Dora – Tea Princess

DORA – TEA PRINCESS .auIMG 0230 87ccc941b0fb6413f6369c6574560063f9c36210

This is Dora. 
She is a public servant in the city. But before that she was a tea princess in India.

Um legit you’re e a tea princess?
My daddy who was a semi-professional cricket player, joined one of India’s most prestigious and largest tea producing companies, in Assam. I grew up in the midst of greenery surrounded by tea plantations. Tea plantations are a bit like wineries here but British and way posher. We provided the tea for Twinnings and were treated like royalty.


Please don’t say daddy. How many servants did you have?
We had ten indoor helpers and six outdoor. These included multiple cooks, bearers (like waiters), one nanny per child, a helper for my doggies, gardeners and helpers for the domestic animals (cows, rabbits, guinea pigs, etc).


What was a typical day like?
I would wake up each morning and lift my finger to ring the bell. The bearer, would come running in to bring me my bed tea, and the dogs. I’d go to the couch and ask my nanny to switch on the TV and would sip tea with my dogs on my lap, watching TV as another group of bearers made my bed. I would then get up to go to breakfast at 8:30 with the rest of the family. The chef would take our individual meal orders and we would eat them leisurely at a table that was completely set with multiple plates, napkins, flowers.. everything.
It’s terrible I know, but I didn’t even get my own shoes before going out, it was all ready for me on a little stool. All I had to do was wear them.

How big was the plantation?
There are around 52 plantations in our area, each over 1000 hectors and with around 10000 working labourers, a factory, a hospital and 6 executive staff. There are also golf clubs, tennis courts and social club-houses with weekly parties.

What did the Tea Kweens do?
They had a very busy life hosting international and domestic visitors of the company. Winter months were busiest, because the Flower Show was on – it was a very competitive event, and the Kweens took it very seriously, showing off their veggies and flowers (all thanks to their gardeners).

What was an unusual occurrence?
Helpers would follow instructions to a T. One day, Mum told our cook to put all the shopping she had just done in the fridge. The next day she asked for shoes she had bought for dad, and the cook brought her in a pair of frozen shoes.

Was it very wild on the plantation?
We watched from our veranda hundreds of elephant herds with little babies each winter, it was just a gorgeous scene.  Mom hated the monkeys as they would destroy the vegie garden and ruin her chances at the Garden competition. Leopards were like stray dogs.

You literally lived in every single kids book I’ve ever read.
Well no. Body guards followed us wherever we went. As much as we lived a fairy tale life, tea gardens weren’t the safest and employees would be kidnapped for ransom. Or attacked by wild animals. 


What was it like coming to Melbourne to go to uni?
I cried everyday for 5years. I struggled enormously at the beginning.  I had no idea how to boil an egg. I learnt everything from scratch through skype calls with my mom and the cooks. Now I can proudly call myself an expert. I can cook, clean, garden and even make my own bed. 

Wow, you can do ANYTHING now. 
Yes. Having mastered the art of making a bed, I had a light bulb moment and decided to start my own bed linen business ”Kolka”. i studied accessories design at uni so began designing my own bed linen and cushions. They are then hand block-printed and sewn by craftsman in India. You can get them online. Do it or I will kick you with my princess shoe.

Yikes OK I will. Are you parents still King and Kween of the plantation?
No they retired and moved to the city. Mum calls me sometimes hating life because she only has three servants now. I’m like ‘Mum you can’t complain – I have a cleaner who only comes once a week’.


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