Let me take you back in time when Mabali was just a mere idea, with no foundation for it to solidify. My father knew that if Mabali was to be brought to the market, things will take a turn on the tourism level. Thus, he kept going forward with the idea of building a resort. He was very clear in his vision; he knew exactly what to do. It was quite admirable of him. What you see in Mabali today, everything was written down in his presentation. But the idea remained on his laptop because of financial constraints and feasibility. He took his presentation and tried to reach out for help, with the aim to get support. After two years of knocking at various doors, there was no help. Thus, a worry about the idea of it not being materialized began.
One day, my father came back from his office with a different spirit in hand. He closed all his files and sat us down. With much disappointment but spirits raised high, my father gave us a mission that ‘We’ will bring Mabali to life as a family. It takes only one step of courage and vision to bring a dream to life, Mabali is a living example of it.
It was a weekend and my parents left for Khanpur with a new idea and spirit, loading all the essentials in their jeep which included a tent (it is still pitched in Mabali), fuel, some food lying around in the house, and a generator that they bought on their way from CSD. With just these essentials, my parents envisioned a resort on the barren land of Khanpur.
First tent pitched at Mabali
The same day, our first tent was pitched by the whole family and a little home was created that very night. We hired a local of Bhamala, Masood who was to help my parents with the basic work.
Baba pitching the first tent
The whole layout of the land was planned out by my parents, no architect or civil engineer was involved in the construction. From the levelling of the land to the plantation, everything is solely done by my parents. Both of them worked diligently while my brothers and I stayed back home for our studies. It was a sacrifice we all made. My parents working day and night, away from the luxuries, and us trying to accommodate them back home as they were away for days. We sacrificed our family time, our dinners together but we all knew that our sacrifices will take us to our dream as a family.
My brother testing our first rubber boat
But things took a turn soon after the tent was pitched in the area. There was an outburst among the locals of Khanpur because of the land. We stood against all odds. Though it was extremely exhausting, we got through it.
With the highs and the lows, we finally stood back up. We bought our first rubber boat for about Rs. 50,000 which my brothers tested out and working started on the plantation simultaneously.
But soon we were hit by a reality that Khanpur’s land was not the most fertile and we would be facing issues in landscaping. In all this effort, one thing that made everything possible was perseverance and consistency.
Mama inside our first tent
The labour at that time included a guard and a gardener. A small kitchen was built to start off with the food. Due to lack of labour in the area and their limited experience, there were many days when my mother made the food herself for the people visiting initially. She wanted people to have the best experience with food and worked immensely to cater with clean and hygienic services. Not only that her signature attire and how she was known in the area was “a woman with hat” and the story behind it was that my mother used to wear this huge beach hat and was always seen watering the lawns around. For the locals, it was something very peculiar. With this my mother taught me resilience and good companionship. She was doing all this work to stand by my father’s dream and in all that she never cared if she was tired or worn out. On the other hand, my father was always there to appreciate her effort and like this our journey started.
Mama’s hat that was famous among the locals
Looking at Mabali now, we still can’t believe where it has gotten to. The vision of my parents and their perseverance taught me a lesson of a lifetime; When you decide to do something, stick to it, fight for it, for it will take you a long way.