It’s been an interesting few months for us at KYS. We’ve made some big internal changes – not only in the articles that we are publishing, but the direction we are headed in. It’s been challenging, interesting, and a lot of hard work – but we finally feel like we are on track again, and we’re excited to share our journey with you.
Reconnecting With The Team
If you’ve read our co-founder Jaideep’s excellent article about his evolution from Entrepreneur to Heart-preneur, you’ll know that his experiences have really shaped what KYS is today. So, when he told us that he wanted to take us on a mini-retreat for a day, we were pretty thrilled. There was only one catch – It was all a surprise. We had to arrive at the location he gave us (less than 24 hours before) and from there on, our day was entirely in his hands. Sounds unorthodox? With Jaideep, it usually is. But we also know that usually there’s a thought-provoking lesson waiting for us at the end of the experience. So, that being said, we headed to the first location with only our curiosity for company.
Food For Thought
Our first stop was Taaza Thindi in Jayanagar. For those of you who haven’t visited this restaurant, it serves simple, hearty fare at incredibly low prices. You can comfortably try every food item on the menu for less than Rs. 200. And they haven’t raised their prices in two years! Another thing we realised when we got to the restaurant – it’s clean and efficient – two qualities you rarely see in any kind of eating establishment (unfortunately!).
The layout is interesting as well, with customers being afforded a 360 degree view of the kitchen. This is one place where accountability is encouraged. We had a great meal, and felt ready to tackle anything – including being off the grid for the day. We switched off our phones and handed them over to Jaideep. No phone calls, messages or emails to distract us from the process.
Fit For A King (Or At Least A Raja)
Our next stop was the real surprise – the Bangalore Palace! The Bengaluru home of the Maharajas of Mysore, this palace is a treasure trove of history. From ballrooms that hosted dignitaries and royalty from all over the globe to private courtyards that told their own stories – it was fascinating walking through this relic of a bygone era. We took the tour together but since we availed of the audio-guide experience, we had very different approaches – the same tour, but different takeaways!
Afterwards, we walked through the sprawling gardens and found ourselves under a stunning jackfruit tree. For the first time in a while, we were all in the same place, experiencing the same things. It was an invaluable opportunity to reconnect and reflect.
A Royal Feast
In keeping with our ‘royal’ theme, the next place we were whisked off to was the famous Church Street eatery- ‘Queens’. After a delicious meal (we highly recommend it!), we fought off food comas with some excellent coffee from India Coffee House. Rejuvenated, we were all set to head off on the next big adventure.
Luckily, we didn’t have to go very far to find it!
By The Book(s)
By and large, we love books and we unflinchingly believe in their power to educate and illuminate. So, when Jaideep lead us over to Bookworm, our happiness knew no bounds! Within minutes we were all browsing for new reads, discussing old ones, and recommending things to each other – all very much in keeping with the spirit of Bookworm.
If you have read our earlier article on Mr. Krishna, the owner of Bookworm and his wonderful new initiatives (that we’re excited to be a part of), you’ll know that this store is a special place, and the man who runs it is as well. So, it was fitting that it was the second last stop on our Jaideep ‘yatra’.
After we’d explored the book stacks, we headed upstairs to the private conference room above the store. We finally sat down in a circle and decided to have a few minutes of silence to digest everything that we experienced since the day started. Through personal reflections and discussions, we discussed our plans for the future as well as our personal and professional journeys with KYS.
An Introspective Outlook
Another highlight? Jaideep unveiling his reasoning behind our little retreat. Usually, when Jaideep wants to talk to us, it’s a transformative experience on some level. He’s a wonderful speaker and loves to throw us new ideas and watch us build on them. So, we were a little apprehensive when we sat down to talk – who knew what he’d be throwing at us next!
First, he explained why he chose Taaza Thindi as our starting point. This restaurant is an unpretentious one – it serves good food at extremely low prices. Why? Because they believe in catering to their customers rather than just trying to turn a profit. The restaurant’s design itself speaks highly of their values. The kitchen is an open plan one, separated from the crowd by glass panes, and lies in the centre. This is a beautiful takeaway in itself as Taaza Thindi keeps its work and quality at the centre, focuses on it, and everything else comes next.
Nothing amplified that more than the sign they posted outside the restaurant itself, stating that they hadn’t raised their prices in two years. Additionally, they thanked their customers for giving them the opportunity to serve! Nothing like a little humility with our food to make us think.
Next up was Bangalore Palace. As it transpired, the palace was not supposed to be our destination for the day. Jaideep had initially booked a dance studio for our retreat. However, he spontaneously cancelled the booking, decided upon the palace a few hours before he met us, and decided we needed a new adventure. It was an act of faith to give up our phones, get into a cab, and drive off to an unknown destination. And he wanted to give us a taste of that.
Part of the reason we visited the palace was to reinstate the thought that the best gems are within. Most of us had been in Bangalore for a while, have taken numerous trips to outer destinations, while never exploring the city we lived in! The palace experience was a thoroughly enjoyable one and reminded us to look within more often.
After exploring the palace, we walked through the sprawling gardens and sat under a jackfruit tree. It was an unplanned moment, and we sat there for more than an hour and did not even realise it! While we spoke in that little corner, enjoying the fresh air and cool shade, Jaideep was quick to remind us of how we should grow the roots of our organisation and not worry about how the branches will spread and how many fruits we will reap! That pretty much summed up the conversation we were having.
“Queens for the three queens,” said Jaideep jokingly, and though we all found it hilarious, we can’t help but appreciate the gesture. Team KYS is primarily female, and we’re touched and pleased to remember that while our gender is sometimes a hindrance in the workplace, here it is a strength. We were each hired for our skill sets and our determination to do good and our lunch just reaffirmed our faith in that. Additionally, this small restaurant resembles a cool cavern, taking us a little bit closer to nature and our roots.
The Bookworm was chosen purely for the influence that Krishna wields upon Jaideep (and all of us). A successful entrepreneur with a generous heart, Krishna’s doors are always open to bookworms from all walks of life. It was the perfect place for us to re-establish our team dynamic, welcome our new team member, and plan for our future.
The Last Stop
The final stop on our little yatra was Lakeview Milk Bar on MG Road. While guzzling ice cream, cake, and sandwiches, we found ourselves chatting and laughing together after months. It was a pleasant reminder to simplify and declutter our minds. Though we each work hard and are passionate about what we do, Jaideep also reminded us that it was exceedingly important for us to take a step back and spend a little time on ourselves.
This retreat was a fantastic chance for our team to share and experience things together. Though we, like everyone else reading this, have a long road ahead of us, we’re overjoyed and enthusiastic about undertaking it. We can’t wait to have more adventures, learn new lessons, and tell beautiful and impactful stories. We hope you’re just as eager to experience these things with us.
P.S. Sorry, we have only one picture from the retreat, because like we said, our phones were in Jaideep’s bag!