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From Mumbai to Dubai in 1976

DUBAI — He came to the UAE at the begining of the oil boom. When he flew from Mumbai in 1976, he had only heard that somewhere in the Gulf near Iran, there is a Shaikhdom called Dubai. Thirty years later, he has embraced the UAE as his second home.

Sunil Bhatia, the Managing Director of E4 Entertainers and organiser of the India pavilion at the Global Village, has become a well-known name among nationals as well as expatriates. He was growing parallel to the growth of this country. He became a well-known entrepreneur in event management. By grabbing two awards for the India pavilion as the best pavilion in the Global Village he proved himself as one of the best event organiser in the country.

“When I flew to Dubai I had no idea where I was going. One of my friends told me about Dubai. I joined a company as foreman for a salary of Dh1,000,” said Bhatia. “Then, I joined a company as a manager. I used to work with social organisations also. For about 20 years, I was serving in different positions in the Dubai Indian Association. When the Indian Association started the India pavilion at the Global Village, I played a major role to organise it. Later, I took over the organising of the pavilion myself,” he said. “When I arrived in Dubai, it was a small city. There were no highrise buildings. The roads were very small and power used to be disrupted several times. But a lot of activities were going on after the discovery of oil. I think the vision of late ruler Shaikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum is the secret of Dubai’s transformation from a desert land to the world’s most talked about city,” he said.

He recalled that at that time, Shaikh Rashid used to visit each part of the city and was making development plans. “When Shaikh Rashid announced the Jebel Ali port project, everybody had doubts about its success. People were pointing out that Jebel Ali is far away from the city and it would be a bad decision. But time has given the answer that his vision was correct,” he said. “Actually, Dubai observed the real boom after the Gulf war in 1992. It was an unbelievable growth. Look at this city now. It is well-made and well-planned,” he added.

He pointed out that the growth of the city has changed the lifestyle and attitude of the nationals. “People were very simple and closer to their culture. Still, the people are nice, but the pace of life is different now. Nobody has the time now for anything,” he said. “Life in Dubai has become very hectic. Now, traffic jams and hikes in house rents are the main problems people face. Earlier, life was much easier,” he said.

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