Bagus Ari Saputra
From: Ubud village
Son of the founder, I Ketut Bagia Astawa and his Finnish wife, Anita Ikonen. Assumed responsibility for the business on his father's passing in 2013 and took it from being a small guesthouse to a boutique hotel. Sees developing the property not as a business venture but an artistic project; creator of the Tri Gaya philosophy. Considers his destiny and that of Gayatri to be inextricably linked: if one is doing well, so is the other; if one dies, so does the other. If Gayatri is to be considered a living thing, and it should, he is the brain. Will never have another job as long as he lives.
Position: Head receptionist
From: Wanayu village
Ayu Urati has the honour of being the all-time favourite employee of Ketut Bagia, the original owner of Gayatri. She started working for him from 1998 and served until his passing in 2013. She has since been employed by his son, Bagus, and has become one of the most important and trusted members of staff. She acts as a maternal figure to the younger women who work at Gayatri and is an incredibly popular figure behind the scenes (on staff outings, people have been known to flock to whichever group she is in). For our regular guests she is a much loved friend. She has great powers of empathy and an intuitive understanding of what each guest needs, which is so important for someone in her position and enables her to serve easy and difficult guests alike with the same respect, professionalism, and dignity.
From: Silakarang village
Putu joined the Gayatri organisation when it still included the restaurant on Monkey Forest Road initially as a waitress. After a couple of days, she went up to the manager and said "Could I work in the bar? I really like making juices!" with that trademark smile of hers. This was a request that was impossible to turn down and she formed a formidable partnership with Dewa Ayu (who also worked at the bar of the restaurant but has, like Putu, since moved to the hotel). They were part of a dream team and their presence on site is a huge asset. Putu has since been trained as a receptionist. She is currently expecting her second child so will be on maternal leave starting on the 1st of November 2018 (very soon!). She is intent on producing the male heir that her husband's family desperately craves (their first child is a little girl) and, if successful, wants to leave it at that in terms of additions to the family. Her incredible considerateness and huge smile make her a favourite amongst our guests, who have variously described her as "sunshine", "the thing that initially drew me to Gayatri", and "the happiest girl I have ever met". About four guests have inquired about the possibility of brining Putu home with them; each time the management politely turned them down on the basis that Putu has on numerious occasions said that she would never work anywhere else.
From: Bedulu village
Wayan Purwanti is a relatively new addition to our front office team but has been a godsend. Routinely exhibiting a maturity, sense of responsibility, and desire to learn that belies her tender years, she has been impressing from the moment she arrived. She is tactful under pressure, can improvise if needed, and is growing in her command of English. She loves travelling, listening to music, and singing (mainly to herself). Her dream is to go on holiday and stay in a hotel, which she has thus far not been able to. Our dream is that she will carve a career for herself at Gayatri which will put her in an income bracket that will enable her to stay in any hotel she wants.
Position: Head cook
From: Bedulu village
Ari trained as a cook in SMK Saraswati in Gianyar and gained experience at Cafe Des Artistes before joining the Gayatri kitchen team. He started out as an apprentice under Pak Dewa, who was our chef at the time, but has since honed his skill enormously and really matured in both a professional and personal capacity. He is now in charge of menu execution, event catering, and dish improvement. A greatly ambitious and sharp young man, he has become the undisputed star of our kitchen who leads by example, setting the high standards that the others must follow. A Buleleng native, Ari stands up for himself with the fiery nature associated with that region, which you only see if you know him over a longer period because his default mode is a disarming smile (see photo for an example). His main strengths as a cook are his incredible intuitive understanding of combinations and proportions ("Nothing worth learning can ever be taught" - Oscar Wilde) and constant desire to learn, evolve, improve. This means that he is incredibly quick, never static, and always positive and open-minded. He married earlier this year and is now a proud father of a baby girl (for fans of gender equality, he is also rare in the sense that he preferred a girl child to a boy). His Nasi Campur is famous the world over. Was worth breaking our wage structure for.
From: Blahbatuh village
Suma was hired by the original owner of Gayatri, Ketut Bagia, in 2011 for the restaurant, Cafe Gayatri. After the restaurant changed ownership in 2013, she continued there for over a year before being re-hired into the Gayatri organisation by the current owner, Bagus Ari Saputra in late 2014. She has been a reliable member of our kitchen staff ever since. Despite her small stature, she really packs a punch and is one of several strong, independent women who work at the hotel, a fact of which we are proud as equality in the workplace and the empowerment of women are deep in the value system of our business. Suma has always loved cooking and is one of a rare breed of people in today's world: someone whose passion is their profession, who in their free time enjoy doing what they do at work. This is something really beautiful to observe. Due to her upbringing, her strengths as a cook are in the arena of Balinese cuisine: her spinach crackers are a specialty only she can execute to perfection, while Ayu Gita, the sister of the owner, often specifically requests Suma to prepare sambal, the red chili paste that gives Balinese cooking its edge, if she is coming for a visit. She has also mastered the creation of raw cashew cheese cakes. Someone to hold onto.
From: Pejeng village
Dewa Ayu is a fine, beautiful young woman of great dignity. She used to work at the bar of Cafe Gayatri when it was still owned by the founder of Gayatri, Ketut Bagia. She quit there due to workplace politics when Bapak Ketut was no longer able to take an active role in its management due to the severity of his illness. After his passing, his son, Bagus Ari Saputra, on taking over remembered the esteemable qualities Dewa Ayu holds and immediately made sure to coax her back into the fold. After the restaurant changed ownership, she was one of only two of the most loyal employees to immediately follow Bagus out and into his other business, what we now call Gayatri (the other was Pak Dewa, the chef). As the hotel had no bar at the time, she re-trained as a cook. Now she is a reliable member of our kitchen team, whose cooking style is distinctive: there is a feminine care and attention to detail, in both her small and tidy vegetable dices and the softness and subtlety of her spicing. As a result, the food she cooks is beautiful. When she was younger, her dream was to become a mother; at the age of twenty-five, she has realised that dream as she is the proud mother of two children, the first a boy with big eyes and the second a girl who does not need to look far for a great example of womanhood.
Position: Junior cook
From: Bedulu village
Kadek Andini is the most recent addition to our team of cooks. She joined Gayatri in March 2017, seamlessly filling a vacancy that had barely had time to open. Her parents run a rooftile and brick production company in her native Bedulu village, and her her older sister, despite marrying (which traditionally means moving to the house of the husband and leaving the old family behind) works for them. Kadek wanted to expand her horizons, and feel some independence, so she sought work outside the confines of the family business and we at Gayatri are glad that she did. A young woman of tall and thin stature, she has shown great focus in her time so far as well as an ability to grasp new concepts quickly. She can now, if needed, handle an evening shift on her own, proving that she has developed the sureness of touch and understanding necessary for someone in her position. With some more experience and growth, she will be able to make the step up from junior cook to cook. She loves travelling and eating out with friends; her current favourite hangout is the super spicy noodle bar, Mikober, in Batubulan.
From: Bedulu village
Komang is the Balinese name for third child but at Gayatri he is more often referred to by his nickname Awo, which is shortened from his last name (Subawa), or actually as Bli Awo, 'Bli' being a term of respect or endearment for a big brother or male older than one, given that he is more senior than most of the staff who work here. He is one of the most loyal employees that Gayatri has, with twenty years of service under his belt. He started out as a waiter, which is how he met his wife, Mbok Is, who was a waitress at the restaurant at the time. (This delightful coincidence is in fact not as rare as it sounds, with them one of four such Gayatri husband and wife couples. The last such marriage took place in 2012.) He also spent a stint as a black-coated, shadow-dwelling night guard, who would disappear with the rising sun like a vampire (albeit quite a sleepy-looking, not very threatening one) only to return the following night. He eventually joined the ranks of the regular staff, and has been working in the housekeeping department ever since. Awo is a sporty man, which explains why in his forties he is still in such lean shape, and played a lot of football when he was younger. He also enjoys cycling and gardening, the latter of which has made him the go-to person for management for advice on how to plant different flowers and trees, how to treat and care for the ones we already have, and what plants suit different terrains around the property. As a result, he was offered the post of gardener, but he turned it down because he felt it would have been a demotion (which is a shame). Instead, he chose to continue as a housekeeper who offers gardening advice on the side. He is also a dab hand in the kitchen - there was a Galungan when a cook didn't turn up and Awo rolled his sleeves up, without being asked, and started making a nasi goreng! Awo is one of the staff members for whose driving lessons we paid, so he also acts as an auxiliary driver if needed. He has since gone on to purchase his own car, a black Suzuki APV, and supplements his income at Gayatri by transporting tourists in his free time. Naturally, if our cars are occupied, we like to support him. Awo is a vocal man, who is not shy to air his opinions and likes to take part in deliberations of almost any kind - religion, politics, taxation. As someone who spent a long time working for and with I Ketut Bagia Astawa, the founder and original owner of Gayatri, Awo is full of stories and memories relating to the late, great man and as such is an important part of the continuity of the place, keeping his spirit alive, and preserving his legacy.
From: Siangan village
Eka used to work for a supermarket chain on Gatot Subroto Road before one of his relatives, a driver by the name of Gusti (whom regular visitors will know) told him that there is a vacancy in the hotel where he works. Eka made a dashing first impression, combining his Arab-style good looks with a great attitude, which made his hiring a no-brainer. He has an athletic background having played football for a team throughout his youth. More recently, when asked why he seemed to be sturdier than before, he replied it was because he didn't have football boots any more! So the hotel, to encourage his healthy hobby, gifted him a pair of Adidas Adipures. The hotel has also paid for him to get driving lessons and a licence, so that now he is able to double up as a driver if needed. Eka is a vocal and prominent member of the staff when it comes to the social side of things, often at the centre of the joke or conversation. He is the father of a small girl and his wife works at one of the local laundries; like most Balinese couples they hope to have a boy in the near future but do not want anoher child just yet because of the high costs of childcare in this day and age.
From: Pejeng village
Since February 2014, Ibu Ayu has been a faithful member of our team of builders. She is the one who carries an ageless Balinese beauty, the type associated with black and white photographs, and effortlessly transports heavy loads by balancing them on top of her head. When in 2017, she asked if her son could work for us, I told him to come for an interview. He made a good impression and has been working in our housekeeping department ever since. Like his mother, Komang has a wonderful old-fashioned goodness about him, which in Indonesian we call polos (when referring to an object the word means simple, but when used for a person it means a genuine, down-to-earth, unpretentious type). He is strongly built and possesses the easiest sweet smile. He is such a natural, unspoiled child of Bali that he sometimes replies to questions in Indonesian in Balinese. As a result, you might be able to guess that leaning English is a challenge for him but one he is working to overcome. His hobbies are playing futsal and watching football. He is a Bali United fan and whenever time and money allows goes to watch them live at the Gianyar stadium.
From: Kayu Kapas village
Immediately before being hired by Gayatri, Mertika was let go as a daily worker at The Mansion Resort & Spa, also in Ubud, due to the catastrophic tourist situation in Bali in the aftermath of the eruption of the Agung volcano in late 2017, the effects of which were felt way into 2018. We are very glad he became free for he has shown a great attitude and diligence in his work so far. As they say, every cloud... He is a fresh-faced, confident young lad who is cheeky around his friends. As the son of a farmer from Kintamani, on whose plantations he routinely helped out growing up, he has an in-built understanding of growing the fruits and vegetables suitable in the region, which has been an invaluable help to Gayatri's own plantations, on which the dominant plants now are mandarin trees, cabbage, and chilli. As his home village is about an hour away from his current place of work, Mertika rents a room in Silakarang village, close to where he finished his vocational school. Mertika is an upgrade on the person he replaced, and thus symbolizes the evolution and upward trend that Gayatri is on in 2018. We are proud to have him on our staff and hope that long may it be so.
From: Plaga village
Agus is part of "the Silakarang Gang", our series of recent recruits from the same vocational school in Silakarang, who are close enough in age to be either classmates or school friends, and actually applied to work at Gayatri through the recommendation of someone in that social network. (It should be said that the number of recent graduates from their class to apply to Gayatri was high but we only handpicked the best ones, of which Agus is a fine example.) Like Mertika, he was also victim to the mass cull of employees from business establishments on the island in the aftermath of the Agung eruption in late 2017 when tourist numbers were reaching record lows. As with Mertika, Gayatri benefited from the situation by being able to acquire Agus as a member of staff. He is a handsome-faced, elegant young man of great versatility: he is comfortable in the rooms, as a waiter, and even as driver. It is in the last of these three capacities that he has shown a most pleasing youthful fearlessness and ability to learn quickly, performing very well on jobs he is doing for the first time or has been given instructions for only the once. He added a waitering diploma from a higher education insitution to the vocational training he already had earlier this year, which signals his ambition and desire for self-improvement. It is because of additions like Agus that the staff at Gayatri feels fresher and more professional than ever before.
Position: Head launderess
From: Belusung village
In early 2016, Putu Ica, who worked in our laundry at the time, was about to go on maternity leave. I asked the staff if anyone they know is looking for employment and would provide good cover for Putu. Ibu Wayan, one our painters at the time, said there was a girl in her neighbourhood who had been out of work for some years because she had had a child herself, but was now looking for a job. She is a very hard-working woman, Ibu Wayan said. That was the start of the process of hiring Wayan Tarmi. Therefore she owes her position, or at least initial entry into it, to Ita, Putu's little girl who was born in 2016. Since then, Tarmi has assumed more responsibility in the laundry department and risen to position of head launderess. Ibu Wayan did not lie: Tarmi's work ethic is absolutely unimpeachable, and physically she is very fit and strong, which is a necessity seeing as she needs to carry big baskets of clothes up and and down several flights of stairs every day. An introvert, she is not prone to any shows of extravagance and likes to keep to herself, letting her work do the talking. Her husband is a builder-turned-craftsman, and together they have a primary school age boy, whom Tarmi refers to lovingly as "nakal sekali" (very naughty).
From: Serai village
Kadek Dewi is part of the "Silakarang gang" at Gayatri, by which I mean the group of recent recruits who are all close in age, graduated from the same school (SMK Sila Werdhi Silakarang), rent rooms in the area, and socialise together. Kadek was actually the first of the group to join, and she did so on the recommendation of Putu Ica (see profile above), at whose family compound Kadek boards. Kadek joined initially as an addition to our housekeeping team but as part of a re-shuffle in mid-2017 found a new home for herself in our laundry, where she forms a tight trio with Tarmi and Mbok Abing, which is responsible for keeping our sheets and towels spick and span. There seemed to be a bit of mischief between her and Mertika, one of our roomboys, after the latter was hired, but that has since diffused into a normal working relationship. Kadek loves listening to music, especially love songs in Balinese, hanging out with her friends at their local Warung Mek Dek, and occasionally follows Indonesian TV shows, from which the actress Natasha Wilona has emerged as her favourite (and also her pick for most beautiful woman in the world).
From: Ubud village
Mbok Abing, as she is affectionately known by most at Gayatri - the 'Mbok' a term for a big sister or a woman we regard as such - has the not little honour of being the longest-serving member of staff, with already an impressive nineteen years behind her (oh the changes she has seen at both the property and in Ubud in that time!) and insodoing serving as a good advert for our commitment towards our staff and our policy of lifetime employment. Her destiny and that of Gayatri were further entwined when she fell ill to a serious heart condition at around the same time as Ketut Bagia, the original owner and founder, saw his liver problems deepen. This bond of suffering meant that Bapak Ketut was all too eager to help Abing and find the compromises necessary for her to keep her job and thus continue to receive an income she could not afford to lose but at the same time working within the confines of her physical limitations. When many other employers would have cut her off considering her dead wood, Bapak Ketut allowed her to continue working shorter days (six hours instead of eight) and sparing her any climbs which her heart could not take (this means that the other people in the laundry are tasked with carrying the clothes up and down stairs and Abing sits and irons them). After the handover from father to son, Bagus has continued his father's policy. Her nickname, Abing, actually means cliff in Balinese and comes from the fact that the house where she grew up was near a cliff. In addition to being a launderess, Mbok Abing doubles up as the person in charge of offerings and religious ceremonies at Gayatri, owing to her experience and understanding of the local traditional customs.