When I first saw Mahmoud Rana (just call me Joe) walking on Lookout Mountain Road, I anticipated that I would get a personal account that I would have to stretch a bit to understand. The first half answer was yes. The second half answer- not nearly so much.
When India and Pakistan split in August 1947, The Muslim and non-Muslim cultures divided geographically displacing 10-20 million people. Mahmoud and his family had to leave their home surreptitiously in the middle of a rainy night. For four months they traveled over 150 miles by foot at night and hid in the daytime. They scavenged food where they could, not sure where the next scrap of nourishment would come from. Eventually in the safer border of predominantly Muslim Pakistan, they gained a subsistence existence through agriculture in Lahore.
Later, by gaining some experience from the mining of chromium and coal, Mahmoud managed to move to Canada where he achieved a bachelor’s degree in 1963, a doctorate in 1965 and worked as an assistant professor from 1965-1970 at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada.
Then he resigned and got a job at an open pit copper mine in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Somehow he became familiar with two of my next door neighbors, Ray Bisque and George Rouse. Along with Doug Stevens, the two had formed a company called Earth Sciences. So, Mahmoud ended up in Colorado in an attempt to become “obscure”. Small world, eh?
From there, he worked with 45-47 American Indian tribes doing feasibility studies for mining, oil and gas on tribal lands. He then opened a gift shop at DIA (1996-2015) and, according to him, began “lallygagging”.
Now he walks up Lookout Mountain and responds to neighbors who call him “Joe” and chats comfortably with any interviewer who curiously asks about his interesting backstory.