My mother and her brothers

Sarita Dasgupta - The WM Times

My grandfather, Arun Dutt, was with Jorehaut Tea Company Ltd and retained a keen interest in tea-making even after retirement. He visited estates in Cachar and Tripura as an Adviser even when he was in his 70s and stopped doing so only when ill health intervened. My grandmother, Kalpana, was a well-educated and accomplished lady. She was an excellent singer and artist. My mother was the eldest of their five children.

 

My father, Badal Das Gupta, joined James Warren & Co at the age of nineteen. He married my mother in January 1959 and I was born towards the end of the same year. I have two younger sisters and a brother. My father continued to visit tea estates in an advisory capacity till he was in his early 70s. He passed away in 2009. My mother, Manju, was a brilliant student and remained an avid reader all her life. She remains as elegant and beautiful as she was as a tea ‘memsahab’, and now lives with me in Kolkata.

 

Ramanuj was a 25-year-old ‘mistri sahab’ when we got married in December 1982. He was posted at Halem T.E. then. After 37 years with Mcleod Russel, he passed away in May 2016, while still in service as General Manager at Bordubi T.E. We have a daughter – Ayesha, and now I have a little grand-daughter too.

 

Writing has always been my passion, and I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t either engrossed in reading a book, or scribbling something. I used to contribute articles to The Camellia regularly. David Air liked my writing and kindly offered me a page on Koi-Hai. I was happy to accept, and started contributing articles to the website. However, after Ramanuj passed away, I stopped writing for a while, till Gowri Mohanakrishnan asked me to write for Indian Chai Stories.

I was also Assistant Editor and later, Editor, of McLeod Russel’s bi-annual house journal – The WM Times – for the ten years of its existence.

 

Apart from my tea-related writing, I’ve written plays, stories and text books for children. I was an English teacher, and also an Examiner with Trinity College London for their Graded Examinations in Spoken English.

 

~ Sarita Dasgupta

Arun & Kalpana Dutt

Dad (3rd from left) with Warrens colleagues