A Chai Wala’s Journey: From Working At ISRO To Selling Tea At IIM-A
May 14th, 2018
“I came here to the city in 1962, from Uttar Pradesh, with my father and did my schooling here. After my schooling, I joined technical diploma course but left the course midway due to family issues. Later, I worked as an electrician at the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) for few years and left that job. Since a long time, I wanted to start something of my own but couldn’t find anything. Until, one day when I had come here outside Indian Institute of Management (IIM) to buy some beedis for my relative and at that time this area was like a jungle and didn’t even have a pucca road. There was a paan shop and an old man selling snacks but no tea stall for students, so that’s when I decided to start a tea stall of my own. It has been more than 5 decades since I have been selling tea, cigarettes, buns and Omelettes here in the city. Students of IIM-Ahemdabad has also written a case paper on my business model and I have also sat on the professor’s chair in the IIM-A classroom during that research presentation. When IIM-A wrapped a high wall around its campus, it left a small window unbricked only for me so that I can continue to run this tea stall. From working at ISRO to selling tea to the students of one of the best institution of our country, the journey has been beautiful.
The sad part about my life has been that the students who have been my customer have turned into Policymakers, CEO’S, Politicians, Professors and what not but I have not progressed in life. I still remain the same ‘Chaiwallah’.”
– Rambhai Kori (IIM Tea Stall)
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