Anuradha Rao

As Interviewed by Divya Rao, March 10, 2018

Anuradha Rao: In Her Own Words

Well, you could say we were kind of the boomers in India and in the 1990s, there was a sudden boom in the computer science education business. People were able to suddenly access computers, learn about computers, and they were being told that there would be a huge demand for computer programmers. So everybody rushed to fill the spots in America. So we all knew that the US pays well and it was like, say for the same job, in India you would get paid one tenth or one twentieth of what you got paid. I can tell you in my case itself, I had a 6000 rupee job; I was earning $300 out there and I came here and for the same job, I was getting paid $3000. So that was the main reason, economic, and economic opportunity.

With the boom in 1990s, we suddenly had cable TV and suddenly we started seeing life in other countries, and we thought the US was so cool, and you wanted to go there. It’s like the culture, the pop culture. We used to love listening to Madonna and Michael Jackson, and we used to watch MTV all the time and watch things like The Grind. There used to be one something about Saturday evening party music. We were attracted to it like bees to honey.

So my dad’s mantra was, “I have to get you girls settled-” by settled he means married, “-before I retire.” So your Grandma put out an ad asking for a computer science graduate. And my mom answered that ad, and my mom and dad met his mom and dad and when your dad came to see me, we talked, we found that we were very similar. We had a similar background so we said,” Yeah, okay. This fits, it’s all right, we’ll get married.” And so once I got married, your dad was on an H1 Visa and I came in on an H4 Visa, which is a dependent’s Visa. So once I came in, we got married on February 22nd, and I flew into the country in March, and then by May I had found a job and they sponsored my H1.

I missed my family a lot, we were a very happy, loud family. And to come to such silence was not so pleasant. And I did not know any neighbors. One side there was Steve, who was divorcee man; he never used to invite anybody or talk to anybody and then on the other side was this cat lady. She had lots of cats and she was alone. So I didn’t really have people who were like me or my age, so I did not make any friends while I was at home. But when I joined my second job, that’s where I found friends. So typically, my friends have been the people who I interact with at work. There’s no discrimination at work, because the people whom I work with they’re educated, intelligent people and they can see that you do good work.