by: Juditha Ohlmacher
The Mountain is Real!
We were always told that it bodes well if the mountain greets you when you arrive in the Tea Estate. Today we were greeted in fine form with a truly glorious view of Kanchenjunga and its nearby peaks. This is usually not the month for visibility so we weren’t expecting it. And not only did she greet us but she stayed with us during the entire trip. Every day we could just look up and see her towering over the tea and the bungalows.
We have been telling people for years that it is just the haze in the air which prevents one from seeing the mountain, which “is RIGHT THERE!” [Picture rolling of eyes and "sure, sure" nodding of heads.] Well, to all naysayers, I offer these totally un-retouched photos taken with my dinky point-and-shoot.
Bikram 3 Monhts
The trip went well in other ways, with the news of the birth of a new foal, Bikram, who is only 3 months old. He is quite a cutie - mostly white like his father, but with one dark hoof.
He spent his time not far from mom but would now and then get a burst of energy and suddenly take off running about the bungalows. He’s right at home and will use the verandas as a shortcut from the back to front lawns.
I also got to see some plucking of white tea - which is a funny thing because the collection bags are so small. Only the very buds are plucked, so the bulk is so much less.
The weather was beautiful but is getting quite cold at night. We had to bundle up and put T-shirts on our heads to stay warm in bed. But the days dawned bright and warm, and became quite hot again as the day progressed.
It was only a short trip of 3 days so there isn’t too much else to report. But what a 3 days it was!
Juditha grew up in a happy home in the Washington DC area but still always longed to travel the world. She studied Liberal Arts at St. John’s College, first in Annapolis, MD and then in Santa Fe, NM. After graduation she refused to return to the East Coast and instead moved to Denver, Colorado. While working as an analyst at MCI Telecom, she took two backpacking trips around Europe.
Finally she gave up her safe career track to go to film school in New York City. After receiving her Masters in Cinema Studies from New York University, she worked as an Educator and later Associate Curator at the unique Museum of the Moving Image.
It was just after returning from a backpacking trip to India that she met and fell in love with Anis Ahmed. They were married in 2002, and lived in Brooklyn while he finished his PhD and she pursued her love of Bharatanatyam, a classical Indian dance form. Then on January 1, 2004, they moved to Anis’ hometown of Dhaka, Bangladesh, where they have been living for the past 5 years.
Juditha finished her Bharatanatyam education with her “arangetrum” (graduation) in 2005. Later she joined the Media Studies Department at the University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh as an Associate Professor in film and media studies. She continues to teach there, with a deep love of the students and the liberal arts foundation of the institution.
Juditha and Anis visit the tea garden often.