Gagan Sachduv is an engineer who came to Austin for his first job after earning an undergraduate degree in his home country of India, and a master’s degree in Salt Lake City. He is a Sikh by religion. He wears a turban every day and does not cut his hair.
“I’m very distinct in my appearance,” Sachduv says. “It’s very hard to get a repeat sample at Costco.”
Above all else, he is a son.
“My dad played a key role in three aspects of my life.” Sachduv says.
First, he says his father, who was a handyman, inspired his son to pursue engineering. From household appliances to the family car, his dad fixes everything. Sachduv says he was his father’s assistant, handing him tools and shining the torch.
“He played a key role in who I am professionally,” Sachduv says.
Second, Gagan and his father share an intimate Sikh tradition: tying his turban.
“The first time a Sikh boy puts on his turban, there is a ceremony around it.” Sachduv says.
Sachduv had his ceremony at five years old – his father tied his first turban. Sachduv began to tie his turban at school as he grew into adolescence. It wasn’t always perfect, but dad was there to help and inspire when he couldn’t get it quite right. Sachduv says his father’s turban was skillfully molded, and spans 60 square feet, unfolded. Complimented by a long beard, Sachduv says his father carries off the look flawlessly.
“He walked me through the process very patiently and made me comfortable in my own skin, so I’m very grateful to him for that,” Sachduv says.
Third, Sachduv inherited his father’s virtues.
“Being a Sikh is not just about how you look,” Sachduv says. “It emphasizes on the importance of earning an honest living and sharing your earnings with the needy people. Growing up, I saw my dad and my parents in general, doing exactly that.”
Nowadays, Sachduv cherishes the handful of days he gets to spend with his parents every year.
“Every time I get a chance to buy them something, I feel really nice,” Sachduv says. “Every moment like that is my favorite moment I’d say.”
Written by Geronimo Perez.