“Chai, Chai, Chai,” he called out balancing two trays of tea in either hand. As he walked along the train’s narrow corridor, he saw a young girl seated in a corner. She seemed hungry and thirsty and her gaze was drifting from his tray to the nearby Vada Pav seller.
He wanted to give her some tea but knew that there wouldn’t be enough to sell. He walked on a little ahead and looked around. No one seemed to be looking at him, half the people were still asleep. He quickly poured a little tea from all the glasses into an empty one. No one would notice a sip or two worth of tea missing from their glass.
He approached the girl again who took the glass and finished it in one gulp. He inquired about her parents and she told him that had run away from home two days back.
The train’s whistle blew signalling that it was going to leave in a few minutes. He quickly asked her to follow him. Fortunately the girl knew her father’s phone number and they were able to contact him.
A taxi stopped outside the railway station and a worried couple got out. “Aai!” Exclaimed the girl as she ran to hug her mother.
Her father approached the tea seller, thanking him profusely. He took some money from his pocket and pressed it into his hand as a reward.
But, the tea seller refused it. “Saheb, hum sirf mahenat ke paise lete hai.” (Sir, I only take money for which I have worked.) Hearing this the girl’s father smiled. The three of them sat at the stall drinking a cup of tea before leaving.
Today was C for Chai (Tea)
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