“A month’s vacation took me through the unbowed hills of Arunachal Pradesh to the beautiful terrain of Assam. No time was spent dull as we moved straight into the unending tea garden trails: all we could see were the blue skies and beautifully-planted and maintained tea gardens with boards of ownerships. I never counted them before; had I done that as a child and asked and tried to know more about it, I would have been more educated in tea. We would also stop by some gardens trying to adjust the light and brightness of the camera since it was a rare sight which needed to be captured. Sadly, back then, tea was just a combination of three alphabets.”
– Subhasish Borah
“While growing up, I made fewer attempts to understand when posed with the question, “Oh, you’re from Assam, the same place from where teas come from." Because of my professional assignment, I had to meet people from abroad and upon introduction, they would exclaim the same. Like me, there will be many of us who would sometimes feel annoyed at ourselves being recognized in this manner. The high-grade teas never reached the houses of the salaried or middle-class Assamese owing to our ignorance in the entire process. What belongs to the land is globally recognized, sourced from the most fertile tea gardens and when we see them on the shelves online or offline, we feel we are individually gaining some attention.”
– Bidisha Das
To a new tea beginning
Two individuals sharing the same native land and from different spheres of life meet in a different city. Our conversations would often mostly start with issues that have been making rounds in the media and as the threads continue we always conclude by linking it with Assam in some way or the other. At some point in time, at some cafe and in a different city sipping Roselle tea, we talk about our homebrew. The conversations didn't last long; we realized our unawareness, we almost knew nothing about the revered tea region we were born in. Our tea horizons were not confined during our early days, however, we never really tried to delve deeper into it. This posed a bigger question and we realized how this living heritage that has been backing the families of the people who grows it: the villagers, the local grocery store, the wholesale and all the stakeholders is so lesser known about. It is known worldwide as the highest tea producing region. However, for someone living within India, how much does one know about it? TEA - has been discredited to just the alphabets. If locals like us failed to oblige by the leaf, there will be a major fragment in the society who have been detached from the diverseness and complexities of this divine plant.
Folklore would start at a lower level and a smaller scale to wake up people to this elixir, maybe start from an individual to a group to a village. But we aim higher.