“I’ve always marvelled at the way people resolve and eventually stand out to do something noteworthy in their lifetime. I wished to lead a successful life while embracing the culture in an international setting. It was the year 1978 when I told my parents about my decision to move to Australia. It wasn’t an outright yes from them, but they understood how I might land better opportunities abroad, shaping a life exactly the way I see it to be. Before departing, they blessed me with some wonderful words of wisdom which I stay true to- “Always respect the people and the law of the land where you are going. That will be your ‘New Home’, so contribute towards prosperity and never get involved in any act which may tarnish, harm, or defame the name of your motherland.”
My leading trade was in goods and textiles, which had an edge in Australia. We arrived in Geelong since I had studied there for a bit and was aware of the area. I had seen how hard life could get during poverty. Hence, I was determined to do better and work hard. For the first few years, it wasn’t sure if I would get a permanent residency or not. The good thing was the inquiry was supportive, and people tried to help each other in the best possible manner. I was happy with my quality of job and life, but at the same time, I was also driven by a more significant purpose where I wanted to contribute towards the betterment of the less fortunate in the community and do something for children, our coming generations by looking after the environment.
Once I learned about some cases of Leukemia; their only answer was either blood transfusion or bone marrow replacement. Because there weren’t many people to donate blood, I started working for a bone marrow registry. I called students at the local Gurdwara; put a camp, take the samples, and help those people. My age was growing, and soon the Red Cross took my name off the bone marrow registry. Those days I used to donate full blood, but after that, I started donating plasma which I still do. Two decades ago, I started ‘Friends of the Children Foundation’ whose objectives are to serve the community with care, compassion and commitment and look after our environment. We raise $20-30,000 annually and contribute towards special projects of ‘Royal Children Hospital. Through our annual ‘Walk for Monash Children Hospital’ which we started in 2013 we raise about $200,000 and invest in hospital growth, training and research projects.
I just have one message for all: Never underestimate the impact of one small act of kindness you can have in other’s lives. It lays the roots in all directions, and the roots spring up to make new trees.”