My unofficial bio

14_shona baby_2
Me, aged two in Duklingia Tea Estate, Assam.

I was born in 1959 and raised on a remote tea plantation in Assam, India. Tea culture was still very British colonial back then, and we lived in a massive bungalow with liveried servants and acres of rolling grounds surrounded by dense rain forests. There were leopards and wild elephants in our backyard! I have one older sister, and my parents, a quirky and free-spirited couple, brought us up without an ounce of discipline. I was an imaginative child, always trying to invent something. I made chewing gum from the sap of poinsettia plants, hatched baby lizards in a test tube and tended a tiny peanut farm, which did poorly as I periodically pulled up the plants to see if any peanuts were growing. The rest of the day, I climbed trees, stalked mynah birds with a homemade bow and arrows, and fished in tiny ponds with a bamboo pole and worms. My parents panicked when they found I was already ten and running around without a sum in my head so I was promptly packed off to boarding school like the other tea garden kids. In boarding school I got into all kinds of trouble for breaking rules and playing pranks on teachers. I flunked a year after selling my schoolbooks to buy samosas through the school janitor. Having survived boarding school I went on to college to graduate in English literature, and embarked upon by a long and exciting career in advertising and graphic design.

Sashimi my neurotic beta fish.

I came to America in 1994 after marrying my pen pal and ran my own graphic design business for several years. I launched a yoga t-shirt line, dabbled in ceramic art and sang with an award-winning chorus. Now I write full-time. My husband, Vinoo, and I live in Fountain Hills, Arizona. We are child-free and pet-free, although I did own a beta fish named Sashimi not so long ago who died of tottery old age. He is wrapped in sushi seaweed and buried in my backyard.

I am a wannabe chef, a die-hard tea drinker and a people person. Folks tell me I have a cocktail personality and I should do stand up comedy. I spend my days writing, cooking , dreaming….Stories buzz in my head and keep me awake at night. Drinking tea and writing. La Dolce Vita–who could ask for more? Cheers!

Singing with the Fiesta Chorus ,1998. I am second in the second row from the left. The only "darkie" in the chorus!
Singing with the Fiesta Chorus 1998. I am second in second row from the left. The only “darkie” in the chorus! We took first place that year.



  1. Barbara says:

    Thank you for this wonderful book! I am passionate about tea, India and history among many other things! I love Indian literature but have read mostly Indo-Canadian lit.(Rohinton Mistry) This was a fascinating read for me. I found your blog and have learned lots more about tea – especially Assam tea. I will be trying it soon!


    1. teabuddy says:

      Many thanks Barbara for you your sweet thoughts. I hope you enjoy the Assam Tea! Cheers,


  2. Thai Village says:

    Hi there! I grew up in rural Thailand and can relate to some of the things you said. So glad I found you.


    1. teabuddy says:

      Yes, I can see why you can relate. Happy to “meet” you dear Ruth. Thanks for the follow.


  3. Burra sahib says:

    HI Fellow planter


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