I was travelling by train to Trichy with my family about a month back. Since, it was a last minute travel, we could not get air tickets and so decided to go by train. It was a much awaited train travel after a long time and so was the excitement. We had to board the train from Egmore station. The departure was at 10.15 in the night so was quite happy with the timing. Very ideal in the sense that we would have a quick dinner at home and would reach Trichy for breakfast. This was the best that could happen. No hassle of packing dinner etc. Just a bottle of water was suffice.
But, when we reached the station, the first thing our eyes met was the Adyar Ananda Bhavan Stall flooded with sweets and savouries. I, especially love their Chivda mixture, Butter murukku and the Kara sev. With meaningful exchanges with my daughters, we headed towards it and came back with a few filled plastic covers. We also collected some magazines from a book stall nearby. The train journey itself calls for munching and reading, not to be missed at any cost. As we were settling down in our seats, we could see a small boy selling 'garam chai' in mud pots. We could already sense the aroma of the same and was ready for a hot cup. We got 4 chais and started sipping, it was heavenly. As he did not have the change, he told he would come and collect money from us later. By the time, our chai was getting over, we could hear the whistle and the train started moving. The boy, not to be seen anywhere. As it was the air condition coach, there was no way of calling or looking out for him from the window. A peep from the door did not yield any results. Our spirits were dampened. What a way to start our trip !!!!!
Then came Mambalam and Tambaram, he was not to be seen. By this time, we had no hope of seeing him again. As we were settling in our beds, came the Chengalpet station and we could hear the train stop with a 'thud'. We could hear a faint 'chai chai' sound too. At 11.30 in the night, there he is, in all smiles. He apologised that he was late to collect his dues. He also gave us some more news that he is happy, his pot was over finally. He happily collected not a paise more from us and was waiting to get down. I was too happy to hand him the Anand Bhavan snacks too which he started to devour immediately, sure must be hungry. I am sure,by the time he reaches his so-called home, it would be past midnight, only to awake to sell more ' chais' the next day.
We headed back to Chennai within a couple of days. As we were reaching Egmore station, all our eyes were looking out for the boy selling chai. There he was :):) Not to miss the moment, we had his chai and then proceeded home. These are some moments of life, to be remembered at all times.
Getting a cup of 'garam chai' at a station especially, is a very uneventful incident to most of us. Thinking deeply, I wonder what this boy would be doing after 10 years, maybe still selling 'chai' or maybe elevated to the post of managing a stall in Egmore. Life is very uncertain for him but appreciate his spirits of working hard to earn a rupee instead of resorting to begging. Next time when you travel, please be sure to get a cup of 'chai'.