After social media made a dreamy blue-eyed Pakistani chai wala shoot to fame overnight across the globe, a Nepalese female vegetable vendor has become the internet’s new darling.
Kusum Shrestha, 18, took social media by storm when a photographer shared pictures of her carrying crates of tomatoes at a local market. Soon after the pictures were posted online, the hashtags #Tarkariwali and #Sabjiwali – “vegetable seller” – quickly started trending on social media as admirers swooned over her beauty.
Hailing from a farming family in Bagling, Gorkha, some 55 miles west of the capital, Kathmandu, Shrestha was photographed by Rup Chandra.
The 18-year-old told BBC she is studying management and was helping her parents during the holidays when the pictures were taken at the Fishling suspension bridge between Gorkha and Chitwan.
Shrestha said she learnt of her overnight fame from a friend, “My friend asked me if I am the same girl whose photos became viral on Facebook but I didn’t know.”
She revealed that it was a candid picture. “Then she sent me the pictures and when I saw them, I found it was me. On that day, I came to sell the vegetables to help my parents. When I was on my way to sell the vegetables, RupChandra [the photographer] took my picture – but at that point of time, I didn’t know that I was being photographed.”
‘Chai wala’ has a message for India
When asked if she would like to take up modelling as her career like tea-seller Arshad Khan, she responded excitedly, “Yes, I will go.”
Her father shared that she wishes to be a nurse in the future. “She is my only child. I should educate her to the extent possible,” [sic] he said. “But I also have to consider my financial situation. I could not admit her into a nursing college though she wanted to study nursing,” he said.
Here’s how some reacted to her pictures:
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