If you think that a Chaiwala doesn’t know to read and write with the exception of making and serving tea, you may consider thinking otherwise after knowing the life story of Laxman Rao. The phrase “Don’t judge a book by its cover” perfectly applies to this story
He might be on the street to earn money but he has written over 25 books based on his life experiences. Today, his books are available on Amazon, Flipkart, and are also available on Kindle with English translation. His impeccable talent, dedication have found him famous sponsors and great fans across the nation.
Laxman Rao developed a penchant for reading when he was in Class 8 itself. He just can’t take his eyes off the book as he loves to read all day and that’s how he developed his skills. He narrates his great experience while speaking to IndiaTimes.
“My passion for reading developed when I was in Class 8. I remember vivaciously reading Gulshan Nanda Upanyas – a popular Indian novelist and also a screenwriter of some of the popular Hindi films like Kati Patang, Khilona and Daag among others. I was studying in Hindi-medium and went on reading many more popular writers like Sharad and Munshi Premchand who inspired me. I also read Time Magazine and William Shakespeare at that time.”
From going through tough times in his town to locating to the big city, life wasn’t that easy for Laxman Rao. He did a variety of jobs in the early stages of his life. “I worked with a doctor in Amravati district in Maharashtra for five years. I was 10th standard pass till this time.
Then, I went to work in a textile mill for another five years. Before trying other odd jobs in Delhi since 1975, I finally decided to make a living with selling tea in ITO in 1980. It was the most profitable business for me, to feed my family. It was in Delhi only when I decided to become an upanayskar (novelist). My journey had just started then.”
He might have evolved as an author but unfortunately, he was rejected by several famous publishers. But that was not the end. He then decided to publish his first book on his own and there is no looking back since then.
Despite being rejected by several well-known publishers, he never lost heart. “As I said before, it was not easy for an ordinary person to approach big publishing houses. I was turned down many times, as people from a simple background, are perhaps not perceived as writers anyways. Also, I feel there are few readers for Hindi literature, which was another deterrent to publishing my first book. However, that didn’t stop me. I decided to publish my first book on my own. My first self-publish novel was released in 1979.”
Success knocked his door one fine day as his best-selling novel named ‘Ramdas’ sold more than 4,000 copies. “Ramdas was published by the Bhartiya Sahitya Kala Prakashan in 1992, and it was re-published four times, as it gained immense popularity”, Rao says. “The book has also been conferred with the Indraprastha Sahitya Bharti Award in the year 2003.
It was about a boy called Ramdas, who drowned in a village. I was a witness to the incident. This novel is based on a real-life story. Ramdas was a characterless teenage boy. But a teacher of his school completely reformed him and he became a favourite student of all the teachers. His accidental death left the entire village in a state of shock.”
“I have written 25 books till date. Out of which, 12 books have been published and 6 books have been re-published. Today, my books are available on Amazon, Flipkart, and are also available on Kindle (with English translation).”
Interestingly, there is a lot of dimension in his writing also. “I have so far written on crime, short-fiction, literature, romance, philosophy and mythology to name a few. Some of my other popular titles are Narmada, Abhivyakti, Dansh, Renu, Ahankaar and Drishtikon.”
“I met the honourable Prime Minister of India in May 1984. I was informed that Mrs. Indira Gandhi is impressed with my work and dedication, and has personally invited me to meet her in Teen Murti Bhawan. She was a very humble person and encouraged me to write more.
When I expressed my desire to write a book on her; she told me to write a book on her work rather than her life. I wrote a Natak (play) on PM, which was published. However, I could not present to her my writing on her tenure as the Prime Minister of India from 1969-72, as she was shot dead before that.”
“I have been bestowed with awards from many NGO’s and also had the honor of receiving recognition from the former Indian President Mrs. Pratibha Patil on 23rd January 2009.”
“I had completed my education in Marathi medium till the 10th standard. I am a graduate from Delhi University now. I recently completed M.A. in Hindi Literature from IGNOU in August this year. I also plan to pursue a PHD and gain command in English and other languages,” the journey continues for Laxman Rao even at the age of 60.