Kathmandu, July 31: With the end of 120-day long nationwide COVID-19 lockdown, life is finally moving back to normalcy. Resumption of offices, works and business has ended the 'at-home' vacation and the ever so busy Kathmandu Valley, which had been wearing a deserted look ever since the lockdown started, has finally begun bustling with people and vehicles. Located right at the heart of Kathmandu Valley, the Basantapur Durbar Square gives a good break to Kathmanduites from the capital city's hubbub. People of all age groups are seen hanging out, sipping tea and chatting with their friends in the Durbar Square area as the historic monuments, architectures and the lively ambience of the area refresh anyone. At one corner of the soothing Basantapur junction hums Mama's Tea Shop, which has been serving tea to the visitors for nearly 25 years. “It has been 24 years since I started running this tea shop. I charge Rs. 20 per cup,” said the tea seller who goes by the nickname 'Mama'. “My dear wife and I have been running this business.” “I have two boys helping me in this business. Well, it has been a nice journey since I started. I earn enough to run the shop, pay salary to my helper boys and provide quality education to my son and daughter,” he added. “I used to sell over 500 cups of tea daily prior to the lockdown. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected all the businesses worldwide and my shop is not an exception. With the end of the lockdown, the business is reviving slowly,” he added. Post-lockdown, I have been selling 200-250 cups of tea daily, said Mama. The friendly and sociable nature of the tea seller is quite popular among the youth. The vibe that Mama creates with his delightful English accent and the taste of the local tea he sells draws hundreds of people every day. "Whenever I visit Basantapur, I stop by Mama's tea shop to sip the local tea," said Roshan Chand, 28, of Mandikhatar. Listening to Mama's fascinating experiences while sipping the local tea is my favourite pastime, he added. Like Chand, Anuja Dhital, 32, of Bhaktapur loves visiting Mama's tea shop during her office break. "As my office is located nearby, my colleagues and I come here every day during our lunch break. Chatting with friends while sipping the best tea in town is invigourating," she added.
Apart from the youth, the tea shop also attracts a number of elderly people who come to loiter around Basantapur in the morning and evening. “I come to Basantapur for evening walk along with my neighbours,” said Rabinram Maharjan, a local of Om Bahal. “When we come here, we often drink tea from Mama’s tea shop.” “The tea is tasty here and we enjoy in the lively atmosphere of the Basantapur square every morning,” added Maharjan. Mama, who suffered a heavy loss while he ran a business in Thamel 25 years ago, said, “Consistency is the key to every business, be it a small tea shop or a big business with huge investment.” I have seen many youths back out from their startups within a few months but patience is vital. My shop doesn’t look attractive with zero interior design, but there is everything that is needed to run my family, said Mama, who completed his Master’s degree in Business Studies from Calcutta University, India in 1971 AD. Due to the pandemic, majority of youths who had gone abroad for employment have returned to Nepal. It is high time for them to start something on their own. No matter how big or small your investment, consistency and patience are the requisites to become successful in whatever you do, said Mama.