Three years back, just after school (12th), while most of my friends were leaving for further studies or a leisure trip; I made my way to one of our tea gardens in Assam.
While I was waiting for the flight, I ran my decision in the head several times. “Was I doing the right thing? Was it too early?” Moreover, the thought of all my friends having a gala time didn't make me feel any good.
Soon I reached ‘Kenduguri’ tea garden. I won’t be exaggerating if I say; I was not quite prepared for the sight that welcomed me. I have always heard my family talk about the ‘chai bagaans’, but this experience was way too real!
It was beautiful! 350 hectares of lush green flush, strange freshness in the crisp air, the smell- it was pleasantly amazing.
I started my day at 4 in the morning, walking through the moist tea bushes bruising against my legs. The chilly air and dew drops on the bushes- it was a different feeling altogether. While walking around, a narrow trail caught my eye. I followed it. Treading along the delicate bushes, I could see the rays of sun painting the skyline- Oh; as if someone was switching on the lights. Slowly!
The sprinklers were on, cutting into the sun-rays while splashing water all around. Yes, it added to the drama and was a wonderful experience. I noticed a group of women, roughly around 50 of them, dressed in colorful saris with baskets on their heads. They looked happy. Smiling, as they walked passed me, they looked a little surprised. Perhaps, they considered me an outsider to their world.
On a second thought, their world is actually secluded from the rest of the world. Rather, the tea garden is an entirely different world in itself. As I walked around and observed, noticed how they pluck ‘two leaves and a half’ delicately and with such care. The scene was right out of a painting. The pluckers, lush green bushes, the clear blue sky- all complemented each other like in a painter’s masterpiece.
As I made my way further into the plantation; I spotted a school for kids. School in a tea garden? It came to me as a surprise. I asked one of the ‘sardars’( heads of the group of pluckers) about the school. He brought to my notice that not limited to two schools; the estate also has hospitals, ponds, grazing lands, temples, church, graveyards, farmlands and what not. This tea garden is everything for them- their home! The estate provides them facilities in return for the love, dedication, hard-work and care that they put in to produce our single origin chai. The experience was real.
I am glad that we, here at Goodwyn, can share such experiences with you. The real Experience. The real-ity with real-tea, where we can share the joy and care, the experience of love and authenticity, where we deliver what we pick, fresh, single origin tea- direct from our gardens.
3 years later, today, I can only say that I made the right choice.
And to you all, thanks for being a part of the Goodwyn Experience!