It’s Time for ‘Herstory’
This is the land of Durga who is worshipped in all her glory, power and compassion. Saraswati and Lakshmi are the two sisters who do not take get along with each other. While one holds the key to knowledge and creativity, the other literally has the combination to the vault of riches and wealth. This is also the land of Kali where she breaks all norms and preconceived notions, she does not conform and lives life on her own terms.
All the above women have been carved out of our own imagination and how we see women or would like to see women. On this Women’s Day, I would like to impress upon the fact that the ordinary woman is not a Goddess. She is flesh and blood. She does not have 10 hands, yet she is a multi-tasker. Like the community of men, some of us are aggressive, some meek, some are super organised and some scatter-brained, some are home makers while others are providers.
Tea gardens are women centric. The gentle flick of the wrist to pluck the two leaves and bud is combined with the strength needed to climb up and down the mountain with the basket full of leaves. And all the while she is probably planning what to cook for lunch and dinner! Approach one of them and you will see a wide smile as if her task is as simple as drinking a cup of tea. Very few rise to the level of Sardaar. This is reserved by the men for men only.
It is no secret that the men on the hills and most other places love their bottle. As she struggles to make ends meet, he drowns himself into oblivion. It is here that the Self Help Groups have played a large role in helping the women of the hills. They organise themselves into small groups, learn new skills and bask in the glory of a community feeling. They also get a chance to collect their money safely. 12 such Self Help Groups exist in Selim Hill Tea Garden. They participate in all my home-grown projects such as Waste Management, Shivratri Puja and Tree Planting.
Over the last 2 years I have closely interacted with women. Meet Sunita – She has a green, green thumb. Anything planted by her always blooms. Her love for animals as she tends to a hen that was attacked by monkeys or an ailing cow or a dog that has come to meet her, never ceases to amaze me. Jyoti is intelligent and smart. She understands and accepts new recipes like a sponge, improvising where needed. She has great leadership skills and has influence over all the other women. Sangeeta is a quiet, meek woman who is scared of everything and anything. Slowly, she is gathering confidence and realising her worth. Apsara, as the name suggests is beautiful. Interestingly, she is part carpenter, part electrician, part gardener and wears so many hats. She is unapologetically unmarried and enjoys life to the fullest. The ladies who pack our teas do not need much supervision. They know their job and ensure the highest hygiene standards. They understand and know more about tea than many Tea Garden Managers put together.
None of these women is asking to be celebrated or worshipped. All she wants is some time off; to drink a cup of tea that she has not made; to stay in bed for no reason at all; to talk deep into the night about the twinkling stars and cosmic secrets.
At Dorje Teas, we are indebted to the women of Selim Hill Tea Estate. We lift our cup of First Flush Tea in appreciation of you.
Write to me at Editor@Dorjeteas.com
To learn the right way of brewing Darjeeling Tea, click on
Thank you Maurya for the lovely picture.