Name: Nadir Khan aka Chacha
Location: Rann, Gujarat.
Occupation: Retired, caretaker of a tea shop.
If you’ve ever been to Rann Of Kutch, Gujarat you would immediately associate this place to the wild west due to its rustic charm and desert ambiance. Surrounded by the mighty Thar desert, there is no dearth in colour. In the midst of the arid air, we encountered a warm hearted individual with a twinkle in his eye, we call him Chacha affectionately named by the locals around. I would say Chacha sits at a small tea shop just about 5 kms before entering the desert and serves just the kind of refreshment you need before stepping into the desert – a piping hot cup of chai( or tea).
Chacha, a 6.5 foot tall 80 year old gentleman instantly makes contact with us enlightening us with a broad welcoming smile. I walked upto him and instantly greetings were exchanged. He tells me he is enjoying retirement and is now the caretaker of this tea stall owned by his two sons who are gazzetted officers with the Government.
In conversation, I came to know that Chacha is quite a celebrity. He worked as a darban(gatekeeper) across major cities in India and sternly believes that home is where is heart is, right here in Kutch. Interestingly,he tells me that he was featured in various documentaries & had short roles in few Bollywood movies. Politicians & superstars know him well as they stop by at his tea stall on the way to the desert.
He is an ardent fan of Modi and thanks him profusely for Runn-Utsav for bringing job opportunites to the desert laden region of Gujarat.He informs me that religion is unbiased, everyone welcomes each other’s faith and lives in peace and harmony with barriers and casteism.I was curious to know his secret to health and happiness, he answers me “I see truth, speak the truth, listen to the truth and then eat the truth” There is no fooling around with this kind of assertiveness for sure.
In the intensity of meeting a man with a heart of gold in the midst of
our conversations varying from politics to life and enjoyment, we hurriedly forgot to pay him for the tea he generously served us. On our return journey from rann-utsav, we asked him why he did not remind us to which he politely says he did not want to stop us after we said goodbyes and all in the name of Rs20.
Footnote: This post is part of #faces series i am working on.