Working as a stock trader in the North Tower, Manu Dhingra suffered second- and third-degree burns over 40% of his skin surface. Although his body physically healed, his mind did not.
Like many post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) victims, Dhingra felt hopeless, as though life had no meaning. Lost, Dhingra tried to recreate happier memories of shared family meals in India and enrolled in culinary school. The experience not only forced him to look at his scars and skin grafts (something he had been avoiding) but helped him discover a new passion.
Earlier this year, Dhingra started gluttNY, a company that creates pop-up food events in locations around the city -- a literal moveable feast. The first event attracted 50 people.
Dhingra is planning to expand to educational workshops and culinary tours. He expects revenues of $100,000 in his first year.
His entire survivor experience is documented in a film "Ahsa" debuting online on 9/11. Dhingra hopes it helps other trauma survivors understand that there is hope. You "have to keep challenging yourself and moving forward," he said.
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