Posted in Daily post

Bud and Two leaves


I was pleasantly surprised with the Daily word prompt – TEA.

My glorious childhood was among’st this backdrop.  Sri Lanka’s upcountry was mainly adorned by Tea estates.  But this was no ordinary Tea Estate.  This was my little utopia.

My dad worked as a Scientist at the Tea Research Institute (TRI) in Sri Lanka.  Tea being the major export of the country, this research facility also was one of the largest organisations of the country.  It was also important to establish the research centre where the Tea actually grew rather than in a major city.

Very large laboratories of all disciplines such as Bio Chemistry, Entomology, Pathology etc were established with the latest equipment’s.  All the staff were given Housing. Rather beautiful and luxuries houses were built for the staff.  They were maintained by TRI as well.  The lawns were mowed, regularly painted and furniture’s were upgraded. Most of these things were primarily established by the British.  So you did get a feel of the British presence in the decor and style of the Bungalows.

We had our own transport.  Buses for the staff and their family to go to school, shopping etc.  A large fleet of cars with drivers for staff and family.  Our own little hospital and medical facility, Post Office,  Telecom and even a  Water dam and purification plant. Our own club house, sporting venues the list goes on.

We were all removed from our core extended families.  This became our extended family.  It’s not a cliche’ when I say, we lived together in harmony without any racial or other disputes.

The labs were my playground.  This was the era before Occupational Health and Safety or Work Cover mandates.  But we didn’t have any accidents, this was also an era where people used something called common sense.  We didn’t need a sign that said “Slippery when wet”.  Anyway, coming back to my playground or playgrounds, I had no siblings and no playstation or any other electronic device.  Not even internet, so I had to learn to amuse my self and I lived mostly outdoors.

The soil here was really great.  Everyone had a great garden filled with flowers, fruit treas and vegetables.  Constantly we would exchange our produce.  I spent most of my time up a fruit tree.  When I got bored with that I would walk to the lab. On the way I would frolic through the Tea fields, run up and down the extensive stairs that went from the Tea Factory to the Lab.  Every one knew me.  I was like the common village dog, that was fed by every butcher.

I mainly played in the Bio Chemistry Department as that’s where my dad worked.  But I knew the entire geography of all other labs as well and had at least one friend in each department.  Yeah I know they were grown ups and I was a kid, but they were still my friends and showed me “cool” stuff.  I knew to operate the centrifuge and I played with Magnets.  I knew about Poly Phenol’s long before I went to high school.  When I think about it now, it wasn’t really playing, my dad was teaching me Science and I was doing science experiments.

One bud and two leaves – all that is plucked to produce tea.  Silver tip is the only one uses just the buds and hence the high cost.  I would accompany my dad on many of the guided tours he would take our visitors and I knew all this information long before I started school.

dad stamp

The above is my dad on an old Sri Lankan Postal Stamp. He is injecting radio active isotopes into tea leaves to study the pattern of the nutrients movement.  Nutrients from the root did not evenly go all over the plant.  The mother leaf (the bigger leaf on the bottom) fed the one on top and so forth.  When you removed the big leaf right underneath baby leaf, the leaves further down acted as a surrogate and fed the bud.

That was one amazing child hood, it all came to an end when I lost my dad at 19. Such is life, still grateful that I had this childhood and to all the uncle’s and aunties of TRI who were there for us then and even now.  Children of TRI hold a special bond.  All of us grown up and adults now.  But most of us are still in contact even from different parts of the world.

Disclaimer:  It’s a long time since I left TRI, some information shared here may not be completely accurate.




I am a beginner to all this blogging. Recently found a passion for writing. Not sure if I am a good enough writer to publish a REAL book. I am probably using this as a testing platform to see if I attract enough interest. I was born in Sri Lanka, now for the last 26 years living in Australia. So am I a Sri Lankan or Australian, it changes time to time. Lets say I am not ashamed to say I am a Sri Lankan but I think my affections lie with Australia. I am a cancer survivor, marriage survivor, war (civil war) survivor and what ever else the world/destiny has thrown at me. So my blog I guess would be about all those things. Humour is Huge for me, fairness is huge for me, I question everything religion, cultural beliefs, Political decisions. So watch out for some some fireworks laced with humour.

8 thoughts on “Bud and Two leaves

  1. I loved reading about your life on a tea plantation in Sri Lanka. I love Ceylon tea. Would you mind if I share a link to your post on my own blog when I do a post on Dilmah?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for stopping by and of course you can share. It will be my honour. I love tea. I have usually only had ceylon tea, but lately i have experimenting. Have found a liking to rubois tea from africa. Another one is lady gray by twinings. Not a big fan of dilmah. Then again i get ceylon tea straight from TRI. Someone is always sending us a gift. So i never bought ceylon tea

      Liked by 1 person

  2. What a fascinating childhood Uma, such unique memories and how wonderful that your dad appeared on a stamp! I was an only child too so I know that feeling of keeping yourself amused, you had an interesting place to do that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thank you for stopping by. Yes it was a fascinating childhood. I am sure it has part in the way I have shaped up. I had to amuse myself again when I got married and went with my husband on ships for four years. Now I have husband, kids, dog and turtles. Getting a moments peace is hard lol

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I always look forward to your writings Uma! Your stories are an adventure to another place and time. Ir’s like I’m on a journey in another place full of so many new things! This one was no exception! Thinks for the trip!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Dear Uma, you were a sweet little girl when your dad and I were not only co-employees at the TRI where I served the Admin Division for 19 years, but were also neighbours at the flats we occupied near the entrance to TRI ! Please accept my congrats on your writing about your life at the beginning which I enjoyed reading. Also please tell your beautiful mum Pathini that I admire her activeness in FB. I wish you and your partner Ganesan well in Australia – your passion for journalism should augur well too in future.

    Uncle Sally

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thank you so much uncle for your sincere wishes. My mum is returning back from Melbourne today. I will convey your wishes to her when I go to pick her up. Writing is just a hobby for me. Which I have not done for sometime. I will be starting again soon to write about my journey to China.


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