saudade :” a nostalgic longing to be near again to something or someone that is distant, or that has been loved and then lost; “the love that remains”

Plantation Style is a series of reflections and inspirations drawn from life on coffee and tea plantations in India, now almost completely lost. From the 1840’s, a unique lifestyle evolved around plantations in remote, unexplored locations, isolated bungalows. Lives alternated between ennui, hectic socializing and high drama,all set in locations of great natural beauty. The Club became the focal point of social life, where outdated magazines were scattered across library tables, and liveried bearers served snacks with quaint names; womens’ magazines were carefully scanned for recipes that could be adapted to available ingredients, to bring an element of surprise to tables which were supplied by back gardens and markets that were a day’s journey, or more, away. Food was a major preoccupation, driving the rhythms of the day, created by an assortment of eccentric cooks and household staff.

Food, décor, architecture and entertainment were all improvised, with the greatest ingenuity, since the nearest outposts of civilization were always miles distant. And a distinct, hybrid style evolved, when the English, Scots, Welsh and Irish met with local Indian tradition, lifestyle and cuisine, a style that was neither Indian nor British, but uniquely its own. The days began early and were long drawn out, with siestas during the stillness of the afternoons. Plantation Style is a nostalgic look at finding pleasure in the moment, enjoying little treats offered by beautiful surroundings and bringing creativity to every single day.

Kaveri Ponnapa

Kaveri Ponnapa is an author and widely published independent writer on heritage, food and wine. She is the author of The Vanishing Kodavas, an acclaimed cultural study of the Kodava people, and a collection of Kodava poems, A Place Apart, Poems from Kodagu. Kaveri is an acknowledged authority on Kodava culture, history and food traditions.

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