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Chai Garam: 3 Graduate tea sellers dream big

Graduate Chai wala

Lucknow: These three graduates in their 20’s respond to years of struggle against poverty in a unique way.

They took up a daunting task of selling tea and earning reputation and recognition in the society through a trade which is otherwise gawked at as undignified and practiced by uneducated lot.

According to news published in Hindustan times, the tea- shop is located outside Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital in the Uttar Pradesh capital with its signboard: ‘Graduate Chaiwale’ owned and managed by three brothers.

“Running my own business is a better idea than working for someone else. I couldn’t afford to start a big business, so I thought it would be better to start with a small one,” says 25-year-old Govind Tripathi, who started the tea stall in August.

Govind, the eldest of sibling after graduating in computer applications from IGNOU in 2012 worked at Lucknow-based call centres. But the pay wasn’t worth it, and not sufficient to meet family expenses.

“The degree was not of much help. For better jobs you need to know English, which we didn’t because of our background,” Govind says.

When his brothers — Madhav, 21 and 23-year-old Gopal—graduated from ASBD Memorial College in Hardoi this year, they also faced the similar fate.

“They were initially reluctant after I discussed the idea of a tea stall. But I convinced them, it was not a bad idea for financial stability,” Govind says.

With their small-scale entrepreneurship, they fetch around Rs 350-400 a day after abstracting material and operational costs.

The income is much more than what Govind used to get at call centres. “I was getting about Rs 5,000 a month. The workload was unbearable and salary irregular.”

The “Graduate” in the shop’s name point towards the brothers’ idea of making an effort to be different in a small-time business, regard as a stepping stone for big things.

The siblings now take turns to manage the shop. “When we have enough money, we will start a chain of tea stalls in the city,” says an optimistic Govind.

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