Guide at a Glance
Jammu and Kashmir, India
Car Tour, Heritage-History Tour, Sightseeing
I love being a guide because I love meeting people and creating lifetime memories for travelers from around the world. I am proud to say I learned my skills from the school of life and hard work. I started out at the ground level and have worked my way up to owning my own business.My family has been in the tourism industry for the past 50 years, with my grandparents starting the tradition running a small houseboat rental business. Due to the conflict in north India Kashmir around 1989 half of the people in the tourism industry for that area experienced great financial difficulty, our family included.
In 1992 my brother and I left for Delhi to search for work. Being 16 years old and inexperienced I was not successful. Homesick and dejected all I wanted to do was go back home but I did not have the money for the trip. Sitting in the park at raj Ghats, my life changed when a French tourist sat next to me and struck up a conversation. In our broken English we were able to understand each other enough to connect, he invited me to dinner and listened to my story. He told me he would like to visit Kashmir, because of the conflict I tried my best to dissuade him. He would not be swayed though and after buying tickets for himself and me, we set off on our adventure. He spent 3 days in Kashmir with me and my family. I took him to the floating gardens and other sights. He enjoyed his time there greatly. After seeing our family situation he gifted us with 10000 Rs, which was enough money for my family to live on for 2 months. He also suggested I take every opportunity to improve my English and meet tourists and guide them around my beautiful home region.
Taking his advice, I started meeting tourists many places such as markets, gardens, temples and even just on the street. Expecting only to improve my English, I was pleasantly surprised when they offered to pay for my meals and many generous tips. Meeting people from many countries, learning their culture and travel needs for a few years. One of the tour companies offered me a referral fee, which I gratefully accepted. However, I quickly realized that if I referred a traveler, I wanted to ensure they had the best experience possible and ended up giving most of the tours myself. I stayed with this company for two years building a lot of goodwill within the industry, and increasing revenues greatly for them. At that point I decided, I would chase my dream and open my own tour company.
I was once asked “Do you want to be a multimillionaire? “ I replied, ‘Yes ,not in money, but in friendship and life experience. What you don’t realize is I am already a multimillionaire as I have friends around the world. My hope is that they sometimes remember the good times we spent together.”