There is a time when one seeks to travel with no hidden agenda but to simply RELAX !
To indulge in that great ‘’Sweetness of doing Nothing ‘’ which in Italian is called ‘’dolce far
With this as our major objective,
we travelled to Glenburn …. A scenic ‘tea bungalow’ turned into an 8 roomed luxury boutique hotel in
the north east of Bengal , about an hours drive from Darjeeling !
In Gorkhaland !
Book in hand, breathing in the fresh mountain air , the magnificent Kanchenjunga as a backdrop , sipping a cup of Glenburn Moonshine tea .. aah….
Life could not have been lovelier !
Just then a voice piped up . It was Andrew, the hotel manager .
‘’We have 1600 acres of forest land on a quarter of which we have tea plantations .Would you like to see these upclose ?’’
We made a rough calculation that such an exercise could not really expend much energy !
After all , all we had to do was to ‘see ‘ !
‘’ You will have to take walking sticks , the path is a little tricky .’’ he warned .
‘’No worries!’’ we smiled indulgently .
‘’And yes , there are a few couples who will join you . More the merrier ! ‘’ said Andrew cheerily.
‘’Oh , ok !’’ we agreed , a tad hesitantly . Taking the effort of making new friends was definitely not part of our plan , determined as we were to doing Nothing !
Gingerly we stepped out in small groups , down uneven ,stony paths leading to the muddied terraced slopes laden with tea shrubs.
Though we had never met each other before , each of us was secretly glad the other was there , when we realised that the tea plantations were perched on the
The Gorkha locals ,mostly females , negotiated these expertly , plucking dextrously,
tossing the ripe tea leaves and buds behind into cane baskets harnessed on their foreheads .
We learnt that a good days plucking meant collecting only about half to 3/4 kg of the ripe leaves in a day .
What a labour intensive job !
Took a pic like this just for kicks , though we all seriously began to wonder how much we took for granted our everyday comforting cup of ‘’chai ‘’.
It was a revelation that the tea leaves used for medicinal purposes in China way back in 2737 BC
were brought to India by the British only in the 1830’s !
The soft, loamy , well drained soil , the warm humid climes of Assam and the north east were ideal to grow a tea stronger than that of China .. the famous Darjeeling tea !
Amber coloured , muskatel , aromatic are a few ways to describe its
rich flavour .
Planting the tea must not have been easy nor was growing it , keeping shade , weather , soil in mind .
And THAT was just the beginning !
Once plucked , the tea leaves are taken to a tea factory where they are systematically withered , dried , rolled , fermented , sorted ( completely manually ,phew !) , then finally packed as green , black , oolong , white , what have you !
Each time we learnt something , we chatted and backslapped like primary school children. New vistas of conversation opened !
Some of us trekked down a rambling , rather dangerous 8kms to a campsite at the Rungeet river waterfront and this humble achievement made our bonds stronger . At night we sat around a bonfire , exchanging life stories following which we were served
a scrumptious dinner with the piece de resistance being the Nepalese Chef Maitasing Gurung
singing a song for Sajili , our birthday girl as charismatic as her name !
Please do hear !
Without trying , over three days we had been introduced to a whole new world , that of the Tea Gardens and these in turn had sown the seeds of likely
lifelong friendships !
Thankyou Andrew ! Thankyou Maita !
The sweetness of doing nothing I observed ..is sweet if only it is a “limited edition”, lasting a short “ precious” while .
Life is too short and too precious to spend it doing zilch !
Bet you will agree Sajili , Arvind ( squared ), Sanjay – Ketika , newly weds Akriti – Sandeepan Purvi -Dev !
So seize the day ! Carpe diem folks !
On second thoughts ,
a bit of ‘dolce far niente ‘
a bit of ‘carpe diem’
Both coupled with a cup of strong orange pekoe is not quite a bad idea !
With tea leaf pakoras to match !