Packiam, a tea picker in Munnar

We met Packiam in Munnar, Kerala, when roaming through tea plantations and admiring the lightness of being and the greeness of the green color around. Packiam and other women who work together with her was going back home for a lunch break. Having noticed foreigners, she became so happy and asked us to click a picture with her and then invited to her place for a cup of tea. Of course we agreed, and I like visiting people in India. With a very poor English Packiam explained that she lives nearby. We communicated with her almost through gestures since she didnt understand Hindi, and we didnt know anything in Malayalam, but since Naren knew a bit of Tamil we were able to have a simple conversation.

Packiam works on a plantation of a huge group of companies TATA, they produce everything starting from bottled water and paper napkins to cars, buses and Jaguar Land Rover. Tea pickers are provided with food and accommodation, they live in such simple houses.

Plantations are at a stones throw from the house, and the tea pickers llive in very picturesque place, though it might be already very boring for them.

We came to the house (or a flat, dont know what exactly to call it) of Packiam. Everything is very civil and clean, a normal village accommodation.

Tea pickers live a normal life, like all of us wash clothes, go to the town by bicycle to buy sugar, grow cactuses.

Inside the house of Packiam reminds me old village houses in Ukraine.

TV, mini system and a box of cookies people like people.

Here Packiam keeps photos of other foreigners. Munnar is a very popular destination for Indian tourists though foreigners also come here a lot.

Packiam treated is with cookies Maria, we have the same in Ukraine and I believe Maria cookies are actually international. She didnt have anything herself but saw that we ate everything.

Packiam is 53 years and she is not married which is quite strange given the fact that a girl not married after 25 is kind of a shame. She has a married brother who lives in another town.

Later she went to the kitchen to cook a lunch as it was a lunch tim. In Keralan cuisine there a dish cooked from vermiccelli, and the vermiccelli is prepared from rice flour which is processed with something like a meat grinder.

We decided not to fish to be invited for the lunch. Tea pickers salary is peanuts 85 ruppes a day (a little less than $2) and taking into account the constantly growing prices in India its so little money, just $40-50 a month. A working day is from 7am till 5pm with a 2 hour break . TATA produces tea for its own brands (Tetley) as well as sells it to others. By the way, Lipton and Brook Bonde are Indian teas, so if you fancy for a cup of real Indian tea just head to a supermarket :)

So, we were about to leave, and Packiam asked to make one more photo of her with me and to send it to her later. She gave me a small piece of paper with her address on it (by the way, when I already came to Ukraine I occassionally stumbled across that tiny piece in my luggage and it felt so warm inside). The next day we printed out the photo in a photolab in Munnar and brought to Packiam, she was very touched and called me her sister :)

This is the tea picked up by Indian tea pickers with love and care. I guess you understand what kind of love and care it is for Rs 85 per day.

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12 Comments to Packiam, a tea picker in Munnar

  1. Lyubanya says:

    не замужем, потому что уехала вкалывать..
    Она тебя сестрой, а ты ее ДИДИ называла? )

    • amores says:

      та непонятно, че она не замужем. замужние вкалывают аж бегом, и сама ж знаешь, что в Индии выйти замуж первостепенный вопрос в жизни любой девушки.

  2. Lyubanya says:

    она не из кералы, так? сделала приоритет в пользу работы.. а ее выбранный может сидит, откуда она приехала, и ждет ее а вы об этом че не спросили? постеснялись?

    • amores says:

      я до конца не поняла, откуда она. Муннар находится не очень далеко от Тамил Наду. Вот она может как раз и оттуда, на хинди керальцы и тамильцы не алё, и вряд ли у нее есть какой-то выбранный, который еще сидит и ждет, пока его 53-летняя любовь бабла на плантациях заработает на свадьбу. ну и конечно не спросили, индусы такие вопросы могут задавать, а у меня язык не поворачивается, может, там какая-то грустная история.

  3. Lyubanya says:

    фоток его вроде не видно возле мандыра.. значит не умер.. просто небыло.. блин, для блога могла бы спросить.. или нарен чтоб спросил.

  4. Elena says:

    Ну бывает и такое Хотя и странно. Она просто неформалка ))))
    На хинди есть поговорка не знаю точно как звучит. Суть в ней любая дочь выходит замуж , и косая , и рябая , и калека.

    • amores says:

      да уж. ну, мало ли как сложилась жизнь. замуж выйти денег надо иметь, даури (приданое) еще никто не отменял.

  5. steven says:

    Thanks for the comment on my site, Olya! Nice blog you have here, good pictures. Hope youll visit Central Asia someday, would definitely like to read what you have to say.

    • amores says:

      Thank you Steven!

      After I found your blog I got a lot of inspiration to travel in Central Asia indeed, especially got fascinated by the pictures of Kazakhstan by Konstantin Kikividze. I even have close relatives living there whom Ive never seen in my life yet! Actually my mom was born there but she moved to Ukraine around 30-35 years ago. Well, its definitely one of the destinations in my travel plan which I hope to make true in 2 years. Keep updating your blog, its lots of useful information in there!

  6. asta says:

    auuuuuuuuuuuu, missing your writing, time to travel menina :))) soon soon I guess :)))

    • amores says:

      chica, Ill definitely post something soon. such a shame to be such a lazybones (( spring is coming, I want to start travelling in Ukraine too. turns out there are so many interesting places as well :) but you know, when you travel within your country the experience is not so vast because hardly anything changes. you get to see new places, but people and the language are the same. however I think if I go to the very west of Ukraine in the mountains Ill meet foreign people who speak very very fast Ukrainian full of Polish/Hungarian/Romanian words that I wont be able to understand them at all :) Come here too! In summer again Im going to the mountains and maybe will manage a 9 day trek in the mountains of Georgia if will be lucky with vacation calendar. Miss you a lot Asta-pasta! Beso!

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