Passionate literary journey of a Tea Stall Author: Laxman Rao at TEDxWalledCity

Passionate literary journey of a Tea Stall Author: Laxman Rao at TEDxWalledCity


Hello! My name is Laxman Rao, I’m 60 years old. I’ve done my bachelors from Delhi University. You have passion, that passion that you have, I’ve had that too. 40 Years ago, I was a laborer in a textile mill in Amravati. Due to power shortage, the mill was shut down and I had to return to my village. I started farming again. People said, this boy can’t do anything, he came back! People go from villages to cities and he came from city to village. I didn’t like this. I took my matriculation certificate, borrowed 40 Rupees from my father and came to Bhopal. I became a construction worker. Earned 90 rupees and came to Delhi. I stayed at a Birla temple’s shelter in Delhi. I was looking for work but I could find none. I had to wash dishes at restaurants for an year. Then another year I worked as a construction laborer. When I saved enough, I opened a beetlenut stall under a tree on Vishnu Digambar Street. In my heart was the passion to become a writer. I would go to Darya Ganj Market, buy books from Sunday market of Munshi Premchand, Sharat Chandra Chhatopadhyay, Kalidas, Shakespear. I wrote two books in two years Ramdas and “New story of a new world”. I went to publishers, some said you’ll have to pay us to print, others gave exuses not to print my book. One publisher said, Get out from here, you don’t know what is publishing. I thought I can publish my own books. So I started saving, saved a total of 7000 Rupees. And I published my first book “New Story of a New World”. I was a Paan (beetlenut) vendor, people were astonished, a PaanWala writes books too? Times of India special correspondent – Usha Ray came to my shop. She wrote an article on my life. I started becoming popular through news media. On 27th May 1984, I had the opportunity to meet Prime Minister Indira Gandhi I told her I want to write a book on your life, but she said, you should write on our administration. I wrote a play “Prime Minister”. One by one, my books kept rolling out. I wrote 24 books out of which 12 have been self published. I earn about 10,000 Rupees a month from my books. But you can’t run a household in 10,000, therefore even today I run my tea stall on the street outside this building (Hindi Bhawan) and earn 500 a day. This is my life. In our nation, humans are classified. Leader’s child becomes a leader and laborers family is doing manual labor. The laborers who build the school building their kids can’t go to those schools. Those laborers who build the hospital they cannot get healthcare in those hospitals. This is ironic in Gandhi’s country. A scholar went to America. American Journalists asked him, if you were made the Prime Minsiter of India, what would you do? The scholar said, I will take all of my class 1 officers to work as farmers for 6 months. I will be the first one with a plough. Because our nation has developed on agriculture, and our development money has come from agriculture. This is our nations foundation. But ironically in our nation, farmers stay poor. You must’ve seen, foreigners come to India, take pictures and make painting or Films on our poor, and win prizes worth millions. But our poverty stays where it was. Our language is Hindi, but we are all enthused by English, the good thing is, all of us understand it. In English, there was a Scholar, J C Nesfield who asked, “How many tenses are there in English grammer?” Everyone considers three tenses, Past Tense, Present Tense and Future Tense. J C Nesfield said, but there is another “Future in the past”. This is where grammer is incomplete, kids learn, but are unable to understand how to move forward. On the topic of English language, a girl from our nation,
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who worked as a house maid, a professor took her to London and she worked there for 2 years. When she returned, she could speak fluent English. I wrote a novel on her life – “Patjar” (“The Fall”) Another book on a girl, she studied at a center opposite my shop, in old torn clothes she worked as a peon and yet graduated college and became a Chartered Accountant. Today, she earns millions and travels in airplanes. I write on true stories, I’ve written 24 books and one of those is on an ideal teacher. This is my passion and life. And outside this very Hindi Bhawan, is my 35 years of identity. Thank you! Jai Bharat! Jai Hind!

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