18th May 2017
The 65-year-old way side tea seller who owns a tiny stall in Kochi has probably seen more of the world than all of us have.
For over 40 years, Vijayan and his wife Mohana have been selling tea and snacks in the seaside town of Kochi in the southern Indian state of Kerala. They earn just enough to get by, but that hasn’t stopped them from travelling to 17 countries.
Struck by wanderlust, the couple save money, take bank loans and head to new countries with new adventure, repaying the debts on their return.
A new short film called Invisible Wings explores Vijayan’s passion for travel.
“I don’t have money, then you might ask me, wouldn’t it be wise to stay back in the shop?” the 65-year-old says in the film. “I want to see the world. That is my desire, my only desire.”
Mohana, who had not travelled beyond Kochi before marriage, accompanies Vijayan on every trip.
The couple began travelling in India in 1988, and went on their first international tour in 2008. So far, their travel diary includes countries such as France, Austria, Egypt, Jordan, Malaysia and Britain.
On their return from distant travels they always go back to selling tea and snacks at their stand in Kochi, even if they have become something of a sensation in India, where a crowdfunding campaign led by an Indian actor, payed for one of their journeys to the USA.
In the film, Vijayan talks about how everyone makes fun of him for spending his meagre savings on travel instead of property.
This is his response: “All the places that I have gone to, or I have seen or the knowledge I gained are my own possessions. I will take them with me when I pass on.” What’s next on his wishlist? Russia and China.