Businessman Rajendra Sablok made the best deal of his life when he moved his family and entrepreneurial spirit to Victoria.
After succeeding in several businesses in India, including in real estate and exporting, Rajendra made a short business trip to several Australian states in 2002. He was most impressed by Victoria and its capital Melbourne.
‘I liked the combination of lifestyle and business advantages, the climate was very similar to home and I thought everybody in the family could do very well here,’ he said.
While his family enjoyed a comfortable and settled life in Pune, one of India’s largest and most prosperous cities, Rajendra was restless to try more. The following year he returned to Victoria on a 457 Independent Executive visa with his wife, Sabina, their daughters, Ritika (then aged 18), Gitika (then aged 15), Simran (then aged 12) and baby son, Krrish, who was just 40 days old.
The family initially rented a home in the suburb of Heidelberg, near the only friend they knew. The first year was busy as everyone adapted to their new lifestyle and routine.
Sabina was accustomed to help from a cook and others to manage her lively and busy household in India, but in Melbourne took all these roles on herself.
Rajendra was re-establishing his export business in Melbourne and the girls were settling into new schools. Also, baby Krrish required an operation to correct club feet so there were visits to medical specialists and surgery at Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital.
‘There were some challenging days which is to be expected, but we moved past them and became very close as a family during this time,’ Sabina said.
Victoria’s welcoming and relaxed people made the family’s transition to their new life easier. They never felt out of place, as Victorians come from more than 200 countries, speak more than 230 languages and dialects and follow more than 120 religious faiths. Indians are the fastest growing migrant group in Victoria.
‘You walk with the world in Victoria’, Rajendra said. ‘There are many different cultures and traditions, from Indian people to Greeks and Italians.’
The Sablok family has moved across town and up since migrating. They now live in a brand new exclusive apartment complex in Port Melbourne, one of the city’s most coveted bayside suburbs.
Their family-sized apartment offers picturesque views of Port Phillip Bay on one side and the city’s impressive skyline on the other. Some of Melbourne’s best bayside and garden parks are nearby and the family enjoys a sophisticated café, restaurant and entertainment scene and boutique shopping at their doorstep.
It’s just 5km or short tram ride to the city centre and neighbouring suburbs include St Kilda, famous for its dining and entertainment as well as Middle Park, a sophisticated suburb with gracious terrace houses and historic parklands. There’s also a Hare Krishna temple nearby where the Sablok family worships.
Rajendra has continued his business success in Victoria. His company, VED Imports & Exports is thriving as Rajendra finds new opportunities and markets around the world.
After transferring his sunglasses export business to Victoria, Rajendra has expanded his markets as his relationships with Victorian enterprises have grown. He now also exports unsorted nappies from Melbourne manufacturers to India and other places including Egypt, South Africa and Beirut.
‘Melbourne is easy for business,’ said Rajendra. ‘I found my markets on the Internet and after building my trust with them I manage everything very efficiently from here.’
Rajendra has also introduced Indian friends who are real estate investors to Melbourne and they are pursuing large residential tower projects as the city’s population booms.
The Sabloks retain their strong family and cultural links but they consider themselves Australians now. They became Permanent Residents in 2009.
‘The children are very adapted to life here but we still have the culture and tradition in the home and our family values have not changed,’ Sablok said. ‘The shared British history of India and Australia also means the wider society values are very similar.’
Every member of the Sablok family has flourished. Eldest daughter, Ritika (now 25) recently married an Indian-born Australian and Gitika (now 22) is studying for her PHD on a scholarship and working for a large company. Youngest daughter Simran (now 18) is studying a business degree and young son; Krrish (now 6) is thriving at his local government primary school.
The family enjoys a beachside lifestyle with all the city benefits. Sabina and her daughters love shopping and are spoiled for choice in Melbourne, Australia’s retail, fashion and design capital.
Victoria is also the major events capital, home to the Australia Formula 1 Grand Prix (held just down the road from the Sablok’s apartment) as well as the Australian Tennis Open, the Spring Racing Carnival and major international sporting matches. Sablok often enjoys the privileges of the Members Area of the famous Melbourne Cricket Ground while watching India and Australia play.
Victoria’s development over the last decade and its economic diversity and growth continue to impress him.
‘Melbourne, to me, is the most sophisticated city in Australia for its culture and business life and it has efficient services and infrastructure,’ he said. ‘We are very happy here and have provided our daughters with a terrific start. Life continues to move along and we feel very secure in our lives here.’