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Coffee-table book tells the tea story
- Gautam Prasad Baroowah's 'inside view' of industry set for release next month

Guwahati, Feb. 7: This latest window to Assam's tea gardens promises an insider's view into what drives the industry which brews 53 per cent of the country's morning cuppa.

Tea ' Legend, Life and Livelihood of India, a coffee-table book, has been written by one of the most well-known faces in Assam's tea circles Gautam Prasad Baroowah.

'Having spent the best part of my life in the tea industry, the topic has always been very close to my heart,' said Baroowah. The author, who is well-known in the literary circuit of the state with six books on poetry and a number of travelogues, said he was initially hesitant about the project, but decided to go ahead with it after 'getting inspiration' from several quarters. 'Finally, I have come up with a book focusing on the industry, which is extremely misunderstood despite its enormous contribution to the country's economy,' he added.

The result is a 148-page hardbound book divided into seven chapters ' Discovering Tea, Tea is Forever, Flavour and Taste, Indian Tea - Partners in Progress, A Colourful Life and Culture, A Health Drink and The Future.

The book not only gives us a close look at the industry, but also offers an analysis into the leading tea-producing regions of the country, their strengths and weaknesses.

It is also well illustrated with 31 double-spread, three full-page and 40 small-size photographs, mostly by Dushyant Parasher, who has designed the volume. The pictures are mostly shot in the lush green tea gardens of Assam, Niligiri Hills, Darjeeling and Kangra in Himachal Pradesh. There are also several archival pictures defining the industry.

'The well-designed book with captivating photographs to supplement it is a well researched story of the bud and two leaves. The book is sure to attract the attention of producers, buyers, sellers, brokering houses and last but not the least, the government, as his (Baroowah's) recommendations are subtle and authoritative: a very powerful combination,' says Naba Kumar Das, former chairman of Tea Board of India, in the foreword.

Baroowah said the book's Guwahati-based publisher, LBS Publication in Red River, has tied up with Cool Grove Press of North America to do the international marketing.

'The book is one of our most ambitious project till date,' said Bhaskar Dutta Baruah of LBS. 'We are looking to capture the market around the world and indirectly promote the state's tea industry.'

Baroowah is slated to release his labour of love by March. The publishers are planning to invite Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for the release in New Delhi. 'We are in touch with the Prime Minister's office and hope to get a positive reply,' Dutta Baruah said.

The author was earlier associated with Williamson Magor and also served as an ombudsman of the Reserve Bank of India. At present, he stays in Calcutta with his wife Utpala.

The first comprehensive book on the industry was Cha Garam ' The Tea Story by Arup Kumar Dutta. Baroowah said his book was an 'inside view'.

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