Tea for travel: 24-year-old Kerala youth’s drive to keep zipping


Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: For Nidhin Maliyekkal, a lot can happen with a cup of tea. The 24-year-old college dropout has set out on his gearless bicycle selling tea, only to raise money and experience his home state in its purest self. The Thrissur native began his trip to the state capital on September 27. 

His maiden tea ‘business’ on this trip lasted for one-and-a-half hours near the Secretariat on Wednesday, and it ended with an overwhelming response from the public who not only bought his tea but also chipped in to help his initiative. At the end of the day, a cheerful Nidhin shows his earnings of Rs 5191, which he intends to donate for NGO Solace Charitable Trust. 

“It is the first time that I am selling tea to raise money for a cause. I sell tea to meet my expenses, particularly food. While here, I thought of doing something different,” says Nidhin, who will leave the city on Friday.  The chaiwala would be pedalling up to Kasaragod, which would be his third mega trip on the bicycle. Early this year, he had pedalled to Kashmir. For 120 days he was on the road, pedalling across the country and selling tea. 

“I had always wanted to travel. A cycle lets you connect with people better. So I decided to use my brother’s bicycle and fitted it with a carrier to carry the stove and teapot. The only challenge was to meet the expenses,” says the young tea-maker, who left with Rs 170 in his pocket.

Nidhin learnt to make tea while working in a restaurant after dropping out of college. “I thought why not fund trip with money earned through something I know,” says Nidhin. So he would sell tea thrice a week during his trip. In two hours he would earn about Rs 600, enough to see him through the journey for a few days. Nidhin now has a list of 10 countries he wishes to visit on the same bicycle, selling tea. 

“I wanted to know Kerala before I embarked on a foreign trip. I hope to add a few easy snacks too on the list when I travel abroad,” says Nidhin, an avid movie buff. “I have always wanted to work in movie industry. For that one needs to understand more about people. That’s what I am doing with my journeys,” he said.

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