"I was born two months after my father left India for Canada. He didn't see me until I was 18 years old. I came to this country by ship through Calcutta. We sailed to Rangoon and Singapore, then on to Hong Kong and Japan before coming here. My father didn't know the name of my boat and they put me in quarantine until the next morning, when he found me. We were happy to see each other. However, it was also a sad time as my father told me that my mother died while I was waiting for my ship in Calcutta. My father was good to me. He had mills in Squamish and in 69 Mile House. We worked at the logging camp in Squamish for six months and then moved to Vancouver. My father said we should do as the white people do. He wanted me to get my hair cut before I went into the gurdwara so people would remember me that way. I had it cut 10 days after I came here and have worn a hat ever since."
This interview originally appeared in the Dec/Jan 1997 edition of **Mehfil Magazine.**
Jagir Mahal arrived in Vancouver on December 25, 1924 after a 100-day journey by ship from India. He hauled mulch and sawdust and delivered firewood door-to-door in his lumber truck for the better part of his life before retiring in 1983.