“With a Smile, Touch their Hearts”
Interview Highlights of Gangaswamy, Resident Manager @ Kabini JLR
It was our time to catch hold the best Manager of Jungle Lodges, the resident manager of JLR’s star property @ Kabini, Mr Gangaswamy – a person who is known to all the JLR’s frequent visitors – a man with always a smile on his face. Let’s talk to to this ever smiling guy and see what story he has behind this smile!!
We went to Kabini this Feb with a sole purpose of tracking the Black Panther and catch hold of this Star of JLR for his tidbits [& very happy to say that we achieved both !!! :-)]
Just asked him one question on how long you have been working @ JLR and he uttered without even blinking his eyelids his complete career summary like a computer – Wow – 26 years of dedicated service and all at JLR. Also what else you need when you are the resident manager with 107 people reporting to you at a place where you started his career as a Naturalist!! How nice!! BTW Here is his career-o-graphy and seems impressive – isn’t it?
1991 to 1996 Kabini – Naturalist
1996 Dec to 2005 Apr – 8.5 years @ K-Gudi – Manager
2005 Apr to 2006 July @ Bhadra – Manager
2006 – July to 2011 Dec @ Bandipur – Manager
2012 Jan – 2012 Aug @ K-Gudi
2012 Sept – 2014 Aug – 2 yrs @ Bheemeshwari Manager
2014 Sept – until Today – resident Manager Kabini
He was awarded the Best Manager of Jungle Lodges by Govt of Karnataka in 2010. Today he is the resident manager for Kabini, the most prestigious resort of the JLR and 107 people work under him today (14 drivers, 8 naturalists ad all remaining service staff) with 99% of all staff are being local (& in a way promoting local economy and creating local employment)
Contributions and Achievements:
When asked about his contributions and JLR contributions to his life and career, he says in one breath that he thoroughly enjoyed life in JLR for their contribution towards his career and his life in general and he doesn’t want to ask anything more!!
He has put service upto 27 years of service for JLR and going strong. He extremely feels proud and feels an achievement as he he lead the new projects and implemented from scratch at k-gudi and also in Bhadra.
Conflict Resolution – His Style!!
When asked about the relationship of JLR with Forest Department (FD) and in general his relationship with the attached forest department, he feels FD is like their parent body and he always works with them amicably and he says any issues with anyone not just FD can be easily solved amicably if we just sit across the table and talk. His hallmark is that he has a good rapo with everyone and he believes in human to human touch and talk the issues out, be humble, throw the ego out and he says any issue can be solved easily – human relationship is what matters in the end he stresses and I guess we can’t agree more.
John “Pappa” Wakefield & Kabini:
He says the whole success of JLR and these jungle tourism in Karnataka belongs to John “Pappa” WakeField. He likes Kabini of all the JLR projects as feels the backwaters is a boon for wildlife sightings and also the buildings are beautiful and carry the Maharaja Architecture. He feels Kabini scores over bandipur as there no water bodies like Kabini and Dubare has water bodies but has no forest like Kabini – that way Kaini is unique and has best of both worlds – a blessed place.
[Image Credits: Divya Sharma Photography]
Another huge advantage for Kabini is that it is very close to Bangalore (240 kms – approx 5 hrs drive) and Mysore (just 70 kms – an hour drive may be) and off lately it has become abode of a Black Panther which has become the star attraction, much more than the tiger, and people flocking from all over the world to see it. [Holy Bagheera – a Passionate Pursuit of the Black Panther]. Gangaswamy proudly says that in fact Black panther sighting started in Kabini around the same time when he came here to take charge of Kabini [2014 Sept]
Smile, touch their hearts!!
When queried on how he deals with so many celebrities and lots of VVIPS coming over to Kabini and the associated pressure, and his answer was instantaneous, interesting and seemed very real – “With a Smile touch their hearts”
Only Repeat Customers:
He says that Kabini has the maximum set of repeat customers compared to any JLR property and not just JLR probably may be any property across the state. JLR service is like taking care of their own guests who come to their house, there is a personal bond between most of the guests and the staff and they [the staff] make guests fee; sp comfortable as if they have come to their home
In most places service comes from the mouth but in JLR, service comes from the heart – that is the difference you see here is what he stresses and we can’t agree more. You have to come here to believe it, to experience it!! Take our words for it!!
[Gangaswamy with the Editor WildTrails India App]
Goals to Achieve??
When asked about any pending goals with 27 years service with JLR behind him, he says, he has seen it all and experinced all, and says – “All Dreams Fulfilled” – How many of us can say this I wonder!! Before we could ask anymore questions, he got calls from the service people as his time was required over there – we bid adieu until next time which we hope that is sooner than later and left reluctantly back to bangalore!!
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PS: Please be a responsible wildlife tourist; No littering, No sounds, No feeding, no getting down from the safari jeep (when on safari), No phone calls. Remember that we are visiting their home and when we are there, let’s follow their rules.
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