Tom Vater

Tom Vater

Irreverent, informed and downright eclectic crime fiction and reportage from Southeast Asia and beyond

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Posts tagged West Bengal

Darjeeling’s tea king wants an organic agricultural revolution in The Nikkei Asian Review

My latest story in The Nikkei Asian Review with photographs by Aroon Thaewchatturat. Life is chaos; the world is chaos, according to Rajah Banerjee. “The only constant is change. What are we doing here and where are we going? We need to answer these questions to be free, to find our way.” This is hardly […]

Little Europe – The proto-colonies of West Bengal in The Nikkei Asian Review

Last story of 2017, first story of 2018, with Laure Siegel. The show stays on the road and the road takes me wherever. Home is anywhere I lay my head. In this instance, north of Kolkata, the world’s most beautiful city, along the banks for the river Hooghly.  Really enjoyed researching this one and am […]

India’s City of Joy: 3 days in historic Kolkata at CNN

My latest travel feature with Laure Siegel on one of my favorite cities – Kolkata – for CNN Travel Mother Teresa did the same for this spendid city as Spielberg did for sharks. She ruined the West Bengal capital’s reputation for generations. But Teresa is dead, the city is on a bumpy rebound and its […]

From the Archives: Tom Vater’s Tea Total in Darjeeling republished in Traversing the Orient Magazine

“Life is chaos, the world is chaos. The only constant is change. I like chaos and the way you position yourself in it. Where do we come from? What are we doing here and where are we going? We need to answer these questions to be free, to find our way. That’s what I’m doing […]

Tea Total In Darjeeling – The World’s Most Expenisve Tea

Tom Vater reports on the world’s most expensive cuppa. Makaibari Tea Estates in Darjeeling have developed sustainable and biodynamic agriculture at high returns and plantation owner Rajah Banerjee is a true eccentric – businessman, visionary, environmentalist – who has elevated growing tea to an artform.

A Baul’s Railway Song – India’s Hobo Musicians

The plains of West Bengal stretch into a milky horizon. In May, much of the rice has just planted and the midday sun’s glare is reflected in the shallow paddies. Here and there, small clusters of mud and straw huts form tiny hamlets in an ocean of green. The Kanrup Express takes more than 30 […]

Welcome to Sonagachi – Calcutta’s largest brothel area is thriving

“I have been in Sonagachi for 25 years. I rent this room for 114 Rupees a month. This is my home.” Champa Das has invited me into her home. Champa Das has been a sex worker all her adult life. Sonagachi is one of Calcutta’s largest red light districts – narrow alleys, lined with small ‘apartments’ […]

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