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Top 8 Instagramers of Calcutta

John Grams Calcutta/Kolkata

Top 8 Instagramers of Calcutta

For about a third of the year, Avantika and I call Calcutta our home. I have tried many times to explain to my friends and family back in the States what Calcutta is like. The city houses such a diversity and activity, I find it difficult to grasp on to a core idea from which to explain the place. And I am not sure any one person can. Fortunately, in this age of social media I do not have to rely on my own descriptive faculties. Many of Calcutta's citizens host active Instagram accounts. When taken individually, each account provides...

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Mana Travels: Photo Journal of Amazing Sri Lanka

Avantika Jalan Sri Lanka travel

Mana Travels: Photo Journal of Amazing Sri Lanka

We landed in Colombo, to a welcome of heavy showers and dramatic lightening. We came to this paradise island to celebrate two second anniversaries: 2 years of being married, along with 2 years of having our US business running. A squared  anniversary. From Colombo, we galivanted across the country, exploring millennia+ old ruins, searched for leopards, lay on the beach, and tasted lots and lots of delicious tea overlooking steep mountain sides. Day 1: Colombo - Polonurwa After a meeting with a tea company in Colombo, we set out on our adventure across Sri Lanka. We drove up to the...

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February at Chota Tingrai Tea Estate

John Grams Chota Tingrai Tea Estate monkeys

February at Chota Tingrai Tea Estate

February starts quietly at Chota Tingrai. The evenings are cool, the factory is silent. Even the monkeys seem off on other adventures. The tea bushes are not fans of the cold nights and cloudy mornings. The unpruned plants curl their leaves as if they shiver. The sections of pruned bushes look like they are at home in a New England forest with their bare branches. No frogs, no snakes, just annoyed cows and goats roaming the garden, trying to sneak a sweet morsel of weed from under a bush before being chased off by a garden guard. The people don't...

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Introducing Mana Organics' Organic Masala Chai

John Grams

Introducing Mana Organics' Organic Masala Chai

The first time I had masala chai, and I mean real masala chai, was in a Calcutta gully behind a Durga Puja Pandal celebrating women's handicrafts as I felt the soft drops of the slow drizzle. The chai wallah poured us cups as we huddled under the foot-wide awning of his stall. The tea didn't taste watery, or overly sweet. Rather, the beverage was thick, with a sharp note of spicy ginger, backed with the warm black tea only slightly diluted by the earthy clay of the cup. A Chai Wallah in Calcutta. Photo by Goutam Roy for Al Jazeera...

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Happy Holidays 2017 From Mana Organics

John Grams

Happy Holidays 2017 From Mana Organics

It's finally gotten chilly here in Calcutta. And while it there is not snowflake for 200 miles, all the waiters are wearing Santa hats, and street vendors are wrapped up like Eskimos. As we head into the end of the year, Avantika and I want to thank you for your continued support in our endeavor to bring you organic, social responsible, delicious teas direct from our family tea gardens. Without you, we would have not accomplished a fraction of what we did this year. Stay on the look out from some fantastic new tea (rhymes Wasala Sai), and organic herbal...

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