Kashmir Singh: Closed Captioning

You’re welcome, sir!

1987. Third of May, 1987.

Oh, yeah!

Because, you know, my son, he was a doctor in India.  He finished all the doctor, and he said, I want to go to America, Daddy. My only son, five daughters. His mother is crying, why?  I have a farm close to the road.  I said, You go to the hospital.  No, I want to learn more over there.  I said okay, you are responsible now, you are 24 years old, I don’t know.  Because family members, you know, they love their children, mostly mothers. The only one son, and I said okay. So, he came over here, and he sponsored all the family. Then we come to be here.

Yeah, that’s right.

So I go to the school, sent on the bus, I go to the school. Sandy, Mary, I remember lots of teachers, they bring everything: A-apple, B-book, D-dog. I write the dictionary in my language, every word.  Inside, I am confident I want to learn, I want to learn.  Every day, morning, start 8:00 to come back 12:00.  One day, I start 6:00 to come, 10:00.  I never got a meeting, always learning.  I don’t know what to do, but 60 years old.  Children can learn very quickly.  Old dog cannot learn very quickly, so very hard to do.  So, I try.  Go on and on and on, every day, every day, every day, I’m very confident in myself.  I want to learn, but second language learning is very hard.  But people can learn everything.  People have lots of computer, they can learn everything, any language.  They need to be confident or interest, I want to do that. 

No, no, no.  I did not have the land.  My son said, You worked all the life.  No working.  So that’s a different story.  So, I say over here you are finished up.  1988 all the things going on and on and on, and I am learning every day, but my tongue is not working.  I cannot speak.  I understand the words, but my tongue is not working.  So I said, you always go to work.  Give me a training, so I can drive the car and buy the groceries.  He said, Dad, you cannot do that.  I said, In India I go do this.  No, this is America.  First, you have to go to lefthand side.  In India you have to go to righthand, that’s very different.  Otherwise, you can go to give a written test and road test, then they get you permission.  So, I said, Do they have a book in Punjabi?  No.

Every word, every word.  I make a grasp in Punjabi to learn.  So, after May, June, July, August, September, after four months, I learned everything.  I remember every word ten times, twenty times, fifty times, learn and learn.  I put in my computer chips.  September, I said, okay, I go to the written test.  I go, my son took me over there.  They gave me a pencil and a copy and sit on the bench.  I saw every sign, everything was good, I remembered.  I tick-marked everything.  I came back, he said, You are passed!  Oh, my gosh! I jumped up and down, up and down!  What’s happened for me? 

Oh, my gosh!  I’m so powerful, my brain!  And my son said, I don’t want to drive.  I give you pay for somebody to come in two weeks, and they can teach you how to drive.  $1500.  The guy was an English man, a nice young man like this.  He came over to my house, brings his car, and go over there to teach me how to drive!  Every day, one month, I understand.  I go to school morning time, and night time, driving the car. Everything.  I was very, very emotional.  I want to do that, I want to do that, but without emotion, but without confidence, you cannot learn anything.  So I pass...he says your daddy has passed.  You can go to give the test.  He came like a daddy... so, I told my son, I don’t understand English much.  You can tell them give me a sign turn this side, this side, and that side.  She [the tester] came over there and said, Okay, get in the car!  Turn the engine.  My son said... get in the car and start.  I did it.  Turn the indicator to the left, and then the right.  I set everything, I set the mirror, put the belt, everything, I set everything nicely.  And so she sat down and said, Go turn to the right.  There was a small stop sign.  Without asking, I see this is a way, I stop over there.  Here, turn left.  You know Clyde Park?  Close to the...  I live over there now.  Road enter to the left, so left I turn and see a road sign back in the mirror.  She is watching me.  And left turn, there was a sign, right side, and she says, Turn to the right.  Stop at the stop sign, and green light come on over there, and I turn right.   She took me to the houses, around the houses, inside everything: turn right, turn left.  One was a one-way street this way, and she told me, Turn to the right.  I said, No, see that sign?  It’s going to the left.  Oh, yeah, that’s right.  Round and round, every stop sign and everything and bring over there.

Oh, very, very tough test!  But I learned it.  Minute by minute, everything very carefully. 

Very attention.  Without attention, you cannot learn anything.  So, we come back, and she said, Your daddy has passed.  Oh, my gosh.  Oh, my gosh...

Yes, everything.

Yeah, when I was learning English, first time I buy the groceries, when I start the car and go myself, I felt very confident.  That was winter time. First time I took my daughter with all the snow. I said, Don’t drive over 30 or 40 miles per hour.  Be careful!  Go to Fulton Street...  I say, God, you’ve blessed me.  So, then after, after that I said my tongue is not working; I want to do some work.  When my son came over here, and I said, I want to do work. He said, Daddy, oh your age, you’re working very hard, why this?  I said, No, mow your lawn everything..., but I want to work.  So, he said okay.  He took me to...there was a person like you, he said I am very tall.  He said you want to be a police officer?  My son said, You want to be a police officer?  No, I don’t know English, anything like that.  How can I...?  People talk very fast and fast, and everything is communication.  Without talking and learning and listening anything, how can you be a police officer? I am not a police officer.  They are doing a very good job, positive job.  But people negative thinking like that around the country.  So, I said, I want to do work by hand.  So, what can I...?  At the car wash, they have a Breton and Burton car wash over there.  So, he took me over there.  And Tom is the manager’s name, he looked at me.  How are you going to work over here?  He’s an old man.  My son said, You are an old man, how can you work?  I said, If I’m not worth it, send me home.  Oh, yeah, come intomorrow!  I started over there at the car wash.  And after that, (19)88, I finished the school, finished the school, everything.  I wanted to learn to talk.  My tongue, I wanted to learn every word.  What the people, how they talk.  I said my tongue is sleeping.  When he saw me, four, five days, taking me he give me everything.  There was large boy, a young boy working over there.  And I went over there.  So, Tom was the manager, Rob was his name, so he taught me after that.  Go in the front, drive the car, and wash everything.  I did it.  I’m a hard worker, doing a good job, good job.  You can see in the mirror, what they said the old man is working very hard.  Now, I finish 86 years old this August, my age is.  My date of birth is August 10, 1929.  So, the old man is working very hard.  So, working, he never quit me in ten years.  After that he sold it, he said, Bring this guy.  Oh, you cannot believe it every day six, seven hundred cars.  Everybody comes in.  Because you know, if you start a business, if you don’t satisfy the customer, how can you take part? 

Every A to Z, every car clean inside and outside.  Everyone happy, they bless you.  One day, the photographer of Grand Rapids passed.  The girls are like that, they came over here.  I had a turban on, it was small.  They came over here.  I want to talk, they talked with my manager.  I want to talk with this person.  So, he said, Go to the office and talk.  So, he bring me in, so he said thank you for coming, thank you. She asked, Where are you from?  I told everything, Punjab, close to Pakistan, farming, everything.  How is your family?  Everything I told this man.  So, every article, many, many things he asked me, I gave an answer.  All the Grand Rapids Press give me the article.  Come over here.

Yeah.  You love your life, love your work.  Need a person to stay, for learn everything.  Everything.  Education.  Everything work, but love your work.  Love your education, love your body, love your God, love your God.  That’s the life, only one time.  One time life. 

Yeah, I recommend because in God’s planet... I want to, nobody can stop me.  But people have a responsibility.  What kind of people there?  They are clean inside, or the death?  Or the negative thinking?  They not reach over here.  But people want to work because America is working hard.  Everything, people love America, they want to come over here.  But people, negative thinking, negative doing, making a lot of money but did not care about other people, they’re not learning person.  They have a negative person, they destroy.

If you learn, go to a teacher, a PhD, after that making money, without ego, every negative thinking, what are you learning.? Love the people, heart to heart.  I don’t want to..., God gave a person, every person God gave us. Let us make us, divide us, touch heart to heart.  Love the people.  Every color is a human. 

Thank you.  I don’t know much English, but I’m proud to learn English.  This gurdwara, I want to talk a little about this one.  Gurdwara, a guru is our teacher.  So, teacher teaches us.  This priest is our teacher. Every word, positive, positive.  People read and learn to go that way.  But now, people like Jesus, Mohammed, Guru Nanek, all the good people, they teach us very positive thinking.  After that, the people go away, they start a business.  They divided. They no religious.

But they come over here, they are clean on the inside.  Inside, not outside.  Whatever you wear on the outside is physical.  People showing outside dressing, but everything inside is garbage.  Every negative thinking.  Negative doing.  Making money.  Gurdwara, everybody going to gurdwara, church, learn to be clean inside. 

You’re welcome, welcome all of you.

Alan Headbloom

Alan advises Americans how to be global citizens and expats how to fit in to Michigan culture without annoying their native coworkers and clients. He also tweets and blogs at the intersection of language and culture. Over decades, he's traveled, studied, or lived on six continents, putting strange foods into his mouth and emitting strange sounds from it. His use of English, German, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Swedish, Hausa, and Japanese all improve with alcohol use. He gives invited public presentations on culture and unsolicited private advice on English grammar and usage; the latter isn't always appreciated. Visit his website for information on consulting, coaching, or speaking engagements.