On a narrow little curve just off Mangaldas Road, you can’t miss this tiny tea stall. Over steaming hot tea and the spicy vadas being fried, owner Mahindra Dalvi is seen delegating orders so that none of the offices he serves miss their daily cuppa. Now serving snacks all-day, it wasn’t too long ago when Dalvi and his family would often go to bed hungry.
“I started this tea stall with my younger brother in 1995. Due to my father’s failing business, I wanted to help my family in some way,” he recounts. Giving up education just after Class 11, he began serving tea and slowly with the help of his mother started selling some popular snacks. At a tender age of 17, when he should have been making friends in college, it was his customers who comprised corporate workers who became his friends and some later turned advisors. “I met the right kind of people who guided me on starting my own business, with immense support from my family. That’s how I started Dalvi Tours and Travels,” says he. After overcoming hurdles, he could avail of a loan of Rs 3 lakh with which he purchased a Sumo in 2002. Setting up a transport business came with its own ups and downs, says Dalvi. “My father had studied only till the seventh standard, with zero knowledge on how to begin a business. But I had set my mind that I would do it.” The determination certainly paid off as in 2004, he went on to buy more cars and expanded his business to supplying cars to large corporates as well.
Recently Dalvi bought a 44-seater bus as he now boasts of a turnover of around Rs 15 lakh. One would wonder why Dalvi is still seen at the tea stall under the blistering heat after owning such a prosperous business and pat comes the reply: “This place just looks small, but has been built on big dreams and aspirations. It all began here and my roots are here.” Despite employing around seven workers, help is always needed to serve the large crowds coming in to the stall as well as the supply to offices.
Owing his success to the support he’s received from family and friends who have guided him, Dalvi strives to work harder to make them proud. As business improved, he went back to the books and completed his graduation from Wadia College and encourages the need for education to his daughter as well. Come up the hard way, Mahindra etches a mark for himself as he reveals what the journey from being a chaiwalla to the owner of Dalvi Tours and Travels has taught him, “Do your work with complete honesty and it will bear fruit. I still work from 7 am to 9.30 pm like I did in 1995, not much has changed as the hard work I applied then continues till now.”
The humility shines through as he shares his story and sayds, “Main abhi bhi chota hoon.” With his constant smile and interesting anecdotes on life, Mahindra Dalvi distinctly remembers a buying a cycle as a kid. “Hum zero the, lekin who ek cycle ne humme bahut khushi di.” Modesty reflects through when a memory of owning a cycle overpowers the fact that he now owns a fleet of cars (plus some tractors too!).
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