NRI Voice: Revving Up the Glamour Quotient in Dubai
Bijal Soni, a fashion blogger and public relations professional, has seen Dubai transform from a desert to a cosmopolitan city.
Dubai-based Bijal Soni is known as one of the hottest bloggers in the city. She works for a fashion e-commerce company and also runs her own blog, which is dedicated to her love of fashion.
A third-generation ethnic Indian living in the United Arab Emirates, Soni spoke to Little India about her life and work involving the world of glamor.
Dubai is Home
I was born and raised in Dubai – this city has always been my first home, as it was for my parents and my grandparents. My grandfather came to Dubai in 1964 when water used to be transported via donkeys.
I have seen Dubai change from a desert to the cosmopolitan city it is today and I feel deeply connected to it as I feel like I have been a part of its growth and transformation. I studied at one of the local Indian schools here, which was not a great experience but at that time we didn’t have a lot of options that we have today.
A People Person
I studied public relations (PR) at the University of Southern Queensland, Australia, and joined a PR agency immediately after graduation. I have always been a people person, so it just made natural sense.
I think the reason for my obsession with keeping up with the latest fashion trends is to have the ability to express a part of myself and my personality with clothes. I also love the fact that fashion is in a constant state of evolution. It definitely adds ten-fold to your confidence level when you wear what makes you look best. It helps you carve your unique identity.
Blogger by the Night
Writing my blog myprdiaries is separate from my day job but there are instances when the two complement each other quite well. I manage the PR and Communication at Namshi.com, which is an online fashion and lifestyle e-commerce destination for the GCC countries. A huge part of my day job is to build relationships with the media, influencers and stakeholders.
One of the things that I believe in is staying true to yourself. It’s so easy to get carried away imitating what every blogger does but it’s crucial to carve your own identity because if you don’t believe in what you are talking about, then your followers won’t either.
Growing up Indian
The Indian community is one of the biggest in Dubai. I have had access to Indian food, people, shopping, culture and even Bollywood. I’ve never really felt disconnected from my home country. Even today, my favorite meal is a full-blown thali. I go to India at least once a year, either for shopping or to meet some of my mother’s relatives or if my friends have a Big Fat Indian Wedding.
Spending Time in India
I travel a lot so I have been to places such as Goa, Delhi, Kerala, etc. and have always been amazed at how cultural and warm every city is. I have spent a lot of my time majorly in Mumbai and every time I go, I cannot get enough of the street food, the local bazaars — you discover so much walking down the busy streets.
Some of the things that have resulted in a lot of Indians leaving the country and settling in other parts of the world is the lack of basic infrastructure facilities. Another would be the bureaucratic roadblocks. For example, it takes an amazing number of permits to start even the smallest of businesses. Also, the poverty saddens me every single time and I wish there was more I could do to change even 0.1 per cent of it. My family and I try to sponsor children in orphanages every time we visit India but it’s just not enough.