I was leading a trip in Bhutan last week. One of the days, Krishna, Abhay and I were sharing a room.
Krishna, just 20 years old, had earlier come with me to Meghalaya in April. But just like many trippers in the past who return for their second trip, without even me asking him, he would help me out daily with all tasks unconditionally. It would make me smile and also feel very grateful that someone who had paid money to come on a trip, someone who could easily just enjoy himself and do his own thing, would go out of his way to help me. So did Abhay, every day, every task, unconditionally.
One of the days, Krishna, Abhay and I were sharing a room. I had just stepped in after a very long day and went for a quick shower. When I finished, we were to head for dinner with the rest of the trippers. Just as I was about to wear the room slippers, Krishna took off his Tommy Hilfiger slippers, and said “Bhai aap yeh pehen lo, I’ll wear the room slippers”. I looked at him, amused and slightly surprised and said “Chill hai, these room slippers fit me, I’ll wear these”. Without batting an eyelid, he said “Bhai, aap mere trip leader ho. I want you to wear the better ones. I’ll wear the room slippers.”
I have never really cared about brands or materials. But his deep sense of respect for me really silenced me then and melted my heart. A couple of months back, I was in Meghalaya and we were playing Dark Room, and Vibhor and I were hiding in a cupboard. To avoid being caught, I asked Vibhor to wear my cap, to confuse the denner in the dark. Vibhor just shook his head and said “No one else can wear that cap except for you Bhai. I just can’t”. It shook me when he said that and I can’t forget the emotion with which he said it.
When people ask me what is it you want to achieve with this brand, why don’t you hire a lot of trip leaders and expand and earn much more, I dont have many answers. I don’t want to just become another corporate business or a machine who’s aim is to just churn numbers and money.
But if there is something I feel very overwhelmed about, it is these small gestures that touch my heart enormously. Krishna, these seven days, our friendship has strengthened so much. Thank you for coming and for everything you have done, from the bottom of my heart.
P.s That night, we found another pair of room slippers and all three of us went for dinner in that. Abhay, me and Krishna.
Tommy Hilfiger has done a million things right with their brand. But that day, human emotions won and so did some ordinary room slippers.