Camellia Magazine

September 24, 2016

This is from the recent Camellia Magazine and shows the article written by Shalini Mehra the original founder of the Magazine who retired a few years ago but still happily contributes

They are in Adobe Acrobat format so click on each page to open and read.

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February 14 2010

The editor of the Camellia, Shalini Mehra, and her husband are retiring at the end of February 2010 after 43 long years in the tea industry.  They are looking forward to this change in their lives with mixed feelings.  They are sad to be leaving tea, the people, and a way of life they both loved.  But, they look forward to the opportunity for travel and having more time with their family.  Rajan is very good with a paint brush and sketch pen but has rarely had time for this in recent years, and it is hoped he will compile his experiences and suggestions on tea manufacture.

Rajan Mehra joined the tea industry on November 15, 1967 and they have had 27 years at Nudwa.  Shalini joined him in 1973 at Salonah.  They moved to upper Assam in Thanai in 1975.  In 1981 Rajan joined then Manufacturing Advisor Mr. S. Basu as understudy and took full charge in 1983 when they moved to Nudwa.  Mr. Mehra continued to supervise manufacture and tasting of ACL teas for all the company gardens, and has been on  the road a great deal. After retiring in 2000 as Senior Vice President, he continued as senior Consultant for manufacture and Quality Assurance. 

Shalini writes that for her it has been a "wonderful journey" and she has "loved every moment of my life here.  The children came, grew up from babies to young men.  For both the boys, Rohit and Sumit, this has been their home.  They both brought their respective wives here, and in September 2009 our first grandson came to Nudwa and we celebrated his first birthday here, which represented the culmination of a dream."

Shalini sees the birth of The Camellia as a turning point in herlife.  The Camellia completes a decade this year, and will be turned over to competent hands.  Shalini says it "has been a very fulfilling experience.  If I devoted myself to it completely, it gave me plenty in helped me grow and brought wonderful people in my life. 

"We both came here as youngsters and leave as ‘Gaon Burra and Gaon Burri as people in Assam lovingly and respectfully call their elders. 

This bungalow has been our home since 1983.  If I could embrace it in my arms, I would do that, thanking it for the secured roof it provided us, and tenderly took care of our children who look back so fondly at it.  It has been a very, very satisfying life, to be cherished forever.

The Camellia is in safe hands for the future Mridula Anand who has been with the Camellia since it's inception as Cha Chat Correspondent is taking over as Editor and driving force
The editor of wishes Mridula Anand our best wishes for the future


Below is a copy of the Editorial page of CAMELLIA magazine JANUARY 2005 produced  and published by Shalini Mehra. 
Shalini  does a wonderful job producing the magazine and I strongly suggest to those who have an interest in Tea and Assam to make an effort to purchase the annual subscription. New delivery arrangements are planned (more later)
In the this issue of Camellia there are several articles of Tea children and below are copied two of them 

"Return of the Native The story of a Tea child -very well written by Robin Borthakur of meeting Dick Barton who had returned to celebrate his eightieth birthday 

plus a Reminisce by Jim Robinson of his Childhood in Assam

Yes, Tea Baba/Baby, need no blue blood or crown, they are born Royals.  Surrounded by dotting parents, a retinue of indulging servants, mini zoo of their own pets, manicured lawns to play on and palatial bungalows to live in---everything comes on a gold platter to them."Do you think Tea children are different?" is a rhetorical question, as They Are.  The first basic step that sets them apart is ---moving out of home at a very early age; hundred years ago they crossed seas to attend schools, even now they cover miles for the same.  Like migratory birds they fly away, only to come back to their roots to roost, and to what a welcome!  Theirs' is a special sense of belonging that goes deeper than the Tea Bush as unlike a Tea Bush they can 
never be uprooted, emotionally I mean.

In the first issue of the year 2005 and the subsequent ones also, you will meet 'Those born in Tea and whose most cherished memories  are of Green Green Grass of Tea Home.'

Moreover this time on this page instead of me, listen, yes don't read just listen to their voices and feel the longing in their hearts:

' I love my garden wild life very much and I wish I could live here forever!"  desired eight years old Mahika Bhardwaj.

Dick Barton, at eighty, returns with a longing in his heart to celebrate his 80th birthday on the garden where he was born. He tells Robin Borthakur  " This trip was a memorable one , indeed a pilgrimage visiting the place of my birth--that bungalow at Kutchujan For Jim Robinson those were the Sessa days:there was magic to the Sessa river. It drew us like cattle that drank from it ....

"I am scampering around with my dogs and cats on my bicycle...I have even forgotten my thirst and probably followed some butterfly to another flower and another part of the sprawling garden at which point the 'bearah' will be running around looking for me till all the ice in the Neebu Paani' is melted!!!   Recalls Ambereen Yousuf sitting in USA

Yes ! who has an elephant for a pet ? I did" reminisces Manjit Barooah

Clean air , palatial bungalows, fresh food from the garden, and a strong sense of community'That is what Chiranjeev Bordoloi writes from Melbourne, about his childhood in Tea

Exhilaration leading to a sense of fulfilment is how i describe my feelings when the Camellia received the responses from two different Tea breeds: Those who were born in Tea and those who came to Tea. In the later section Mukta Bharadwaj and Zainab Azad give hilarious accounts of their First Day in Tea

Through al the narratives one factor stands out; The sense of camaraderie among the Planter families in the Tea garden . The Camellia stands proud that it belongs to them and by bringing them together to share their experiences , is further strengthening the bond.

Yes  The Camellia  is  Bonding as never before Thank you Madam editor Shalini Mehra for allowing us to share 

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April 14 2004

   We are indebted to the Camellia for the following fascinating story of Dick  and Clare Barton's nostalgic visit to celebrate Dick's 80th birthday at the place he was born 

Thank you Robin Borthakur and thank you Shalini Mehra


The place was agog with activities as I stepped into the precincts of Dibrugarh
& District Planters' Club that evening. There was a steady flow of vehicles
into the car porch and couples, young and old, some of them with children,
were spilling out of the cars and were entering the club. A few of them stopped
for brief chats with friends and acquaintances on the verandah before
stepping inside. There was a visible excitement in their faces as they
walked in. I was a little confused. It was not Saturday and hence it couldn't
be the usual dub evening. And yet why had this ebullient concourse was
giving the place the look of a Dragon Boat festival in some Chinese backwater?

The lawn in front of the dub building was chock-a-block with sleek Icons,
Accents, Esteems, Santros etc and through the crevices of the windows
of the spacious bar, sound of soft music mingled with dissonant buzzing
was drifting out on to the verandah.   At one end of the verandah, a bunch
of young car-drivers were loafing about trying to draw the attention of a
couple of young nannies, while one of the lasses with a toddler on tow,
was furtively looking to her right and the left, enjoying pleasurable comments
about herself from the young chaps.

I had gone to the club to meet a friend, who had promised to see me there
about seven in the evening. However, the crowd gave me cold feet. But my
reluctant legs sailed me unawares to the door of the bar. As I timidly peeked
inside I saw the usual evening crowd with ladies in their finery, preparing for
what looked like a birthday party. The room was adorned with balloons and
colouful streamers and on a table covered with a frilled white sheet, was a
large Genoa cake with lavish icing and eight colourful candles sticking out on
the top.

No sooner had I peered through the crowd, than a chorus of voices welcomed
me. I felt terribly embarrassed. I was not dressed for such an occasion and
particularly I did not even know whose birthday it was. As I stood hesitant
near the door, vneeta Jalan of Jalan Group of Industries, who also runs a
travel agency, warmly greeted me and assured me that it was not a formal
party. It was, in fact, a hurriedly organized party for a gentleman, who had
come all the way from Kent in the United Kingdom to celebrate his 80 birthday
in Upper Assam, where he was born in a Tea garden bungalow in 1924. He
was guest in the Heritage Mancotta Bungalow. The information somewhat
reduced my embarrassment and I strode into the hall more confidently.

As I looked around for the Birthday Boy, I saw a tall, grey and elderly gentleman
at some distance, walking about in easy pace, occasionally sipping out of a
peg tumbler. Age could not totally obliterate his once-good looks.
Notwithstanding his advanced years, his sturdy body and gait would instantly
remind one of John Bunyan's pilgrim in his celebrated 'The pilgrim's Progress".

"No lion can him fright, He'll with a giant fight, But he will have a right To be a pilgrim.

Then fancies fly away,He'll fear not what men say, He'll labour night and day
To be a pilgrim."

As I introduced myself, the 'pilgrim' - Dick Barton, offered me a soft large
hand, which I took and shook politely and welcomed him back to the world
of Tea after long years. He looked slightly tipsy, but he assured me that it
was more out of excitement of visiting the place of his birth rather than
influence of any intoxicant. He led me to a table nearby, sitting across,
which was a graceful elderly lady. He introduced her to me - his wife Clare
Barton. Both Dick and Clare Barton were visibly overwhelmed by the warm
reception that they had received from the Tea Planters and their families.

Dick Barton, who was in a blithe mood, accepted my invitation for a chat and
cheerfully disclosed that although he was not a Tea Planter himself, he had
always felt quite akin to Tea. He was born in the bungalow of Kutchujan T. E.
(near Tinsukia) where his father A. N. Barton, was the Manager, in 1924.
Barton said that his father A. N. Barton, was a short, blue-eyed and angry
-looking person, who appeared constantly at fight with himself. He was fond
of fishing and hunting. Often he would go over to the North Bank on angling
expeditions in Borelli (river-Bharoli) and other rivers and would catch huge
mahseer, which, however, he would often release back in the water.

On the Christmas Day 1929, A. N. Barton along with his family, moved to
Panitola Tea Estate Burra Bungalow, where Dick had an eventful childhood.
Although the memory of his childhood was rather sketchy, like Wordworth,
he recalled every small thing that he remembered as a happy dream -

"There was a time when meadow, grove, and stream The earth and every
common sight,

To me did seem Appareli'd in celestial light, The glory and the freshness
of a dream."

He and his sister would often walk on the garden roads in the middle of
sylvan surroundings with greeneries of Tea on both sides to greet them. As
they often sat under some shade tree watching unknown species of colourful
birds hopping from branch to branch, chirping and singing ethereal notes,
Dick would feel as if paradise itself had descended on earth. The soft breeze
would touch their faces like heavenly bliss. It was for him, indeed a happy dream.

"Anything specific you recall about the gardens where you lived?" I asked.

"Well, once in the Panitola Burra Bungalow on a windy day, I was greatly
disturbed by a door hitting the wall again and again with loud thuds. Although I
was a young boy of seven years or so, I decided to do something about it.
I asked someone to get me a piece of wood and a chisel. I worked on the
piece of wood for a couple of days and made a nice door-stop, which worked
quite well. During my visit this time to Panitola Bungalow, out of curiosity, I
checked and, to and behold, it was firmly in its place after more than seventy
years!,"Dick replied with a forlorn look in his eyes as if he had gone back in time
and was 7 years old working on the doorstop.

I was going to ask him a few more things, but it was time for cutting the birthday
cake. But before that the Past President of the Club, Rajan Mehra, of Assam
Company, who had known the Bartons earlier, introduced them to the members
of the club in his own inimitable style. In fad it was to him that Dick had sent first
email expressing his wish to visit his birthplace. The DDPC President Rajesh
Girme warmly welcomed Dick and Clare Barton on behalf of the club members
and handed over a few gifts of ethnic value to them. Dick Barton in reply thanked
the club members for their kindness and particularly for organizing a special dub
evening in their honour.

Finally, eight candles atop the birthday cake, symbolizing eight decades of Dick
Barton's life, were lighted and the Birthday boy blew these out followed by a
round of applause and singing of 'Happy birthday to you'The cake was cut and
every body joined for dinner

the 1" floor veranda was covered on all sides by mosquito-proof netting. I
would often come running, and much against the advice of my parents, would
jump against the netting. The net, however, was strong enough and it held
although slowly one or two small holes started appearing on lt. But one day
I came running as usual and dashed against the netting not realizing that
the particular piece has been taken out for repairing or replacing. I fell through
down below, fortunately at a spot, which was not cemented. I was terribly hurt,
but fortunately I escaped with minor injuries". He shut his eyes perhaps to relive
those painful moments and then slowly opened them.

"But this trip was indeed a memorable one for us. It was indeed a pilgrimage
visiting the place of my birth ­that bungalow at Kutchujan - which now regrettably
stands in the middle of unkept Tea, as the sole survivor from those halcyon
days that I was fortunate to witness."

Did his eyes become moist? He took out a hankie and dried the sweat in his
face, or could A be his tears? He hastily shook my hand and bade me adieu.

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March 2007

This page is dedicated to "The Camellia" magazine which has 
already celebrated it's 6th anniversary.

 Shalini Mehra  has been the driving force to make it such an overwhelming
success and moving it forward. Today it would appear to be 'The' Magazine
which  communicates the happenings in the world of tea planting today in
North East India

May 7 2007
Our thanks go to Madhumita Bhattacharya  who organises, encourages,
and edits  the Youth and Childrens corner  
of the very successful Magazine  The Camellia

The pages below are from the Youth and Childrens corner 
of the January  to March 2007 copy of The Camellia

The January - March 2007 Issue of The Camellia

This is the Front cover from the January to March  2007 issue

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March 11 2007

This is the only picture anyone could find of Dennis Jones O'Connor at the 
wedding of Sandy and Gwen Jennings on 5th November 1966
Those in the picture are Left to Right
Timmy Singh, Anna Blakeaway, EileenAustin, Sandy,Gwen,
Vic Austin, Denis O'Connor.

March 8 2007

Below is a copy of the back page of The Camellia  of the January/March
issue of 2006 showing all the lovely ladies who work so hard to produce
the Camellia and the Male advisors who help the ladies

Included in The Camellia are reports from the Tea Clubs, 
Bishnauth Gymkhana Club,  Barak Valley Silchar,  Dooars Ladies Game Union,  
Doom Dooma Club,   Dibrugarh & District Planters club,   Margherita club,
Mangaldai Polo & Gymkhana Club,   Naharkatia Club,   Moran Polo Club, 
Panitola Club,   Tingri Club,  Thakurbari club

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March 1 2007
Our thanks go to Madhumita Bhattacharya  the hard working lady who organises, encourages,
and edits  the Youth and Childrens corner  of the very successful Magazine The Camellia

The pages below are from the Youth and Childrens corner of the 
October  to December 2006 copy of The Camellia

This is the Front cover from the October to December  200issue
Please click here to see
Youth and Children's pages

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February  24 2007

Our thanks go to Madhumita Bhattacharya  for her encouragement 
to the youth and children in the Tea planting Community
The pages below are from the Youth and Childrens corner of the 
January to March 2006 copy of the Camellia

This is the Front cover from the
 January March 200
Please click Picture Page to see Youth and Children's pages  

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Camellia September 2005

October 21 2005
Below are some "Bits" from the Camellia magazine produced by the
Dibrugarh Planters Club and edited by the lady who is the wonderful
driving force that makes it happen --Shalini Mehra--you are doing a
great job young lady

This series of pictures is taken from the most recent edition of 
the Camellia-September 2005-edited by Shalini Mehra and we are
indebted to her for her efforts--some of these pics are from the Eastbourne
reunion and some from the Dibrugarh  area including Moran--the first pic is the Editor trying to entice  the Seymour -Eyles
family to buy the Camellia!!!!


This lady Pradnya Girme, has a wonderful talent in all she does and I hope in future that we will see some more of her works of art--thank you Pradnya for sharing your wonderful creations with us 


  Click on each picture below to see a larger image.  Click on the larger image to return to this list.


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