Young Indian achievers in the UAE
Expats share their inspiring journey and some of their fondest memories of Independence Day
Ravisha and Sneha Bhatia
Who: Founders of Sugaholic Bakeshop
Sisters Ravisha and Sneha Bhatia started Sugaholic in 2010 by hosting a small bake sale where they raised money for the education of underprivileged children in India. The shop, located in Karama, has become synonymous with celebrations and their delicious designs are a big hit in the city! Today, the soft-spoken Sneha takes care of the marketing whereas the vivacious Ravisha is more involved with the kitchen and comes up with new recipes and trains designers. Among their many achievements, Sugaholic has previously won the popular choice award during the Cake Boss competition in Abu Dhabi, and also hold the Guinness world record for the tallest cupcake tower! "We both were brought down to the UAE when we were two months old and are grateful for the opportunity the country has provided us to make our dreams a reality," they say. "The bakeshop designs a lot of cakes and cupcakes for Independence Day. We celebrate the day with fellow Indians by singing the national anthem and watching the parade on the TV with our family."
Who: Fashion designer and founder, Aakarshan by Aanchal Jaggi
Known to dress up Bollywood celebrities such as Zarine Khan, the charismatic Jaggi started her label in 2012 after graduating with a B.A. degree in Fashion Design & Pattern Drafting from ESMOD French Fashion University, Dubai. Her vision was to introduce a contemporary twist to traditional ethnic designs in the UAE. She uses feminine fabrics with intricate hand embroidery to give the feel of rich Indian aesthetic along with a quirky and modern approach. She says, "My family moved to the UAE when I was just two-years-old and being a fashion designer has been my dream since I was in school. My background as an artist inspires me in terms of colours and attention to intricate details. One of my biggest achievements has been my participation at the Bangalore Fashion Week, where I received a lot of appreciation for my collection. I am so proud to be an Indian representing the country. The UAE has given me a path to follow my dreams, have a brand of my own and the people here have been supportive. There's nothing more that I could ask for."
Who: Owner, SpiceKlub Dubai and Quattro Ristorante Dubai
Molecular gastronomy has captured the senses of UAE residents and the names SpiceKlub and Quattro are at the top of the list of foodies looking for a unique dining experience. In the summer of 2015, Bhojwani came across these brands, which are well-known restaurants in Mumbai. They caught his and his partner Mayur's attention and the duo got into franchise talks to bring these names to the UAE. SpiceKlub serves Modern Indian cuisine, while Quattro offers progressive Italian and Mexican fare. He shares, "I was born and brought up in the UAE, so to me, this is nothing but home! I think the way Dubai has transformed over the years, from when we were young to now, that's something that's been mind-blowing to live through! Back in school, my friends and I made it a point to celebrate India's Independence Day by getting together for a desi lunch and would dress up in ethnic wear. The 70th Independence Day is a huge milestone for India and is a day to remember about all the further heights Indians all across the world have to conquer."
Who: Managing Partner, ICGP Management Consultancy
Gokaldas is a 'Wall Street guy' who shifted base from New York to Dubai in 2015. He is a trader and analyst who has developed algorithms that allowed him to predict market movements. "I became highly proficient in trading Gold and Silver futures, eventually launching my own investment fund to do that," he says. "I'm proud of some of the milestones my partner and I have accomplished as a company such as relocating operations to Dubai. We successfully developed a trading algorithm that uses social media data from Twitter and Google Trends to predict changes in Gold prices." Gokaldas feels that today India has evolved into a real power player on the world stage. "No country is without its challenges, but Indians at home and abroad share a collective spirit of love and ambition that makes people of other nations and cultures respect us. India's Independence Day for me is really a celebration of diversity. My memories of Independence Day go back to my childhood days growing up in Ghana where I used to wave the Indian flag at the Embassy in Accra. This year I will be celebrating Independence Day in London with family, over a feast of dosas, sambar and idlis!" he adds.
Who: Vlogger and Content Creator, Dubai In A Frame
A genius behind the camera, Dembla is one of the city's first video bloggers (vloggers). She says that after taking a sabbatical after graduating, she found her interest in the field of mass media, specifically Video Reporting. Dembla says, "I feel I still have so much more to achieve in the blogging arena. But one thing that I am really proud of is giving speeches at various Universities about vlogging and teaming up with other famous vloggers to talk about the field and its future." Dubai has been her home since she was two-years-old and some of her fondest memories here are visiting the children's park with her family, when there was just one park in Dubai! When asked about her thoughts on India's Independence Day, she says, "I do miss the celebratory atmosphere in India, that we had the good fortune of witnessing, thanks to our summer holidays, when we used to go 'back home' to spend July/August in India; customary with most Indian families in the UAE. From the patriotic flag displays to the road parades on the streets of Mumbai, it's all in the sub-consciousness."
Nimit Deepak Palija
Who: General Manager, Geekay Group MEA
Born and brought up in the UAE, Palija's family is behind the Geekay Group that specialises in video games. He joined the business after graduating in 2012 and shares the wisdom he received during the early days of his journey. "My brother advised me that in order to become the master of the trade, I should start from the bottom and climb my way to the top. I took his advice and I started of as a sales executive and went on to become the General Manager in April 2014. Knowing about the business from the top to the bottom made me confident about the decisions I need to make on a daily basis." He has been a part of the Group's numerous achievements such as being awarded the best gaming retailer three years in a row and the launch of Geek Nation in 2015, which is a superhero and pop culture store. "I take pride in saying that I am from Dubai, it is home for me. But at the same time, as an Indian, I am very happy to see the progress India has made in 70 years. I love to see the celebrations that happen at the Red Fort every year. I also enjoy watching patriotic movies on the day," he adds.
Words and styled by: Deepa Narwani - firstname.lastname@example.org
Photos: Juidin Bernarrd - email@example.com
Location: SpiceKlub Dubai