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ratna mary at codewave leadership cafe

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.

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