“For Men may Come and Men May Go,
But I Go On Forever”
These lines from Alfred Lord Tennyson’s poem describe the Sunrise Tea Stall aptly. Every year sees an influx of new students in all colleges on College Road, but one thing that stays constant is that Ravi Anna , as he is fondly known by the customers, surging to his shop after a hard day’s work.
It has been a second home for an assortment of customers. No fancy and glittery boards greet the customers. Four plastic stools are the only ‘seating facilities’ available. Tea is served in tiny glass cups. The chips on the corners of these cup characteristically reflect light, much like the name of this stall. Perhaps this is the reason why students, working professionals, daily wage workers – all flock his shop. There is something about it the glitter that feels welcoming. His Peak hours are early morning and the evening.
As is usual with such places, this stall too transcends social barriers. People of all backgrounds visit him, and he serves tea with the same warmth, to each one.
“Anna, ‘Unna Tea kuda’” (meaning One Tea please in Tamil)”, is all it takes to strike a rapport with him and fellow tea drinkers. A handcart puller who has just arrived in front of the shop, while a group of 5 students are engrossed in an intense discussion about which is the best faculty in their college are not distinguished by Anna in this world of his.
This little square is forever bustling with conversation. Politics, economics, personal worries and hot socialite gossip have all found refuge in the rants of the customers. One hears snippets of election probabilities, personal problems and Katrina Kaif’s dating life all in one evening, out here seated on the broken red stools of this shop. A lot of colleges being present in the vicinity lend a youthful ambience to his stall.
Anna has been running the Sunrise Tea Stall for the past 20 years. A venture that started with only tea has now expanded to Fruit Juices, Bread Omlette, Cold Drinks and a lot more. “Ravi Anna’s lemonade is out of this world,” says Abhaya , a student of Asian College of Journalism. Visibly, nothing distinguishes this small tea shop from the rest of those present on the street. But, a sip of the wonderous concoction that Ravi Anna brews makes him popular among all tea connoisseurs.
Variants of tea are subject to Anna’s own sweet disposition. Some specialities like the Cardamom tea are available specially when it rains.
Ravi Anna now owns a two-wheeler, a scooty. He earns enough to send both his sons to school and he is very proud of them. He leads a content life earning over 2000 rupees daily. “My business picks up substantially during rains. A lot of people come in for the ‘Wadas’ and ‘Bhajis’ then,” says a beaming Anna.