"All dreams do come true, you just have to be patient enough and willing to put in the work consistently"
I always wanted my life to involve travelling and exploring new places for my work. Working with The Hosteller for their Coorg Mini Property was one significant leap in that direction. I'm so excited to share with you all the fun and the learnings I had on this paid mural trip to Coorg. Let's start from the very beginning.
The Start of The Journey to Coorg
After all the formalities had been completed with The Hosteller, they booked us our train tickets to Bangalore from Delhi. Unfortunately, there is no direct train available from Delhi to Coorg. Our plan was to go till Bangalore on train and then take a cab for Coorg. I was carrying all my paints and other supplies with me as I didn't want to take any chances. Accompanying me on this beautiful journey was my partner (in my business and in real life both).
The train journey till Bangalore took us around 52 HOURS!! Our families felt more tired with this long a time than we did. For us, the entire train journey was pretty interesting. We saw the terrain change from our windows outside every few hours.
And IRCTC now offers e-catering services on the train itself so we got dominos pizza delivered right on our seats in the train. How amazing is that! To top it off, for the most part of our journey, we had only 3 people in our compartment that had space for 6 people in it, so we travelled quite luxuriously.
Bangalore - The Beauty, and The Struggle to Get to Coorg
We reached Bangalore on Day 3 of our journey and were truly mesmerized by the cloudscapes there. We booked an Uber to Coorg from the Bangalore Railway Station and as soon as the driver realized we wanted to go to Coorg, he started explaining to us why it would cost us more than the amount displayed on the Uber app.
At first we thought he was trying to fool us (like some people often try to fool tourists), but after talking to multiple Uber drivers and all of them voicing the same concern, we began to believe their story.
So the thing is, the journey from Bangalore to Coorg is around 270 kms, and these drivers were concerned that there is no CNG refueling station available on the way. That's why they were demanding more money as they would have to come back running their car on petrol instead of CNG most probably.
We communicated this to The Hosteller and they were already aware of this issue and happy to comply to this demand by the driver.
The journey from Bangalore to Coorg was very comfortable and scenic. We had Coconut water in between and tasted the delicious South Indian rawa masala dosa made in coconut oil.
We Reach The Hosteller Mini Property - Finally!
After around 58 hours of continuous travel, we finally reached The Hosteller Mini Property in Coorg. We were received by the amazing transformation managers already present on the site. It had just started raining when we got there and little did we know that it would continue to rain like that 24*7 for as long as we were there.
I saw the rooms, dormitory, café and the entrance walls that I was supposed to paint the wall murals on and made a mental map of how I would go on with that process.
We sat with The Hosteller team and spent some quality time getting to know them and their backstories a little, after which we called it a day and went to sleep.
The Room Murals Begin
I started sketching the room murals early morning the next day as soon as I got the go ahead from the brand.
After a few hours of work, it was time for breakfast.
Now here's the thing, since this particular hostel of The Hosteller was not yet live and still under renovation, the kitchen staff was obviously not present on the site. So all of us, including the transformation managers on site, used to get daily allowances for food from The Hosteller and the staff present there arranged the food for us from the nearby market.
We ate delicious idly sambhar that day for breakfast and continued with our work.
I Spotted Hydrangeas!!
In the afternoon, we explored the nearby forest and plantations a little. It still continued to rain, but the intensity kept changing from time to time. So we stepped out when it was just drizzling.
The Coorg forest was almost as dense, wet and muddy as a rainforest. Before coming here, we had kept a little space in our itinerary for trekking and exploring the beautiful Coorg landscape, but when we finally saw the forest in front of our eyes, we realized that it was completely impenetrable.
There were all kinds of insects and spiders here. One insect in particular made so much noise we legit thought it would be huge. When we actually saw how small it was, we were quite shocked.
While exploring the neighborhood of our hostel, I saw this beautiful private garden that had HYDRANGEAS!! I just couldn't control my happiness at that point. It was sooo beautiful you guys.
The Room Murals are Done
By the end of the second day at the hostel, I had completed the room murals and gotten them approved from The Hosteller.
We were having so much fun working here. The weather was amazing (considering you didn't want to step outside the hostel premises as it was raining continuously). The temperature varied from 16 degree Celsius to around 22 degrees and the wind kept blowing throughout the day.
The Haunted House Nearby
Just adjacent to our hostel property was a very beautiful house that the managers on site believed was haunted. They claimed that they heard some strange noises there at night (although I'm quite certain that they were just toying with us). Nobody lived there and the path that went towards it from the main street was covered with huge grass and vegetation, indicating that nobody had walked on it for quite some months/years.
My partner was very keen on going there and seeing what the hype was all about. He even tried, but the grass was quite tall and the mud was loose due to all the rain. His slippers sunk into the mud and he just couldn't walk through that. Not to mention that there could've been snakes in those dense and wet bushes. He gave up the quest at last and I was very relieved.
The story of that haunted house nearby (most probably false) really made our stay in the hostel more memorable and exciting, especially at night. Hehe!
How many times can you eat your favorite food?
It is very rightly said that you can't eat the same thing over and over again daily, doesn't matter how delicious and mouth watering it appears at first.
We were in a similar situation now. The food for all the three meals was more or less fixed. We, the transformation managers and the helping staff there used to eat the same meals again and again, on a daily basis. As you can imagine, the taste slowly began to become a punishment more than a pleasure. So much so that towards the end of our project, we started preferring to skip one meal a day. Huge respect to all The Hosteller staff working there, they went through this monotonous food routine for a much longer duration than we did.
The Entrance Wall Mural is Completed
This was the best place to work amongst all the walls. It was isolated, cute and provided a gorgeous view of the entire forest around the hostel. It was placed right at the entrance of the hostel and was also adjacent to the lift.
The entire theme of the murals for this project was centered around the Coorg coffee plantations. This wall mural was my original design in my signature botanical style. I absolutely loved every moment of painting it.
The Toughest of Them All - The Café Wall
The café wall took me the most time to complete, not because the painting or the design itself was tough, but simply because the café was on the top floor and the area was not yet entirely covered and there was a lot of back and forth discussion with the brand to finalize the placement and the size of the mural.
The rains had increased by now, which meant the insects had started increasing in numbers too. As soon as it was past 6 pm, the insects started their terror. I'm a person who's dead scared of spiders and other insects and I just can't work properly when I know they're around. So I naturally couldn't work on it past 6 pm.
The café wall took me 3 days to finish, and I bet I would've done it in 2 had the other factors been favorable. But I was extremely happy with how this wall mural turned out. This too was my original design in my signature style. I'm sure this wall will go on to become the photo booth of The Hosteller Mini Property. I'm so excited for it already. Can't wait to see all the photos when the hostel goes live.
Finished the Dormitory Wall Mural in 2 hours
I completed the café wall mural by 6pm that day and moved to start the dormitory mural immediately. I had already sketched it the night before so it took me less than 2 hours to paint this mural, and it turned out pretty classy.
This particular day was extremely tiring for me. I painted for 12 hours non-stop as I had to finish this project earlier than my timeline (you'll shortly know why, hehe). After completing this final wall mural, we just went to our room, had our dinner, fell on our beds and dozed off.
A New Day brings a New Project
So a little surprise came my way back on the third day of this project. I kept this information hidden from you on purpose until now to give the happy and exciting news towards the end. Hehe! (This was the reason I wanted to finish this particular project earlier than my timeline)
As soon as I was done with the room murals, I got to know that The Hosteller is shortly launching one more hostel a little far away from this one. The same managers that were present on this property were meant to finish this project and then move on to that hostel for renovating it.
Now here's the exciting part! The Hosteller liked all my wall murals so much that they offered me the second project as well, even though that property was not yet fully ready for murals and had no staff living there.
Till the time I completed the rest of the murals on this property, they made sure that the base paint and levelling of the wall on the next hostel was ready for my work. It felt so amazing to be offered a second project so soon, and that too by none other than The Hosteller.
Goodbyes and Moving to The Next Project
We clicked photos in front of all the murals and exchanged goodbyes with the very sweet and helping transformation managers present there. Vaibhav, Jiten, Aziz and Ibrahim were their names and they made us feel so comfortable in a place far away from our homes. Our experience working for The Hosteller had been extremely positive and enriching. We clicked a group photograph in front of the café mural and started for the next property of The Hosteller.
You can plan a visit to The Hosteller Coorg Mini property and see these gorgeous wall murals I made there live and in their full glory.
Wait for the next part of this blog to read about all the fun and adventure we had on the second hostel (and trust me, we had lots of adventure there as the property was located deep into the heart of the Coorg forest and nearly 5 kms away from the nearest market).
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