Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Short Story: A Tea Shop

Hundreds of people come, have tea with some Osmania biscuits and go to their businesses every day. I have stayed here, in the same spot for thirty years now. I inherited the shop from my father and he did from his father and thereon. We are the best tea makers in the city and have stayed in the business since really long.

pic courtesy: HappyTrips
I know people think that there is nothing interesting in this work, there is nothing to look forward to. But, I have stayed here since the beginning, have done this since the beginning. I have heard thousands of conversation and still hear thousands of them every day. Some talk about their day in office, some talk about their problems, some of them visit the shop hang out with their friends, some talk about the new ideas they have in mind.

I never went to the college. I took over the shop when I was 19. I had to leave my studies in between and support my family. I complained a lot to my father about how I want to become an engineer, but now I have to sit in the shop. To that he told me, ‘there is no bigger learning than listening to customers’ experiences and you will realize it when you will grow old.’ At that time I thought he is saying all this just because he wants me to stop complaining and start working with him in the shop.

It has been thirty years since I started working in the shop and I still remember his words. The conversations I heard over the years have taught me things which probably any college would not have. I have not seen the world, but I have seen all kind of people.

It is so interesting to see how people from different cities come together and stay together. Every day is a learning at the shop. I have not travelled the word, but I do get to know some part of it every day.

Every conversation I overhear motivates me to move forward and fills the void that I had because of not able to experience my college life. I learned so much about different cities, different cultures, different languages and the different way in which people think.

I have made some good friends, who are our regular customers. Have seen the place changing, have seen kids growing and have seen some throughout their different phase of life.

I still feel sad as to why I could not go to the college and could not have a normal teenage life. But, when I look back, I feel my father was not wrong when he told me, ‘there is no bigger learning than listening to customers’ experiences and you will realize it when you will grow old.’

Written by Ashna Garg
Ashna grew up in a jazzy town (where she felt she can never fit in), did graduation in economics (where she didn’t fit either) and she writes (where she finally started to feel like she fits in)

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