroughly enjoyed reading this one.
Posted by: Bobby | February 10, 2014 at 09:06 AM

This reminds me of my stay in Germany 14 years ago. My very first international trip – which I had to fly from Penang  KL  Bangkok  Amsterdam  Germany. When I collected my stack of flight tickets from German Embassy (the research was funded by German government) at KL, I had no clue at all how to fly international, go thru all the gates, terminals, immigration counters etc.. and, I had to fly alone. It was on Apr 1st and I always remember that April’s fool day on Millennium year (Y2000). I landed at a country that I knew very little of their language/culture. Besides German, I met people from China, Poland, UK, Czech, Italian, Taiwan, Japan etc…can’t forget all the good people out there that have helped me throughout the whole journey. A poor student back then was able to travel from west to east Germany, backpack in Italy on very lean budget, no cellphone, no internet, only with 1 guide book on hand…
Lots of interesting stories…shall talk to you more next time when we meet. 
Enjoy your Kitaro concert!
Posted by: KFC | February 14, 2014 at 07:22 AM

Nicely written, like a scene from a movie, Anand. While I was reading it, I could imagine you and your friend PG living it! Ofcourse it shows your funny and cheerful personality too. :)
Posted by: Laxa | March 14, 2014 at 04:45 PM


The first movie star I met FTF was Richard Chamberlin from Thorn Birds. Very humble man.
Still waiting to meet Sydney, Sean and Rachel.


In 1994, I came to America, state of Tennessee. Coming from Germany, it was great cultural shock. I decided that trying some familiar food and drinks could help to alleviate, a little bit, this feeling of being complete stranger in the unknown part of the world.
That is why, I went to the grocery shop to buy a beer, a familiar German commodity. And indeed, I found one-and for the great price! – something called “root beer”.
Should I mention that after tasting this strange drink, which American called beer, my cultural shock reached almost unbearable level?

Love Thy Neighbor

Nic article. Captures well what makes this country great and at the same time why it is so important to continue to cultivate that. Thanks for sharing


Great story… and as always, wonderfully written and full of wisdom.

Thank you!!

Shawn M.

Very beautiful start and story in the country Anand- cheers to 43 years and beyond!
Your humble beginnings are reminiscent to my own parent’s story of coming to America from Mexico at young ages. Stories like yours and my parents have always empowered me growing up and still do, to do whatever I dream of and that it’s very possible.
What a beautiful country to be able to have those limitless opportunities.


I really enjoyed reading this again, very timely. In that particular photo you look a bit like a Russian immigrant in that hat.


A very timely reminder of what makes this country such a special place, with cultures melding together over time and building something new that everyone can participate in.


"America is Thomas Edison and the Wright Brothers and George Washington Carver. America is Grace Hopper and Katherine Johnson and Sally Ride. America is every immigrant and entrepreneur from Boston to Austin to Silicon Valley, racing to shape a better world. That's who we are." - President Obama said it best. Immigrants helped build and shape this country and have a large influence in society.


Great story! Love the message of diversity.
You should consider making a movie for this story :), America needs it!

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