Thursday, April 14, 2016

Meet 'Lakshman Rao' - Novelist cum Tea Seller.

"A writer is born after 50 years of age and gets the real life after his death." -- Lakshman Rao
This is the real life story of struggle, rejection, unflinching determination amidst penury and now recognition. This is the story of Lakshman Rao, a tea seller on pavements of Delhi.
His story is bound to teach us a few lessons on persistence, perseverance and listening to inner voice when the entire world thinks otherwise.
Lakshman Rao - Author of 24 novels, plays, political essays written in Hindi; had a life fraught with poverty, obstacles and tons of struggle.But sheer determination helped him pave
way to present fame and very little fortune, after numerous rejections and decades of dedicated reading-writing on the noisy South Delhi street of Vishnu Digambar Marg near Hindi Bhavan, while selling tea.
The best part is he is publisher and salesman of his books to numerous schools and libraries across Delhi. He decided to self-publish his books after being rudely shooed away by a publisher. They would say, "a chaiwallah tea seller can't write books".
So he would cycle 60 km in mad Delhi traffic to promote his books across Delhi and then sell tea till 9 PM. After reaching home - a one-room tenement that he shares with his wife and 2 sons, he would write till early morning hours.
After all these years of dedicated work, he is finally getting recognition in Indian and world media. Newspapers from 'The Guardian' to 'New York Times' have published articles on him. Indian president had invited him to Rashtrapati Bhavan (Presidential Palace) after reading one of his Novels 'Renu'. Now he is a recognized man on the pavement where he sells tea as people from all walks of life stop by his stall to sip tea and take life's wisdom from him. As one bank manager says, "I feel richer and relieved of life's hassles after a conversation with him".
Check out this You Tube video with Lakshman Rao sharing his wisdom >>

One of his novels has been translated in English and available on Kindle. He says, even if a single person from across the world in London reads his work on Kindle; he would be rewarded! For now he is busy preparing tea at his stall and conceptualizing his next novel.
Surprisingly for a man with such humble means, barely making under $200 a month to support his family - has larger than life dreams - his eyes beaming with satisfaction as he says "I loved Shakespeare and wanted to be a writer. Now that people have recognized and read my works, I am a happy man and no sorrows in life".
Remember, here's a man living in abject poverty and few means, saying "he has no sorrows in life". Perhaps this should be a priceless take for all of us in an insane consumerist world where nothing is enough to satisfy our greed....
Let's salute indomitable spirit of Lakshman Rao - 'The Novelist'