An Indian mechanic-turned-businessman owns an incredible 22 apartments in the world’s tallest tower, Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, a media report said on Sunday .

The Kerala-born George V Nereaparambil is believed to be one of the largest private owners within Burj Khalifa. His flat-buying spree began when a relative teased him about the 828 m-high building.

b’Source: Facebook/George V Nereaparambil ‘

“A relative of mine jokingly told me: See this Burj Khalifa, you cannot enter it,“ he said. Seeing an advertisement about an apartment for rent in the Burj Khalifa in 2010, Nereaparambil rented it the same day and moved in the very next day.

Now, six years on, with 22 of the 900 apartments at perhaps the Gulf’s poshest address under his belt, he said five were rented, and, the rest “waiting for the right tenant“.

He has no plans of stopping at 22. “If I get a good deal, I’ll buy more. I am a dreamer and I never stop dreaming,“ he told Khaleej Times.

b’Burj Khalifa/Source: AFP’

Nereaparambil’s rags-to-riches story is quite incredible. He realised there was great scope for an air-conditioning business in the hot desert climate after he first touched down in Sharjah in 1976. He then began setting up what is now a mini-empire, the GEO Group of Companies.

Nereaparambil showed a good head for business even when he was just 11, helping his father trade cash crops.

“People in my hometown used to trade cotton, but they would throw away the cotton seeds. Not many knew you could make gum from the seeds,“ he said, adding that he would sift through the dirt for the seeds and often make a “90% profit selling them on”.

“I’d do the same with tamarind seeds. I’d sell the shells on as cattle feed,“ he added.