We were in the Himalayan foothills, 2000m above sea level in the city of Darjeeling, looking forward to a 2-day trek to a village on the border of Nepal the next day, when I stopped at Girish’s family owned tea shop, and asked to speak to the owner. This was the last part of our India trip in 2018, before my good friend Eugene and I would be returning, first to Delhi, and then back to South Africa in about a week. I set out with the hope of filming at least one good profile video, or Hometown Strangers story as I like to call them, during our trip of that amazing country. People’s passions or life’s work as human interest stories really fascinates me, and when our host told me of the oldest tea shop in the city that has been in the same family for generations, I knew I had to try and see if they would be willing for me to make a video of it.
Girish was one of the kindest and most open-hearted individuals I have had the privilege to work with. He was immediately on board with the idea and we confirmed a time for me to return and do the interview in three days. Our trek to the Village of Jaubari was one of the most memorable parts of our trip. On the last morning the skies cleared up enough for us to see Everest way out in the distance. Eugene snapped this picture of me the during the sunset the night before.
Back in Darjeeling I spent an afternoon and evening filming Girish in his shop, as well as filming B-roll footage at their tea lounge, just up the street next to the town square, where they serve their tea in champagne glasses, as Darjeeling teas are known as “the champagne of teas”.
He invited me to join them for breakfast at their home the next morning after I filmed him and his brother completing their daily tea tasting of samples from local farms. It was as if we had become good friends in the space of less than a week, and I will forever remember his hospitality and kindness.
The video I produced turned out to be my favourite from the entire trip: