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This best-selling author continues to run his tea stall of 20 years4 min read

December 22, 2020 3 min read

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This best-selling author continues to run his tea stall of 20 years4 min read

Reading Time: 3 minutes

What is better than a hot cup of tea and a good book during the winter!

Owliver brings to you the story of Laxman Rao, who brings together these two comforts in an unusual way!

Laxman Rao came to Delhi when he was 22. Now, at 67, he has published 25 books, earned a Masters degree, and sold tea from his stall for the past 20 years.
Mr. Rao had seen struggle early on in life. There were no schools in his village, Talegaon Dashasar in Maharashtra, so he moved to Amravati. However, financial problems forced him to work as domestic help for three years, and at a spinning mill for five years, while continuing his education. He finished school and worked as a farmer for a while. But his dream was to become a writer!
So, he moved to Delhi, with only 40 rupees in his pocket, to turn his dream into a reality.

On reaching Delhi, Mr. Rao worked as a construction worker and as a waiter in a restaurant for two years before setting up his own paan shop. It was this paan shop that he converted into the tea stall that supports him, today.

Mr. Rao, the writer:

As a 15-year-old, Mr. Rao was inspired by the works of Gulshan Nanda, and aspired to be like him in the future (Gulshan Nanda was a popular screenwriter and novelist whose books were adapted into major films in the 1960s and 1970s). But a specific incident from his childhood became the first book he ever wrote—
Ramdas. Ramdas was a boy from Mr. Rao’s village, and his schoolmate. In an unfortunate incident, he drowned in a river and lost his life. Mr. Rao immortalised Ramdas’ story by writing a book about it.

His travel from Mumbai to Delhi, fraught with difficulties and detours, became the subject of the first book he ever published, Nayi Duniya ki Nayi Kahani. Unfortunately, the book was rejected by publishers who did not trust the ability of a tea-seller to write books!

This is when Mr. Rao decided to publish his work himself.

In 1979, using 7,000 rupees from his savings, he published Nayi Duniya ki Nayi Kahani. This marked the beginning of his journey as a writer!

He went to schools and libraries, pedaling on his cycle, to make a market for his work. He also founded his publishing house, Bhartiya Sahitya Kala Prakashan.

Mr. Rao presenting his book, Renu, to former President, Pratibha Patil

Along his journey, he wrote a book on Indira Gandhi, on her insistence. He published Ramdas which is now in its third edition. It also got him the prestigious Indraprastha Sahitya Bharti Award in 2003. He went on to publish 25 books in all. His work has been listed on e-commerce sites like Amazon and Flipkart. He also presented one of his books, titled Renu and inspired by a conversation between his customers, to former President of India, Pratibha Patil.

Mr. Rao, the student:

Mr. Rao is passionate about education. He cleared the Class 12 CBSE Board Exam at the age of 40. After that, he completed his graduation through a correspondence course from Delhi University at the age of 50. At 63, Mr. Rao earned his Masters degree in Hindi from an open university.
Now, he has plans of doing a PhD in Hindi literature.

Mr. Rao, the tea-seller:

Mr. Rao continues to sell his tea to loyal customers at the Income Tax Office (ITO) area in Delhi. The money from the tea-shop helps him support his family. Also, publishing books is not an inexpensive exercise. Here, the shop helps. The shop in itself gets his books attention worth eight thousand rupees every month!

“I am satisfied with my life, I want to move ahead. I am hopeful that my books shall earn me a lot of money someday. Then I’ll stop selling tea and engage in full time writing. That day is not too far away now.”

Laxman Rao, The Better India

Laxman Rao, who spends many hours finding books in the Daryaganj market in Delhi, hopes to be this century’s Shakespeare someday!

There is much to learn from Mr. Rao’s quest for creativi-tea!
Know more about this extraordinary author in this video—

Before you go, how about you try to ‘Uncover the Cover’ of Laxman Rao’s Renu?

Sourced from The Better India