बोंड कपाशीचे फुटे,
उले वेचतांना ऊर;
आज होईल का गोड
माझ्या हाताची भाकर!
उपटतां स्तन हाले;
आज येतील का मोड
माझ्या वालांना चांगले!
वांगी झाली काळी-निळी,
काटा बोचे काढताना;
आज होतील का खुशी
माणसं गं जेवताना!"
(मर्ढेकरांची कविता, पृष्ठ 64, 1959/ 1977, मौज प्रकाशन)
As oft-mentioned earlier, I lived on gorgeous tea estates of Assam continuously for a year and then, on and off, for another.
I remember our first winter there. One evening I excitedly asked my wife why I was smelling summer flowers of Maharashtra at this time of the year in Assam. She couldn't guess. I was told later that tea plant smelled like them occasionally.
I have also stayed in, equally gorgeous, Nilgiri tea estates in the South for a while.
But to my eternal regret, I never plucked any tea.
I now feel bad after reading the following by in The Hindu, September 1 2013:
"...In the past centuries, they (British) came as planters, denuding hills to plant tea. Now they come as pickers of tea, not as labourers but as tourists. So do not be astonished if you see foreigners picking tea on estates in Munnar. It is a slow change happening in the tourism sector here.
Mardhekar's poem above says while pulling groundnuts from the ground, breasts of the lady shake (भरे भुइमूग-दाणा, उपटतां स्तन हाले;)
I wonder what happens while plucking tea.