Teaser 275: India Ventures Buys the Hotel in Subhanpur

It really left us one property. We told Ram to contact the owner of the hotel in Subhanpur. Let the negotiating begin. Before we left Ram, I voiced a suspicion. “Is it not legally required, should we have any questions about a property, they must be answered truthfully, Ram?”

“Oh, yes, absolutely,” Ram advised. “What questions do you have?”

“We couldn't see what floor is under the carpeting. I want to know what wood flooring is under those carpets.”

“I will require the answer from the owner,” Ram assured me.

As we rode back to the hotel, Omar smiled deviously as he asked me what I was thinking with the floors. “What do you want to bet, Omar, we're looking at a hotel property with each unit covered by gaudy carpeting hiding a gorgeous teak wood floor? Whattayou wanna bet?”

“What made you think of that, Al-Barrak?”

“Teak wood, from India? It's cheaper here and it makes a gorgeous floor. I'll bet further we don't get an answer right away because the owner doesn't even know it and will have to find out the answer. Bet it's teak wood, Omar. I'd bet on it.” Omar laughed long and loud. He wouldn't bet against me.

It took a couple days and Ram's persistent response that we would not consider negotiating until we knew the answer unequivocally, but we finally got it. It was teak wood, covered by a pile of the most despicable carpet imaginable. Ram and Omar were totally beside themselves. “How could you know that?”

I smiled wickedly. “Lucky guess.”

Next up was discovery of the owner himself. He was a Sikh and proud of it. I told Ram I want to meet him. I don't want to negotiate any price until I meet him. I told Ram to tell him one more thing. “I hold the Sikh people in high regard. This is not to be considered my opening round in the negotiations we shall surely conduct. I mean it sincerely and once he meets me he'll know it, too.”

When we met Ranjit the first time he was a smiling, jovial man, full of life, and in my opinion actively projecting himself as larger than life. He was, however, hospitable and accommodating, as he offered to meet us at his personal residence at his insistence. He knew my name, since I told Ram not to hide it, and he wanted to meet both Omar and me. He, especially, wanted to know how I knew the flooring in his own building was teak wood, since he didn't even know it when we asked and he had to find out. I gave him the same response I gave Omar and Ram. “Lucky guess.” Ranjit's laugh was as large as he was projecting himself...

Ranjit and I hit it off immediately and he was very accepting of Omar, too. He liked Ram and knew his reputation, impressed by all of us. We talked at length about my plans, my aspirations. I expressed my utmost adoration for the Golden Temple. “Where else is there in the world, Ranjit, where every human soul can enter and be fed, regardless of position or belief, all day, twenty-four hours and never be asked to leave? Name one. There is no such place in the world but that, the absolutely pure essence of hospitality, of showing kindness to any and all strangers. This is why I admire the Sikhs, for who else in the world would do this?” I also expressed my dismay that each unit was so gaudily and despicably covered with an essentially worthless carpet over teak wood. Ranjit expressed his humility, his embarrassment, that he didn't know. We completed the negotiations right there, with Ranjit lopping off a cool million in U.S. dollars from the initial asking price, down to two and a half million.

“This will make it easier for you to get started, yes?”

“It will, yes, Ranjit. Thank you.”

“There be no need for thanks, Al-Barrak. I sit across this room looking at you and I see a man of vision and inspiration, a man who is already making a name for himself all over the world, but this is only the start. I see in your future unimaginable greatness, for your heart, your soul, your spirit, and your head are attuned to everyone else intricately, so intricately it is never even a conscious effort on your part. It pours out of you, summoned forth because it is the very basis of your being. Nothing but that could ever be summoned. Accept my offer with my gratitude, gratitude that, should you wish, reward me by being my friend, my confidant, that together we will discuss a future endeavor, a future together, and in my humble way help to make this future one of unimaginable greatness, that we combine our independent visions to make them dependent, whole, and worthy.”

I could see the heart of a great man beside me in that room, too. When I asked about the manager, I also saw his humor, when Ranjit nonchalantly responded, “He is my cousin. His family has many places to go. He will get up and leave willingly. You spoke with him. He knows he will be taken care of and he is quite able himself. He'll leave with no regrets and will hug you before he leaves. He will enjoy it.”

“He'll be back in a few days, Ranjit.” Ranjit looked at me quizzically. “We'll need skilled people in renovation and when we spoke with him the other day he said he repairs many of the items needing repair or knows who to contact for those repairs. We can put your cousin to work for that.”

Ranjit laughed. “He doesn't like it when he has to repair anything, but he'll take the job anyway and be a good worker for you. I know of others who can help you with that work, too.”

“Let's discuss it together when we close. How soon do you want to close this sale?”

“Let me contact my attorney to draft a contract for sale, and figure what taxes and other items will have to be disclosed in conjunction with the sale. I think I can have it all ready in a couple days.” We traded phone numbers and Ram reminded me about my phone call to the bank. “You have the money to close today, Al-Barrak?” Ranjit interrupted.

“Once you provide me your bank and account numbers, you'll have the funds in your account in thirty minutes or less.”

“Calling the bank will be unnecessary, Ram,” Ranjit advised him. We all stood and I hugged the big man warmly and he hugged me back tightly.

On the drive back to the hotel Ram remarked I sure move fast. He was greatly impressed at how quickly this transaction would close. “It takes both parties, Ram. You know that. I think you will discover Ranjit is just as capable of moving fast and a true man of his word.”

“As for our partnership, Al-Barrak,” Omar asked, “how shall we proceed?”

“We're starting with two and a half million, plus taxes and other incidentals. Let's estimate renovation at a half million. We'll add the taxes and incidentals and the half million for renovation and that will be the cost basis for the partnership, so whatever your contribution becomes, that will be your ownership percentage. If you can contribute a million, Omar, your ownership percentage is going to be around thirty percent up to about a third. As a sign of good faith on my part, we will use the half million as the cost basis, and should the final tag for renovation come in less than a half million, we'll adjust the partnership percentage accordingly, so your percentage increases. Should the renovation tag be greater than a half million it will have no effect on the ownership percentage. Fair, Omar?”

Omar smiled. “I like doing business with you. I think when the two of us work together, we'll both live comfortably.” He laughed and Ram joined him.

“Let me suggest you call Darshana tonight and tell her to get started on the sale of the motel. Don't list it until this sale closes, but have it ready when we close here. Tomorrow, let's you and I find an attorney, go over the specifics of our partnership we know already, and get started on a corporation charter. How's that sound?”

“I'll be ready when you are, Al-Barrak.”

We closed the sale two days later and drove from Ranjit's residence to the hotel to meet with Ranjit's cousin, Kumar. Kumar was already packing to leave when I offered him the position of foreman for our work crew. He bowed and clasped his hands together several times, thanking us several times, until I simply put out my arms and told him to stop and hug me, which he promptly did.

- Just Desserts, Segment Thirty-ThreeJourney to India” by Gregory R. Schussele, © 2021

contact me, as always: schussprose@gmail.com