Like every young girl, Deepa Balepur had dreams of what her life would become when she grew up, and becoming a partner in a successful commercial real estate company in Lancaster County, PA, was definitely not one of her visions of adulthood. One of the major reasons why she didn’t envision a life in Lancaster is that she grew up in Mumbai, India, which is a long way from Pennsylvania Dutch Country. “Mumbai is the Manhattan of India. It’s vibrant and it’s expensive.”
Mumbai is India’s biggest city, and it’s hot and rainy, so growing up in a place where the all-time low temperature is 45 meant that she had some adjusting to do when she landed in the USA. Upon her arrival at the University of Maryland, she had never experienced cold. “We had a lot of international students, and when it snowed in December, some of them didn’t show up for class. The people in charge had to tell them that snow happens and they still have to get to campus.”
In India, Deepa was born into comfortable circumstances, but they didn’t last. “My father was in the film financing industry. He worked on Mother India, which was the Indian equivalent of The Godfather. He was doing very well, but then he lost almost everything, and we went from being affluent to very modest means.
“I’m an only child, and in my childhood, I learned the value of hard work.” She also learned 3 languages. “Hindi is the official language. English is a primary language, and I learned a regional language called Marathi. I did well in school, and in Indian schools, your grades dictate your life. Those with the top grades went into the sciences, and lower grades went into the arts. Even in the sciences, there are tiers. The top students go to medical school, the next group to dental school, and the others to pharmacy. I could have gone to dental school, but I didn’t like that, so I chose pharmacy.
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