Greetings, traveller. You looked tired and cold.

     Are you a stranger to these parts? Waiting for the bus to Badrinath? Perhaps, you are a pilgrim or a visitor to the Valley of Flowers?

     Anyway, whoever you are, come with me. Wait at my teashop. It is just past the bend in the road.

     As you can see, I am carrying this can of milk to the shop. In ten minutes, I will have a fire going. While you warm yourself, I will prepare for you the best cup of tea in all Garhwal. It will chase away the pinched, blue look from your face.

     Here we are. Welcome to my humble roadside teashop. Make yourself comfortable on this wooden bench. It looks rickety but it will hold your weight.

     My name, Sir? I am called Brij. I am seventeen years old. I started this tea shop two years ago.

     Before that I worked in a roadside shop outside Panipat. The heat, the crowd, the pollution – it was all too much. I had saved most of my earnings. I came back and with a little help I started this shop. By the grace of God, it provides me a decent enough livelihood.
The narrator of the story starts speaking at this point. He greeted a tourist who he saw on the way. The person looked tired and cold to the narrator, and he asked him if he was new to that place.
(The conversation has been given only from the side of the narrator. The replies of the other person is meant to be understood from the response given by the narrator.)
The narrator asked him if he was waiting for the bus that go to Badrinath. He did not reply. He assumed he might be a person who travelled for religious reason or he might be just visiting Uttarakhand. Uttarakhand is the home of the Valley of Flowers National Park, that attracts visitors from all over the world.
The narrator continued his conversation as he did not seem to reply. He told him whoever he was, he could come and wait with him at his teashop, which was close by, near the curve of the road.
A Earthquake.jpg
*Brij said his teashop was just past the bend of the road!
He continued that he was carrying a can of milk to his teashop and in ten minutes, he would start the fire to make tea. He told the person to warm up himself while he prepared the best tea in Garhwal. (Garhwal is a district in the Indian state of Uttarakhand. Its headquarters is in the town of Pauri.) He promised that his tea would make him feel refreshed and alleviate the tension and tiredness in his face.
Soon they reached his shop and he welcomed the person inside. It was a small teashop in the roadside with wooden benches. He told the person to sit and relax on the bench. He added that it might look shaky, but it would hold his weight.
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**Brij started the fire to make tea! (Image for understanding purposes only.)
The person seemed to have asked the narrator's name. He responded that his name was Brij and that he was seventeen years old. He added that he opened that teashop two years back. Brij continued his story - he said he had worked in a roadside shop in the outskirts of Panipat. But he did not like the heat, the mass of people and the polluted environment. So he came back here with the money he had saved and opened this shop with some help from others. He thanked God that it provided him with a good life.
Meanings of difficult words:
pilgrima person who journeys to a sacred place for religious reason
pinched tense and pale from cold, worry, or hunger
ricketypoorly made and likely to collapse
State Council of Educational Research and Training (2019). Term-2 English Standard-9. Earthquake - Mr. M.S. Mahadevan (pp. 154-160). Published by the Tamil Nadu Textbook and Educational Services Corporation.
*Image courtesy: Oscar Johns /
** Image courtesy: Fat Jackey /