When Arshad Khan, a tea-seller in Islamabad's Peshawar More, reported to his workplace on 15 October, he had no idea why media personnel were thronging the place, eager to talk to him.
Well, it is all because on 14 October, Pakistani photographer Jiah Ali took to Instagram to post a photo of Arshad, whose piercing stare and steely blue eyes would make him an internet sensation overnight.
Hot-tea 😉 p.s you can catch him at itwar bazaar (peshawer mor) near the sabzi area #seewhatididthere #potd #instadaily #igersislamabad #igerspakistan #instagram #nikon #jiahsphotography #nikonpakistan #vscocam #vscogrid #dawndotcom #shutterpak #etribunepk #vdco #tea
A photo posted by Jiah Ali (@jiah_ali) on
Over the next few days, the #ChaiWala took over the internet. While some chose to objectify and drool over the handsome tea-seller from Pakistan, others decided to mock the trend all together.
On 18 October, Arshad bagged a modelling contract with an online retail store in Pakistan, after a few whirlwind days of television appearances and all the attention that comes with overnight stardom.
While Arshad basks in his new-found limelight, meet the #NaanWala, whose photos have been making the rounds on Twitter.
The man in the photo is Naseer Afridi, one half of the Pakistani music duo Naseer & Shadab.
From the memes to the outrage to the #Kamwaali hashtag, here's look at the internet meltdown the #Chaiwala triggered. Something tells us the word 'wala' may soon find a place for itself in the Oxford dictionary.
The #KaamWali wave
Arshad Khan's overnight fame is testament to the sheer power of social media. But not everyone is happy. Some Twitter users opined that had the photo been that of a woman, all this attention would have been slammed.
The trolls followed. Because Twitter
All this fuss over the #ChaiWala— Maha (@BlackSoulStuff) October 17, 2016
Calm down, all everyone's gonna get is their pampered phuppho ka beta who never made tea in his life
Isiliye Larkon ko ghar ka kaam karna chahiye, kya pata kab koi DSLR se aap ki photo lekar, photoshop kar ke aap ko famous bana de #ChaiWala— Zahraa (@KhalfanZk) October 18, 2016
Ina lighter note, even the chai wala story lasted on Internet more than Panama leaks 😂— Sherry (@CherieDamour_) October 19, 2016