Hard times – a tiny tale

“Chaaaaiiiii chaaaiiiii. Hot chaiiii”, Raju announced relentlessly as he moved from one carriage to the other. The pandemic imposed restrictions had bankrupted him and waylaid his livelihood. When the trains got cancelled, he was forced to seek out odd jobs just to make ends meet. Even then, there were days when his family of three had to go without a single meal. As the restrictions eased up and the trains resumed, he was able to go back to selling tea to the travellers. There were fewer takers than usual but somehow he earned enough to feed his family. Just enough.

(100 words)

This post was written in response to the Friday Fictioneers photo prompt hosted by the lovely Rochelle. The Friday Fictioneers challenge is to write a complete story – beginning, middle and end in 100 words or less, based on the given photo prompt. A huge thanks to Rochelle for hosting this challenge.

If you have been a passenger of the Indian railways, you would have undoubtedly come across the chai wallahs, that is, the tea vendors. They carry their huge container of hot water/tea/coffee/watery milk, tea bags, sugar and so on. And most of the time when I was travelling my train, I woke up to their shouts of “chaaaiiii” and “kaafeeee”. Sometimes, they have hot and crispy snacks with them too.

This picture prompt got me wondering how these poor fellows would have fared when all the trains were cancelled due to the surge in cases. Now that the trains have resumed, I hope that they are back and that their livelihoods don’t seem as bleak as before. I haven’t travelled via trains after the pandemic and so I don’t have a current update. If any of you have travelled via trains recently, do let me know.

It has been a while since I participated in the Friday Fictioneers photo prompt but with the last few prompts, I just couldn’t come with a story that had a beginning, middle and an end. I am very happy with my response to this week’s prompt. Do comment with your thoughts on this.

For the visually challenged readers, the picture shows what seems like the view from a train’s window. Train tracks can be seen in the background.

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Image courtesy: J Hardy Carroll

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© 2021 Shweta Suresh. All rights reserved.


173 thoughts on “Hard times – a tiny tale

  1. I was carried back to those days when we could travel without the worry of viruses or lockdowns…and having chai in a railway coach is one of the best feelings in the world…missing those days…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Very hard times for those who lost their jobs during pendemic especially in India.😧. I hope they will get back to their work .!! By the way nicely written.😍!!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I would help out Raju. I’m a sucker for a hot chai. This has been rough for all of us, but I imagine people with those kinds of jobs had it the worst. They can’t make that much money in the best of times.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad to hear that you’d offer assistance to Raju. Yes, the pandemic has been especially hard on such people. I hope that they have managed to survive through all the struggles. Thanks for reading 😃

      Liked by 1 person

  4. It was an awesome read Shweta.

    Pandemic affected daily earners the most, once I too visited my town by train when government announced some trains will operate. I miss that charm of food hawkers.

    But now I liked that things are coming back on track.


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