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Former Tea Planter

Date & Time

Sunday Sun, 17 Dec 2023


Bangalore International Centre
7, 4th Main Road, Domlur II Stage
Bangalore, Karnataka 560071 India

In this session discover history, anecdotes, a wealth of shared personal experiences, and remarkable insights into a deeper sense of living.

Trailblazers of the Travancore Plantations by Sunitha Srinivasan is a story of the transformation of the hills of Central Travancore from impenetrable jungle to a bustling plantation district and then to a hub of education and a tourist destination within about 100 years is definitely worth telling. It is replete with accounts of ingenuity, skill and sheer grit.

The session will begin with a short introduction into the people and history of Idukki, a discussion between the panelists and a deep dive into the photographs from the book.


Sunitha Srinivasan


Sunitha Srinivasan grew up in Central Travancore and personally knew most of the people she has written about. The book she has written provides delightful sketches of each of them from a perspective of pure innocence and delight. It also serves as a well-researched historical narrative.

Sunitha Srinivasan began writing when she was eight years old. She has always been interested in history, and previously chronicled the history of the Nilgiris. Her articles have been published in The Indian Express, The Hindu and the Illustrated Weekly of India. Trailblazers of the Travancore Plantations is her first book. What prompted her to write the book, and her perception of Idukki, Kerala and the way of life in the plantations. Sunitha runs a manufacturing unit, and is a retail consultant, having worked in health and beauty retail across five countries. Her second book will be published next year.

Hubert Reilard


Hubert Reilard is a passionate photographer and loves old photographs. Every picture used in the Trailblazers of the Travancore Plantations has been restored by him.

Hubert is an electronic engineer by profession. He has been a part of ISRO in its early days, as well as headed companies in the aerospace sector. He has lived in India for over 30 years.

Hubert is a prominent member of the Indo-German Chamber of Commerce. He is also a consultant for a few German companies in India.

Roy Thomas

Former Tea Planter

Roy worked in the tea planting districts of Vandiperiyar/ Peermade from 1971 to 1985. This was the period of gradual transition from British to Indian hands. Thus, he is uniquely placed to have a first- hand idea of what life would have been like in the days captured by the book. He joined PDA Trademedia and is currently the Editor of two trade/ B2B magazines WoodNews and Brews & Spirits.

Roy is a musician in his spare time and performs at clubs and restaurants. He also sings with some of the leading choirs in Bangalore.

Geetha Kannan


Geetha Kannan, is an influential figure in the fields of Information technology and gender equality. Throughout her career, she has taken on growth and change roles in the corporate and non-profit sectors in business strategy, operations, sales, marketing, HR, sustainability, diversity and inclusion.

In senior leadership positions with Infosys and ANZ, she powered these companies with technology interventions, innovative practices and leadership development.  Although she has lived in Bangalore for several years, she originally hails from Kerala.