Sunday, March 25, 2018

Saving the Shape of Water

Without a doubt, water is one of the important utilities that is essential to any living being. Survival without water is next to impossible. Even a single season of drought can almost bring a city to its knees. Conservation of such a national resource is an important responsiblity, not just relegated to the government but also to every one of us.

A reality shock came quite recently, when two popular cities in South Africa, Durban and Cape Town ran out of water and declared a national emergency. With less rainfall, high temperatures and high surface evaporation, both these towns are facing a severe crisis. With no proper steps taken to conserve water, the country will now have to start its battle with water, both for the present and future generations.

This is a wake up call for all the citizens across the globe, to understand that water is a resource that may not last forever, if we dont do something about it , pretty urgently.  Bangalore seems to be the next in list with signs of water scarcity already showing.  Though we have no control over the amount of rainfall a place we may get, we have full control on preservation and conservation of water at every step. I've always been stronly advocating against water wastage, esp in homes, public areas and restaurants.

Future of Water? 

Source : Shot by me 

Water is one of those natural resources that's showing a decline thanks to climate change, increased temperatures and of course lack of conservation. Price of a bottle of water has already doubled in the last few years. In some European and African countries, water is actually costlier than beer.

If present situation continues, we can eventually find many lakes and rivers dry up soon , increased drought conditions and famines. The project of desalination (converting sea water to drinking water) has proven to be very expensive and not a realistic solution. Like space travel, one can't be surprised if even water is made into capsules and sold.

Unless we do something about it, availability of water can be one of the biggest question marks in our life.

 Source :

On a happy note, I am quite happy to write about water conservation techniques on the World Water Day celebrated on March 22nd.  I also got to learn about the interesting Initiative by LivPure called #CuttingPaani . This campaign is a stark remainder of times we waste precious drinking water , be it at home or at a restaurant.

Top 10 ways to Save water

1. Rain Water Harvesting
Rain water is one of the purest forms of water that can be used for drinking. However more than 95% of the rain water on land is wasted and not saved. A proper rain harvested flat can save a lot of these water and thereby improve the ground table levels of water.

 Source :

2. Carry a water bottle with you.
We often buy water bottle from outside, everytime we go out and throw away the remaining water.
If we adopt a practice of carrying a small water bottle from home, we can avoid buying and at the same time, drink it fully.

3. A Quick Shower
Though you can take the occassional day to enjoy yourself in a nice long bath, make it a practice to keep your daily showers very quick and turn off the nozzle when not in use. More than 2 litres of water can be saved, even if you cut your shower time by just 3-4 minutes.

4. Spillage & Leaks
Prevent spillage of water as much as possible. If possible , prevent the use of bubble top water cans and instead opt for a water purifier than helps you to fill the exact amount of water you need. Even when you replace a bubble top can, ensure its completely empty before you replace with a new can.

Also do a routine check of all taps in the house to ensure there's no leakage of water. Remember small drops maketh the Ocean.

5. Reusing water
If you have any disposable yet clean water, use it for floor cleaning or watering the plants. Or use the same to wash the clothes or vessels. Think twice before throwing any water out onto the sink.

6. #CuttingPaani Technique
Ok, this is a nice idea, I learnt it from the LivPure ad. When you are at a restaurant and towards the end of the meal, when the waiter come to refill your glass, ask him to stop at half glass, if you feel that's all you need. Many a time, we let the waiters pour the entire glass, though we may have no intention of drinking it or probably drink only a little of it.

 Source : LivPure Video

7. Plant Trees
One of the biggest reasons we are facing drought in most places, is because of extensive deforestation. Planting trees is pretty much the only way we can save our environment and save us from droughts and famines.

8. Collective washing & cleaning
The amount of water used for daily household activities such as washing clothes or vessels can consume more water than we can even imagine. By simply accumulating them and washing at one go, it can save several litres of water quite easily.

9. Half Flushes
Opt in for low water usage flushes or use a half flush accordingly as per need. This one act of yours and family members at home can easily save several gallons of water every day.

10. Spread the word !
The biggest act of saving water is to raise awareness around others. When you talk about your ideas, thoughts with friends, neighbours, family members, colleagues, people in your society or even post a simple tweet about it . A positive word has a strong.

Sign the Petition

One of the best ways to spread the awareness is to sign the petition and share them on your social media as well . Here's the link for it :

Do check out the interesting CuttingPani Campaign video from LivPure in this video

Do you have any other innovative methods to save water? Do let me know in the comments .

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Zee 5 : Digital Entertainment Platform & India's Top OTT

From  radio to cable televisions to Direct to Home Satellite channels, content delivery has evolved in a rapid pace , especially when it comes media & entertainment. Be it news, sports, movies, or entertainement in any manner, the way we consume the data has changed quite significantly. Though there are 300+ channels in multiple languages being telecast through set top box, we can't always be around at the exact time when our favourite show is running. Plus in a house of 3 or 4 with a single television mostly, you sometimes have to give up your choice of channel and have to allow others to see their favorite programs.

This is when on-demand digital entertainment platforms began coming up. This platform, was actually a big hit in the United States with options like NetFlix, Hulu, Amazon Prime among others who made a big impact in the way content was streamed. People no longer relied only on their cable television to watch their movies or shows, but rather began streaming it on their own devices. This streaming option was available through mobiles, laptops, tablets and "Smart" televisions.

Streaming inside your own Device

You no longer needed to rent DVD's from a local store, record highlights of your favourite sports program or more importantly fight over the remote. You just had to pick up your device, launch the app, browse through 1000's of shows and movies and hit play. With an active internet connection, it began streaming almost immediately in Full High Definition.

With substantial increase in broadband and fiber net internet speeds and of course cheap 4G services by Jio, the concept of digital entertainment platforms became a reality too in India. A month back, one of the most watched entertainment channels in India, Zee International launched their
brand new digital entertainment platform called ZEE5.

Content Availability & Languages

This is available across iOS and Android Phones, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV Stick and Chromecast. ZEE5 is also available at and available as a Progressive Web App. 

Their core proposition in the offering was "Language", which is easily visible in their user interface and the content as well. The preferred display language can also be changed inside the app
The platform has content across 12 languages which includes English, Hindi, Bengali, Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Marathi, Oriya, Bhojpuri, Gujarati and Punjabi.

Zee 5 offers an integrated offering of both LiveTV and On-Demand Entertainment right inside your device. It has more than 1,00,000 hours of on-demand content including exclusive original content, Indian and International movies , music, health , lifestyle & tv shows. 

Pricing :

Currently , as an inaugural price its priced at 99rs/month ( may increase to 150 post the inaugural period) and 999 for the first year. Since it works on a freemium model, it also has lots of free content. 

Key Features:

Voice Search , that helps you to search for a show or movie by speaking the name of the program,
Download option helps you to download the program when connected in a fast connection, and later view it offline.  Other key features include Chromecast support, TV Guides and optimized quality streaming even on low bandwidths.

Note :

Since this is a  brand new launch , there's limited content available now and  the addition of content may happen in a gradual pace. Hence I'm currently not reviewing the quality and variety of content available in the Zee5 in comparison to other providers.

Just search for Zee5 in your app/play store to install it or check out directly in your browser.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Rolls Royce Phantom (Extended Wheelbase) - An Experience

For starters, this is not an automobile "review" but rather a stunning visual experience of one of the world's most famous, most expensive car in the world. Yes, I am talking about none other than Rolls Royce. A brand known for its epitome of luxury, elegance, class and the "Royal" factor, owning a Rolls Royce itself is considered a prestige & status & authority symbol than anything else. The BMW owned brand calls it a "ceremonial" chariot, having been owned by the Kings, Nizams and Maharajas of India and currently comes under the "Super Luxury" category of cars. It comes as no surprise that this was also reinstated as the "Best Car in the World".

rolls royce phantom extended wheelbase edition

I was privileged to be invited as an automobile blogger to an exclusive launch of the Rolls Royce Phantom (extended wheelbase edition) , the first time in South India , here in Chennai. The first look of the car itself had a mesmerizing effect on me on the grandeur, beauty and the royal charisma, the car seemed to exude quite visibly. Be it the iconic Rolls Royce logo or the shining all-aluminium spaceframe, the Rolls Royce stood like a majestic vehicle in the centre of the ball room. Even as the engine was turned on and you sat inside it, the car stood at pin drop silence and you couldn't even make out the powerful V12 engine was actually running.

rolls royce phantom extended wheelbase edition

Here are some amazing facts about the Rolls Royce Phantom.

Owned by BMW

  bmw owned rolls royce

Founded in 1906, Rolls Royce , after a still competition between BMW & Volkswagen, was finally bought over by the BMW group. BMW was preferred as they were anyways in business providing the engines and other parts.

spirit of chase logo

rolls royce phantom handle


Sound Insulation


rolls royce phantom handle

The car is layered up with 130Kg of sound insulation, fitted with a double laminated glass and you can expect absolute silence when you are being driven.  Apparently sound was so quiet that even the test engineers had a hard time figuring out if their calibration machines were working or not.

Hand Made

rolls royce phantom logo

One of the most distinctive features of the Rolls Royce is the Handmade finish. Almost everything in the Rolls Royce is made by hand. This includes
  • Rolls Royce Radiator Grille  (even a measuring instrument is not used)
  • The Space Frame Chasse
rolls royce phantom extended wheelbase spaceframe

  • 5 Layers of Painting
  • The starry lit ceiling/roof of the car
     rolls royce phantom ceiling

      • Interior Veneers and pretty much everything else

      Rolls Royce Logo in Wheel Cap 


      The distinctive Rolls Royce Logo with the double "R" , though placed in the center of the wheel cap, never rotates even the wheel is spinning at a great speed. I have no idea how they managed to do that, but that's something you should definitely notice, next time you see a Rolls Royce go past you.

      Colour Choices

      Spoilt for choice is literally a fact when it comes to the Rolls Royce.  A customer can actually choose from 44,000 exterior colours and also any personalized design from the company.  The Sultan of Brunei incidentally owns a Rolls Royce Phantom made of pure gold.

      rolls royce phantom extended wheelbase colours


      You might as well experience the same luxury that of a 5 star hotel 'suite', being adorned with the finest leather and veneers. Even the rear seating is curated from lounge to individual formats. The impressive array of wood and leather can leave any one stunning.

      rolls royce phantom control panel


      Rolls Royce Phantom Tech Specs

      The Phantom is a powerhouse when it comes to speed and performance and carries a top speed of 155 mph / 250 km/h . Acceleration to 0-100 km/h is just 5.4 seconds.
      Engine / cylinders / valves : Rolls Royce comes with one of the most powerful automobile engines, namely the V /12 / 48 .   Maximum torque @ engine speed 900 Nm / 664 lb ft @ 1700 rpm 
      Power output @ engine speed :  563 bhp / 571 PS / 420 kW @ 5000 rpm

      rolls royce phantom test drive


      The dimensions of the extended wheelbase edition of the Rolls Royce Phantom are as follows:
      • Vehicle length  5982 mm / 235.5 in 
      • Vehicle width 2018 mm / 79.4 in 
      • Vehicle height (unladen) 1656 mm / 65.2 in 
      • Wheelbase 3772 mm

      Price : 

      Pricing in India for Phantom (Standard Wheelbase) has been officially announced at Rs 9.5 Crores, with Phantom Extended Wheelbase from Rs 11.35 Crores, inclusive of a four-year service package and regional warranty, 24-hour roadside support . This is an ex showroom price and taxes are extra.

      Keep dreaming, never give up on anything , achieve your goals,  and someday you might just find yourself owning one of these :)

        Tuesday, March 06, 2018

        JewelOnFire - An Interesting Discovery

        I've always had a tough time choosing the right kind of gifts for my friends or loved ones, esp on special occassions such as her birthday , festivals or rather even a friend-versary. Without a doubt, jewellery, accessories are something they absolutely adore and would be delighted as a gift. However at the same time, there are greater chances that it can go wrong, incase you pick up something that doesn't match to their taste. While surfing through the web, I came across an interesting site called JewelOnFire and thought of reviewing it in my blog.

        zodiac necklace

        In general,the rates of diamond , platinum and other jewellery products are usually marked up by jewellery stores. This is because it passes through a distribution model , where it is moves from the supplier, distributor, middlemen and finally to the jewellery stores. With these multiple levels of markup, end of the day you may find the product to be heavily priced , far more than its worth.

        JewelOnFire, took the inspiration from this and began creating an unique offering. They cut out all the irrelevant middlemen, worked directly with the manufacturers to sell some high quality diamond jewellery and gemstone, at roughly 90% off retail pricing. This was sold through their online marketplace, This made the jewellery easily available to the masses than restricting only the elite ones who'd step into the premium jewellery showrooms.

        They deal with variety of products including Rings, Bracelets, Necklaces, Earrings, Diamond and Gemstone sets among other things.Some of their white diamond rings start as low as 25$ and goes upto 400$ range.
        Though not much into jewellery,I quickly checked their men's ring collection and they had some pretty interesting designs, that anyone could pull it off in style.

        Zodiac Metal Chains 

        One thing that totally caught my eye was their Zodiac based metal chains/necklaces for just 19$ . This was really unique and something I was looking for quite a while

        Fire Deal Offers 

        Jewel On Fire, true to their name actually has Weekly "Fire" deals, offering products for nearly 90% off. Who knows you might be a lucky one to grab one at the 90% sale , on a first come first serve basis.

        Do note that they currently ship only within the United States with free shipping.
        Do use my Promo Code:  HKMURALI ,   for a whopping 25% discount !!

        Wednesday, February 28, 2018

        The need for a Water Purifier

        It's safe to agree that the country has witnessed a significant increase in awareness about health, hygiene and cleanliness thanks to social media, newspapers and to a small extent government's initiative to improve the same. However on the other hand, we can also see a steady increase of diseases, health issues and other sanitation issues.

        Most of these diseases range from a mild occurence to a major outbreak, most of which is water borne and air borne diseases. Despite knowing these may be contagious, there has not much efforts to restrain or contain it from spreading widespread. Be it Malaria, Amoebiasis, Cholera , Typhoid,  Leptospirosis , the water borne diseases are plenty.

        Why does it occur?

        The primary reason for a water borne disease to occur is because of presence of stagnated water around the house or contamination. Even if you can't really control the former, you have the option to eliminate any kind of impurities present in the water be it drinking or for other purposes. Unlike Western countries where tap water is safe for direct consumption, you still have to rely on boiled water or water purifier or much worse buy expensive "mineral water" from stores

        Contamination of water happens almost everywhere, be it at the source or during transportation or even through an unsafe storage facility. India is pretty much now relying on Bubble tops and mineral cans. Despite being assured of a "treated" water, you can still find several impurities in the same. The only option to obtain clean water is buy water purifier ( be it a Reverse Osmosis or  Ultra Violet or even a basic one). 

        Finding the best purifier in India can be a tough challenge given so many variants. These models vary by purification stages, storage capacity of the tank, warranty period among others. Unless you study these material and make a wise informed decision, based on your need, you can make a blunder. For example, if you get very hard water in your tap, but if the water purifier is not built for hard water and primarily for soft water, this will prove ineffective against contamination

        You may probably buy a water purifier from an offline store or the more preferred option is to buy online water purifier. These online sites provide full description of the product, price compare options, filtration technology used etc. These should help you identify what you exactly require

        Types of Water Purifier

        Having been a consumer myself, it took me quite a while to decide what kind of water purifier to buy. Hence a primary reason why I decided to write down a post on the types of purifiers and what are their functions.

        Here's a quick insight into the different water purifiers and their various filtration technologies :

        RO , UV , UF , Activated Carbon are the broad categories of water purifiers. Here's a few lines on each:

        RO ( Reverse Osmosis ) Water Purifier 

        The most powerful water purifier is the Reverse Osmosis one. Suitable for both hard water and soft water, it has a RO membrane that passes the water through it in a pressurized manner. Any materials like chlorine, arsenic, fluoride , nitrates will be removed immediatel. Other water borne disease agents like microorganisms, bacteria, viruses are also completely removed, thus providing clean safe water. This is marginally expensive than other standard water purifiers

        UV Water Purifier 

        As the name goes, Ultraviolet water purifier passes water through a UV light and this is an effective process to kill a lot of organisms like germs, bacteria , viruses etc. However this is not an ideal purifier if you want to treat hard water.

        UF Water Purifier (Ultra Filtration):

        Like a basic water filter, it passes the water through a small thin membrane. This succesfully removes bacteria and viruses and a few contaminated particles. It works without electricity , removes muddy water too but not ideal for highly contaminated water or hard water.

        Activated Carbon 


        This recently introduced variants uses the special properties of Carbon to purify the water. When the water passes through it,  chemicals,pesticide elements and other materials sticks to the carbon surface thereby purifying the water. However any dissolved particles, salts may not be purified in this method.

        So quit relying on bubble tops, expensive mineral water cans or boiling pots of water from tap and instead go for a reliable sturdy water purifier.

        Friday, February 23, 2018

        Top 7 Bucketlist Destinations

        Top post on IndiBlogger, the biggest community of Indian Bloggers

        My love for travel has always been there since childhood. Every May and December, our family made it a point to visit a beautiful place during the holiday period.  More than two decades back, international travel was never really a possibility for many families or rather even a dream. It was always somewhere within the country, be it Ooty , Kodaikanal, Shimla-Manali, Delhi-Agra or somewhere in the east. However airlines like AirAsia other LowCost carriers, with a motto of "Now Everyone can Fly" made international travel sometimes cheaper than a domestic trip. So here’s a list of my top travel destinations or rather bucketlist destinations), that I’d definitely want to visit soon. The list of destinations is in no specific order.


        When I researched about the African subcontinent, most people either asked me to check South Africa (for adventure) or probably Egypt (for the pyramids and Nile River cruises). However, a destination many have overlooked and definitely in my sights is Morocco.  A city of vibrant colors, history & culture, Marrakesh can actually stun you with its unique charm.  Just check for Marrakech vacation rentals, and you can plenty of beautiful properties where you can get to stay and experience a fantastic Moroccan vacation. Marrakesh, the land of god, is actually a hidden gem, unknown to most travellers and I’m just hoping to head out there someday. Do check out a post of mine in my travel blog about the top things to do in Marrakech

        New Zealand 

        The eastern most country in the world and also happens to be the world’s most beautiful destination, I have seen New Zealand mostly during the cricket matches that places in Auckland or Wellington. Just by those glimpses of what they show, you know it’s a destination, one should definitely experience. New Zealand is primarily famous for its adventure (especially bungee jumping), exotic film locations ( the famous Lord of the Rings movie series was shot here) , national parks, beautiful islands and expansive mountains , national parks to name a few.


        One of the most advanced countries in terms of technology, Japan has been a fantastic success story that has stunned the world. From bullet trains to volcanic mountains to beautiful temples, Japan is one country I’d definitely want to see within the next two years. Despite being a small south east Asian country, it’s also one of the most expensive countries to live or even visit and you could easily shell out a couple of Lakhs (2000-3000$) in Indian rupees for a simple visit . Though it’s one of the first destinations I check in every flight sale, it somehow looks always out of reach and I resign myself to check another time. The mother of electronics (the better quality ones) and cute stationaries, that may also be a primary reason for my major craving for Japan. My List of cities to visit : Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto and Hiroshima


        Another country similar to Japan, but comparatively slightly less expensive on the wallet, China gives plenty of reasons why one should visit it.  Starting with the Great Wall of China, you can be assured of a world wonder to visit. Second only to Japan, you can’t get enough of electronics and other wonderful things that you get to purchase in China. In addition to this , the historical city of Beijing and the metropolitan city of Shanghai can give you a confluence of the Chinese culture as it aims to become a super power. Chinese food (the vegetarian ones) is also something I want to try quite eagerly.

        South America (Brazil / Colombia / Peru) 

        I have always had a fascination for South American countries . Known for its culture, football , national wonders and man made architectures, the cost of living is also cheaper on the wallet. However the flights to and fro can be the only thing that has kept me from travelling to this beautiful part of the countinent. Be it the Macchu Picchu, Rio Di Janeiro or the Christ Redeemer statue, it’s always under my radar and would probably jump at a chance to visit it.

        Europe ( Italy, Spain & Austria) 

        Every part of Europe has a distinct flavour to it. Though they have a common currency, the architectural marvels, food, culture and a lot of things vary from country to country. Italy has been in my list, ever since I read about the museums in Dan Brown novels as he explains in details about the architecture in Rome, Venice and other cities. Spain, to experience the Spanish culture, try out the spicy food and of course visit the fashion capital of the world.  Austria, to experience the Alps, in its true glory and other snowcapped peaks.

        United States of America

        This has been a country, that has been slipping away from my sights for many a time. So many opportunities in the workplace turned out to be a missed chance and it has always eluded me. My preferred list of cities to visit includes New York, Washington, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Houston. With an expensive dollar rate, tough visa restrictions and lack of dates for vacation, it was never easy to plan a trip out here. But somehow, I feel it in my sights and would definitely be a country that I have planned to visit by next year max.

        What’s on your bucket list of destinations? I’d love to know.. Do comment about it.

        Wednesday, February 21, 2018

        McDonalds Rice Fiesta - Can they conquer the Super Passi?

        If you had a chance to read my earlier post on McDonald's strategy,  you'd know that their recent launch in South Indian market is a new rice based product. With a strong affinity towards rice items and a primary meal for both lunch and dinner , it comes as no surprise that Mcdonald's is venturing into this segment.

        Currently regarded as a "bread" or "Burger-Fries" joint, the new product come as welcome relief to many families who'd want something "else". Though it's difficult to break the perception in the beginning and it may be a while till McDonald's can actually be known for a food place that serves a "complete" meal for the family. The latest rice addition only accelerates that growth and eventually puts them on the desired path.

        With a tagline of "Super Passi", it aims to fill "the hunger" through the rice fiesta. Again another first from the brand, who was earlier a choice for a evening snack or a quick takeaway of their burgers.

        McDonalds's Rice Fiesta - Variants

        The neproduct, namely Rice Fiesta comes in two different variants
        • Veggies and Cheese Rice

         Given the two alternatives, I chose this one and gave it a try. Served in a large plastic box, the Veggie & Cheese Rice fiesta looked very good at first glance. Scored high both on temperature, quantity and presentation. The Rice Fiesta had a mixture of rice (Brownish white in colour) and vegetables like carrot, peas and corn. The top layer , which adds the flavor and the taste to the rice, has a mixture of melted cheese, zucchini tossed in cream (something resembling the top layer of a corn au gratin/lasagne).

        • Beans and Gravy Rice  

        Quite similar to the Veggies & Cheese, this however comes with the non-cheese variant. You have a "Indian gravy" kinda layer that replaces the cheese and a healthy portion of vegetables and beans mixed along with it . The top layer contains a large portion of tomato gravy mixed with basil, garlic,  and some pepper for the spice. People who'd prefer a much spicy variant may definitely opt for this . The rice below is mixed with beans, carrot , kidney beans and chick peas.

        (The above is also available in a non-veg variants served along with chicken chunks)

        Presentation  & Review  :

        The cheese layer  in the Veggie and Cheese variant was excellent, creamy and of course a scoop of rice along with the cheese layer made it a perfect combination. However as you get to the bottom layers of the rice and the hotness subsides, it becomes slightly difficult to finish it . So the trick is to not immediate finish off the top layer ( Like we do eating cream biscuits). You have to use the given spoon to mix the cheese and rice layers pretty neatly and you can finish it off in no time.

        The rice is much different from the usual Fried rice you get in restaurants or the Chinese bowl of rice that you get in places like Wangs Kitchen. Somewhere between a cross of Mexican and Indian, this has potential to definitely be a great alternative for the burgers ( and much healthier comparitively).
        A bowl of rice can easily be shared with two people , if they are having an additional item along with this.


        At 119 for the vegetarian variant,  and 139 for the non vegetarian version, this seems very reasonable. Not a pricing expert, but in my opinion a sub 100Rs pricing could have been an interesting price point to boost sales and would have encouraged more people to try this new item. With a burger costing around 60-70 , this is almost double the price and I'm curious to know if this segment is indeed price sensitive or not.
        But overall, given the quantity, taste and quality, the 119 price is still a good value for money.

        What could be better ?

        The cheese layer could have been more to mix it with the whole bowl of rice underneath. Of course, clear instructions on mixing the layers could be given orally. A side of crisps or french fries would go very well with this as well and may as well be offered as a combo.

        Here's a video of their new product launch

        I was invited on behalf of McDonald's to try out their new product launch. However the review is unbiased and fully represents my personal opinion only.