The "Sarathy" tea stall always had customers. It was situated in the corner of the street. The street that led to the entrance of a huge IT park. The tea and coffee were certified excellent by several senior level officers who worked at the many IT companies in the IT park. They served hot vadas, samosas and pakodas. They made a variety of sandwiches and sold cut fruits too. And of course the usual snacks and titbits. The only thing different was that they did not sell cigarettes. The man behind the show..the owner was an unusually tall man, with a large mustache, who always wore a big smile on his face. His name was Sarathy. He looked as if he belonged somewhere else.
But he is not the one we need to talk about. It was Hari. His assistant. He joined the tea shop when he was 7. To help his mother with finances. He was now almost 20 and had learned all he could from Sarathy. He was adept at making tea, coffee and several varieties of snacks. He knew all the customers by name and how they liked their tea or coffee, what where their favorite snacks and when they came for a break. He was honest, hardworking and kind.
This January was an important month for him. One of the regular customers of the tea shop, a certain Mr. Ashok, had got him a job at a new restaurant which was looking for in house help, for hard working, honest boys like him. But it was a job where he had to stay at the restaurant, away from his mom and sister. And Sarathy of course. He had no intention of leaving the tea stall and Sarathy. But it was a good offer. It was Sarathy that convinced him to go.
As he sat and ate dinner with his family the night he had to leave, he looked around his house. A small two room house with asbestos roofing, had one room that had all their belongings neatly put away on an open shelf and a small wooden cupboard that had survived for several years, the other doubled as a kitchen and puja room. They had to share the common toilets and baths in the small colony of houses they stayed in. His sister attended the local corporation school. His mom was house help. In three houses to be precise. He had packed the one pair of faded jeans he owned along with 3 shirts, and all of his few worldly possessions in a bag that was gifted by Sarathy.
His drunken father sat at the door step, yelling words of abuse at his mom and him. This was not new. They ate as he continued to yell, words getting worse. And then he spoke badly of his mom's character! As Hari got up in anger, his mom held him back, and gave him a look which said 'its not worth it'.
He resolved to get his mom and sister the life they deserved. This new job was his first step. His mother smeared holy ash on his forehead and his little sister gave him a hug. He left, asking his mom to take care of her health and promising to send her money regularly.
He stepped out into the night. on a journey. A journey built on the past. A journey a brighter future.
Several years later...Hari dragged Sarathy into the IT park. His mom and sister followed. Sarathy had put up quite a fight to be blindfolded. Its tough to make a man of his build to do your bidding. He did finally comply at the request of Hari's mom.
They walked into the food court in one of the huge buildings. Hari came to a halt in front of one of the stalls. He put Sarathy in front of it and opened his blind fold. This is ours, Hari said. Sarathy's eyes filled with tears as he lifted Hari off his feet to give him a bear hug. Hari's sister laughed and his mother smiled.
The sign board read "SARATHY TEA STALL'.
This week you have to write on ‘January, Jeans and Journey’.
January is a month that spells freshness and the chance to do something in a new way. No wonder that we are infused with a new energy throughout the month. We are teaming January with ‘Jeans’, which are so commonplace that we take their presence and comfort for granted. We’re hoping that you take these words and set off on a ‘Journey’ of blogging that people will love to be a part of!