Dubai: Have you seen the green oasis inside the India Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai in person or on the social media when Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted its photos?
The ground floor of the pavilion, which tells the story of new age India’s space legacy on one side, depicts the story of country’s age-old legacy in yoga and Ayurveda on the other side.
Now, two Indian expatriate women in the UAE are celebrating their achievement in setting up the perfect background for the section showcasing the traditional practices of yoga, meditation and Ayurveda.
They arranged the lush green medicinal plants and herbs from India, inside and outside a geodesic dome, dotted with white statues showing different yoga and meditation poses. The medicinal plants, many kept in hanging terrariums, have barcodes and digital screens that reveal details of each of them.
Neha Gandhi and Shubhi Biju, founders of Dekur Dubai, who did the Ayush project for India Pavilion, are no ordinary landscape artists. They have an inspirational story of entrepreneurship clubbed with their passion.
Both of them quit their well-paid corporate jobs to float a company offering sustainable, nature-friendly decorative solutions for homes and companies.
Originally from Delhi and Madhya Pradesh, they became friends in Dubai once their sons became inseparable pre-school mates, they told Gulf News.
“We followed suit. Over lots of play dates and walks at our local park, we discovered we had a common passion for design, decor and all things green,” said Shubhi.
Why they left their corporate jobs
Neha was working for one of the biggest electronics companies and heading its corporate communications while Shubhi was at a technology major as a successful sales territory manager.
While it was a good run, Neha said they looked at where they wanted to be in 10 years and decided to pursue their passion and build a successful company of their own.
While people were losing jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic, they said they felt it was the perfect time to start as “what we were offering actually coincided with what everyone realised they needed as part of their home décor while staying home during the pandemic.”
“It was during the lockdown that everyone missed being outdoors. It was when we laid down the vision for Dekur, which means décor in Arabic,” explained Neha.
“Our uniqueness is that we make homes beautiful by bringing nature inside and making it an integral part of the decor. Whether people live in a villa or an apartment, we offer a solution for nature-inspired decor needs.”
Shubhi said they were greatly encouraged when a few of their close friends who put their faith in them for the first few projects. “Since then, there has been no looking back.”
In just a year, they said, they got experience in executing big and small projects in almost every housing community in Dubai.
“In terms of the scale and visibility, our section at the India Pavilion has been our biggest achievement. It is also close to our heart because as Indians we are very proud to showcase India on such a global platform,” said Neha.
Thrilled with Expo opportunity
The expat women said they were thrilled when they were given the concept of portraying yoga and Ayurveda.
“These are India’s incredible gifts to the world. We are happy that we have been able to capture the essence of the theme in its true form in an aesthetically appealing way,” said Shubhi.
They said they were brought on board the project in April and began the process of planning and procurement soon after.
“We sought out people with the right skill set to work on ground. We worked with local artisans to create the water features and the natural look of the exhibits. The actual execution started in August and we were able to deliver in time for the inauguration. Most of the materials were sourced from India. At any given point in time we had a dedicated team of 15 to 20 people putting the pieces together, sometime working overtime to meet tight deadlines.”
Neha said extra care is given to the real medicinal plants. “It is a challenge to keep them fresh.”
The women said they have been on cloud nine after seeing their project getting showcased on a global platform.
“It is a very proud moment for us as Indians. The biggest recognition and appreciation we felt was when Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi featured in our work in his tweet about the pavilion. We are overwhelmed to see the positive response from those who have visited the India Pavilion.”
The women said they are thankful to this wonderful city they call home for having given them the opportunity to pursue their dreams.