Hello. My name is Bharat Kothari. I immigrated to the United States in 1985 from Ahmedabad, a city on the western coast of India. I came to United States. I landed at New York City, JFK airport, in New York State.
I was twenty six years old when I came to United States on a student visa. I came here to study graduate in civil engineering. So my first day when I was flying from India to United States, amazingingly, that was my first ever flight on a plane. So I was flying above the clouds and my thoughts were racing that how as a kid growing up, as a teenager watching Hollywood movies in 1969 when Neil Armstrong...the first man landed on the moon, and all my textbooks in civil engineering, the professors were from United States. They were teaching civil engineering classes in one of the great institutions in the United States. And when you read about some advancement in medical technologies, the only name was coming was United States. So when I was flying above the clouds, I was...my thoughts were racing that how I am going to be--in next few hours--landing in United States, land of opportunities.
So, I was little nervous as I had no relatives in the United States. I had only one friend, so when I came I was anxious that with my friend, I would see him and how he would look like. So when I was...when I landed, the temperature was -3 Fahrenheit. So to put it in perspective, in Ahmedabad where I grew up, the average temperature is 80-90 degree Fahrenheit. The hottest day in summer, the temperature reaches as high as 115-117 degree Fahrenheit. And in winter nighttime, the temperature goes to about 40 degrees, so this was a big change of -3 degree temperature with the snow on the ground. So when my friend was driving me from airport, my thoughts were now racing that, “Look, what a big change I have in the cold weather.” But at the same time, I am now here. I will be afforded the opportunity. I am in the land of opportunity, the country where I thought as a kid that the streets were paved with gold. So, were they paved with gold? No, but I would say that the golden opportunities it was offering to me. I concluded my masters in civil engineering and I proceeded to have my professional engineers license and I completed my masters in business administration, MBA, at Baruch College. Currently, I am working at MTA as a program manager and these golden opportunities which this country afforded me. I live with my wife Alka and my two daughters, Aditi and Devki, in Blauvelt, New York.