The valley of the Brahmaputra is the wettest place in the world. You look, it seems, and the clouds are not visible, and the rain is drizzling. And then the whole sky will be dragged down by a heavy dark veil – and real waterfalls will fly to the ground. The sun peeped in again – as always unbearably hot – and the showers that had just fallen to the ground turn into thick steam. Hot moisture in the soil and the air always: day and night, summer and winter. However, winter here, as well as in the humid tropics in general, is a very conventional concept: year-round sultry heat.
Tea and tea plantations in Assam Indian province
The valley, on Indian territory, is part of the state of Assam, once the land of swamps, jungles, mosquitoes, the land of yellow fever, epidemics.
And if such natural conditions are detrimental to humans, then for growing tea they turned out to be the most favorable.
Wherever you go, everywhere tea bushes, dense rows covered plains and hills. Between the bushes are trees — coffee or fast-growing silver oak and others — which protect their crown from the gentle sap of the sizzling rays of the tropical sun.
In Assam live in the jungle, raid on the fields and plantations of wild elephants, rhinos, buffaloes.
Britain tenaciously held in its hands its colonial market, almost completely closing it to other countries. And for a long time India could not free itself from this dependence.
Before independence, the British did not let the production of tea from their hands. Convinced of the reliable profits from tea, they agreed among themselves not to sell the plantations to any Indian – be he a Maharaja or a millionaire. In the early years of independence, the British continued the same practice of selling plantations only to “white.”
So, giving India independence, the British left in their hands most of the plantations. But India ranks first in the world in terms of production, although in terms of the quantity of tea sold on the international market, it is sometimes inferior to Sri Lanka. Year to year is not necessary.
Tea trade is a very profitable article, giving great profits.
Not without reason, blatant advertisements in crowded places — at airports, train stations, in hotels, and right on the streets — glorify the omnipotence of tea in every way. “I am tea!” – proudly holding up a leaf-head, a green branch shouts from the shield. “I am tea! I am good at any time of the day: day and night, at breakfast, lunch and dinner! ”Says another advertisement. “I am tea! I earn my country a currency! ”- a huge transparency appeals to the patriotic feelings of the Indians.
Elephants still work on the plantations. They are better in the jungle than any car.
Today there are special excursions to these sites. Tourists are happy to dip into the life and traditions of the Indian people.
… Tourist jeep rides on the road, compressed on both sides by barbed wire fences, to the plantation. The traveler is settled into a cozy room in a mansion, standing on stone pillars: without air blowing from below, at home in this eternally wet land would quickly rot. The tour has begun.
“This plot is doomed,” said the young guide. – Kustam is probably as old as plantations – well over half a century. So soon we will uproot them.
Passing the drying out site, tourists face a bare field.
“Here,” the guide continues, “they just cleared the field of junk.” And there, – he points towards the mansion and the tea factory, – the nursery. Shrubs of improved varieties for planting have already matured.
Preserved and several healthy areas. They are collecting tea leaves. Only women work. Having thrown a strap over her head from a basket hanging on her back, women quickly pluck up young shoots dexterously. On the side, covered with a black umbrella, stands an old Indian warden and from time to time shouts something to the workers. Sardar helps inexperienced female workers, which sheet to pick, which not to touch. Well, looking to cleanly harvested. Quality depends on timely collection. And this is money, profit, which the owner does not want to lose.
Wages, as a rule, piecework. How many will collect green leaves, and so much will receive – at a price.
… More than four millennia, as the legends say, tea pleases the eye, delights the taste and heals a person. It is proved that the tea contains healing power. For centuries, tea was the drink of the East alone. When the British first tried this fashionable drink, many not only could not appreciate its qualities, but did not know how to handle it: others poured the infusion and tried to eat boiled leaves. However, such a memory, albeit plausible, is more like an anecdote. Tea, of course, was also familiar to Europeans from the times when trade was established between Europe and Asia. However, the path of enriching the metropolis through tea is another page of history.