My name is Kailash Joshi.

"We had not much money, we had only eight bucks in our pocket, we didn't have a scholarship, but we never thought about "hey, what happens if things don't work out?""

Delhi, India

Pullman, Washington





The frame of the mind was coming to the United States from India. At that time few people came. I had a couple of my classmates who were also going to come. It [Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore] was a good school so everybody tried to go to either England or U.S. for graduate school. That was the basic general norm of how we pursued our future vision. And, you know, our mindsets were that there were no worries, everything was going to work out. We had not much money, we had only eight bucks in our pocket, we didn't have a scholarship, but we never thought about "hey, what happens if things don't work out?" That thought is the most spectacular thing that comes to my mind today when I think back. Nobody in my family or me had even the slightest question of things not working out. That's pretty darned crazy actually. So that is one thing that I really highlight about our times, our days. And we had no resources in the U.S. I had no contact, I had no family members. I was the first one in my entire extended family coming to the United States. So it's like an unknown, but a very positive unknown. The guarantee was that it's a great place, a great place for education, it's a fair situation, it's competitive, if you do well you do well. So that is kind of the perspective... when we were flying in that was going through our minds.

And I knew that there were some Indian students on campus, so they had told me they are going to come and receive me at the airport, so that much... I had a sense of being received. So I land in Portland and because the flight was so long I found myself having whiskers. I had started shaving a few years ago before that. I said "No, I'm going to be met by my friends there on campus, so I think I should get a shave." I looked for signs of the nearest barber shop and I found one of those rotating things, you know, and somebody said "That's a barber shop." I go in there and he says "Sir, what do you want?" And I said "You know, I'd like to have a shave." He kind of looked at me a little strange, I didn't know why. But he said "Okay." So he put me on this big stretched chair and he gave me one of the most spectacular shaves, you know, with the hot towels and the soaking and all that stuff. And I sat there and said, "You know, what an amazing difference between India and here." How is this guy treating me so beautifully and all. A shave in India at that time was 25 paise, 25 Indian cents. Five rupees to a dollar. So the whole perspective. So I thought that this guy would charge me 25 U.S. cents or whatever the heck... so that is the kind of calibration. So he gave me a shave and after I got up I said "Okay, so how much?" And he said "Four dollars" and so I said "Wow, my god!" Of course I didn't want to appear shocked, but I was. And then I had read in the books about the U.S. that a 15% tip is kind of a good courtesy to extend to people who serve you so I gave him $4.60 out of my eight dollars. So more than half of my net worth on that day was consumed. That became the most dramatic part of my entry in the United States. To this day I remember that and I tell people about that.