I had already decided. I stood looking out the window at the city, saying farewell. You know the scene; you’ve seen it in movies: the skyscrapers and brownstones, the neatly laid out grid of streets and green spaces. Maybe I loved it so much because it was so dierent from where I grew up in a town in India, yet so like Hyderabad, where I lived as a teenager. Or maybe what I loved most was the people from dozens of countries—places like Japan, China, Russia, Germany, France, England, the Dominican Republic, Spain, South Africa, Nigeria, Brazil, Nepal, Indonesia, and, yes, India—mingling on the streets, like the complex aroma of my mother’s biryani—garlic and chili, cardamom and cumin, cinnamon. ere were smells from all around the world, too: sauerkraut from the Jewish deli nearly overwhelming the peppery scent of kimchi from the Korean barbeque restaurant next door; the delicate aroma of Chinese happy family blending with herbes de Provence, and, of course, Indian curry with its pungent, slightly bitter smell of turmeric.
I had a successful career as a pharmaceutical scientist; that’s what drew me to New York, to study at St. John’s University. Success in a good job, living in a city I loved—so why was I moving to Texas? How did I become the founder and CEO of a successful US commercial real estate company?
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