Lest it be misunderstood that I was only partying and not doing my job ,I was actually enjoying my job and working hard..I was fortunate to be in charge of Billimalai which was the division where all the new plantings(New Clearings in Planters jargon) was taking place. And you don’t really qualify as a Planter unless you have actually “planted” tea.
The old tea which was grown from seedlings was either China or Assam tea and they were planted up and down the slope and were usually planted in a spacing of 4X4. Since these tea bushes were old and the yields were dwindling and since it was not economical to maintain them ,it was uprooted and replanted with clonal tea. These were from plants grown from cuttings taken from selected bushes which had some desirable qualities and so we had varieties like B563 and 2025 etc which were new varieties and produced much higher yields.
After the old plants were uprooted the slopes were leveled .then we traced the footpaths and roads usually on a contour of 1:20 which meant that for every 20feet there was an incline of 1 foot either up or down. The area was lined on the contour using a tracer. Once the rows were pegged along the contour on a spacing of 4X2 which means the population almost doubled we were ready for planting the new clonal tea plants which were raised in plant Nurseries! All this was highly specialized and interesting work. There was a great buzz during these operations which usually happened just before the North East Monsoons.
Once the rains started the planting operations commenced .the plants would be transported from the Nursery and taken to the fields on head loads by the workers. The plastic sleeves would be removed and the plants planted. The mornings would be bright and sunny but as soon as the plantingwas over it would rain as if to water the plants.
Typical of the North East Monsoons.