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Dorje Teas X Shark Tank at Selim Hill

Dorje Teas X Shark Tank at Selim Hill

During the winter months, the tea bushes sleep and enjoy their well-deserved break. With the tea bushes, activity on the tea estate also becomes more sluggish. Overall, it is a time of hibernation and recuperation……but, not that day! That was day that Dorje Teas X Shark Tank was to be screened at Selim Hill.

Recently Dorje Teas was showcased on Shark Tank’s Season Premier. Obviously, it was a proud moment for Sparsh and Ishaan, their families and friends. A few days later, we had a special screening for the people of Selim Hill at the Selim Hill Heritage factory. After the evening was over, I realised that Selim Hill, the tea that grows there and even Shark Tank belongs not to us, but to the permanent residents of the people who have been living there for generations.

There was a flurry of activity everywhere. A happy hum and buzz as people prepared for the evening event. It reminded me of old-fashioned marriages and birthdays, where everyone was involved in the preparation. The screening was a homely affair. There was no concept of outsourcing and event management and I thoroughly enjoy that part.

Skilfully folded momos and samosas with spicy and colourful chutneys were put out on the table. The area was decorated……there was a lot of running around while banners and bamboo fire torches were put up. After which we all dressed up. The women looked exotic in their costumes, elaborately done up eyes and immaculate make-up. I still cannot understand how they manage walking those hilly, rocky paths in their heels. We laughed at the men as they dandied up. Suddenly, they all had jet black hair which was a little too well oiled.

The programme itself started an hour late. While I died a million deaths, everyone else was quite nonchalant and it seemed normal to not be on time. We started with a parade of 13 Self Helps Groups (All Women). With self-made placards, they walk in proudly. These women are the backbone of the tea garden. Their nimble hands pluck and sort the teas.

The children put up some beautiful dances and songs. Some were co-ordinated and some were not. Songs were sung from the heart albeit the words were sometimes forgotten. The imperfection in the programme made it perfect for me. There were some who could not be accommodated due to time constraint and that ended in tears. Urgent cajoling was required!

Ultimately, it was time for the 16 minutes of Shark Tank glory. A screen had been put up (made of two white bed sheets) on which the show was projected. Human behaviour and psychology are such, that it only looks for one’s own face in a group image. That evening Selim Hill saw itself mirrored on National Television. It was their beauty, their hard work, their history and their neighbourhood. We all watched oscillating between spell bound moments and exuberant intermittent clapping.

From the bottom of our hearts, we thank Selim Hill for accepting us and sharing their bounty with us. We are miles away from our destination of providing our estate with better conditions but the journey has started.

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To watch the Shark Tank screening at Selim Hill, click on




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