We had Ratna Mary, fondly called the “tea aunty” join us today for a candid talk on her thriving 21 year business, the journey, life experiences and insights. Starting from 5 cups of tea to serving 500 cups a day, she is loved by everyone in the neighbourhood for her spirit to serve and attention to detail.
She exudes love for life, even on days she is not feeling well, asks everyone she meets ‘how are you doing’ and feels great knowing to speak 5 different languages. Few highlights from her inspiring talk and Q&A.
What drives you to do this?
RM: People. In all these years, I’ve never lost a customer or had anyone say my tea or coffee had less milk. They loved having me in their lives everyday as much as I did. There were always some people who would not pay, but money would always come in from somewhere else, to keep me going. I’d always buy tea, coffee and sugar in bulk, I could never think of waking up and not making tea for so many people.
What according to you is the most important thing in running a business?
RM: Trust people. Be soft, however the other person is. Don’t get angry or hurt someone for money. Say it’s alright and let it go. You will get money from somewhere else. Just keep doing your thing, from all your heart.
What do you consider your biggest achievement?
RM: I never had any support in my life, had to raise two children, pay for my son’s education and get my daughter married. I would carry flasks on my own to sell tea. My husband did not contribute a single penny for my daughter’s wedding. I managed to meet my family needs, yet doing the best I could in business.
Is money important?
RM: Yes it is. But never more than people. I managed to save 30,000 rupees every month, fund my son’s education and got my daughter married. I never counted money, but I always had enough to meet my needs. My daughter wonders, I never went to school in life, but am earning double the money than her, being self employed and serving people affectionately for more than 20 years. I believe in helping people rich or poor in whatever ways I can.
Did you think of having your own shop after few years?
RM: Yes, I have bought a small space near electronic city. I plan to have a shop for tea, coffee and fast food. It is difficult to stop taking tea to everyone suddenly, it will be a gradual, slow transition.
Another spectacular evening at office yesterday with some fascinating talks! We had everyone share about a ’cause’ they felt deeply for, with a personal story and how they hoped to bring change. Quoting their own life experiences, people shared thoughts on problems we have today that are globally relevant, bringing focus to things we can do in our capacity with a slightly different perspective; like taking care of the elderly, minimizing food wastage, making technology ‘accessible’ for people with poor eye sight, supporting the government for making basic health diagnostics free for all and many more. Every one of them, candid and natural, uniquely influential in their own ways and shining in their light.
We decided to call it the Codewave Leadership Cafe’.
Vinay won our hearts with a soul stirring talk about the lack of care & affection we give people and lives that are connected to us in some way, starting from our own families.
“Money doesn’t matter, it’s all in showing a little care & affection”, moved us all deeply in ways we hadn’t imagined; making it a truly special moment for all us.