Teatime for the Firefly is set in 1940’s India, a volatile and transitional time in the country’s fight for independence. It is the story of Layla, a beautiful and reclusive young girl who is astrologically doomed never to marry and Manik, a man whose career and arranged marriage are charted for success. Through their own manipulation of fate and the ensuing unpredictable turn of events, the couple marry and enter the colonial and sequestered world of British tea plantations where Manik becomes the first Indian tea planter.
We explore through Layla’s naïve and inexperienced eyes the little-known world of Assam tea, fascinated by the crossing of unlikely paths, contrasting cultures, betrayal and greed. Life is lived on the edge: there are floods, earthquakes, man-eating leopards and rogue elephants. Tea planters survive by their wits and their guns.
We meet an unlikely medley of characters: crusty British tea planters known as the Koi-Hai’s– the “iron men in wooden ships” –who braved the malaria-ridden jungles to grow the finest tea on earth, and the reckless young blood who were lured to Assam by the promise of big game hunting and pleasures of the flesh. But this colonial world is at a tipping point as tectonic political shifts rock the tea industry and Layla and Manik find themselves caught in a perilous racial divide that threaten their very lives.
Teatime for the Firefly is a story of adaptation, survival and the power of free will to shape human destiny.
I am the daughter of a tea planter and I grew up in a tea plantation in remote Assam. Teatime for the Firefly is a work of fiction but the characters and situations are drawn real life.
You can read the first chapter HERE. I look forward to your feedback!