What's a Walla? - Radical

What’s a Walla?

India’s streets are filled with wallas. A walla is someone who sells goods or provides services. Setting up shop on the sidewalks or walking around with loud shouts about their goods, India’s wallas can meet nearly every need. They range from street vendors to door-to-door salespeople and everything in between.

There are wallas selling street food, fruits, vegetables, tea, newspapers, etc. There are also wallas who provide services including ironing, laundry, trash disposal, transportation, and more.

As colorful and lively as the wallas make India’s streets, the life of a walla is far from easy. Often putting in long hours, wallas receive only minimal wages for the goods they sell or the services they provide. Below are a few examples of wallas, adapted from an International Mission Board prayer guide. As you read about them, pray for the many wallas trying to make a living in the busy streets of India.

The Chai Walla

My name is Arjun and I sell hot chai during afternoon tea time. For people who are out shopping or at work during tea time, I come to the rescue, bringing them a hot cup of tea. Usually I walk many miles with my thermos and paper cups, selling to anyone who is interested. The cups are small, so I can only charge a few rupees (less than 10 cents). I try to sell as much as I can to take the money home to my wife and two daughters. It is not much, but we survive if I sell enough tea and find places where other chai wallas have not already set up for the day.

As you have your morning tea or coffee…pray for chai wallas who offer drinks to thirsty customers to hear about how Jesus is living water and can satisfy their thirst for truth and peace.

The Ironing One

Every day I come to the same spot on the sidewalk and set up my ironing shop. People in this neighborhood know that Reyansh will take care of their clothes. I find a spot under a tree to protect me from the sun as I iron through bundle after bundle of clothes with my heavy coal iron and my flat cart. I try to work fast because I only get paid by the bundle (about $1 per bundle). If I hurry, I can get through enough to provide food for my family that day.

As you iron your clothes or do your laundry…pray for ironing wallas to have Christian customers who will share the message of Christ with them. Ask that they would be ready to receive eternal life and follow Christ.

The Temple Walla

My name is Sai and my mother and I sell flowers to Hindu worshippers outside the temple each day. We come from a very low caste, and many say that our people have been selling flowers to worshippers for hundreds of years. The flowers are so beautiful. I especially love the strands of jasmine that smell so sweet. My mother says that the gods will one day reward us for being faithful servants and providing beautiful arrangements for the temples. We sell a lot of flowers and fruit each day as many crowd the temples seeking help from the gods and goddesses.

As you read your Bible or go to church…pray for temple wallas to see that the hundreds of people entering temples every day are following empty, lifeless idols. Ask that they will encounter followers of Christ who can tell them about the Living God.


India is our prayer focus for Secret Church 16: A Global Gospel in a World of Religions. Join us as we pray for India’s people and persecuted church. Click here to sign up for the simulcast. 

Information for this post was collected from prayer resources of the International Mission Board’s South Asian Peoples website: www.southasianpeoples.imb.org

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