This poem is dedicated to innumerable tea plucking women of the Himalayas.  It is not easy standing under the blazing sun for hours and rummaging for the find amidst unkindly bushes. It is worse still when the profession is labeled a caste, classifying the lineage forever for generations to come. As I drink my favourite cup of Darjeeling today, my thoughts go to the female tea pluckers in the hills of India and Nepal. Bent silently over dark green bushes, under a blistering sun, rummaging the tea bushes for that match of  two newly sprung leaves with the precious bud in between  – Dui paatey suiro called in Nepalese. They toil of course for a living but we shall not forget, that because they stand and pluck in the wind and rain; because they stand under the unforgiving sun that rob their youth much ahead time, we are able to indulge in our lazy morning tea, and soothing afternoon tea. Low wages, excruciating conditions and parsimonious owners have driven them to build unions, the very shelter for which they have fallen under harsh scrutiny. Derogatorily called  Sunday by townsfolk, they swarm the town for recreation usually on Sundays dressed in their best. When Monday comes, they rise at dawn and are back amongst the stunted bushes, wicker baskets dangling on their backs, plucking for the next Sunday trip to town.


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