TEA TALES

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    His active day begins at 9:30a.m., when he starts serving his tea,on a bicycle, to the people in Anna Nagar, a semi-posh area in Chennai. He has been in this field of work since 1993, when he came to Chennai, like most others, from a small village, in search of work.

    He serves tea to the daily wage labourers in and around the area,from 9:30a.m. to 1p.m. He then takes a break for lunch and returns to work at 2:30p.m. and drives around till 6p.m.

    He fondly reminisces his early days in Chennai and the enthusiasm he had come here with. He tells me how the city has changed a great deal, recollecting that he used to sell tea and coffee for just a rupee, then. The same now sells for Rs.7.His wife has gone back to their village leaving him and their two daughters in the city.

    The daughters are educated, one passed out from college and the other passed out from school. But, he feels bad that he is unable to fund their further education.

    The respect that he holds for his work, comes through when he says that even though he is unable to educate them further, he is thankful to his ‘tea vandi’ (bicycle that he rides around to sell tea) that he could educate them at all. Talking to him of education, he says that he is a 6th class pass and that he regrets not completing his schooling. His tea refreshes the daily wage labourers and helps them go through the tough day at work.

    The little profit that he gets from this, has kept him and his family going for the past 23 years. From Re.1 to Rs.7, his journey has been going on. With the same routine day in and day out.As I write, and you read, his life goes on, with his tea telling his  tales.