Misty Taste of Moonshine
Very often, we are known to rebel against family or religious rituals. Yet knowingly or unknowingly, we all follow rituals in our day to day lives as also some annual rituals such as a birthday. At Selim Hill, I reverently watch the rituals followed by nature.
As Spring springs itself upon us, I love watching the pretty pink crocuses peek out. April is the month of new beginnings. Children excitedly start their new academic year with new books, trees and plants also put their best forward with new blossoms and new leaves….and of course it is time for the First Flush of Dorje Teas.
The calendar is checked and preparations for the full moonlight plucking are made. It is to be the night of the Pink Moon. No, the moon does not change into a shade of hot, fuchsia or baby pink! The name is symbolic as the pink moon is a nod to the bountiful blooming flowers and trees that the spring weather brings. I wonder, does the pink moon gets its name from the wild pink crocus that grows abundantly all over the hills?
You know how clothing and embellishments play a large role on our mood. Clad in pajamas, comfortable, watching the moon from your window, you cannot fathom the full force of a full moon night. You have to be like an ocean wave, ready to rise to heights to collaborate with the moon.
On the 6th of April, 2023, as the sun went down, we (the women of Selim Hill) donned our finery and got ready for the mystical night. Mashaals and diyas gleamed like our eyes in anticipation of our Queen who had promised an appearance. We were ready to paint the night pink! Do not under-estimate the thrill and mystery of the tea life.
After all, the first tea saplings were stolen from China and smuggled into India. The mists and the mountains acted as the perfect cover up. But the moon saw it all. Nothing was hidden, the legend was handed down, woman to woman. The rules of nurture always remain the same – be gentle but firm. Never lose the wonder of mystery and magic.
The “imperial plucking method” in China is quite elaborate. Tea is plucked in secrecy by young virgins (they say) with golden scissors and kept in golden baskets following very confidential methods of preparation. At Selim Hill, each woman is special and exotic in her own right. We do not use golden scissors or golden baskets. Our tea garden is not a hideout. Yet, we revere the magic that the moon conjures up.
It is true that the joy of creating a new concoction is greater than sampling it. An artist craves recognition and admiration for his/her work of art. Celebrating the small pleasures of life and flowing with the rhythm of nature is the tradition of Dorje Teas.
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