I have told you in the past two days how a tour guide came to the Ashram and how he thought to give us a part of his commission. In the very beginning I had already mentioned that we are different from regular tour guides and find exactly this difference very important. I would like to take today’s diary to explain you exactly why.
Having read the blog entries of the past two days, I believe you already have an idea. I mentioned that we don’t ask people for tips, on the contrary, we ask them not to hand out tips to our staff. The reason is equality, fairness. We want people to feel good. This holds true for the people who work here as well as for the people who come here for a retreat, a training or a journey! A part of feeling good is that they pay a fair price for what they get and nobody takes any unfair advantage of them. We want to make more than customers, we want to make friends!
We have started offering tours and trips throughout India when friends asked us to. When we were asked by people who know us and who have been to our Ashram to help them with their planning. They were afraid of getting cheated or had made bad experiences before and trusted us to give them correct information and help.
Out of this, we decided to make our offer and it is until this day my own brothers, Yashendu and Purnendu, who go on these journeys. If they are not here, we don’t offer tours because until this date, we have not found a person whom we can trust enough with our guests. Whom we can entrust the trust of our guests. We actually see it as our duty to save our friends from the kind of commission business which the regular tour guides do all the time!
You cannot imagine how many times my brothers have been offered up to 80% commission of products that their non-Indian travel companions buy! We don’t do this! They will stand with you in a shop and, if you want them to, bargain with the shopkeeper so that you get the best price you can! If you ask them whether they believe a thing is worth the mentioned cost, you will get an honest answer! They will do everything they can to find whatever you are wishing to see or buy at a reasonable cost. It is, apart from others, a big benefit of taking a guided tour through India with us!
At the same time we have a trusted driver for our taxi, so that anybody who wants to go, can go without having to worry. No worries about accidents or not finding the car when coming out from famous sights, no getting lost or getting chauffeured to pre-decided shops where he gets a commission as well!
We do hope that we will one day find a guide whom we can trust as well but until this point, we will simply rely on ourselves. And I tell you, I won’t send any person with a man or a woman whom I don’t completely trust not to be cheating my friends in my country!
And that’s how, my friends, we are different from other people offering guided tours!