ERODE: They keep talking about life giving you lemonades... But what do you do when you have peddled your legal know-how in the corridors of justice for decades and suddenly find yourself jobless due to lockdown? If you ask Syed Haroon, the answer would be stop peddling and start pedalling. For the record, Haroon pedals around the town selling piping hot tea.
A story from a dubious source has it that a Chinese king was enjoying a bowl of hot water to ease his congested chest. Suddenly a breeze introduced two stray leaves into the bowl, darkening the colour. Unmindful of the change, the king took a sip and was immediately rejuvenated. Hey presto! Tea was discovered.
Haroon is 69 years old, with a four decade-long legal practice behind him. He had come down to Erode from Chennai on March 22 to represent a litigant at the district munsif court here. The case was slated for March 24; and nationwide lockdown came into effect on March 23. Stranded without any job, Haroon could also not return to Chennai. That is when he discovered tea, or rather its business prospects.
Haroon, a resident of Thirunagar Colony in Erode, told Express: “I have been practising at the Madras High Court since 2000. On March 22, I came to Erode (his hometown). A day later, the lockdown was imposed. As courts too have closed, I have not returned to Chennai. As I was jobless for the past four months, I decided to choose a new profession.” Prior to establishing his practice in Chennai, he had a brief stint at the Supreme Court between 1996 and 1998.
“I analyzed my skill sets and realized that I was good at brewing tea. My folks also loved the idea and the tea. And that was when I decided to sell tea until things turned normal,” says Haroon. Haroon has been making a killing since Friday, with his haunt lying between Tirunagar Colony and Sampath Nagar. The clinking of tea tins announce his arrival to his newfound patrons.
“I think I would not incur much loss in this business as tea is something everyone likes to drink. I hope to earn at least Rs 500 a day. Mine is not an isolated case. There are several advocates, who are struggling without work. Many have taken odd jobs,” he says. The advocate-turned-tea seller keeps his loyalty to his profession intact by using placards to send some hard-hitting message across. The placards demand Rs 10,000 assistance to advocates, besides seeking government intervention such that lawyers can avail themselves of Rs 1 lakh personal loan.