Can Classical Music Make Your Garden Grow Faster?
Feature interview with Prati Bhatt
So there is a science behind if you sing in chorus, the right notes and there is an I don’t know why there is a song for it in India, if you sing that you can just get the right kind of rain in that season for your plants. And we experimented and it rained the next day. Now we’re not sure if that was a coincidence, but I would never forget that.
D: Can classical music really make your garden grow faster? Do plants have memories, or a consciousness that we aren’t aware of?
I’m Dene Menzel and welcome to the Music Is Life Project.
Well, it’s another chilly morning in Melbourne, Australia and I’m all cosied up in the studio complete with my UGG Boots, woolies and my steaming cup of spicy chai, ready to get the lowdown from tea taster, blender and founder of Teaphoria, Prati Bhatt on all things – tea, gardening and music. Well, welcome Prati to the show!
P: Hey, Dene, thank you for having me today. It’s really fascinating that I’m gonna do something with music. Thank you.
D: So great to have you here too. Now, who’d have thought we’d be able to make a show about tea and music – because what does team have to do with music? Well, I can assure you listeners out there, that whether you are a tea lover, a gardener, a music lover, or all of the above, you are absolutely going to find this episode fascinating. But firstly, Prati, just a little bit about you can you tell us about what you do?
P: Yes, so Dene, I am a tea blender and a tea taster. So, basically, I am a founder of Teaphoria. That’s my tea company and I’m a trained tea taster by India’s largest Tea Company and I only specialise in Indian teas. So with Teaphoria has a combined 40 years of experience when you calculate my my tea master who trained me to become what I am today, and that’s what I do with tea. My idea, my vision is to give people the best or the extraordinary tea tasting tasting experience that they’ve ever had before. So that’s, that’s pretty much about me. And now I’m currently working on my Swathsya edition, which is the health and wellness edition for tea.
D: That is so fascinating. And I didn’t even know it was a thing to be a tea taster, and obviously blending tea, but you know, you’re talking about tea masters. And I’ve been fascinated with, with the idea of different elements in our lives that can sort of be tied back to music. And, I’ve read many articles on how plants respond to music in terms of growth rates, and it sort of takes me back to an article I read a few months ago – I’m just going to read off my cheat sheet here, as I always do. It was about a Colorado greenhouse owner who experimented with with several types of plants and genres of music, and she determined that listening to rock music, the plants actually deteriorated and died within a couple of weeks! Now, I’m a huge rock music fan and so that’s a little bit sad for me, but look, well other plants thrived when exposed to classical music. Now you’ve got a little bit of a music background, Prati and that’s quite interesting to me because as a tea taster, not many people would know this about you. So, do you mind sharing a little bit about your music background for our listeners out there, and for those who actually know you as a tea taster this would be quite interesting for them too.
P: Of course Dene. So the the area that you just touched, just really fascinated by rock music and classical music. So I’ll tell you why I’m connected to music as well. At the age of eight, I started learning Indian classical music, which is one of the most difficult kind of music and it’s, it’s, it’s the whole graduation ceremony took me seven years but I was graduated by the age of 15. So I am an undergraduate pretty much in vocal and in classical music and that kind of makes me really, really close to music. I’ve never, never been like a rock music fan. And that’s because I was not exposed to it from early childhood, I was only exposed to classical music. I’m sure if I was exposed to it, I would have loved it too. But classical music has been like a part of my journey and, like part of my life. So so close that chords like strings have been really close to me. So because we used to play sitar, along with the singing, which is a very, it’s a stringed instrument, but it’s very, very complex form of violin or a guitar. And it takes a lot to learn that as well. So that’s how I’m closely related to it.
D: So, it’s so wonderful that you have this classical background as well behind you as we explore this conversation, and I want to revisit the article that I mentioned earlier about the lady in Colorado who claimed that classical music helped her plants to thrive. So as somebody with a classical background and also in an industry where plants need to thrive, do you believe that music can actually accelerate growth in plants?
P: 100% In fact, I’ve done some experiments myself. So we were when we were kids, we, we did, we did a few experiments which have with our music master in terms of plans and music.
Two of them are still something that I would never forget. And I still do it in back in the tea industry also, we still see them in the tea gardens that it’s been still carried on in the East India as well what will be used to do is when when the season is right, so let’s just say let’s just start from it’s not just music, but everything kind of impacts the plant in terms of what kind of music are you singing it what kind of what time of the day so if it’s morning, or evening or afternoon, you get to select the certain kind of music so we would go really, really soft in the evening but we would have really high notes in the morning and we can play high notes in the morning because the plants are getting refreshed and they were woken up. So we do believe that the plants do sleep in the bed. So we would play like a higher chords or higher vocal notes and there was so much difference there was a garden that was growing near my tea masters, sorry, my Singing Singing teachers house and we could see the garden literally change within weeks in terms of the flowering and in terms of health, the health of the tree trees were becoming. We had stopped getting like we could we could really get rid of all the even even the unwanted pests or sometimes what do you call them? I can’t find the right word – weeds yet yes, we could get rid of weeds. Sometimes we would have less weed growth if we use the right kind of music at the right time of the day. So that’s a lot of science involved in it. And another experiment we wanted to do was to balance the rain. So there is a science behind if you sing in chorus, the right notes and there is an I don’t know why there is a song for it in India, if you sing that you can just get the right kind of rain in that season for your plants. And we experimented and it rained the next day. Now we’re not sure if that was a coincidence, but I would never forget that.
D: My mind is just reeling at the moment. Just listening to your experience with this and I’m sure there are a lot of listeners out there firstly, who have issues with weeds – and my husband will probably put his hand up for that! But also those who live in drier areas of the world, and I know that Australia is quite a dry part of the world. There’d be probably quite a few people who’d really want to see more rain in this country, especially in those those drier areas of Australia. And for those who are listening, I have got a link that Prati has provided for the kind of music that promotes rain. But what I’m mostly intrigued about is how you experimented with this because there are a lot of people over the years who have done experiments, in this area, in terms of plants and, and who’ve also to tried to find evidence that plants have senses and memories and that they communicate with each other. Even the pop culture sort of plays with this notion. One of my favourite movies of all time – Avatar, plays with the notion that plants speak to each other and have neural pathways and ‘remember’ – and I want to pose this to you: Do you believe that plants actually have this deep level of consciousness?
P: I think I know so. I think they definitely do have really, really deep consciousness. Even if you see the structure of the plants in under the ground, their roots are really interconnected. And they do send signals they they even send signals of danger ,fire. Like if they are dying because of lack of rain, they even send signals for that. I definitely think that plants have memories and like the way you treat them matters a lot. There was another experiment done like by a scientist and he got his little girl to do an experiment and I think it was in America for sure. I have to find out the link for that one. So I was I was reading that two days ago. And he got his little girl to just say like, there was a plant under observation that he kept in his laboratory and he asked us to go and pluck some leaf off the plant like really, like violently and not be soft on it. And she did that she performed it for few, like, you know, a few days and he asked her to do every day. And then next few days later, he deliberately didn’t do it himself because he wanted to shift the energy or shift the person. A few days later, he asked his girl to just walk in the room and they were monitoring the stress levels of the plant and how they can know the conditions of the chemical changes. The plant always remains to certain kind of chemicals when it got stressed that they are going to damage it. Now, the girl just walked in the room a few days later, she haven’t touched the plant yet, but the plan released the toxic chemicals before touching it. That means that he recognises the presence of the person who doesn’t mean well to them. But the next day, the professor walks into it and they left that plant, not like nobody would walk in apart from the little girl for a few days and the professor kind of walked in and just touched it gently and watered came out a few days later, every time he walks in the plant relaxed, and it did not show any toxic chemicals. So that that tells us that they can feel your presence, not just your touch.
D: Oh wow! That’s just amazing. Like, you know, for those who have dying gardens out there, there is hope, and there are things that you can do besides putting chemicals into your gardens. These plants in your garden have an energy and they feed off your energy as well. And so, this is just such a fascinating conversation and I love how we’ve segued into this, and I’m really so thankful that I was able to reach out to you, Prati and that you had the time for us today. We’re almost out of time and it’s been such a fascinating conversation. I just wanted to finish up with a couple of myth busters out there, just for a bit of fun – some true or false questions, because there are a lot of misconceptions about tea out there and the health benefits thereof. I just wanted to list a few and if you can share with us your thoughts as to whether you believe they’re true or false?
D: Fantastic. So first one I have for you brings wine into the conversation – and I always love bringing wine into the conversation but tea can actually be paired with food, just like wine. Now, is that true or false?
P: That’s true. Tea tasting is way closer to wine than coffee. So and yes, it has food pairings going on. And you can explore your taste buds. So that’s true.
D: That is so amazing Like, for example, what kind of food could you pair with … I don’t know. Can you give us an example?
P: Yeah. Um, so with that, in terms of comparison to wine the way we line up a tea tasting table would be starting from white tea to green teas into lighter flavours to darker green tea senchas. And then we will go to blacks like softer blacks, harder blacks English breakfast and then we will go to sweeter teas, like chai and that’s how a tea table is lined up. For us behind the scenes it’s lined up a little differently but we have other reasons for it and the way you pair foods it could be a lighter it can be paired with lighter snacks, something finger food or tapas and a heavier tea like chai like my culture that can be paired with some heavier snacks but on a higher savoury level so it gave like you know, so it’s more salty or it’s more savoury so it can cut the sweetness of the chai. Something like that.
D: That is so exciting. I am a big fan of chai tea, I’ve got my chai tea right here and I’ve never thought of pairing it with food but now you’re just making me think of tea in a whole new way. I’m going to try that this afternoon! So let’s move on to the second question. So we’ve all heard about getting addicted to coffee. People sort of think that it’s hard to get addicted to tea. Now, is that true or is that false?
P: Actually that’s also true. So it’s very hard to get addicted to tea and if you would see a lot of people drink tea and you would never say that “I’m so addicted to tea”. I mean if you don’t use the word addiction and tea in the same sentence, you would have hardly heard that. It goes it’s very hard to get addicted to caffeine in the tea. It’s more of a happiness creator kind of caffeine with the tannins and also it’s it makes you happy kind of makes you fall in love. It’s like you want to be there you don’t have to be there.
D: Oh, I love the way you describe that! And obviously for all the health buffs out there, if I had a glass of orange juice and I had a glass of tea, which would be healthier? Would a glass of orange juice be healthier than tea?
P: In terms of the true and false sentence if I had to say yes or no maybe no. But there is no comparison at the end of the day too. So tea is healthy really, really healthy for you in terms of a whole different genre like it will give you your antioxidants, it will give you your oral health like prevent you from tooth decay, or it can give you really good blood circulation, or heal the heart rate but it but an orange juice does something really different from you in terms of vitamin C and in terms of your fibres and other minerals and vitamins so they are very, very different. And the minerals and tea have the earthy element to it. So they are very, very different from each other. There’s no comparison but I’ll start with a straight no but yet you’ll have to pick and choose don’t substitute your orange juice with tea or tea with orange juice.
D: Well, you’ve got that straight from Prati Bhatt, tea taster and blender of Teaphoria and I have to say you really surprised me today – so many facts about tea that I didn’t know about. I’m going to put you on the spot. I know I haven’t sent you this question earlier, but, as we finish I’d love to find out what your favourite tea is. Do you have a favourite?
P: I do have a favourite and every time I turn on the lights in my studio and start blending the tea or create new blends, and if I’m specifically touching the teas that I love, I turn on the music specifically, that I like because it changes the taste. And I do believe it also and my favourite tea is my traditional Chai and and the white tea. So if I have to rely on going to a white tea, and my second favourite, it’s my traditional Chai which I like to wake up with, because tea is also memory. That’s my strongest embedded happiest memory.
D: Well, while we are kindred spirits in the chai space, chai is my favourite as well. If you’ve got a favourite as well just let us know as well. We’ve got a great community in The Music Is Life Project group on Facebook, so come and join the conversation. In the meantime, if you are a tea lover out there, if you’d like to know a little bit more about tea or connect with Prati, I’ll have all of Prati’s links there in our transcript. I just want to thank you again Prati for being with us today and for sharing your knowledge of tea and your love for music as well.
P: Thank you, thanks so much Dene, for having me with you. I loved it was one of the most interesting thing that ever did this morning.
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I’m Dene Menzel, signing off on another episode, have a magic week ahead and I’ll see you on the flip side!
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