A Colourful Treat

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Kashmiri weddings are often a hectic affair. But not anymore. Bin Yamin Gulzar, a pilot turned wedding planner is not only adding colours to the traditional ceremonies but making them memorable too. Saima Bhat reports the trend

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Marriages in Kashmir are a hectic affair. Not only for the family but for friends, relatives and neighbors as well, for it takes a collective effort to pull off the preparations. People instead of relishing the festivities are often seen working tirelessly for days at a stretch.

The things, however, are changing with some catering agencies coming up and the man standing tall amidst all the change is 35-year-old Bin Yamin Gulzar.

Yamin, a trained pilot, after the death of his father in 2010 gave up a lucrative career as a pilot and took forward his father’s dream venture, Gulzar Camping Agency (GCA), which he had started in 1979.

While Yamin’s father, Gulzar Ahmad, was successful with bringing Pandalas to Kashmir and the subsequent innovations, Yamin has taken the business a step further.

Besides other things, Yamin has introduced catering services in Kashmir, wherein his agency manages all that needs to be done in a marriage, while the family can enjoy without worrying about the arrangements.

“We provide free consultations to people and advice them weddings according to their budget,” says Yamin, “Then if they want to hire us, we gladly accept.”

GCA is not only about the catering and decorations though. Yamin’s portfolio includes the creation of a Kashmiri wedding set for the Bollywood flick Rockstar, which was shot in Kashmir.

Besides, he has also designed sets for two Indian TV serials and has been successful in promoting Kashmir as a wedding destination. People from different parts of India come to Kashmir with all their guests to tie their nuptial knot. In 2013 alone, Gulzar group organized four destination weddings in Kashmir.

“Besides decorating wedding venues we are the ones who actually introduced the concept of event management in Kashmir,” says Yamin.

= Yamin says that he had two choices when his father died and he took the one his father would have been happy with. “I could have moved outside after liquidating my father’s business which was worth 3 to 4 Crore Rupees at that time,” said Yamin.

But he chose to stay and keep his father’s name alive.

And today after three years the agency has been revived and now it is known as Gulzar Hospitality Ventures. “I wanted to make ‘Gulzar’ a brand name so that my father’s memory stays alive.”

After he took over the company Yamin started experimenting with new ideas and has so far been successful.

“My father had seen a Pandala somewhere in India and the business started with his wish to bring that to our own people,” says Yamin.

He recalls his father as a man who preferred relations with customers and quality over money.

“I am taking that forward. I want to give the best to the customers,” says Yamin, “I believe money follows.”

Yamin’s company now comes under small to medium enterprise. “Every day I work for Gulzar is the homage to my father.” He says he is getting his wear house of the company ISO certified.

Gulzar group presently has 30 full-time employees and in a season the team extends to 150 employees directly or indirectly, says Yamin.  He adds his oldest employee is attached with his company from last 30 years and the company believes in team efforts.

Gulzar was a name, which is much common with the ‘elites’ of Kashmir but now Yamin says he is working to reach out to the masses. “Maybe I might create a parallel company in future to tackle that section of our society.”

In future Yamin is planning to get a joint venture with all public and government places like community halls so that people can get 100 percent services, which Yamin says they are not getting presently. This way the infrastructure can be used for the benefit of the people while earning something for the government too.

The Gulzar group has recently signed a vendor management system wherein two other groups, Hatrick and Grandeur have joined hands with them. “It is a first of its kind, we just want organized kind of a thing, we just want people to enjoy their wedding days rather than thinking of their arrangements and their guests.”

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