Laxman Rao is a Chaiwala by profession but his heart lies in literature.
Although he sells tea along roadside of ITO area in Delhi, he has penned down more than 20 novels and plays. Being a chaiwala, he was always rejected by publishers so he started self publishing & distributing books.
Rao, who has been running the tea stall for almost four decades now, has so far written 24 books in Hindi and is now working on his next novel — ‘Ahankar’, which is a collection of his ‘reflections on life’.
Rao’s has been a life less ordinary, a fascinating tale of a man’s struggle to become a writer against all odds.
A graduate from Delhi University (distance learning), Rao, from a village in Amravati, Maharashtra, penned his first book — ‘Ramdas’ — at a whim while still in school. “The book was based on the true story of a young man called Ramdas, who had committed suicide in the village. While I could not get it published then, the book created in me a strong desire to become a writer. My mother tongue was Marathi but I wanted to write in Hindi,” his words.
To fulfill his dream, Rao left his village for Bhopal with Rs. 40 in pocket, and then in 1975 shifted to Delhi. Just a matriculate then, he knew no one in the Capital and had little money for survival. He stationed himself at a dharamshala (a charitable guest house) and started looking for a suitable job. “To sustain myself, I cleaned utensils at a dhaba and also worked at construction sites,” his words.
However, the menial jobs did not dampen his desire to become a writer. With a strong determination of not going back to his village, he set up a paan shop on the pavement near Hindi Bhavan in 1976, selling paan in the morning and writing books at night.
He surely deserves to earn respect from all Indians on his remarkable dedication towards his desire.