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The Spirit of Giving

By Bianca Shah 

My memories of the Nilgiris begin from the age of 2 when I made my first trip to India. Of course, what I “remember” is only through pictures. My real memories began when I was 8 years old and I was taken to India for my Summer break. I had the joy of travelling with my father to not only his native country but to his native cities. He had spent similar summers in the Nilgiris. My family lived in Conoor (in the Nilgiris) and I frequently visited them. I recall visiting an Estate with my family. We stayed in a bungalow on the Estate and sat up all night by a fire place as we looked out the window and saw the fog rolling in on the hills. The next morning, we woke up and saw a tiger on the front lawn. A real live wild tiger! After enjoying our morning tea, we headed up to the factory to tour the facility. I got to learn about the processes of Nilgiri teas. Once we had gone through the facility we decided to go for a short walk. This leads me to one of my most cherished memories. As we were walking we came across three young children. All three of them walking to school in the cold with no shoes on. My father spoke to them in their native language (Tamil) and gave each of them a few hundred rupees (~$10). They looked at him with so much gratitude and that still makes my heart warm

The tea industry isn’t just about educating the world about tea. It’s about giving back to those regions for having provided us not only a beverage but also a lifestyle. I’ve seen how a simple peaceful act can generate respect for a complete stranger. Tea, the industry, the gardens, the people are all beautiful and call for peaceful interaction. Tea deserves to be enjoyed in this manner only and this manner only.

A business management graduate of the Rochester Institute of Technology, Bianca has played a key role in developing ITI’s current strategy for growth and organizing company operations for flexibility in an increasingly demanding marketplace.

Following in the footsteps of my late father (Devan Shah), I am committed to ensure that ITI will continue to strive to be at the forefront of growth and innovation. From a very early age I began working with my father and saw his passion for commerce and tea and through his influence I have developed that same passion and hunger to expand on his vision for the tea trade.

“Good tea is like an Indian movie, breaking out into a mass Choreographed dance of taste in your mouth.”

Bianca Shah  CEO, Internatinoal Tea Importers