The Saurashtra Chaiwalla

My last road trip to Saurashtra taught me much more than I would care to admit, eating vegetarian food notwithstanding. It showed me the joy of driving on buttery smooth highways, and how much I could enjoy the flatlands. “I’d take the coast or the mountains any day,” I thought. There is something quite defining about recognizing what one wants, especially in its absence.

As we were approaching Ahmedabad, my curiosity about the city grew. Much has been said about it, and the city is emblematic of the current political scenario. On its outskirts, I find myself staring at a tiny tea stall decorated with Congress flags, with the owner standing defiant. We stop, wanting to know more about this man.

This is what sheer grit looks like, I think, taking in the weathered face and salt and pepper beard, with the red tikka on his forehead. He didn’t talk much, perhaps he didn’t need to. He did acquiesce to getting his picture clicked. I don’t think I’ll need it to remember him though; his is a face which stays with you.

What is his story? I don’t know. Maybe, the next time I drive past the city, I’ll find him again. And once again, we’ll stand companionably with cups of chai, watching the cars zip past us on the highway.

#HitTheRoad

Road trips open up endless possibilities.With Easy Roads, discover places to explore, for even the planned trips have potential for the unplanned. Seek and ye shall find, traveller!