Facts that Matter !

Introducing Mrs. Vanita Kandekar. She runs a small tea shop on the National Highway, from Mumbai to Goa.

A small shack with a gas stove. A vessel with oil inside. A few large bottles that hold sweets and snacks. A wooden bench. A thatched protrusion into the frontage. A picture of Bharat Mata that stares at you. ‘Tiger’ biscuit. There are a few other articles which are of lesser significance that escape my eyes.

We don’t see any of these. The drive has been long and we decide to break for tea. We park on the side and cross the road to the tea stall to be presented with the description above. We ask for tea. She smiles. And asks us to wait.

A sudden activity buzz abounds.

Four ceramic cups & saucers, that seem to have popped in from nowhere, get washed. The milk is boiled, the ginger is cut with a, ‘i’ll get it fresh for you‘ comment. Our tired legs smile at our luck. My wife spots the vessel with oil. A pleasant exchange between Ms.Vanita and my wife enuses in Marathi. Cut. Vada Pav is cooking !

The tea gets served. Four cups. We say we ordered only for three. She pours the tea into the fourth cup, and passes it on to the next store vendor. ‘Special Tea for you’. Matter of fact ! My stare stays static, focused on her. She has moved on.

I get curious and pop a few questions. My wife translates in Marathi. It gets Mrs. Kandekar talking.

“I have three sons. One of them passed away. The other is mental. The other does farming”.

No whining. No sad under tone. Just matter of fact. The by-the-side conversation seems to be her way of keeping us engaged as she focuses on the worn down stove.

‘We are brahmins. We don’t get jobs. My son didn’t get either. So he does farming’. No whining. ‘He is ok‘. Just matter-of-fact.

‘I make Rs.25/- every day. On a good day, i make Rs.40/-‘. Matter-of-fact. I look away into the undergrowth. ‘Rs. 25’ continues to ring in my ear. That wont get me half a litre of petrol, i think. She attends to the Vada thats cooking.

Soon, Vada Pav is ready. She serves it with green chillies.

We clean the plate like animals in a zoo who have been unfed for long.

We take it further. The incurable southerners that we are, we ask, if she can make us Bhajjis with the green chillies.

Sure‘. She says.

In 5 minutes, the bhajjis with green chillies are ready. Delicious. We munch on. She chats on. About Ratnagiri. About the weather. And so on. She asks us to take care while driving through. We thank her.

Its time to pay. She quotes a low figure. A ridiculously low figure. We think she has made a mistake and help her count ‘unit’ wise. ‘

Ah she says. Dont include the Chilli Bhajjis’. Thats on me.’

Did i hear that right ? My ‘disbelief’ stare returns. If the Rs.25/- per day income rattled me, the spirit to give ( in a matter of fact way) , sows a new seed.

I look away. Into the sky. I want to hug her. I suddenly want to talk to her more. To unravel the spirit to give. To focus on the present. To just be. I want to tell her that she left a mark.

A word clot and an emotion hemorrhage engulf me. I just stand and stare.

And today, i write. We moved from her road side tea stall a few weeks ago. The memory could be old. Her shade of ‘share ware’ seem to take new roots in me !

20 thoughts on “Facts that Matter !

  1. Kavi,

    I am moved by this post. What a gentleman you are! I have seen some post similar like of some ordinary people who behave great in the past. I could not recollect. Oh.. yeah.. when you were car tyres were punctured somone helped you without expecting anything from return. I tell you these people are great!
    Simple people with noble thoughts. Just great! The next few days I will be talking about this to many whom I meet. Keep up your good work. I shall include her in my prayers and wishes.

  2. Ms Cris says:

    That was too touching..
    These are the people who need talking about, writing about. Thanks for writing it.. helps to throw us all into the light of realities while running through busy lives, completely forgetting human values. Forgetting what being a human really means. Salute to Mrs. Vanita Kandekar.

  3. dinu says:

    Touched me .. really .. no words……

    oh, if silence speaks for itself ..

  4. Gov says:

    Great!So rare!
    I would like to help her.Do u have any contact info of her?If so do publish it.

  5. Gov says:

    Great Blog…Great insight into the grass roots.
    Subscribed!!!!!!!!! 😀

  6. To feel is human and to act in mercy is “karuna”

    Rise to great heights.


  7. Jeevan says:

    Really what u felt is right from your heart! Some illuminate in there truly exist to undivided thought even we are away from them. Beautifully expressed buddy 🙂

  8. Pearl says:

    Oh, what a beautiful post. Changes the light on everything, doesn’t it?

    Thank you.


  9. Kavi says:

    Balaji : A heart felt thanks for the comments. I was moved by the simplicity and elegance of the lady. I had to write about her ! Your comments encourage me to keep looking for such common place wisdom ! thank you

    Ms Cris : Thanks for stopping by. And thanks for featuring this post on your blog. I am honoured.

    It is easy to miss such people and their deeds. but it is in them that the hope for tomorrow lies.

    Thanks a ton for stopping by,once again and for the words !

    Dinu : The lady was just too powerful in a very ordinary way ! Therein lied the beauty !

    Thank you !

    Gov : Thanks for stopping by. Reading and subscribing. I hope this space continues to stay interesting for you.

    Unfortunately, i dont have her address. I just know that she has the store on the highway, somewhere close to the deviation that leads to Ratnagiri.

    Amma : Thank you ! You lead us through !

    Jeevan : Thanks Jeevan. The best of words cant capture what i felt at the time, though

    Pearl : Yes. It does. Thanks for your comment ! Will stay connected !

  10. Very touching.

    Both Vanita and you were very sensitive. She is sensitive to [silent] appreciation or perhaps your interest in her well being as a person. You are sensitive to her magnanimity and thankful acknowledgement of your gesture.

    This is very beautiful. And it is nice that you are sharing these moments with us.

  11. beautiful post Kavi. her spirit, after all this years never worn away. we always wish to see more kind people, bt they are here and everywhere. when we meet them, our lives open up. there is no complaining. there is only life. 🙂

    ur best post during the travels. 🙂

  12. manuscrypts says:

    it requires others to show us the potential of goodness in us … evolution!! 🙂

  13. Kavi says:

    Vivek : Thank you sir ! Your comments are valued. The appreciation doubly so ! I learn from you !

    GP : Thanks GP. Yes. Her spirit stayed. And stayed with a fluttering flag !

    Manu : 🙂 Yes. Evolution ! Sometimes the mirror hides. Many other times it shows all !

  14. Shiva says:


    The post is very touching and it a nice gesture for such a generous soul. She is the peak of contentment

  15. Neelakantan says:

    Touching…such are the times, nice moving post…

  16. Ganesh says:

    Fantastic post Kavi. Left me blank for a while and then the emotions hit home.

    Isn’t it ironical that we fail to recognize the small acts of kindness done by people around us everyday and focus on the more larger and visible ones highlighted by the media.

    Thanks for changing that perception a bit.

  17. Carnic says:

    coming froma small town can very well relate to it and at the same time cant stop appreciating the simple greatness!!!

  18. Recognizing you from the way you have written about Vanita, I’m sure you have done more than how you ended this post.;)

  19. mathew says:

    really moving incident..cheers to her spirit..

  20. Braja says:


    I would have given her a thousand rupees. And it wouldn’t have come even close to the value of her gesture..

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