Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Believe it or not!

A week back, I took the much awaited break and headed of to the hills. A must see list, researched placed to eat et all!
One of the most beautiful places and a hidden paradise on earth is Sikkim.... truly.. Gorgeous landscapes, impeccably clean, mouth watering food and the works. The east Himalayan snow clad mountains stood majestically around. Truly, breath taking!
I can go on doing a traveller's review but want to narrate a specific incident to you ... One of the must see places on our list was Tsomgo lake (changu lake) - lake at an altitude of about 12,000 feet, road to which is narrow and long winding. Now, to get there one needs a permit from the government as it's an army area. The permit needs to be applied for a day in advance with one's photos and a copy of one's ID cards.
Having done my research well, I booked a cabbie the day before from a taxi stand near the hotel to ensure we get the permit on time. One of the local cab drivers convinced me that he will apply for the permit and surely take us the next day. He also organized our local sightseeing. We handed him a token advance and agreed on a 8 am timeline for the next day.
Super excited, we were all ready and waiting from 745 am!! 8 am came and went. 815 - we walked up to the taxi stand and looked for the guy. He was nowhere to be seen. Another cab driver came up to us who we had seen yesterday and tried calling the guy who we had confirmed. His phone was switched off. It did not take too much to figure out what had happened. The permit window closed at 930 am and we were atleast 30 minutes from Gangtok. The hotel had no cars left and could not help us. We were mighty disappointed and spoke of Indian tourism and how badly tourists were treated.. so much for Atithi Devo Bhava( guests are God!)".
We saw the cab driver who had called for us approaching us. He said he can't allow his taxi stand's name to be spoilt and the act of the one guy reflects badly on the entire stand. He said he will take us. He tied up with a travel agency there who agreed to stand near the permit window till we reached. He whisked us into a cab, got out ids photo copied. He kept saying what the other guy did was not right and that customers are key and integral to what they do.
As you may have guessed correctly, we reached safetly. He ran around for the permit. Got the permit and he took no money. We only paid the travel agent who took us to the lake the same amount which was agreed with the other guy the day before.
His name incidentally was karma!
I will never forget Karma. He made our visit memorable. Tsomgo lake was snow laden and beautiful but that's for another day!
The story brings home the point in a core belief- customers determine our success. Karma did not need to do what he did but for him customers were what determined the success of his taxi stand. I will always refer his name to others who visit and I am thinking of doing a write up for the India tourism site and a good story for "Atithi Devo Bhava" .
There are so many stories around us on beliefs- personal or professional .. Do share them..
To me this belief was best explained , lived and experienced through the incident.

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