Like most roadside chai stands in India, Laxman Rao’s, outside the tax office on Vishnu Digambar Marg street in New Delhi, sells cookies, crispy fried snacks called namkeen (a little like what we call Bombay Mix) and sweet milky tea. But Rao, who’s 63, also offers something that most chaiwalas do not: books that he has written and published himself. While his tea has brought him a faithful following, his books have earned him literary acclaim and an audience with political leaders, including former prime minister Indira Gandhi and Pratibha Patil, India’s former president.
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