Straight from the heart
Wherever you go, go with all your heart. —Confucius
The Sahotas moved to the USA in 1974, the same year their first child, Neil, was born in Rochester, New York. While in England he had written to a few places, including the Regina Hospital in Saskatchewan, Canada, and they had evinced considerable interest in him, just like the hospital at Rochester had. He took up the offer at the University of Rochester, but promised the Canadians that once he was done with his cardiology training, he’d come to them for about a year.
Somewhere down the line, the University of Rochester threw up an offer that was hard to resist. Back in 1975, the hospital guaranteed him a minimum of USD 100,000 annually, if he continued to stay and work with them. Over some forty years ago, that figure was equal to about a million dollars today. That’s the kind of money no ordinary person would decline. Apart from the money Sahota would get perks and benefits. When an employer wants to pamper you, they throw in several other incentives. He would get an office, assured number of patients, and all the other expenses of staying in Rochester would be taken care of. The hospital management had made a calculated offer, quite certain that Sahota would not refuse.
But Sahota’s conscience did not let him down. He politely turned down the offer from Rochester on the grounds that he had a commitment to fulfill in Canada. “If I was after the money, I would not have moved out of Punjab in the first place. And certainly not out of Rochester in the second,” he muses many years later, sitting at home in Laguna Beach, California.
After declining the Rochester offer, he took up his assignment in Canada with a package that appeared peanuts in comparison. He agreed to join the Regina Hospital at about USD 800 a month. That worked out less than USD 10,000 per year, a tenth of what the New Yorkers had offered him. That he could turn his back to so much money, of course, made him an infinitely happier man, and richer inside. He says that the fact that he could muster enough courage to refuse Rochester hospital’s offer was testimony to the family values and strong upbringing that he had in Garhdiwala. “I completely attribute that ability to look beyond money to my parents. I was blessed generously by them with a very wise value system,” he says, a hint of emotion running through his eyes.