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MA English Chaiwali wants to brew her own success story

Tuktuki Das was not short of options, but then her own tea stall came with its own advantages.

Written by Shreya Das | Kolkata |
Updated: November 20, 2021 9:53:03 am
MA English Chaiwali, MA English Chaiwali habra, habra station tea stall, post graduate tea business, girl opens tea business, tea success stories, viral news, good news, indian expressThe new attraction of Habra station is MA English Chaiwali. Express Photo Shashi Ghosh

Didi, ekta cutting cha…ar jodi hoye ekta selfie, (Sister, a cutting tea and if possible a selfie).”

Tuktuki Das is by now used to these requests at her new ‘MA English Chaiwali’ tea stall at the Habra railway station in West Bengal’s North 24 Parganas. By attaching her degree to her brand of brew, the 26-year-old and her small yellow kiosk on platform number 2 has become an internet sensation over the past few days.

“I always wanted to start my own business and with the limited capital that I had, this was the best option to realise that dream,” says the young entrepreneur.

And no, she did not open a tea stall because she could not secure another job.“In most middle-class families, children are always encouraged to study hard and get a government job. It was no different for me.” But Das wanted to be self-reliant, one of possible with low risk.

MA English Chaiwali, MA English Chaiwali habra, habra station tea stall, post graduate tea business, girl opens tea business, tea success stories, viral news, good news, indian express The young entrepreneur completed her masters degree from Rabindra Bharati University in 2020 and was looking for ways to start a business. (Source: Express Photo Shashi Ghosh)

Soon after completing her degree from Rabindra Bharati University in 2020, Das was inspired by the success stories of MBA Chaiwala Prafull Billore and Chai Walli Uppma Virdi from Australia.

“I had been giving tuition for years and had saved up little by little. Although I liked teaching, it kind of felt stagnant, and I was hungry for more.” With a capital of Rs 10,000, she finally opened the stall on November 1 this year.

MA English Chaiwali, MA English Chaiwali habra, habra station tea stall, post graduate tea business, girl opens tea business, tea success stories, viral news, good news, indian express With a capital of Rs 10,000, the young woman attached her degree to her brand of brew. (Express Photo Shashi Ghosh)

“I seriously had no idea opening a stall in a railway station was this big of a deal,” says Das about her story going viral. But she is not too happy. “It honestly pains me to see how people think selling tea or being a hawker at a railway station is a lowly job. All jobs should get the respect that they deserve, as it all requires a great deal of hard work.”

“While researching about the business I short-listed three places where my business wouldn’t tank: hospitals, colleges and railway stations,” Das explains how she zeroed in on her location. With the pandemic keeping colleges shut, that option was out. And there were not openings in hospitals near her place.

MA English Chaiwali, MA English Chaiwali habra, habra station tea stall, post graduate tea business, girl opens tea business, tea success stories, viral news, good news, indian express For those interest, one can find MA English Chaiwali at Habra Station’s platform number 2. (Express Photo Shashi Ghosh)

Her parents did not find an issue in her choosing to set up her stall at the railway station. “Although they weren’t actually thrilled when I proposed the idea, for them the location was never a concern,” she adds. They just wanted job security for the youngest of their three children.

“I too grew up listening about two options — government service or marriage. I’ve always had bigger aspirations, and I’m glad I have been able to kick-start my career on my own terms,” she says.

“By god grace, business has picked up and I’m selling well. Not only have I managed to get some regular customers but also enthusiasts who simply travel to see me,” says Das, who now takes a break between the two rush hours at the station.

MA English Chaiwali, MA English Chaiwali habra, habra station tea stall, post graduate tea business, girl opens tea business, tea success stories, viral news, good news, indian express With a message no work is too small, Tuktuki Das is trying to slowly expand her brand. (Express Photo Shashi Ghosh)

Though she has been approached by many who want to support her, she is determined to pave her own path. “I don’t want to hear later that I became successful because of the help from others. Good or bad, I want to face everything on my own and show the world, no girl is too small to dream big.”

On Day 1, she offered free tea for over two hours. “I wanted to build a rapport also do a quick sampling of the products to see if any improvements were needed. However, thanks to the pandemic, it wasn’t easy to coax people with free tea,” she chuckles.

MA English Chaiwali, MA English Chaiwali habra, habra station tea stall, post graduate tea business, girl opens tea business, tea success stories, viral news, good news, indian express The young woman claims her business has picked up and has gained many regular customers in two since she opened the shop. (Express Photo Shashi Ghosh)

With no dearth of customers, her focus is now to introduce more variety and tea blends to cater to all kinds of taste. And someday she wants to expand her business, opening more outlets. “While the Habra shop will forever be, as it’s my first shop, I would love to open stalls in Kolkata. If things go as it is now, I think it’s definitely possible in the near future.”

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