Mainland China

Mainland China came into existence in 1994, the first outlet being in erstwhile Bombay. It’s not surprising that this piece of news didn’t reach the majority of middle class people residing in Bengal. Why would they have bothered with accounts of some expensive Chinese restaurant opening in Bombay? I, as a child, was quite happy with our occasional Peping and Chung Wah stints while visits to Calcutta and the ketchup slathered ‘chowmein’ at street stalls. Eating out hadn’t gained popularity, nor had Chinese restaurants popped up like mushrooms all over the city. The China Town or Tangra area in Calcutta still ruled when it came to amazing food and liquor at modest rates. Years passed, Anjan Chatterjee made his mark with Mainland China and Oh! Calcutta, and finally inaugurated the first outlet in Calcutta in the last decade. It was still inaccessible to a student like me with its posh location and exorbitant prices. It was only when I left home ten years ago, the Western concept of eating out slowly imbibed into my being. Mainland China was still beyond my reach with its à-la-carte prices that could slash my wallet brutally. I’m not sure about the year of inception of a buffet or ‘set meal’ (as referred in the China buffets all around US & UK) in Mainland China, but I was over the moon that the bill could fit in my wallet in lieu of some great food. Summing up my experiences of over five years at Mainland China outlets in three Indian cities hitherto.

The Decor

One of the most attractive features of Mainland China (MC) is the decor. I’ve been to four different MC outlets and the decor is always soothing, oriental, calm and soft to the eyes. The entrance of every outlet has been a mishmash of designer wooden panels as dividers that impart a feeling of passing into a private space. The lights are dim and tables are very strategically placed, so that you don’t overhear conversations, get irritated by inane people nearby or stumble into someone else while filling your plate from the buffet counters. Seats are quite comfortable and tables are adequately spaced to fit in your satchel or purse. The decor at each outlet I’ve visited fetched a big thumbs up, and here’s a glimpse of my favourite piece at any eatery, the ceiling lamp.

At the South City Mall outlet, Calcutta

At the South City Mall outlet, Calcutta

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IndiPR – New Kid On the Block

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Image Courtesy: IndiPR

I have never published a Press Release before as most of them turn out to be boring. What would you do with dry information and specifications about a new product launch? Thousands of businesses, products and services are launched everyday across the world. When these products go live, a Press Release is usually the first order of business. These are sent to media professionals, PR agencies, bloggers, influencers and a sundry lot. Most of them have nothing to do with the product/business being launched. They are bored, go ahead and delete the invitation via mail. There are a few influencer platforms that target specific bloggers for different kind of products. IndiPR has arrived with the idea of making Press Releases cool and connecting businesses to influencers seamlessly.

Businesses of various sizes, including start-ups, can now have their Press Releases published by relevant influencers in less than 72 hours. Isn’t that great?

The Process

IndiPR.com was built to make it extremely simple for a business to get their Press Releases published by top bloggers. All a business has to do is upload their Press Release and the ‘Automated Influencer Targeting Engine’, or ‘AITE’ for short, proceeds to accept applications and automatically shortlists bloggers based on various factors including internal ratings and rankings. Once shortlisted, the influencers do their research and publish their articles.

Anoop Johnson, Co-founder & Director of Marketing at IndiBlogger, adds, “With a starting budget of just USD 150, a business of any size will be able to get their press releases published by influential bloggers with a few clicks.”

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CalcuttaScape : Kiran Manral

Image Courtesy: Google

Image Courtesy: Google

Kiran Manral is an Indian writer, blogger, media consultant and the founder of India Helps, a volunteer network which works with disaster victims. She has also worked with several publishing houses as a features writer and journalist.

A self-professed school gate mom, she lives in Mumbai with her family. She has written books like Reluctant Detective, Once Upon a Crush, All Aboard and Karmic Kids. 

Connect with Kiran on Facebook | Twitter | Blog | Instagram

Her books are available on Amazon

CalcuttaScape 

I first visited Calcutta as part of a school trip which took us on further to the beautiful Darjeeling. We stopped for a day in the city, and specifically Howrah railway station. An entire bogie of the train which comprised us students and teachers from two different schools who were part of the trip spent the night at the station. Calcutta hit me like one of those waves you don’t see coming, are incapable of defending yourself against and end up getting swept away unresistingly.

Howrah Station . Image Courtesy: Wikipedia

Howrah Station . Image Courtesy: Wikipedia

It was perhaps, the start of my infatuation with Calcutta. So far, my equation with Calcutta had remained that of the onlooker who saw the city through the gaze of the cinema that was set in it, the stories I read based in it. This though, was different. This was the city, live, pulsating, and irresistible.

I visited it next, as a guest of dear blogging friends who had become a sisterhood. I stayed at one’s lovely home, was taken around the city by them all, hosted for a lavish Bengali home cooked meal at another’s and this was when, I realised, as John Green famously said, that I had fallen in love with Calcutta, “like you fall asleep, slowly at first and then all at once.”

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