Nature

Tea plantation rambles…

Tea plantations around Top Station, Tamil Nadu

Tea plantations are neat, their symmetry soothing to the eye… like meadows, they exude a sense of openness as opposed to the dense melee of the woods… making the hills roll… but there’s this lilting sense that maybe this is too neat… for nature prefers order to be churned out from chaos, and these rectangular pockets of shrubbery criss-crossed by trails seem too docile to the demands of the anthropogenic…

Tea plantations, Munnar, Kerala

Meandering along the Anaimalai hills, there’s no dearth of tea plantations to get fixated upon… a vestige of imperialism, tea is perhaps one of those inflexion points that set the stage for the fall of the East India Company, the original corporate behemoth that has since mutated into several new avatars as we see today, albeit all embodying the same underlying principle of avarice… peddling opium, they ended up being the ones addicted… contriving to end a monopoly and establish another, till the monster became too big and had to be tamed by the monarchy… from Hong Kong to Boston, they probably spread themselves too thin there, one ponders, watching the mist trudge along the slopes in its daily ritual…

Tea plantations around Eravikulam National Park, Kerala

‘Tis interesting how almost all history, especially the violent bits, boil down largely to farm commodities… a casual tea pun there, eh… beneath the trope of trade and commerce, all that there is to it is no different from a pack of animals fighting over morsels… these plantations around Munnar, nearly 150 years old, are today inextricably intertwined with the natural landscape, although compared to the impenetrable canopy of the Sholas, it seems like the landscape is afflicted by male pattern baldness…    

Landscape near Top Station, Tamil Nadu

One also mulls over the fact that tea plantations could be detrimental to native biodiversityturns out not that much… well managed tea agro-ecosystems that allow for multiple land use can match the richness of biodiversity that wild ecosystems possess, only if they can exist as much in reality as they do in theory… one feels that sustainability in this era is deliberately made to exist in isolated pockets, quickly celebrated so that the progenitor becomes engrossed in maintaining the status quo and the question of achieving scale is relegated to the pantheon of policymakers… yet jogging through this maze, one can’t help but appreciate this complex tapestry of caffeine, stunted in size yet so significant in stature…

Tea plantations around Munnar, Kerala

Musing on tea plantations around Munnar, Kerala

Author: Parth Joshi

Mountain lover ⛰️ | Hiker 🥾| Runner 🏃‍♂️ | Cyclist 🚴 | Photographer 📷... allured by the outdoors, the author is a quintessential lost soul craving for the outdoors while suffering in a desk job...

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