Take me from darkness to light, from ignorance to knowledge - The Sun in Darjeeling is not harsh like the plains. It coaxes and cajoles, it encourages and motivates. You can literally hear sunshine in the hum of the bees, the ringing of the cicadas, the music of the birds. It does sound heavenly and so we can call it a Halo of Sunshine.
You may have seen a couple of sunflowers in a vase or maybe a few more in flower pots or many more in your garden. However, in Selim Hill, when you see an entire mountain side of sunflowers, you can easily be mistaken into thinking there is a forest fire. Hence, a collection of sunflowers can be called a Flame of Sunflowers. They may not be the all knowledgeable sun, but they sure are ardent followers of their guru as the sunflower heads keenly keep up with the movement of the sun from sunrise to sunset.
Are you looking for a needle in a haystack? What if you were given an entire stack of needles to sift through? The paths of the Selim Hill Tea Estate are carpeted with these unique leaves. When you walk on them, you don’t feel the hard stones, as you pressurise these leaves with your feet, you release an essence which is a pleasure to the senses. This spread of pine leaves on the earth can be called a Tread of Pine Leaves. Even when you trample, you can sample the magnanimity of the Darjeeling Hills.
Rain is an integral part of the Darjeeling hills. It comes down in sprays, it comes down in showers, it comes down in buckets and it comes down in sheets. As rain falls downwards, life grows upwards. The water collects in puddles, ponds, streams, rivers, waterfalls (jhoras) and even drains of houses. Every drop that falls and every drop that collects compels you to look at it and through it. This Mirror of Raindrops forces you to review yourself and all that is around you through the prism of every fresh drop.
As you stand on a hillock and look around, you will see tin roofs of different colours - some with chimneys and some without. Most have a delicate trim of eaves-boards which look like lace. The people of Darjeeling are blessed with a creative and aesthetic sense such that you feel like you are looking at a Tapestry of Tin Roofs. The lives and stories of the people living inside follow the four flushes and live the tea life.
The roll of the hills, the batter of the earth and mud, the crumble of the rocks, stones and pebbles are all essential for the nurture and growth of the precious tea bushes and the sprout of the two leaves and bud. The halo of sunshine, the mirror of raindrops, the hard work of the people of Selim Hill, acres and acres of tea bushes can be collectively called a Tea Estate.
What or who can preserve something as dynamic and magnificent as the Selim Hill Tea Estate from becoming a thing of nostalgia? A lot of passion, patience and commitment is required - a collection of people from different fields have come together to for the Selim Hill Collective. In collaboration with Dorje, we hope to provide Selim Hill Tea Estate with a stable and sustainable future.
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Thank you Maurya for the lovely picture.