Mumbai: How a chaiwallah became a web developer!
Raju Yadav, a former tea delivery boy, is now web developer at the matrimonial portal service, Shaadi.com. He had been working in the company as an office assistant
A colleague gently ribs, “Raju ban gaya gentleman,” as he passes by the former chaiwallah and newly promoted web developer Raju Yadav posing for a photograph for this piece. Yadav smiles even as the photographer urges him to, “Say cheeeeeese”. Maybe, the photographer should say chai. Yadav, a former chaiwallah, or ‘tea delivery boy’ was one of those nameless, and sometimes faceless boys providing the work force their daily cuppas or cuppas, depending on how may chais one consumes.
NEW BEGINNINGS: Raju Yadav at his computer in the Shaadi.com office which is located at Tardeo. Pic/Suresh KK
Yadav, has very recently, April 1 to be precise, been promoted to web developer at the matrimonial portal service, Shaadi.com. He had been working at Shaadi.com as an office assistant. He says, “I was in charge of opening the office in the morning, cleaning up a bit, ensuring supply of tea and coffee, going to the bank, were my duties as an office assistant. Now, of course, I have to develop programmes as a web developer, my new role,” he grins.
SOME TEA IN HIS ROOTS: From former tea seller to PM, N Modi makes a point at a conference in Delhi. Pic/AFP
The boy from Jharkhand (Bihar) came to Mumbai in 2002 as a 13-year old. He is the oldest of three brothers. His family was struggling financially, “When we were at our lowest ebb economically, my parents took ill, compounding financial woes. I decided to come to Mumbai to help out the family. I thought I would get some kind of job in the city. I had a mausaji (uncle) who was a taxi driver in the city. I dropped out of school and came to Mumbai,” remembers Raju.
Soon, the Jharkhand native found work, delivering chai to various offices in the Chira Bazaar, South Mumbai area. At that time, Shaadi.com was known as Sagaai.com. Raju explains, “It was one of the offices that I used to deliver tea to. Soon, I was offered a job there, delivering tea and coffee, opening the office and doing smaller, odd jobs at the office, I took up the offer.”
The spirit of enterprise and ambition had seeped into Raju. The boy from a desperately poor family saw opportunities and grabbed them. He said, “I was aware that I had not completed my studies. I was a sixth standard dropout. I would go home to Jharkhand for holidays and there I enrolled in a district school to complete my tenth. I brought the study material back with me to Mumbai. I failed at my first attempt to pass the Xth standard, but passed on my second, I got 61 per cent. It proved never give up.” Raju, the resilient then did his XII standard via distance learning, passing with 47 per cent and is now pursuing a B.Com degree from Mumbai University.
It is evident that Raju has a hunger, to learn. “Even as web developer I know I have so many miles to go. People may say I have come a long way from a little village to chai boy and now developer but my appetite for learning can never be sated,” he adds.
Raju said that he always kept at least one hour a day, every day for studies once his office work was over. “I believe one hour a day is enough, never miss a day and keep complete focus while studying,” explained Raju who may have started off giving ‘cutting chai’ or ‘cutting’ as it is called in Mumbai lingo to office workers but does not believe in half-measures himself. The young man who is married and father of a one-year old son, has this piece of advice to people from small towns like him.
“I want to tell parents that they must put an absolute premium on their child’s education. I have seen parents who do not think education is important. Sometimes, it is poverty that makes them put more emphasis on jobs over education but many times, when they have money, they prefer to buy land rather than spend it on their child’s education. There are many youngsters, too who wait all their life for government jobs, and in the process of waiting, whittle away their time to do something else. Do not wait all your life for that govt. job, which might be elusive,” says the big city employee, about small town attitudes. He also stresses that it is important to, “seize the moment when it comes. Otherwise, that moment will be lost forever.”
Parallels and politics
This young man likes to debate, “about subjects like management and of course, my passion, which is politics, in my spare time.” A colleague says that people are always struck by Raju's curiousity. “In office too, he would always ask his colleagues their opinion about current affairs.” Raju, laughs when asked if he ever thought about the fact that the Prime Minister Narendra Modi too, began his journey as a tea seller. “I prefer to think about Modi’s policies than any parallels to my journey. In the end, work is work. If Modi had not become PM, would anybody have known he was a tea seller once?” asks Raju, summing it up. Policies and PM aside, it is time to toast Raju with a cup of tea, of course. Here is to the man literally who puts the ‘cheers’ into the cup that cheers.
A web developer is a programmer who specialises in, or is specifically engaged in, the development of World Wide Web applications, or distributed network applications that are run over HTTP from a web server to a web browser.
Jharkhand is a state in eastern India. It was carved out of the southern part of Bihar on November 15, 2000. It shares a border with Bihar to the north, Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh to the west, Odisha to the south, and West Bengal to the east. The industrial city, Ranchi, is its capital. Jamshedpur is the biggest industrial city of the state. Dhanbad and Bokaro Steel City are the second and fourth most populous cities in the state.
>> Raju Yadav, native of Jharkhand (Bihar), drops out of school at 13.
>> Comes to Mumbai in search of work.
>> Begins by working for a chai shop in the Chira Bazaar area.
>> Delivers tea to offices.
>> Offered a job by Sagai.com to work in the office.
>> Sagai.com becomes Shaadi.com.
>> Raju works in office as office assistant.
>> Studies outside office hours, Passes X and XII standard. Promoted to web developer.