Calcutta Woman Who Fled Marriage at 17 Returns Home as Millionaire from US

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By IBTimes Staff Reporter | February 2, 2013 12:10 AM EST

A woman from Calcutta, who fled home unable to withstand the pressure to get married at the age of 17, returned back as a millionaire after three decades.

Chanda Zaveri left home for the US where she studied and achieved a master's degree in molecular biology. She also has in her credit two-time Nobel winner Linus Pauling as her mentor.

Chanda, now 49, with the help of a foreign couple she had meet on Park Street, decided to go to the US instead of giving in to her parents' wish to have her married off.

Narrating her inspirational story to The Telegraph, she said, "I come from a conservative joint Marwari family living in Kankurgachhi. I did my schooling at Balika Shiksha Sadan on Vivekananda Road and I was very young when I completed school, only 14."

"Then I went to City College, where I majored in biology. Marwaris then wanted their girls to get married soon and not go to college. But I was very influenced by the culture of education in Bengal; so I wanted to study."

Chanda went on to say, "My parents arranged my wedding and I ran away! I had no money, just a pair of diamond earrings. I sold it, got myself tickets on British Airways and landed in Boston."

Initially, Chanda worked as a maid before getting a study sponsorship from her employer.

She then joined California institute of Technology where she did her research under Linus Pauling.

Back home Chanda's family was criticized and mocked by society since she ran away. But today she is an inspiration to her community, being the CEO of  Activor Corp, a skincare products company now known as Actiogen based in Los Angeles. A formula developed by her is also used by the Calcutta based company, Emami, in their cosmetic products.

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