K R Vijayan, Kochi-based tea stall owner, whose trips across the world with his wife earned them near-global fame, died of a heart attack on Friday, family sources said. He was 71.
Vijayan and his wife Mohana owned a modest tea stall “Sri Balaji Coffee House” in Kochi and became famous after they funded their world tours from their earnings.
The couple had recently returned from a family tour of Russia.
The two used to save ₹300 daily from their earnings from the tea stall and travelled to Israel in 2007, their first journey outside the country. In the last 14 years, the couple had visited 26 countries. They used to take small loans also to fund their trips.
As the news of the couple travelling across the world became viral, they started getting sponsors like industrialist Anand Mahindra, who in 2019, sponsored their visit to Australia after coming to know about them through social media.
Their last trip to Russia was on October 21 and they returned to India on October 28.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic-induced lockdown, their last trip before the one to Russia was in November-December 2019.
“Provider of my parippu vadas, pazham pori and chai at least twice a week, the teller of travel tales, young-at-heart buddy, the globe-trotting tea-seller of Ernakulam, Vijayan passes away. He had just returned from Russia where his wish was to meet Putin,” well-known writer N S Madhavan tweeted.
Vijayan is survived by his wife, two daughters — Sasikala and Usha — and three grandchildren. (PTI)