A tea plantation in Kerala
I LOVE tea! That is an understatment. I can’t start a day without a bucket of tea. I will spend good money on good tea like other people do wine. I particularly love black tea and notice all the subtle differences between ceylon orange pekoe, assam, earl grey, dargeeling, lapsang souchong or russian caravan my favourite of all being smokey earl grey from Fortnum and Mason although I do generally start the day with a good old Yorkshire Tea, strong and black. When I used to teach pretty much everyone in our office loved a cup of tea. Whoever was making it would line up four or five mugs one tea bag in each all of which would end up in my mug for the strongest darkest tea you can imagine. Now all you tea conisuers out there will recoil in horror at the thought of that I am sure but you get the picture. I LOVE tea.
Seeing how this lovely substance looks as it grows was great. I have never seen a tea plant in real life at least not to my knowldge. On a tea plantation the bushes are kept very low so the leaves are easy to harvest which happens every two or three weeks. The fresh new leaves are harvested ready to dry and make the tea. It was amazing to see the beautiful delicate white flowers it produces with striking yellow centres.
Tea is big business in this area and sustains many many families who live and work with this plant, from growing and harvesting to production of the dried black substance we use to make the drink. As you travel around tea plantations are obvious by the shape and size of the shrub and the texture of the leaves even from a distance. It is common to see people out working at picking the fresh new leaves ready for production.
It seemed very appropriate on this leg of my journey to have a cup of masala chai at a stop overlooking some of these lush green plantations. This is definitely the best view whilst drinking masala chai all trip!
As an artist I am always looking for creative ways to immortalise a great memory. For this one (as for quite a few of my Indian adventures) I made a little book. I love how my special memory can be contained within a small space and kept safe to look at when I want to relive the event. If you are interested in seeing more of these Indian memory books have a look at www.sarahgracedye.com for now here are a few images from the one about this experience.