91-year-old struggles to make ends meet by running tea stall in Alappuzha

11:26 AM Jul 31, 2022 | PTI |

91-year-old Thangamma starts off her day at 5 AM preparing tea at a makeshift stall, in Devikulangara village of coastal Alappuzha district, beginning her day-to-day struggle to make ends meet.


She is assisted in this endeavour by her 68-year-old daughter — Vasanthakumari and after 2.30 PM smells of various delicious snacks, ranging from a variety of vadas to banana fritters, would be wafting from the stall.

”We had lost everything in a vehicle accident. Had to start from scratch. The panchayat knows about our plight. We are running this stall here with their knowledge,” Thangamma told media.

”In the morning we only serve tea. After 2-2.30 PM, we start making these snacks. By evening everything is sold. We close the shop by 9-9.30 PM after I have had my medicine.

”With the money we earn during the day we have to first pay for the milk and then for the supplies we bought from the shops. That is how we live from one day to another,” she said.


The tea is not prepared using packaged milk, instead they use cow’s milk bought directly from the source.

The 91-year-old said she has been running the stall for the last 17 years and without it they would starve to death.

They have no home or land and are living in rented premises.

The nonagenarian said while the panchayat has allocated a certain amount for purchasing land to build a house, it is not sufficient and they do not have any money to add to that.

Besides what they earn from the tea stall, the woman’s only other source of income is a farmer’s pension of Rs 1,600 which she uses to buy medicines, etc.

”The children have nothing with them to help me out,” she added with tears in her eyes.


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