This shocking story of Rambhai Kori from working at ISRO to selling chai at IIM-A holds an important and strong message for all, especially in this current generation. Rambhai came to the city with his father back in 1692 for his schooling. Rambhai is originally from Uttar Pradesh. He joined a technical diploma course but didn’t stick with it for long. Kori later worked in the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) as an electrician.
From ISRO To Tea Vending At IIM
After a few years, he left the job with a passion to start something on his own. One such day, he had come outside the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) to buy some beedies for a relative. At the time, the place was like a jungle, poorly maintained and did not even have proper, ‘pucca’ roads as Rambhai mentions. Although there were snacks stalls and a small paan shop, Rambhai noticed that there was no chai shop to sell tea for students. That was when the idea was implanted in his head. He decided to start a tea stall on his own.
Rambhai has been working in the tea stall for over 5 decades! He has been selling more than just tea – he sells cigarettes, buns and even omelettes. His business has been so intriguing that some of the IIM-A student have written papers on his business model and Rambhai even states that he has sat in the IIM-A classrooms during their research presentations.
Even when the institute was compounded, they left a small portion unbricked just for Rambhai’s shop. Rambhai proudly says that from working in the ISRO to selling tea to students of one of the most prestigious institutes of the world has been a beautiful journey.
Towards the end of his story, Rambhai recounts with a rather bittersweet tone, what saddens him the most. He says that his customers have becomes CEOs, policymakers and Politicians, but, “I still remain the same ‘Chaiwallah’. Your choices in life can influence your future. You have to be careful and thoughtful. Life is full of ups and downs, you should be prepared for it all. People with tough backgrounds make it out better in life as well. For instance, 2018 Mr National Universe is the son of a tea seller. Check out his inspiring story, here.