(The façade of Locwood Court, Tin Shui Wai where Gaurav Pardeshi now lives with his wife and one-year-old son. Photo by Hongyu Wang)
In the densely populated Hung Hom industrial area of the Kowloon Peninsula there stands a two-block and back-to-back industrial building whose façade is engrossed almost entirely by wooden and steel scaffoldings that are apparently preparing for the building’s thorough revamp. It is Eldex Industrial Building and on the rooftop of Block B there situates an added structure seemingly not an integral part of the original construction. Inside is a roundabout corridor with individual office rooms on both sides. One of them is the operating centre of A-Desiflava Private Ltd, founded by a Mumbai-born who settled in Hong Kong in March 2010.
Born into a middle class family of Mumbai-native father and Gujarat-raised mother in January 1983, Gaurav Pardeshi went to an English-medium Catholic convent school. Native in Hindi and speaks Marathi and English, Mr Pardeshi has been all across India for pleasure and business. Graduated from University of Mumbai in 2004 with a diploma and bachelor’s degree in instrumentation engineering, Mr Pardeshi found works as a customer service executive at Dell Computer’s Mumbai office but soon left the country for the UK to pursue his MBA and engineering management master’s degree in London between 2006 and 2008. Whilst studying in London Mr Pardeshi worked as a part-time waiter at an Indian restaurant and did freelance computer repairing work thanks to the knowledge he gained from his earlier days at Dell. It was also during this time that Mr Pardeshi applied to a pilot training school in Florida, USA and almost made it when his medical examination showed slight colour weakness of him not being able to differentiate green, yellow and red. Went back to India upon graduating again, worked on a marketing job and constantly thought about his destiny, Mr Pardeshi got married in 2009 and moved to Hong Kong in March 2010 to work for an air conditioner and cooling device trading company as a marketing manager. That made Hong Kong his new home ever since.
Mr Pardeshi’s first two years in Hong Kong was a time of adventure and discovery when he lived in Discovery Bay, Lantau Island. Whilst living there Mr Pardeshi took notice that there were specialised magazines only targeting to Discovery Bay residents and asked in disbelief and also in motivation as to “Why not create a common platform for Indian residents?” and “Which magazine in Hong Kong is available for lower-to-middle income people?” In October 2011, whilst still working on the job, the first issue of magazine A-Desiflava, or “a south Asian flavour”, is published as a quarterly print and soon Mr Pardeshi would be a full-time entrepreneur and mediaman for the now bimonthly A-Desiflava. Also in the same year, Mr Pardeshi’s wife joined him in Hong Kong on a dependent visa.
The next year Mr Pardeshi’s wife formed a sole proprietorship business under the nascent magazine’s name and the couple, with Mr Pardeshi now left his job, opened an office at Eldex Industrial Building and stayed there for a year. It was the same location as Mr Pardeshi’s current office, though it was twice as large back then. In 2013 the couple started an Aamchi Mumbai restaurant in Lyton Building, Tsim Sha Tsui under the sole proprietorship and relocated office to a row of backdoor desks at the restaurant which would be Mr Pardeshi’s office for the next three years. In 2014 A-Desiflava was successfully incorporated as a limited company.
It was in 2015 when A-Desiflava saw its business portfolio’s expansion, a time when Mr Pardeshi spotted a mini-screen projector at an industrial exhibition. Soon after the new discovery he was inspired to record a commercial video and posted it onto YouTube. In this way Mr Pardeshi was able to establish a mobile phone and electronic device trading route from China to Hong Kong to Bolivia and Dubai with himself as the middleman. In July 2016, on the brink of mental collapse as the noise of restaurant had made him increasingly unable to concentrate, Mr Pardeshi moved back to Eldex Industrial Building to the same office he used to stay between 2012 and 2013 when A-Desiflava was still a sole proprietorship, although the office space is only half of what it used to be.
In just a few months Mr Pardeshi, who has always been on employment visa as his business is not qualified for an investment visa in Hong Kong, will be eligible for permanent residency. It is at his home, now in Locwood Court in Tin Shui Wai, after him having lived in To Kwa Wan and Tsim Sha Tsui since the initial Discovery Bay dwelling, that Mr Pardeshi revealed his emotional aspiration and commitment to a new life in Hong Kong, “My wife is my support and she has always stood beside me. We both are working extremely hard to do a successful business in Hong Kong which can remain a legacy for our child Aadyansh 'Aadi'. Without any family support and funding back in India we have substantially achieved a lot and will keep on fighting till the time that we will reach the peak of being the most successful and prominent business in Hong Kong.” Mr Pardeshi then added that, “He [Aadi] is the only reason why we are working so hard. He means everything to us.”
Aadi was born on 2 June 2015 at Queen Elizabeth Hospital. He is now over one year old.