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Balu Swami (USA)


Growing up, Emma’s world was confined to her neighborhood, a ten block area 30 miles northwest of the city center. The neighborhood had everything: bank, grocery store, butcher shop, barber shop, nail salon. It even had a restaurant, usually not a permissible use in a residential zone. People came from afar to this nameless restaurant to taste Mama Elena’s meatballs. It was a must-stop on every Italian tour company’s itinerary. Also the houses of Mrs. Caruso and Mrs. Romano whose home made pasta had become famous first nationally and then internationally in the world of gastro tourism. Emma (nee Emmanuelle) didn’t leave this world until she started high school. Emma’s father was a cop in the local precinct. He gave her two pieces of advice when she was about 12 or 13: Stay away from the goombahs in the neighborhood and study hard and become an engineer. The first advice…