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How cups of tea helped this disabled man in Kerala build a life

E K Velayudhan at his tea shop. Photo By: Manikandan Poickadan.

Since birth with deformed legs, life has thrown many challenges at 60-year-old E K Velayudhan of Kalady in Kerala. However, Velayudhan was never ready to give up the fight despite abject poverty forcing him to drop out of school in the fourth standard.

Determined to build a life of his own, Velayudhan learned the art of tea making after his repeated attempts at odd jobs failed due to his physical disability. Now, he runs a modest tea shop, earning a revenue of over Rs 1500 per day.

Velayudhan taught himself how to expertly brew a variety of teas because he realized that he had numerous physical limitations preventing him from pursuing other types of work.

“Initially, I started selling tea in a temporary shed on a street corner. However, with authorities restricting the functioning of street vendors, I opted to rent a shop,” Velayudhan told “Open Digest.”

Today, Velayudhan operates his modest tea stall at Colony Pady near Nedumbassery, where regular customers frequent to enjoy a refreshing cup of his tea between errands. Known for his big smile and friendly chatter, Velayudhan has become a local fixture. He also sells lip-smacking foods like dosa, appam, and porotta that his wife makes at home.

Despite working long hours, Velayudhan takes great pride in his small business, allowing him to support himself with earnings of over Rs 1500 a day. Free from relying on others, he has built a life of independence and self-sufficiency despite the physical and financial challenges that might have discouraged others in his situation. Velayudhan is an inspiring character who has overcome challenges posed by his disability and poverty through hard work and determination.

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