Recession Honeymoon

February 4, 2009

Saileshbhai had been able to get some good out of a bad situation since he was a boy. In those days, his mother used to insist that he drink milk everyday though he hated it. So he would take the glass down to the housing society’s playground and give it to the Kapoor’s Alsatian Jupiter. The Kapoors, who were Punjabi, thought they should have a big dog with a pig name. Pluto was the smallest planet and fit only for Pomeranians. Anyway, after a week of this, he became friendly with the Kapoors, and Cuckoo Aunty started calling him up to have Maggi. In this way the young Sailesh turned milk into Maggi.

He continued to get some good out of everything his whole life. He had bad marks in maths in Class IX, but this meant that he joined maths tuition classes along with Savita Patel, who allowed him to squeeze her breasts. Three years later, Saileshbhai couldn’t get into Narsee Monjee for his B Com. So he enrolled in the nearby Thakur College and used the time he saved commuting to start his business doing wholesale trading of electronics. Now Saileshbhai was the biggest distributor of iPods and Sony Handycams in the Western Suburbs.

But even the current recession had Saileshbhai stumped. Business had dried up. People were so busy paying their home loan EMIs and credit card bills that they were no longer buying consumer electronics. He would lie awake, wondering what good could happen now.

After a month of sleepless nights, Saileshbhai had a brainwave and got into the package tour business. He catered to honeymooners who had to economise because the recession had wiped out their demat account balances. He offered two weeks in Singapore and Penang for five thousand rupees, All Countries of Europe tour (Jain cuisine available) for twelve thousand rupees, and East-to-West America Las Vegas Special for eigtheen thousand rupees.

The competition was stunned. They couldn’t understand how he made any money at those prics. But the honeymooners poured in. The tours were a roaring success. And the honeymooners recommended Sailesh Honeymoon Travels to all other newlyweds they knew.

Saileshbhai had understood his target market. He knew that honeymooners didn’t want to travel, but to show their relatives pictures of themselves in foreign. So he sent them not on Amazing South Africa Tour, but to a guest house in Alibag where they were left to themselves to do whatever they felt like. Being honeymooners, they usually didn’t leave the guesthouse much. Two weeks later, he would drop them off to their homes (Free Home Pickup and Drop!), along with a photo album with their photos morphed in front of the Eiffel Tower or Mount Titlis. He also tied up with the Original Equipment Manufacturers in Dharavi for the I♥NY souvenirs and the Merlion keychains. And he offloaded his electronics business inventory to the couples who wanted to show that they had shopped while they were abroad.

Eventually, the India Tours and Travel Journal interviewed Saileshbhai to undestand how he offered such incredibly low prices. Saileshbha smiled and said that he was always able to get some good out of bad. He never revealed anything more.