At the prospect of a better means of livelihood, and consequently, a better life, Ranjit’s grandparents travelled from Orissa to the tea garden in Hatigarh, Assam. Here, they worked in the garden as pluckers, never returning to the place they once called home. His parents were born and raised here on the garden and followed in the same footsteps as the earlier generation. Soon after the children arrived, Ranjit’s mother, Suborno Tanti, retired as a tea-plucker to take care of the family while his father, Bistu Tanti, moved between different jobs on the garden for years.
Ms Rina Mondal, a permanent worker on the Chubwa tea estate, is in her early thirties. Her mother, a tea plucker, was also a permanent worker on the estate. As a young girl, Rina was taught to have fun with colours and design. Under the tutelage of the then Senior Manager, and his wife, Rina had learnt the art of making natural dyes from plants and vegetables to make coloured cloth. This had become her favourite way to pass time when she was not busy with school work.