My first salary in the UAE was Dh2,000: Eros CEO

Top Stories

My first salary in the UAE was Dh2,000: Eros CEO
Deepak J. Babani with His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai

Meet Deepak J. Babani who arrived in the UAE in 1978. He has already spend more than 38 years and when asked what stops him from returning, he replied in two words: Job satisfaction.

  • Follow us on
  • google-news
  • whatsapp
  • telegram

Published: Sun 15 May 2016, 12:00 AM

Last updated: Sun 15 May 2016, 8:24 PM

Time plays a big role and sometimes, one hour is more than enough to change someone's life.
It happened with Deepak J. Babani, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Eros Group, more than 38 years ago.
His scheduled meeting with a Mumbai-based dealer delayed for an hour, and in that 60 minutes he managed to get his first UAE job.
Recalling the day, Babani told Khaleej Times: "I was in Dubai travelling to meet a dealer when I read about a walk in interview near the dealer's store. As the dealer was not there and was scheduled to arrive an hour later I decided to visit the recruitment office.

List of favourites
Leaders > His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi are Babani's favourite leaders
Movie > Bollywood film 3 Idiots
Place > Tokyo, Japan
Book > Buffet: The Making of an American Capitalist
"I was interviewed immediately and within two days, I was selected and offered the post of assistant manager for Sony. That's how I got my first job in the UAE, with Jumbo Electronics."
Babani landed in the UAE by air in April 1978 when he was 27 years old.
"I had no big aspirations as it happened quite unexpectedly. The place was new and hence the excitement was very high. I was given a salary of Dh2,000 per month which I spent on settling in and on personal needs," he said.
Talking about surprises and disappointments during the first few weeks, he said: "On my arrival, the initial few days was a cultural shock, but soon got to learn the do's and don'ts of the place. The locals were courteous and most ministries had an open door policy. Given the small size of the city, interaction were easy and many without appointments.
"Life was a bit slow as work was in two shifts - From 8.30am to 1pm and 4pm to 8pm. The afternoon break provided not only relief from the heat but also allowed more interactions. Entertainment options then were limited, with few cinema houses where movies came two to three months after the India release."
"I am happy that I came to the UAE at the right time. Many would say it was the wrong time as the oil boom was over in 1978.
"I had just got married and when my wife joined me, we were staying in Karama, which was then at the far end of Dubai.
"We have seen tough days in Dubai and hence after all that it is quite gratifying today. Though money was important to a great extent, it was work that was more important."
 Success was easy
According to him, during the last three decades the retail landscape has changed a lot from shops to big shopping malls and now community malls.
"In the 80's and 90's almost 80 per cent of what was imported was re-exported. The local market was very small."
He added: "But being a tiny place, it was easy to adapt to the local market and therefore success was easier initially. In the later years you just had to build on your credibility and success.
During his first 12 years in the UAE, Babani always wanted to go back to India and setup business. But, he has already spent more than 38 years and when asked what stopped him from returning, he replied: "Job satisfaction."
"The Dubai market has changed vastly and I have seen many people who could not adapt collapse. If you were able to adapt seamlessly then success was almost guaranteed."
He said that people who come to Dubai today are lucky. Dubai was once considered a hardship place but today is one of the best and happiest places to live.
"This is based on not only my experience here but also from my travels over the past three decades across the world. Dubai has a lot to offer and if you can enjoy all of it if you make enough money. But remember there are no short cuts in life, so work hard and be smart."
Eros Group, is the largest and most respected consumer electronics distributor and retailer in the UAE owned by the Badri Group of Companies.
The group distributes, retails and services a portfolio of world renowned brands, in the UAE and in select markets in the Middle East and North Africa region.
The company partners with twelve global brands which include Samsung, Hitachi, TCL, Linksys, Sonos and one of the leading players in consumer electronics, telecom, and allied multi-products.
(As told to Abdul Basit)

More news from