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After COVID-19 devastation, Tamil Nadu trans couple needs help to keep their 'dream' mobile tea shop running

17th Feb 2021 03:56 PM | Johanna Deeksha

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When Chennai-based trans couple, Preethisha and Premkumaran set up their own tea shop in March 2020, they were thrilled about having their own business endeavour. Unfortunately, their happiness lasted only a few days with the pandemic striking later that month. What they incurred were massive losses even before they had a chance to turn a profit.

Cut to today and the fairytale continues through a year of madness a maddening virus and an enigmatic return to normalcy. The couple now runs a mobile tea shop, which is managing to find small pockets of success. The only downside? Piling debts could endanger their current dream too. 

The couple, who got married in 2018, had been wanting to start their own business for a long time. Preethisha is a theatre artist and has acted in over 10 films — her latest web series just released — she dabbles in silambattam and is currently pursuing a course in theatre studies. “I’m an artist but Prem doesn’t really care much for cinema, he has always wanted to set up a business,” she explained.

 

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The couple with their celebrity guest at the inauguration

You might remember them because the couple hit the headlines two years ago when they became the first trans couple to become delivery persons for Uber Eats. After a stint with the delivery company, they decided to do something different. That is when the tea shop idea came to them. They rented a space, invested in the shop and inaugurated it with a lot of excitement.

But when they realised that their happiness would be short-lived, the couple had to look at other venues for an income. “We were paying over 22,000 rupees in rent and we had already invested several lakh rupees and we weren’t even using the space. So we were completely heartbroken,” Preethisha said. 

 

Subsequently, Preethisha began to take her scooter to one of Chennai’s most popular areas — Koyambedu. She began to sell tea at the bus stop with a flask in hand. She managed to find a lot of customers and the couple began to see some success, “That’s when it struck me — why not have a mobile three-wheeler tea shop instead of a two-wheeled one.” So instead of giving up on their dream entirely, the couple decided to create their own mobile tea shop, “We were unnecessarily paying so much rent because we had set up shop in a physical space. By getting a mobile tea shop, we could move anywhere and not owe anybody any money. We could be completely independent this way,” Preethisha said.

The couple named their new venture ‘Magizham’.

They successfully inaugurated their new venture last month but are still struggling to repay their debt for their previous tea shop and the money they borrowed for Magizham. They are now looking for help, “This is a completely trans-led and run initiative and is an empowerment project creating more opportunities and employment for the trans community. We are in dire need of funds to complete the payment and kick start the venture. This mobile tea shop is a stepping stone for more branches across the entire state,” Preethisha said. 

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Tags : Business LGBTQ+ COVID trans couple
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