(For context, I acquired the $1.2M of properties alongside my partners and investors. It wasn’t me alone.)

When I bought my first property in 2015, I jumped into the real estate game without any formal education or mentors. I had a burning desire to provide for my family and to apply the knowledge I gathered from months of reading articles, studying forum discussions and attending meetups.

I spent the next 4 years getting a difficult firsthand experience into what it takes to build a portfolio — acquiring properties, doing rehab projects, refinancing, evicting tenants and stabilizing my operation. I worked…


This past Friday, I walked into a bustling opening night at a popup art gallery in Philadelphia. The exhibition featured a group of student artists from Temple University, and despite it being 2020, the energy was on high. For a brief moment I felt out of place — a 30-something man mingling amongst a crowd of people at least 10 years younger — until I reminded myself that I owned the gallery where everything was unfolding.

Launching the “Artist in Residence” program at Tioga Park has been a dream of mine for years. It’s a free community space for artists…


A delivery combo from Kolkata Chai Co.

Prior to co-founding Kolkata Chai Co with my brother, my relationship with food had been largely transactional. I could appreciate the nuances of a good meal when I found myself at one, but the demands of my schedule forced me to see food as a purely practical. I ate so I could physically sustain myself until my next meeting. It was only after being around a food business did I realize the carnal, biological and euphoric effects that food has on people. No material possession, no Ferrari or Birkin bag, can illicit the same level of satisfaction as consuming the…


(I wrote Part I right as NYC was shutting down due to Covid-19. You can read that here.)

Growing up as a first-generation immigrant in America, you’re often surrounded by a sense of uneasiness that things could go tragically wrong at any second. It could be an unforeseen immigration issue, a parent losing their job or the sudden death of a family member back home. It’s like a low, indefatigable hum that you learn to live with.

That being said, through these experiences you learn to be resourceful and are ready to face anything. After going through everything we did…


As a kid, I remember libraries and bookstores representing a sense of infinite possibility. I still get a rush when I walk into one today. Books have played an instrumental role in my development as a creative, entrepreneur, business owner and lifelong learner by forcing me to reimagine what I previously believed to be possible.

This series will catalog the books that have moved me more than others and I hope they provide you with the push you’re looking for. I’ve stayed away from the typical business/self-awareness books that many of us are used to hearing about. These are in…


Imagine putting your entire financial future on the line as first-gen immigrant kids to build something you really believed in. Imagine putting your blood, sweat and dollars into creating a space for your community to come together. Now, imagine hitting all right notes and opening to 750+ people on Opening Night and building a place for the entire diasporic community in New York City to coalesce around.


Photo credit: Tahmid Chowdhury

Last week, I sat down with Waqas Ali, the co-founder of Atoms, at their pop-up store in Soho. For the uninitiated, Atoms is a sneaker company that stormed onto the scene last year with a sneaker (the 000) that was full of user friendly elements such as quarter sizing, copper-lined soles to prevent bacteria and “tie once” shoelaces. As a lifelong sneakerhead, my interest was piqued when Atoms reached out to us at Kolkata Chai for a collaboration and we’ve been building with them on different projects since.

I was excited to sit down with Waqas because of my interest…


Since my early days on social media (I’m a proud ’09 Twitter inductee), I’ve always seen it as a tool. A tool to connect with people to further my creative, business and educational endeavors. Fast forward a decade to the frenzied pace of social in ’19, and I haven’t strayed from this motto. I’ve never let the medium dictate my life — it’s merely my sidekick to document my experiences as an agency owner, real estate investor, artist manager and more. Notice I used “document. I’ve never felt the need to create content — I merely use it to capture…


They say “if it doesn’t scare you, you’re not dreaming big enough.” Well, I’m shitting my pants right now and am hoping there’s a cute motivational quote to help for that.

It’s the first week of August and Ayan (my brother and business partner) and I are 4 weeks behind on our construction timeline for the build out of the Kolkata Chai cafe in NYC. We just learned our contractor built an entire wall where the architectural plans didn’t call for one, but more on him later.

When Ayan and I launched Kolkata Chai Co in the winter of 2018…


Must be that pesky algorithm again.

Let’s face it, the digital marketing gold rush is over as we know it. The days of generating 18x ROI from your carefully curated Facebook ad set is a thing of the past and we are living in the new reality of digital advertising.

Some want to blame Russian political operatives for upending our most dependable social network and its ad platform. Others blame the ever elusive “algorithm” for changing without justification or notice. However, these are just pieces of the problematic pie.

If you need to blame someone, blame marketers. That’s because marketers have an innate ability to ruin…

Ani Sanyal (GRC)

The oldest son of an immigrant. | CEO @ Green Room Creative. Investor, hustler, speaker. Connect: @anihustles

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