New Delhi's most famous tea seller: Meet Laxman Rao, chaiwallah by day, author by night

Author Laxman Rao's inspirational story is as touching as that of the protagonists of his books. He has written over 24 books in Hindi, including novels, plays and analyses of Indian society and politics, but professionally, he is a chaiwalla on the streets of Delhi and probably, as a recent story by BBC called him, the most famous tea seller in the Indian capital.

Laxman Rao with former President Pratibha Patil. Image Credit: Official Facebook page

Laxman Rao with former President Pratibha Patil. Image Credit: Official Facebook page

Rao left his village in Amravati, Maharashtra in 1975 to pursue his passion of writing with nothing but Rs 40 which he took from his father along with his 10th grade completion certificate, according to this  New York Times blog. He worked odd jobs for months in Delhi and finally settled as a tea seller as it was more profitable than being a writer.

"For 20 years I have made no money from my books," he had told Guardian in an interview. Publishers didn't want to take him in and he was prompted to save money and self-publish his first book in 1979 ‘Nai Duniyan ki Nai Kahani’ as per this report by Hindustan Times. 

Since then, his fortunes have picked up and his  best-selling novel 'Ramdas, which was published in 1992 exploring the story of a young, wayward student is now in its third edition and has sold more than 4,000 copies, says  BBC.

Today, Rao has a bachelor's degree in Hindi and has he even sat for a masters exam through a distance learning programme in Delhi. His books have earned him the praise of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and President Pratibha Patil, with the latter felicitating him at Rashtrapati Bhavan as well, a moment he considers his finest.

And as the times have progressed, so has Rao. Today he has a Facebook page, managed by his son and his books are now available on online shopping portals such as Flipkart and Amazon. "His books are doing very well on our site. We are happy that authors like Mr Rao have found a platform such as ours to sell his books," a spokesperson for Amazon India told the BBC. For someone who had to publish his own books and often sell them by going to schools and collages or from his tea stall, that is quite the achievement.

If there is one thing that Rao's story teaches us, it's that no goal is too big to achieve if one works hard enough.


Updated Date: Aug 04, 2015 14:07 PM

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