Zobu Mein Feeeeel Hai!!

Zobu is the cool and funky brainchild of Zostel. Since his birth at Jodhpur in 2013, Zobu has had a congenital capacity to conceive daunting dreams, all of which appear unfeasible at first. But this freak of a brain also has the spunk to distort his team’s perception of difficulties and make them believe that his dreams are very realizable. I met him for a coffee at Zostel Jodhpur, and here are the excerpts from our conversation.

Me: You have a cool name. Who gave you this name? and Why Zobu?

Zobu: Lol, thanks. Who else, my team named me. And you see, I am the official ZOstel BUddy – Hence Zobu :-)

Me: Haha, that’s great. By the way I’ve heard that you are pissed with the Indian travel ecosystem?

Zobu: India is a beautiful country, with awe-inspiring geography and an unparalleled heritage. Yet the existing accommodation facilities have failed to support such a stupendous country. On one hand you have cheap, inhospitable and unhygienic lodges and on the other, lush multi-star hotels waiting to pounce on your hard earned money for rubbish amenities. And none of these properties adds anything to the social aspect of travel. If you are traveling solo, or in small groups of 2-3, you are literally screwed. I saw a strong disconnect between Affordability, Amenities and Culture. And I was sick of it. So I decided to end this torment by launching Zostel.

Me: Wow! That’s some food for thought, so how’s Zostel Jodhpur coming along?

Zobu: The last few weeks have been awesome for Zostel, with Zostelers flowing in from Russia, Egypt, Spain, Columbia, Brazil, Portugal, Poland and Australia. I made sure that they had a great time living every bit of the Zostel experience. Apart from ensuring a carefree stay with modern amenities like awesome beds, A/Cs, free wifi, lockers and a crazy common room, I helped plan their itineraries, not only in Jodhpur but across India. I also threw a party which was thoroughly enjoyed by all. One of the Zostelers even praised us on his blog: Martin Ponce

Me: Woah! That’s some traction. But Zobu tell me how does Zostel ensure safety?

Zobu: That’s a very crucial point, especially the safety of girls. Zostel has security guards who are deployed 24/7 to ensure safety from external elements. Further Zostel’s manager is adept in controlling brawls and ensuring bonhomie and peace inside Zostel. And on top of that, I am developing an ALARM SYTEM. This is how it will work: An alarm button will be given to a Zosteler as soon as she checks-in. In case of any emergency or mishap, she can buzz the button, and within 30 seconds, Zostel’s Managers and Security Guards will respond by taking appropriate action. Apart from that, we have the basic essentials like lockers and a secure luggage store, where Zostelers can keep their documents and gear.

Me: It sure looks very safe. How were you able to setup such an amazing hostel in limited time?

Zobu: I have a dream to change the way India travels. And I am whole heartedly committed to realizing this dream. At Jodhpur, I worked very hard, putting all my sweat and blood in setting up everything from the scratch, right from the first brick till the last purchased board game, and the result is in front of you. I live for a strong purpose where hard work isn’t an option, it’s a necessity.

Me: But where are the photos? I just see one on your facebook page?

Zobu: After taking feedback from several Zostelers, we revamped Zostel Jodhpur. The common room is now much jazzier than before, and our dorms have been redesigned on themes like Adventure, Heritage, Movies and Music. You can see our pics on Facebook and the official website.

Me: Goodness Gracious! That’s amazing. I have heard that you are setting up Zostel in Jaipur. How’s that going?

Zobu: Yes, Captain Zo (Zobu’s bro) is currently working at Jaipur. The hostel will be up and running in 2-3 weeks. Trust me, Jaipur is going to be as awesome as it can get. We are also studying different designs of hostels in foreign nations, and taking cues from the stalwarts in this field. If you get time, do visit us at Jaipur as well.

Me: Am surely hopping to Jaipur next. But what after that? Where will Zostel open next?

Zobu: That’s for future Zostelers to answer. We’ll next open where they want us to open. Please let me know in the comments below where you’d want the next Zostel. And we’ll be there :-)

Me: Ahaa! That sounds cool. I had a great time speaking with you, Zobu. And thanks for the coffee.

Zobu: I love chatting. You are welcome. Long Live Zostel!

Amazed and intrigued by Zobu’s replies, I have come to a conclusion that Zostel is different.. very different. Zobu is developing a culture that personifies freedom. He is running a pursuit to correct the wronged and bringing a change that the industry desperately demands. He is creating great consumer experiences, and instead of making money, his aim is on putting memories back into the stream of history and human consciousness.

Zobu might seem like a wacky lunatic trying to hammer a big screw in the hard walled universe, but then Jobs rightly said: “The ones who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do”.

Coming to the climax of my odyssey at Zostel, I can’t help but say ZOBU MEIN FEEEEEL HAI!!

Writer, DV.