"The idea for the folkTea as a whole came forth naturally during the Covid when everyone was confined to their homes. It evolved naturally. The Bauls from Shantiniketan were the primary emphasis in the initial year, but it later expanded to include other Assamese ethnic groups. Our goal is to shift the focus of the tea story from economics to people by utilising folk culture, spirituality, and the natural world”, Mrinal Talukdar, the creator of folkTea, remarked.
Every year, the two-day celebration takes place the weekend before Thanksgiving, shortly before the yearly pruning of the gardens. It is set up inside of Hatipoti, a tiny tea garden next to Mijicajan of Biswanath Chariali.
Although it is organized under the aegis of the Nanda Talukdar Foundation, it is more of a community project where helps and contribution pours in from friends and well-wishers in all shape and kinds to make the event a signature event every year.
"This is a unique event and I attended it despite being that day was my wedding anniversary. I am mesmerized by the sheer rawness of the whole effort and its beauty. It was simply unthinkable to sit under a moonlit sky inside a tea garden, surrounded by earthy lamps and watch folk artists perfuming. This is the best way to showcase the folk cultures' said renowned filmmaker Reema Borah.
Echoing the same sentiment, nationally acclaimed entrepreneur Manoj Basumatary volunteered to be part of the next year's effort. "This has to be sustained and it is great for the tea industry and folk artists. The event will bring in the interest of the new generation to both and I see a great future."
Bhaskar Hazarika of Hookhmal tea is even more optimistic. He is clear in his head. "The tea needs a new story and a new narrative to go beyond the conventional. The 'folkTea' is one such story and I am determined to be back here again."
Copyright©2023 Living Media India Limited. For reprint rights: Syndications Today