JORHAT, Jan 29 - Blending tradition with trade could definitely be a mantra to keep alive custom as well as to promote an age-old industry as well. With this in mind, a tea planter of Golaghat has picked up the traditional style of offering tea in the State which evolved after the beverage became an item of daily use along with the growth of the tea industry, to organise an �Assamese tea ceremony�.
Rakhi Dutta Saikia, director of Arin Tea Private Limited � A Golaghat-based tea company having five tea estates in Golaghat and adjoining Jorhat districts � has taken an initiative to organise an Assamese tea ceremony on the premises of a factory of the company at Tetelitol, on the outskirts of Golaghat town on February 1.
Speaking to The Assam Tribune today, Saikia said that the idea to organise a tea ceremony on the lines of Chinese and Japanese tea ceremonies came up as in Assam too a tradition had evolved in the society along with the growth of the tea industry, i.e., of serving tea to guests in baan and kahor batis (bell metal bowls) in a certain way.
This tradition is followed while serving tea to religious persons like satradhikars and bhakats, Saikia said.
�I thought of organising an event by using the term tea ceremony as it could be useful to promote Assam Tea and also contribute to keep alive the traditional style of drinking tea by using bell metal utensils (indigenously manufactured), which is still prevalent in rural areas across the State,� Saika said.
The planter, who has manufactured yellow tea from buds from her plantations in recent times, said that a competition on preparing and serving of tea to guests as per Assamese tradition of using kahor utensils by women participants wearing traditional costumes will be one of the highlights of the ceremony.
Saikia said that the competition will be organised to focus on the lovely tradition of serving guests in Assamese society by showing utmost respect by offering food in kahor utensils. She said an exhibition of all varieties of teas will be organised as part of the ceremony where guests could see and taste the beverage. Malasa tea, green tea, yellow tea, white tea, oolong and blossom tea will be part of the exhibition.
The tea planter said various forms of utensils used to serve tea across the country will be displayed, like the clay cups, the most commonly used small glasses carried on iron handles by roadside vendors and in restaurants, among others.
Elucidating on the objective behind organising the event, Saikia said: a round-table discussion among the guests while sipping tea � a cultural function in the evening, will be part of the ceremony.
She said a handbook penned by her on different varieties of tea produced in Assam and their making, named Assamica, in Assamese, was released in Guwahati last month. The English version of the book published in a coffee-table book form, will be released during the event.
The planter said the guests will include people from the tea industry, tea lovers, people from literary and other sectors.
Expecting a positive response towards her company�s initiative, Saikia said she will be encouraged to organise more such events in the future.