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Bhatia, Champa
Bhatia transcript, 2 of 2
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UH - Houston History Project. Bhatia, Champa - Bhatia transcript, 2 of 2. June 27, 2007. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. University of Houston Digital Library. Web. September 22, 2014. http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/houhistory/item/296/show/295.

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UH - Houston History Project. (June 27, 2007). Bhatia, Champa - Bhatia transcript, 2 of 2. Oral Histories from the Houston History Project. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved from http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/houhistory/item/296/show/295

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

UH - Houston History Project, Bhatia, Champa - Bhatia transcript, 2 of 2, June 27, 2007, Oral Histories from the Houston History Project, Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries, accessed September 22, 2014, http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/houhistory/item/296/show/295.

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Title Bhatia, Champa
Creator (LCNAF)
  • UH - Houston History Project
Interviewer (LCNAF)
  • Quraishi, Uzma
Date June 27, 2007
Subject.Topical (LCSH)
  • Immigration
Subject.Name (LCNAF)
  • Bhatia, Champa
Subject.Geographic (TGN)
  • Houston, Texas
Genre (AAT)
  • interviews
Language English
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  • audio/mp3
  • application/pdf
Original Item Location ID 2006-005, Box 9, HHA 00569
Original Collection Oral Histories - Houston History Project
Original Collection URL http://archon.lib.uh.edu/index.php?p=collections/controlcard&id=231
Digital Collection Oral Histories from the Houston History Project
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Repository Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries
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  • University of Houston
Item Description
Title Bhatia transcript, 2 of 2
Date June 27, 2007
Original Collection Oral Histories – Houston History Project http://archon.lib.uh.edu/index.php?p=collections/controlcard&id=231
Repository Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries
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File name hhaoh_201207_191c.pdf
Transcript HHA# 00569 Page 1 of 32 Interviewee: Champa Bhatia Interview: June 27, 2007 University of Houston Houston History Archives 1 UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON ORAL HISTORY OF HOUSTON PROJECT Interview with: Champa Bhatia Interviewed by: Uzma Quraishi Date: June 27, 2007 Transcribed by: Uzma Quraishi UQ: You can start by telling about your background. CB: My background…my name is Champa Bhatia and I’ve been in United States for almost 37 years. I enjoy it here very much. I love this country. It’s the land of opportunity and it’s a very beautiful, nice country. UQ: Where did you come from? Where were you before you came here? CB: I was in Shikarpur, Sindh— a very, very small village and not too many people know about it — but it’s a very historical place, a beautiful place. Sindh is ______ ends over there. It’s a very small village, a beautiful village, there’s a lot of history. UQ: That’s where you grew up? CB: That’s where my birth was. UQ: Is it mountainous or hilly?HHA# 00569 Page 2 of 32 Interviewee: Champa Bhatia Interview: June 27, 2007 University of Houston Houston History Archives 2 CB: Not mountainous. It’s a little village; people are just very nice, friendly. We all just had a good time growing up. Everybody knows each other over there so being a small village makes it very nice.. UQ: Did you come from a big family? How many brothers and sisters? CB: Yes, I came from a very, very big family. Four brothers [my uncles] lived together and each brother has his own suite. It was like a big hotel. My grandmother was very nice, a very smart woman. She ran the whole house and controlled each son – how to align or give the duties to each one of them. It was a very smooth operation of the home. UQ: Do you have any brothers or sisters? CB: I‘ve got six sisters and one brother. UQ: Where are you in all of that? CB: I’m in the middle. UQ: Why did you decide to come to America?HHA# 00569 Page 3 of 32 Interviewee: Champa Bhatia Interview: June 27, 2007 University of Houston Houston History Archives 3 CB: I got tired of talking about clothes, jewelry, Because clothes and jewelry, that’s all they [women] talk about over there. And I never was interested in that. I wanted to have my own personal life. A life of mine. And that’s what made me more interested to move from that country because the culture I grew up in women didn’t work at that time. They don’t let any woman to do their own choice of things. UQ: So none of the women you knew in your home village had any kind of home business? CB: Nothing nothing, especially if you are from higher society, women working, they look down upon you, like “Why? Your husband’s not making money or why are you working?” So I wanted to work. UQ: So you came here as a single person or as a married person? CB: I came as a married person because a single person, the house that I’m from, they don’t allow to travel to America. That’s not in my house. So I had no choice but to get married and then come. UQ: Was your husband from your home village or from somewhere else?HHA# 00569 Page 4 of 32 Interviewee: Champa Bhatia Interview: June 27, 2007 University of Houston Houston History Archives 4 CB: Almost close to my village – it’s like a thirty minute drive to Rohri, which is also a village. It’s where he’s from. UQ: When did you get married and come here? CB: We got married in 1970 and then I came after 6 months. He came here 12 days after our marriage and [me], after 6 months UQ: So when did he first come to America? Was that the first time? CB: No, he was here in 1968. He came for his education – to get advanced, further [his] education here with his friend. Then he came to Pakistan to get married. And then I came after 6 months UQ: When you came here, where in America did you settle? CB: I came to Houston. UQ: What was he doing when you first came to Houston? CB: He was working at Texas Instruments part-time and plus going to University of Houston trying to get his engineering degree.HHA# 00569 Page 5 of 32 Interviewee: Champa Bhatia Interview: June 27, 2007 University of Houston Houston History Archives 5 UQ: And so what did you do when you came here? CB: Got very bored sitting in the home (laughs) - very bored! I mean I got so bored I hit the wall of the apartment. And I had no clue that walls are so hollow here. Back home walls are so strong that if you break [them] you almost kill yourself. Here I hit the wall and then I was scared and I [said] “Now what am I going to do?” I was so young I didn’t know what to do. The first 3 to 6 months were very lonely, very boring. Then I finally found a neighbor upstairs in an apartment complex and she helped me through, to go out. We communicated by sign language. UQ: She was a white American? CB: Yes, she was s a white American, very helpful, very nice. She made me [her] daughter. And then I just got into it with her. She was bored as well because she was a lonely old woman and I was a young girl, trying to grow (laughs) so we were good company for each other actually. It worked out very, very nice. UQ: So you didn’t speak any English when you came here? CB: No English at all.HHA# 00569 Page 6 of 32 Interviewee: Champa Bhatia Interview: June 27, 2007 University of Houston Houston History Archives 6 UQ: How did you learn? CB: She took me to Methodist Church and I went. It’s a very beautiful church. It’s right in the medical center – one of the largest churches. Josephine Crane was the head of the church at that time – she was minister and everything. She made me get into it [learning English]. At that time not so many foreigners were there. So they were fascinated by a young girl coming to this country. And they helped me with everything. I can not thank them enough. I mean really, they helped me. UQ: Is that how you learned English? CB: That’s how I learned English, through the church and then going through the community college, taking courses and things. That’s how I learned from my advancement. A lot of book reading. I love to read. I love reading books. UQ: Even before you came here you enjoyed reading? CB: Yes I always enjoyed reading books. I die for books. UQ: In your country what kind of books did you read? HHA# 00569 Page 7 of 32 Interviewee: Champa Bhatia Interview: June 27, 2007 University of Houston Houston History Archives 7 CB: Over there, I read novels, like fun novels because I had no clue. Besides my education, I read novels. But after I came here I read more knowledgeable books. UQ: What language were those books in, the ones that you read in your country? CB: Urdu and Sindhi, my language. UQ: So you can read both and speak both languages, in addition to English? CB: Correct. UQ: So you came here, you were bored for several months, and you met this woman- what was her name? CB: Wilma Curry. UQ: So through her you went to the church and then you took community college courses and you learned English. Then what? CB: Then really I think I just keep on prospering. I just keep on growing. I found myself. [It was] very exciting. I joined the gym. I keep on growing from that point on. Learning is in my blood and I don’t think learning is going to end until I die. I like to HHA# 00569 Page 8 of 32 Interviewee: Champa Bhatia Interview: June 27, 2007 University of Houston Houston History Archives 8 learn, learn, learn. People fascinate me. I love people. Those two things are strong qualities. I like to help people. I like to make people beautiful. Those are my strengths and I enjoy that. UQ: Did you find any friends of your own culture when you first came here, anyone at all? CB: Not really. Not that many that I felt comfortable with. I guess I was looking for more advanced friends, where I can feel that growth. I’m not the person who just likes to make anybody my friend. I’m very choosy in making friends. I get along with everybody but a person that comes in my life has to be good for me. UQ: Was there anyone [Indian or Pakistani] here at all? CB: A few people were here. We had parties. My husband Shyam was very, very, extremely social. I was very reserved, young and reserved. But because of Shyam being very, very social, we had a lot parties and everything. That’s why I became more social – because of my husband. Otherwise, I was very private and reserved, not that open at that time. I was a very young person and maybe I just didn’t know. And now I love it! (Laughs). I’m very open, very friendly. Nobody can believe it that I’m the same Champa (laughs)! Time changes [you]. HHA# 00569 Page 9 of 32 Interviewee: Champa Bhatia Interview: June 27, 2007 University of Houston Houston History Archives 9 UQ: Even though you weren’t very friendly, you had a lot of parties in your own home? CB: Own home, going out. [But I don’t mean] ‘not friendly’ in a bad way. Friendly means reserved. I’m very reserved to talk with anybody. UQ: At the parties, were there any Americans? Were there mostly Indians and Pakistanis at the parties? CB: We had two women, they were Americans. One was black and she was a girlfriend of one of our friends and two were Americans, very nice people. They also loved me to pieces. And I became very, very good [friends with them] and they also liked me. I went to the gym with them and I did a lot of things with them growing up. They adopted me very quickly. UQ: The rest of the people from these parties were from where? CB: From Pakistan, India – a mixed crowd. I’ve been really fortunate to meet everybody. Nice people. I do not have any bad memory of any bad person in my life. I’ve been very fortunate growing up and becoming acquainted with all the people. It’s very, very nice whether Muslim people or Hindu people, or American people. They‘ve all been extremely nice. I don’t have any regret from meeting anybody.HHA# 00569 Page 10 of 32 Interviewee: Champa Bhatia Interview: June 27, 2007 University of Houston Houston History Archives 10 UQ: In those parties everybody got along, even though they were of different religions and cultures? CB: Everybody got along. Even to this day we do parties at our house and we have an international crowd. All cultures mix together in our home so we don’t have any problem with any culture or anything. UQ: Tell me what happened after you had settled down here and had become more used to the culture here and I guess, a part of the culture here? What happened after that in your life? CB: After that picking up and children came along and I went through lot of things. Facing a different route, making the children grow, that’s an entirely different ballgame. The way we raise children in our culture and the way you have to raise children here, you’re fighting a battle against society, a battle against your children’s friends, and you’re fighting [for] your culture. As a mother you want to keep your culture. No matter how advanced you are you still want to keep your culture. I’m proud of my culture and I want to make my child adopt [my] culture and that is one of the hardest things to do. You love your children. You want them to adopt your family culture and you want them to adopt the culture that we are living in at the same time. That, I believe, is a lot of HHA# 00569 Page 11 of 32 Interviewee: Champa Bhatia Interview: June 27, 2007 University of Houston Houston History Archives 11 struggle for parents. And I see that when I talk to friends and everybody we’re not alone. Everybody goes through that. UQ: In what ways did you want to pass on your culture to your children? CB: A lot of different ways. Through the culture of the way we were raised, the way we respect our elders. It’s very, very important which I don’t see it exists too much here. Talking, language, like for instance, we have a language difference. When you talk with older people we tell them “aap” and different words that make them feel respected. In English you just say “you” to everybody so there is definitely a difference in the way you talk with older people than you, between when you talk [with] younger [people] than you, [or when you talk with people on the] same level so [to] create that type of talk is very, very hard for children [raised here] to understand UQ: Did your children learn to speak your language? CB: They did. Yes. They speak the language and they know the difference between talking to older people, to younger people, how to respect them. But they also at the same time are very Americanized. They know how to respect this country also. I think it’s a very important part of the country you’re living in to adopt their culture as well. And it is a beautiful country, land of opportunity. You have everything.HHA# 00569 Page 12 of 32 Interviewee: Champa Bhatia Interview: June 27, 2007 University of Houston Houston History Archives 12 UQ: Did you teach your children your cultural music, clothing, those kinds of things? CB: We did, we did. They do cultural clothing, everything. UQ: Do you think they enjoy that now that they are older? CB: I do not know about the clothing. I really don’t want to lie about it (laughs). But they do like their culture. They go to temple. They speak language but [Pakistani] clothing is not much unless such a type of party where they have to where it, then they will. UQ: And [Pakistani] music? CB: Music, they like it but not as much as we like it. But they like they music. They have the idea. UQ: When you came here did you maintain contact with your family in Pakistan? CB: I did. UQ: How did you maintain that contact?HHA# 00569 Page 13 of 32 Interviewee: Champa Bhatia Interview: June 27, 2007 University of Houston Houston History Archives 13 CB: Back then it was very, very hard. Because there was no prepaid card existing so we had to make a phone [appointment] ahead of time. [It was] very hard but I tried to make contact with phone calls, but back then it was very expensive. UQ: Did you write letters? CB: A lot of letters because phone calls back then were very expensive and being a student both trying to make our lives so we had to make [more] letters than phone calls simply because of the expense. UQ: Did you keep any of them? CB: I have the letters at home. I don’t know where they are but they are there. I do have the letters. UQ: What about a diary, did you ever keep a journal or anything like that? CB: I did a diary but I found out it’s not a good . . . the diary strictly is mine. If somebody read something they might get a different opinion [so] then I threw away all the diaries. I don’t think if something happens to me then a person should know a wrong idea or something. Because a diary is feelings at the time that you’re feeling them, then HHA# 00569 Page 14 of 32 Interviewee: Champa Bhatia Interview: June 27, 2007 University of Houston Houston History Archives 14 after when you’re calming down it might not be true. So one day I thought that and I thought, “No, that’s not right.” UQ: So you disposed of all of them? CB: I disposed [of them], yes. UQ: How was your relationship with your neighbors when you first arrived here? CB: I’ve been very lucky—I had extremely good neighbors. Extremely good neighbors. They liked me and were very helpful. UQ: Even though you couldn’t speak English, they still – CB: Sign language, a lot of sign language. [laughs] They were laughing at me, “Champa, do you understand me?” I’d call my husband right away and say they’re saying this and then he’d tell me [what they’d said]. A lot of back and forth talking. UQ: And your husband could speak English though? CB: Very good, yes. He could speak English no problem. So he was a great help in my life, of course. If anything came up, I’d call him up, “She’s talking about . . . what IHHA# 00569 Page 15 of 32 Interviewee: Champa Bhatia Interview: June 27, 2007 University of Houston Houston History Archives 15 do now?” He was my translator. Like I tell everybody, he’s my husband, my mother-in-law, my everything. He’s older than me. He was my everything. He taught me what I should do. UQ: Did you feel that the fact that you came from another country, that you were a first-generation American, that that played a role in anything here? CB: No, I had the acquaintance [opportunity] to go to higher society parties. I felt a little like I was an outsider but not really too much. You do feel it because people simply do not understand your accent. They’re not as familiar with foreign people as much at a higher level [of society]. Back then, I’m taking about at that time, understanding the accent [was a problem]. But by the same token they adjusted very well. UQ: Do you think that having the immigrant status has affected your opportunities or that it has limited you in any way? CB: No, I don’t think so. No, not at all. UQ: And you don’t think race is an issue either then? CB: No, not at all. I think this really is a country where it’s a land of opportunity and everybody has an opportunity to grow. This country really gives people an opportunityHHA# 00569 Page 16 of 32 Interviewee: Champa Bhatia Interview: June 27, 2007 University of Houston Houston History Archives 16 to grow. Especially for women, I think this is the greatest country in the world. I get a lot of people coming from foreign countries, from Europe, from Denmark, from Sweden, and all the women, I can honestly say, say that this is the best country for women. That’s my experience till now and I’m 53 years old and I have a lot of experience of being in [the beauty] business from the age of 16. I feel this is the country for women. Women can do lot of things here without any tie down and I strongly feel that. UQ: When you were raising your children, did you work on the side or did you focus on your children? CB: I had my own business and I had my own maid [nanny] so I always took my maid and my children with me. It was very hard for me to leave children with anybody. Maybe our culture is that, or whatever the background is but I can not leave my children without me supervising. So in the morning I always took my children and my maid with me. We go [together]. UQ: So where did you go? What was your business? CB: Before this I had a salon on Bissonet and Fondren. I’ve always been in the beauty industry practically from the age of sixteen. I always had a private room where my children could sit, my maid could be there, so I was always there for them. HHA# 00569 Page 17 of 32 Interviewee: Champa Bhatia Interview: June 27, 2007 University of Houston Houston History Archives 17 UQ: Did you go through some kind of beautician courses? CB: I did, I did. I believe in education still to this day. I always take continuous education classes. I took my license here, went to Austin to get the State Board license and till now, I take continuous education. I think education is your third eye. It’s very, very important to do the education. UQ: What inspired you to go into the beauty business? CB: Well, I wanted to go into medicine. My husband said that the husband being an engineer and the woman a doctor is not going to work. That is true. Still to this day, he says, “No, it’s not going to work.” The next thing I like is to make people beautiful because I love the fashion industry. So I said, “Okay, if I can not be a doctor, I want to do the fashion industry. Beauty. Because I like to make people beautiful, that’s why I went into that. UQ: Before you came to America, did you think that maybe this is something you wanted to do after you came here? Or did you get the idea after you settled down here? CB: I came to be related to something medical, a doctor or things like that but when I knew it’s not going to work – and being a young girl, I couldn’t go back to my country, I didn’t want to go back – so I knew I had to do my own thing. Because I didn’t want to HHA# 00569 Page 18 of 32 Interviewee: Champa Bhatia Interview: June 27, 2007 University of Houston Houston History Archives 18 depend on a husband. I like my own independence, make my own money, I liked that always, so then I thought “Well, I’ll do fashion because I like that.” So that’s how I got into the beauty industry. UQ: Was your family supportive of you going into the medical profession when you were younger? CB: Medical profession, yes. Not the beauty [industry]. Because I think beauty, back then in that culture, in my culture [where] I grew up, [the beauty industry] was looked down upon. Because in our house, people go to get beautiful, not their own people do the work actually. And so … but then they [my family] overcame [their objections], because when my uncle came here and saw [my] beautiful business, how successful I am and everything, he apologized to me. It’s very, very hard for a man from Pakistan forgiving a young girl, his daughter, to apologize, to say…and I thought that was a very touching moment for my life. UQ: So, at first when your family found out you were going to be a beautician, they were not supportive at all? CB: No, they were not supportive at all, they were telling me to go back for your medical [degree], what you came [for], why are you doing the beauty business? That is looked down upon. “Why do you want to do that? What will people say? Why do you HHA# 00569 Page 19 of 32 Interviewee: Champa Bhatia Interview: June 27, 2007 University of Houston Houston History Archives 19 want to do that?” And I told them it’s just the beginning but I’ll grow in that line. But in the beginning I have to do that. But it was not really talked about or appreciated at that time, in 1971. Then after that, my uncle came, my relatives came and stayed here. They saw that this is beautiful, very nice. They really apologized and appreciated me. And I was very happy because it’s very hard for a man—I don’t know about from your home, but from my house—to say sorry for a man is a big thing. UQ: I understand. When you first came here you said there were a few people already here. Were there any kinds of organizations? Any kinds of groups: cultural, religious, anything? CB: No, not when I first came. Not that I know of. Just a few friends and they got together and did our own thing, and when anybody came from Pakistan, we would have a party because very few people were here. So if anybody came from Pakistan, [we said] “Oh we have to go meet them.” Anybody. Because we were the little group here. UQ: About how many families would you say? CB: I would say fifteen families that I knew in the 70s when we were here. UQ: Are you still in touch with some of those families? HHA# 00569 Page 20 of 32 Interviewee: Champa Bhatia Interview: June 27, 2007 University of Houston Houston History Archives 20 CB: We do, we still do. Like Alia [Kazi] is one of them. Alia, she’s my good friend, very open-minded, I found her very interesting. I think she’s intelligent, she’s smart. I found her very good and we clicked together. And we still keep up with her. UQ: About when did some of these community groups start forming? CB: I would say like after 6 or 7 years, like 77. Indian Association formed, Pakistani Association formed. Since I was busy in my own [life] I really did not keep up with all the associations and everything. I was not into… UQ: So you weren’t really an active member of all these things? CB: No, I was not. UQ: You have a unique situation in that you’re from Pakistan and the majority of Pakistanis are Muslim and you’re not. Did you feel that it made any difference at all? CB: Not to me because I was born there and the majority of my friends are Muslim. I cannot say anything bad about Muslims because they have supported us. In Pakistan and here. My best friends in Pakistan were all Muslims. [When] any trauma or anything happened they were always there for me, to help me. So I don’t have any problem in that situation.HHA# 00569 Page 21 of 32 Interviewee: Champa Bhatia Interview: June 27, 2007 University of Houston Houston History Archives 21 UQ: Do you have friends from India as well? CB: Yes, India too. UQ: So with both cultures, you’re totally at ease? CB: Totally at ease for us. Because we have friends from India and we have friends from Pakistan. No problem together. UQ: What about your children? Where are most of their friends from? CB: Same thing, same way. They have both Muslim friends and Indian friends and American friends. As I said, we are truly international people because we have adjusted well in each culture. And we admire culture. I don’t think anything has to do with religion or anything; it’s the person themselves that makes the world. What you are. How you’re adjusting yourself, how you’re treating the people. That’s what’s important. Culture and religion are within you. It doesn’t make a difference if you are a Hindu or Muslim or Christian. It makes no difference.HHA# 00569 Page 22 of 32 Interviewee: Champa Bhatia Interview: June 27, 2007 University of Houston Houston History Archives 22 UQ: When you started your business you said that your family was not supportive. How were your in-laws and family, and then how was your husband [regarding your beauty salon]? CB: My husband is very supportive of everything I do. He is actually a nice man because he is not like a typical Pakistani man, controlling or anything. He’s very advanced, just like an advanced American man. He lets me do anything I want. He’ll stop me if I go overboard or out of line, and he’ll suggest to me not to do [something] but the choice has always been mine. And I appreciate him for that, that he gives me the choice, even though he’ll say “it’s wrong, don’t do that, Champa, but the choice is yours. If you want to do it, go ahead and do it.” UQ: From the very beginning? CB: From the very beginning, yes. He’s been very honest, giving. He knew I wanted to grow so he gave me the opportunity to grow. He never interfered in my growth or anything. UQ: What about his family, your in-laws – how did they feel about you starting this business?HHA# 00569 Page 23 of 32 Interviewee: Champa Bhatia Interview: June 27, 2007 University of Houston Houston History Archives 23 CB: The in-laws were very good, same way. If your husband is happy . . . I have very good in-laws. Like I said, I’ve been very fortunate in my life, very fortunate, and very few girls can actually say that. My in-laws are like my best friends. When I go to Pakistan, I visit equal time; I actually demand that I want equal time in my in-laws’ and in my parents’ houses. My in-laws, my brother-in-law and all his brothers love me to pieces. They like my style, they like me the way I am, and I tell them exactly who they are also [laughs]! But they are very, very nice. I have no complaints against anybody. UQ: So your in-laws were actually more supportive than your own family, your own parents? CB: That is correct. My in-laws are not as conservative as my family. My family is very conservative. But as time has gone [by], they have opened up now quite a bit. But back then when I got married, if I had to compare my family, the men – the men in my house are very conservative – versus men in my in-laws house were very open. So they adjusted and adapted more quickly than my family, understand? UQ: How did you juggle everything when your kids were younger and you had a business and the home?HHA# 00569 Page 24 of 32 Interviewee: Champa Bhatia Interview: June 27, 2007 University of Houston Houston History Archives 24 CB: Just go by priority. Give priority to what is most important at the time. I think priority is very important and you must keep on doing what is best [according] to your ability, [do] the best you can do. UQ: Has your view of America changed from when you first arrived to now? CB: Not really. I have the same view, positive view, and good view for the country and still, to this day, it has remained the same. I still say this country is a great country, land of opportunity, and people still don’t realize it to this day. When they talk bad about America, I tell them, “Go back to your country.” And I feel strongly [about] that. UQ: When you came here and you settled down did you find some hardships in raising your children in this country? CB: Yes. Especially raising children – it’s very hard because you have to watch their friends, you have to watch [out] for drugs, you have to really watch all these things. It is hard for a working couple. It’s one of the hardest things I’ve done, I think. Because in business you make your decision, you go forward, and you know what you’ve done wrong, but when children get off-track, getting them back on-track is one of the most difficult things to do. So I would say raising children in this country is very hard. UQ: Would you have any advice for people who are raising their children now? HHA# 00569 Page 25 of 32 Interviewee: Champa Bhatia Interview: June 27, 2007 University of Houston Houston History Archives 25 CB: Yes, I do. I don’t think that a woman should be working full-time. To raise children properly, one parent – whether father or mother – has to take some time off to raise the children. Give some time to them to bring them up. To raise them properly, I think they need one parent’s time. UQ: Have you had family members come and join you in America after you? Brothers, sisters, cousins… CB: I did. My mother-in-law came and stayed with me 2 years. My mom came and stayed with me 1 year. UQ: But no one moved here? CB: No one moved here simply [because] I think, they are spoiled over there with the servants and money they have. They think I work too much here, like a slave, but that is my choice. They don’t understand that this is my choice. What I’m doing is my choice. I think that the language barrier is one the biggest issues, that they can not speak the language. They can not chit-chat like they chit-chat over there, and they have servants bringing the tea. You can not have that kind of atmosphere here. I think it’s because of the culture they grew up in. They are used to servants; they are used to evening teatime. People coming [to their] home and talking with them - they can not get that here. HHA# 00569 Page 26 of 32 Interviewee: Champa Bhatia Interview: June 27, 2007 University of Houston Houston History Archives 26 UQ: So none of your brothers or sisters moved to America? CB: They don’t want to move. UQ: Would you say your family back home is somewhat wealthy or very wealthy? CB: Very wealthy. UQ: Then they really didn’t have any economic reason to come here? CB: No. UQ: They’re set. CB: Correct. UQ: What about your husband’s family? Did any of his brothers or sisters move to America? CB: No. His younger brother moved to California because of education. HHA# 00569 Page 27 of 32 Interviewee: Champa Bhatia Interview: June 27, 2007 University of Houston Houston History Archives 27 UQ: Is he still living there? CB: He is still living there and he’s happy, his wife is happy. UQ: And they have children there? CB: Children there have grown up so that’s no problem. UQ: Are those the only cousins that your kids have in America? CB: That’s it. UQ: Your husband’s family - would you say somewhat wealthy or very wealthy? CB: They are somewhat wealthy. UQ: That’s interesting. Often, families come and then they have many, many people come after them. CB: Our families really don’t want to move. They’re very satisfied over there. None of our family members . . . I mean, we are working on them to come here so we can have their company but it’s been very hard to get them here. None of our family members HHA# 00569 Page 28 of 32 Interviewee: Champa Bhatia Interview: June 27, 2007 University of Houston Houston History Archives 28 really want to come here. I don’t know why. They say, “Champa, we can’t help it. Do you have a servant who can serve us tea in the evening?” (laughs) I said, “I have my maid. She comes 2 times a week.” They said, “We need tea every day. Can you give us tea.” I said, “No, I’m not giving you tea. You make your tea! Everything in America is self-service.” My mom used to think everything is done by machine [in America]. I said, “Yes.” But when she came, she said, “Who brings the vacuum?” I said, “I do! [laughs] Mommy, the machine does do everything, but the machine has to be operated. You have to fix it if it’s broken. You have to take it [for repairs].” “She said, “My goodness, I didn’t realize you have to do everything.” So it’s a little bit harder, a little different. There are pros and cons in every country. It’s just that what you get used to, you like that. It also depends on your personality, what type of things you like, and what you’re used to. UQ: Can you describe what kind of interactions or activities you were involved in, in your community, whether Indian or Pakistani? CB: Really, none. I’ve never been active . . . I’m more involved in American society than in Indian and Pakistani community. I don’t know, should I say it’s a shame to be like that? I never got involved too much in the Indian and Pakistani community. UQ: What about things like [Indian or Pakistani] music shows?HHA# 00569 Page 29 of 32 Interviewee: Champa Bhatia Interview: June 27, 2007 University of Houston Houston History Archives 29 CB: That I always liked. I like Indian movies and I love Indian music. And I like Indian shows, concerts. I do go there all the time. UQ: What about clothing? CB: I like fashion so I wear all styles of clothes. I wear American, Pakistani, Indian, all types, Afghani. All types I wear because I think they are beautiful. I like variety. UQ: Where do you buy your Indian/Pakistani clothes from? CB: There are a lot of Indian stores here. I used to get them only from Pakistan because there were no Indian stores but now, I get everything here so no problem. UQ: Regarding the concerts, do you go with your family, with your husband, or friends? CB: I go with friends and with husband. UQ: And for the American friends that you interact with, do you mean parties? Is that the kind of interaction you have?HHA# 00569 Page 30 of 32 Interviewee: Champa Bhatia Interview: June 27, 2007 University of Houston Houston History Archives 30 CB; There are parties. Also, going together to [establish] relations for our business. I’m a member of Houston Junior Forum Association and the Chamber of Commerce. UQ: Finally, I want you to describe your business as you see it now. CB: I think I have more goals. I always want to reach higher and higher. The sky’s the limit. I want to grow higher and higher. I always reach a level, then I want to go up to the next level. I do make it to that level and I think I’m pretty successful at what I do, very satisfied with what I do. I’m very fortunate to have good employees, good surroundings. The customers, they make my business. We are one big family and we make our business grow together. UQ: Can you describe your business? CB: My business is a day spa and beauty salon. I do day spa services. I have different types of therapeutics, different types of facials, laser sun tanning we just added in our company. It’s self-tanning. We have 3 tanning beds; complete full service of hair. We use a top of the line product called ______. And skin care product also, cell-renewal. All different types of services: manicures, pedicures, paraffin treatments, electrolysis, permanent hair removal. We just bought a new machine called ______ which removes the hair with gentle way but that’s only for permanent hair removal. We have complete, full waxing.HHA# 00569 Page 31 of 32 Interviewee: Champa Bhatia Interview: June 27, 2007 University of Houston Houston History Archives 31 UQ: And your customers, you have a pretty large customer base? CB: We have a large customer base because we opened this company in 1982, expanded when the economy was going down. I was expanding my business in 1984. A lot of worries went on. My husband was laid off at that time but he helped me here big time and I expanded the business in 1984. So now it’s 5,000 square feet with 15 employees. So I’m very satisfied. UQ: Do you have any final comments you’d like to make before we end the interview? CB: Like I said, I think this (America) is the place anybody can be successful. You set your mind to it and you get to it. Just work at it and never lose hope in life. [If] there’s always hope then there’s always growth. HHA# 00569 Page 32 of 32 Interviewee: Champa Bhatia Interview: June 27, 2007 University of Houston Houston History Archives 32