No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted – Aesop.

Best part of childhood are its fond memories and today I found myself in a mood to ‘look back in time’. It was the late 60s and a kid’s life in large and remote Tea Estates in Assam pretty much amounted to keeping out of the elders’ way. I distinctly remember a big car would come and slide to a halt right in the middle of the road. Children playing in their small kutcha courtyards would leave their games and gather in a huddle around the car. One glass window of the rear seat would wind down and the boss himself would be sitting inside silently scanning the rag tag team around his car. His stern demeanour was a complete contrast to what he would do next.  Beautiful cut out pictures of flowers, birds, animals and exotic sceneries, would come cascading down on grimy little uplifted hands of the gathered children. The brave ones would collect more than their share while the timid lot would manage one or two pictures only.  With the good deed completed our “Willy Wonka” would wind up the glass window and while some pushing and shoving among the children would be in progress the big car would purr away silently. Those cut out pictures were a source of great joy and delight for the tea pluckers’ children. Some of the pictures would be painstakingly pasted on the mud walls of their homes to be viewed at leisure.  The stark reality being their lives were far removed from those lovely pictures of pretty homes with fountains, snowy hill tops, and birds singing in beautiful garden full of flowers. Even if for a brief while, happiness was shared and received. While pouring out your cup of tea, spare a thought and send a prayer for the children of these tea pluckers’ who remain rooted to their surroundings and yet yearn for better standards of living.   As the world needs to have their daily cup of tea, the next generation of pluckers need reasons to hold their heads high and continue with the plucking.

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