With his hot cup of decoction, a dash of lemon added to it, he offers you a health tip.

A group of young girls in sportswear, well-dressed office employees, construction workers with dust-stained fingers — all of them stand around amicably, drinking tea.

K. Chandran’s mobile tea stall on the Beach Road has virtually been the lifeline for many. The special touch of his simmering cup of tea has earned him a decent enterprise, which is 22 years old now.

The affable man’s tea stall used to be a big hit at the busy Jagadamba Centre for almost 17 years. Five years ago, he invested Rs.6 lakh in buying a mobile van and shifted his mobile stall to the Beach Road.

Morning walkers never miss to start their day with a cup of green tea or lemon tea at Chandran’s stall near Kali temple. In the evenings, college students and office-goers often rush back from assignments to make it in time for the smiling ‘chai wallah’ who arrives in his mobile van at the Children’s Park.

Despite several swanky cafeterias mushrooming along the Beach Road, Chandran’s business has remained steady. In fact, it has grown in the recent past. So, what is special about him?

The rapport he shares with his customers perhaps does the magic. He knows most of his customers by name. “That man who just came driving in the sedan car,” he says, pointing out at a car ahead, “he is now a big real estate businessman. I know Suresh since the time he just was a college student. He comes every morning for his lemon tea,” smiles Chandran. And he knows each one’s taste — some who would want their tea without sugar, or less sugar, or the ones who desire an extra punch of the green tea.

As he strains out a thick decoction, squeezes half a lime, and spoons in the sugar, Chandran is quick to add a health tip.

“The beneficial effect of lemon tea is an ancient Indian science. Just that the Japanese made it famous by marketing it well. Sip a cup of lemon tea every morning on empty stomach and see the effect,” he says.

Once a chain smoker, Chandran says he could cast away the effects of his bad habits just because of the lemon tea. The secret of his health — three cups of lemon tea every day.

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