Hosts of the Passing Hours
Udit Hooda, 31; Vasudev, 30 & Manish Tokas, 25
Founders, Jugaad Hostels
It’s 2015, and nobody is a tourist. They’re all travellers looking to escape, to find, to discover. While some are lost in the vanity of luxury hotels, soaking in bathtubs and fluffy feathery pillows, others are following the cruise code of ‘minimise room time, maximise deck time’. For the sake of the ever-growing latter kind, Udit Hooda, Vasudev and Manish Tokas decided to set up Jugaad Hostels, an affordable lodging arrangement in R K Puram. “A hostel is more about the community rather than the stay. And the youth, with less money and more energy, are home with this idea,” they say, dividing their clientele into two broad categories: experienced vagabonds looking to meet others and budget travellers. “We’re not in the backpacking district of Paharganj for a reason. We don’t want people to live in the most scam-ridden and aggressive part of Delhi. We want them to experience Delhi like a local would,” they add, hinting at how they’re purging backpack from its usual cliches, encouraging people to don their backpacks and hit the road running.
They want to develop a one-stop shop for what they call ‘Stay-Play-Work’, which means a Wi-Fi-powered co-working space along with rooftop cafe. For this, they plan to collaborate with Human Circle, a soft-skill and entrepreneurship training start-up. They describe rent as the biggest entry barrier in the hospitality business, but they’re hoping the Indian spirit of innovation—or ‘jugaad’—brings returns, and soon. “This hostel is our laboratory. We will use social media to build a community around the concept and weave a vibrant network of events around the place. Once it is self-sustaining, we might replicate the model in other cities too,” say the three young founders, who have been friends for long and enjoy a great working relationship.