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A Serendipitous Encounter

by Gowri Bhargav


The mountains of Kodai looked mystically serene with a blanket of mist. Muthu’s tea stall was perched atop a rocky mountain. His business seemed to be enveloped in a blanket of misery more than the mist.

“I had told you that tourists wouldn’t come this far since it requires them to hike quite a distance. How do we make a living at this rate? Let’s move to the city. This place has nothing to offer,” complained Muthu’s wife.

“The city is crowded. There are plenty of shops there already. Have faith. One day our business will flourish,” replied Muthu trying to sound optimistic.

In a while, a foreign tourist came walking towards his shop.

“Hello! Can I have a cup of masala chai?” he asked.

“Of course Sir!” replied Muthu and handed him a piping hot cup of tea.

“I intended to visit the popular spot-‘Dolphin’s Nose’ but lost my way. Is there someone around to guide me?”

“I know every inch of this place. There is an amazing spot here too but you will not find it on the map. Would you be interested?”


Muthu guided him down the rocky cliff. The path was quite rugged and slippery at places. After almost an hour, they reached a spot where a flat rock jutted out precariously.

“Sir! This spot offers breathtaking views of the valley below. In my opinion, it’s the most tranquil spot.”

“Terrific indeed. And look at the rock to the left. It appears like an oyster carrying a pearl, “said the tourist sounding ecstatic.

“Yes! You are right. Haha! It looks like an oyster carrying a pearl. By the way, my name Muthu means Pearl in Tamil.”

“Interesting. What a coincidence!”

The tourist clicked several pictures. He asked Muthu to pose with him for the pictures too. After spending a good amount of time they returned to the tea stall. Muthu’s wife served them hot bajjis with ginger tea.

“You will become famous soon,” said the tourist. He offered him a handsome tip and left. 

A few weeks passed. One day Muthu saw a group of foreign tourists approaching the tea stall. It was the first time such a large number of people were visiting his tea stall.

“Are you Muthu? Can you show us the ‘Muthu spot’?”

“Muthu Spot?” Muthu was puzzled.

The tourist then flashed the cover page of an international travel magazine. Muthu was surprised to see his face on it.

“Me? In a magazine? Along with the foreign tourist…!”

“Yes! He is the famous travel blogger, Jim Chase. He has written an article about you and the breathtaking views that this spot has to offer. He has named the spot after you,” explained the tourist.

“I had no clue.”

“You have become a celebrity Muthu. Many magazines are waiting to feature your story,” he said, sipping a cup of masala chai.

The universe had its way of conspiring serendipitous events. Muthu thanked his stars for the brighter times ahead.


This story won first place in the monthly flash fiction contest held by the Penmancy platform in Oct 2021. It was written for the prompt ” Serendipity “.

Here’s the link for the story in the Penmancy website;


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Shweta Singh November 6, 2021 - 9:25 pm

What a sweet story, Gowri.

Gowri Bhargav November 10, 2021 - 9:39 pm

Tankyou very much Shweta.


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