Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Interview Desk - On-Demand Interviews & HR 2.0 Initiative

Hiring for the best talent is one of the key things every company would be focussed to do.  These people would later form to be your core team and contribute to majority of your company's success. More than just employees, the top/ best performing employees are considered assets to a company. When the company comes out for valuation in the stock market, more than their products or services, the employees add immense value to the equation


This is why, when you buy out a company, you are not just getting their products but rather you are acquiring their key asset, the employees. Identifying and hiring such talent can be one of the toughest things every employer would face. Retaining them a couple of years later is altogether a different ball game.

Standard Hiring Process

For any opening, you'll probably be flooded with hundreds of resumes, most of which doesn't suit your requirement or the people not employable. Searching through wades of resumes, identifying the best quality ones and interviewing them could be an arduous month long task. It's critical that during this qualification process, you never reject a right candidate by mistake.



For any medium sized to big firm, the process of posting a job requirement, receiving applications, interviewing them , shortlisting them, negotiating an offer and finally giving the job can take anywhere between a month or sometimes two.

interviewdesk hr platform

So what if there was a readymade pool of "pre-qualified" candidates , who are already interviewed by an expert interviewer/panel and just waiting for you to give a final clearance? Doesn't that gets your job done in minutes and saves you all the routine outbound calls?

InterviewDesk - OnDemand Interviewer Platform 

Yes, that dream has become a reality with the launch of the "On-Demand" Interviewer platform, called InterviewDesk.




InterviewDesk works like a marketplace model service. They let companies outsource the recruitment process and leave it to the experts at InterviewDesk. Meanwhile InterviewDesk attracts interviewers, having decades of experience in different fields to ask the right questions. So across geography, across Industry, InterviewDesk helps to quickly form panels of experts in different domains and different job functions such as Healthcare, IT, Manufacturing, Analytics, Supply Chain, Marketing etc. So when you outsource this process, your hundreds of bundles of resumes gets filtered out to just handful of quality profiles which can be interviewed immediately.

interview desk hr platform

Benefits for an Employer

  • Hiring process accelerated by 10X Times
  • Expert Interviewer panel to Filter profiles and shortlist them
  • Reduces cost spent on Hiring  
  • Can focus more on In-Depth interviews to get the right talent

Earning Opportunities for Interviewers:

If you are a professional interviewer or even an expert in a particular domain, InterviewDesk offers you a great monetizing opportunity. With a flexible platform, you get to be part of a large interviewer community and get to earn a nice side income with a commitment of minimum of 60mins of your time. This not only helps to earn , but also builds a brand for you and promoting your visibility to prospective employers and other job seekers.

I had the opportunity to attend the launch of Interview Desk at GRT last week and hence the post is in collaboration with InterviewDesk.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Auto Portal - Top Auto Comparison & Reviews Website,India

Suppose you venture in the market to purchase an automobile, especially a car, you'll be inundated with so many segments, variants, brands in different price ranges. Understanding the variation in technical specifications among the variants in the same car , key features / USP of the car can be another uphill task. Once you are done checking these specs , next step is to compare it with another competitor brand. Most times, you have to make manual comparisons, with the little info provided by car salesmen and arrive at a suitable decision and definitely difficult without a car comparison website.

autoportal car comparison site


These factors generally extend the Awareness->Consideration->Purchase funnel, purely because of a lack of collective knowledge about all cars and deciding which is best.There were automobile magazines that gave a good insight on these things about cars. But you had to sit and read through pages to get a clear info on what you were looking for. Then came the car aggregator sites which helped to list the potential cars you would want to buy along with a critic & user rating, reviews and other upcoming releases in this segment.

autoportal car comparison website

One such automobile site I discovered during my recent Automobile search was Autoportal.com. Why was it useful and how do they work?

Here are 4 different key sections of AutoPortal:

1.New Car Research with On-Road Price info 

This is one of the key sections of the website. You just need to click on New Car Research and it gives you the option of choosing the type of car by Body type.This includes Hatchback, SUV, Sedan, Luxury, Electric etc. Once selected you get a list of all the cars in that segment with their price, technical info etc.

    • Suppose you get to choose SUV and later filter to choose a price range of 10-20 lakhs, you'll be shown Ford Ecosport, XUV 500, Tata Hexa ,Hyundai Tucson and Jeep Compass among others.
autoportal car comparison site india

    • Select the cars that you wish to consider and click on the Compare Button on the top. This will list out the best features of each car in a single consolidated table and helps you to immediately narrow down on the car that you want to buy.
    • In fact, you even have an option "Hide common features" and "Highlight key differences.
    • Once done, click on "Get On-Road price" and you'll be given a quote, along with a loan EMI quote. If you are interested, you will be contacted by a nearby dealer and you start your booking/test drive process immediately.

2. New Bike Research with On-Road Price info

Similar to the cars section, there are different bikes(Motorcycles) listed by brands. You'll be even surprised that there are so many brands available in this space, as we might only remember the top 2-3 brands like Bajaj or Hero or Honda.
autoportal car comparison website

autoportal car comparison site


You can even get to compare upto 4 different bikes at the same time along with expert reviews and feedback. As someone, who might be upgrading my bike in the next couple of years, this will be a boon for me to get every information I need in a single page .

3. Buying and Selling Used Cars

If you are planning to sell your own or even consider buying an used car at competitive rates, AutoPortal helps you with that too. With quality assurance and great service, you'll end up buying an almost perfect car at such competitive prices, and get the feeling you are driving a new car. In my opinion, Autoportal is definitely one of the best used cars buying site in India !

best used cars buying website India

4. News & Articles

If you want updates and news articles about new releases , car maintenance tips or even expert predictions about a car, go and check out their news and articles section.

Independence Day Offer (Aug 1 - Aug 31)

So Autoportal has now come with an awesome Independence Day offer. #FreedomtoExplore
Once you are done with your auto research, go ahead and book a car with a referral through Autoportal between Aug 1st '17 & Augus 31st '17.

Steps to participate in Independence Day offer

  • Make a booking request  at Autoportal.com 
  • Visit dealer and pay booking amount to him and do inform him you have come through AutoPortal. 
  • Send your booking receipt to 99533 50171 to be eligible for the offer
  • Later make the rest of payment to Dealer. 
  • Get ready to win the awesome prizes 

Independence Day Offer Prizes by AutoPortal

You'll now stand a chance to win one among these
  • Travel + Stay Trip to Dubai 
  • Travel + Stay Trip to Goa
  • iPhone 6 32GB 
  • 7 Consolation Winners: - Rs. 5,000/ - ICICI Gift Card

Friday, August 04, 2017

Future of Televisions - LG OLED E7 4k UHD Smart TV

Televisions has always seen a sluggish growth in terms of technological innovations and development. There has been more focus given to other products such as mobiles, and we tend to completely overlook the most essential appliance in everyone's homes. The shift from a CRT TV to a LCD TV and finally a full HD LED TV has taken more than two decades. Yes, 20 years for majority of people to finally migrate to a new LED TV while we were busy replacing our mobile phones every 1.5 years. While this shift finally happened and still happening, I got a sneak peek into the future of Televisions, a  revolutionary "OLED 4K HDR Smart" TV from LG electronics.


TV : A journey from Home Appliance to Home Entertainment Industry

Before I write about the significance and features of the OLED E7 series TV, one should understand how the market is evolving. From being a "Home Appliance" product, Televisions has now become a "Home Entertainment" Industry product. TV's is one of the primary devices in this Internet of things era, thanks to products like NetFlix, Amazon Prime, ChromeCast , HotStar and the likes.

From paying a monthly rent to a cable operator for a handful of blurred channels a few decades back, we now have the option to watch full HD movies and shows live/on-demand whenever you want.

lg oled tv review
Source : Wikimedia

So what is this OLED 4K HDR Smart TV all about?

Yes, even I had to look up my notes to type the whole thing out , but the TV in reality is a whole different ball game. It's as if LG sat around a room one day and said, "ok , Lets invent what should be there in future TV's, NOW. Let's not wait for technology to catch up. Let others catch up to us".

Till now we've been primarily exposed to only HD LED & 4K UHD televisions. OLED stands for Organic Light Emitting Diode. One of the biggest differences between a OLED TV and normal LED TV is that, in a LED TV, all pixels in the screens are illuminated by a LED backlight.
However in a OLED TV, every single pixel has its own illumination. This brightens up your display by several times, giving a crystal clear image that you might have never witnessed before. Especially, the contrast ratio is absolutely brilliant in an OLED TV.


Key Features of OLED E7 TV


The main striking feature of the OLED E7 TV is the Dolby Vision (currently a state of art technology) . Other prominent features include  Dolby Atmos sound and Color Science Expertise by Technicolor.

  • Dolby Vision Technology 

LG is counting heavily on this Dolby Vision technology in the OLED E7. This brings out an amazing home cinema experience with vivid colors and live images along with an astonishing level of brightness . It also supports all HDR formats and thereby helping viewers to watch HD Premium content. In short, every minute detail of the content is captured in its original form, without any distortion.


  • Dolby Atmos

Be prepared for a 360 ' Sound Experience , along with an additional Sound Bar stand, which contains a Built in Woofer . Your Home theatre experience is complete with just a single setup of this television and no other additional gadgets to be procured.

  • Size Variants 

The LG OLED E7 TV comes in 2 variants, namely the 65' and the 55' with inbuilt "WebOS" platform. This helps you to integrate all the internet, smart TV features along with a classy interface for easy navigation.

The remote control has a mouse wheel function along with a single click function to access anything.
Apart from this you get Natural Voice Recognition and even an App store to get more apps.



  • Netflix & Amazon Prime Partnership

The LG OLED 4K HDR Smart TV , as the name goes provide full capability for online streaming with 4K quality. To aid this further, they have partnered with Netflix and Amazon prime, which lets you stream unlimited 4K quality content directly in your TV (with no additional costs).



LG OLED TV Price

As most people know, an OLED technology , especially in a 65' screen cannot come anywhere cheap and definitely costs a fortune. However for a true cinema lover, this can be the biggest investment he could ever think of, for an ultimate movie watching experience

Current MRP in India is :

Rs.5,85,000 for the 65' version : http://amzn.to/2uqekFh
Rs. 4,00,000 for the 55' variant : http://amzn.to/2uqbccE

In United States, prices are as follows :

Its $3200 for the 65' variant

and $2200 for the 55' variant

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Tata Nexon Compact SUV - Review, Price & Technical Specs

Tata Motors, one of the most unbeatable players in the commercial vehicle segment, is very much on course for a complete overhaul in the passenger car segment.They are attempting this through three important characteristic,namely Style (they call it an "Impact" design), feature loaded cars and more importantly aggressive pricing.

tata nexon compact suv review


When they launched the Tiago campaign a couple of years back, you got a sense of what's coming ahead in the Tata stable. Fast forward two years later, they are cruising to victory with three launches in different segments and definitely a hatrick of success. This includes the Tiago (Hatchback), Tata Hexa(SUV), Tata Tigor (Styleback / Compact Sedan) and the upcoming Tata Nexon (Compact SUV).

Nexon incidentally stands for "Next-On" and that says  everything.


Why the Sub 4-metre cars?

Before we go into the review of the Tata Nexon , one should understand why automobile manufacturers including Tata Motors, Maruti or Ford prefer to design sub 4-meter cars.

Overall the taxes for large cars had a good redutction post GST. Even the Hexa's price was reduced by INR 2 Lakhs. However when you consider the actual GST% it's lesser for "Small" cars that are lesser than 4 metres and have an engine displacement upto 1.2L in a petrol vehicle and 1.5L in a diesel engine. These attract only 29% total tax including CESS . For all other  >4 meter cars (Mid size or SUV's), it is a whopping 43%.

This is difference of anywhere between 50-80,000 Rs in taxes alone for the smaller cars. So apart from the hatchback of Tiago, Tigor (Sedan) , the Nexon despite being a SUV will still come under the 28% tax bracket, since the variants fall under the engine displacement limit and literally 5 millimeters shorter than 4 meters.

nexon gst price
GST slab for Cars

Tata Nexon Vs Competitors (Brezza , EcoSport, TUV300)

The Nexon's design combines a look of a sports coupe and a SUV. It takes head on, primarily the Ford Ecosport , Mahindra TUV 300 and the Maruti Suzuki Brezza as key competitors , the latter being more formidable and successful.

Nexon may want to edge the Brezza in several aspects in terms of pricing, style and more importantly the power packed features. 

Be it the 209mm ground clearance(11m higher than Brezza), HD infotainment screen with 8 Harman speakers or the Coupe design along with 3 drive modes, Nexon stands out tough against others. Brezza currently edges ahead in terms of performance and additional mileage of 5-6 KMs(which may or may not be an important factor in this segment)

Key Features of Tata Nexon

Here are some of the key features why the Nexon stands out in the market, much less for any segment:

tata nexon compact suv key features


Nexon Engine

Petrol Variant : The Nexon is powered with a 6 speed transmission (another first in this segment), 1.2 L Revotorq Engine 108 BHP @ 5000 RPM and Torque of 180NM. This is a significantly higher than the 89BHP present in the Maruthi Brezza. . Claimed Mileage for ARAI standard is 19 kpl (but in city conditions it should be anywhere between 11-15).

Diesel Variant : Just like the petrol version, this also has a 6 speed manual transmission gearbox . It has a 1.5L Turbo Diesel engine . Power is108 BHP @ 3,750 RPM . Claimed Mileage is 24 kpl (though in city conditions it may come to roughly 18-20).  Fuel Tank Capacity is 44L.

Nexon Exteriors

tata nexon compact suv

 

The 3995 mm long SUV has a significant ground clearance of 209mm (11mm more than the Brezza and Ecosport). In the front, the chrome radiator grille brings out the signature Tata style, along with striking LED tail lamps. They even have LED lights for the number plate and this adds a nice touch to the detailing.


tata nexon wheelbase


On the wheels front, they have added a 16 inch alloy wheels that makes a significant difference in driving, esp in cornering and uphills. The more the wheel base , the higher confidence and grip you get on the road and this is very much true for the Nexon (the top end variant is rumoured to even sport an 18inch wheels. More the merrier I guess).


The metal roof rails at the top just makes the overall exterior all the more attractive.

tata nexon roof rails


In short the new "Impact" design methodology of Tata Motors stands out vividly in the Nexon.

 

Nexon Interiors

tata nexon interiors review

More than the exteriors , the interiors seems to take up most of the limelight. A premium finish Dual Tone front seat, comfortable rear seats that offers a lot of spacing and leg room and Air conditioning vents with individual controls are some of the key highlights.

The front floating Infotainment system with HD screens mounted on top of the dashboard is quite distinctive and probably the first thing you notice when you sit inside.  The next thing you see is a "Grand Central Console" as they refer to it right beside the handbrake. This contains a sliding tambour door with a neat storage space inside along with a Drive mode change wheel.

tata nexon central console



Glove Box : Nexon surprises everyone with a huge sliding "cooled" and "illuminated" glove box. Not only does it help to store your consumables, but you can actually fit in a 15 inch laptop inside quite comfortably.

tata nexon glove box


Overall storage capacity is 350L, altough with foldable rear seats, you can add another 100-150L to this capacity.

tata nexon boot space

Drive Modes & Performance

 

tata nexon 6 speed gear

Unlike the Hexa, the Nexon comes with a front wheel drive mode only. However this is more than sufficient for a compact SUV segment and the ride is smoothly handled with the right "drive" modes in place for the respective road conditions. The Diesel variant obviously outperforms the Petrol variant in uphills, despite carrying 3+ people inside and the Air Conditioning mode on .

The 3 driving modes : Sport, City and Eco comes super handy in different roads. If you are running low on Fuel , you can switch to Eco and this boosts your mileage , with slightly increased strain on the engine. If you want to cruise at 120+ in a highway, just go for the sports mode and for every other routine drive, switch back to the City mode, adapt for increased gear shifts. However it would have been marginally better if the petrol variant had slightly more power to get that extra boost it deserves.

Nexon Ride Quality

The leg space at the back is quite large compared to any other cars, and you can be quite assured of a very comfortable journey irrespective of where you are sitting. The rear middle seat can be converted to an arm rest . The comfort factor is excellent and the ride quality is not compromised in any way.

Nexon Price in India

The 6-speed manual transmission Nexon is "expected" to be priced between 6.5-7 Laks for the Petrol version and 7.5-8 Lakhs for the Diesel one. On-Road prices and will vary based on GST taxes.

While at it, do read Shrinidhi, Atul, Maitreni, Umang and Danish's review of the Nexon.

Conclusion

Tata Motors has the work cut out here. The launch of the fantastic Tata Nexon has certainly given them all the ammunition they want, to make the conversion happen. Yet its competition against the well settled Brezza is going to be fierce. Tata was once king in the multi utility segment with the Sumo. They tasted a fair share of success with the latest SUV "Hexa".  Now, the compact SUV segment is going to be a little tougher.

Convincing a Ecosport or a Brezza buyer to rather opt for Nexon, a new entrant from Tata Motors is going to be difficult, take time and needs a good word of mouth. Yet they have what every marketer needs under his belt : A fantastic product! This alone could sweep the tide in favour of Tata and their whole new revamped "Impact Design" strategy, as long as they play their cards right.

Instead of "Nexon", it should have rather been named the "Fight is on" !

You can check out more detailed information about the Tata Nexon here.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Make Money through Blogging - Top 10 Ways to Monetize Blogs

Blogging has evolved from a small past time to becoming a full time profession. Some people have claimed to earn more than double in their blogging profession as compared to a proper 9-5 job. However there is no blueprint on the exact methods to earn money through blogging. Blogging is more like an art, and any income depends on how successful you have become and what niche you operate in. So there is no one rule for all policy here. This top 10 blog monetization techniques help you to explore the ways through which you can earn income



This is one of the reasons why, someone who has a good influence in social media & ability to drive traffic to his site has the potential to earn more. While blogging is shifting from a nascent phase to a much more developed phase , the revenue streams has also multiplied. There are so many interesting ways you can earn from as little as 100 to as high as 1-2 Lakhs.

Having done this for the past 11 years, I am listing some of my most favourite ways through which you can earn money . However this demands a significant amount of work, investment and effort from your side.

Before you start on the "earning" front, here are some mandatory steps you should have already done
    • Setup a blog and focus on a niche ( a subject you are familiar with ) 
    • Write a minimum of 20 articles over a span of a few weeks
    • Add your site to Google Search console, start tracking it through Google Analytics as well
    • Buy your custom domain (If hosted in Wordpress, buy hosting too) . Without a domain (a .com or .in etc), you'll never be taken seriously. 
    For both the above points, read my detailed points on:
    So here I have my tried and tested method for the past few years to generate a decent income through a blogging career. Some of these steps involves time, effort and of course a sizeable following to get it done. But in due course, once you achieve it, there's noone can stop you from earning that six figure income from blogging alone

      Top 10 blog monetization techniques

      1.Sign up for Blog Influencer companies. These are in reality, companies that hold a massive blog directory , and reach out to brands for campaigns. The advertisers then collaborate through the company for a specific campaign. One of the biggest example would be the most popular Indiblogger. A company or rather a community of bloggers, taking blogging to a whole different level than what it is now.
        • Other examples from above point would include BlogMint , BlogAdda, Influencer.in etc.

      2. Google Adsense  : One of the primary ways to earn money through blogging is to place ads in your website. These originate from a Google Adsense account. However , Adsense may not approve your application , unless your blog is minimum 4-5 months old or with a certain no of posts and content. If you are lucky, you might be approved within 2 months of creation of your blog. Sometimes it takes more.

      • Just sign up at www.google.com/adsense, add your website. Once approval is received, take the ad widgets and place it in your website (Dont try to add more than 3 ads in a single page).
      • Google not only pays you for every click but also counts the impressions of ads and attributes a few cents to that as well. So as long as you manage to get traffic, you can very well be assured of a good Adsense payout. Payout is done for every 100$ (after end of respective month)
      • Another alternative is Media.net  (which is now acquired by Yahoo).

      3. Affiliate Income : The prinary source of income for most bloggers would be through affiliate sales. When you refer a visitor to another site selling a product or service, they give you a commision of the sale. This is called affiliate income.   There are several websites which allows you to sign up to become an affiliate. This includes Amazon, Flipkart, Agoda, Hostgator, GoDaddy and so forth.


      How does Affiliate System work?
      monetizing your blog through affiliates


      Sign up as an affiliate for a website. Example, you can become a booking.com website affiliate and for every hotel booking referred by you, you'll get a small % as commission. You can place the booking.com "Banner" or "Ad widget" in the top of your site or even in the sidebars. Else you can smartly insert a referral link in between one of your travel posts.

        • Example : If you are writing a post about Top places to visit in Paris, you can also mention a few hotels which you would recommend and link the Hotel name to the Booking.com website through your affiliate link. Anyone clicking through the link and make a booking will help you get some income out of it. You can also try Bluehost affiliate system, Booking.com affiliate, Agoda Affiliate, Payoom etc 
        •  According to me, the best Affiliate system you can sign up include : Cuelinks. This is because Cuelinks automatically encompasses 100+ e-commerce websites incl Amazon, Flipkart, GoDaddy, Jabong, JetAirways, Makemytrip etc.

      Cuelinks Affiliate System

      4. Sponsored posts

      After 3-4 months, as you work on your backlinks, posting, SEO etc, you'll find your Domain Authority and Page Authority improve. Once you have some good traffic and respectable ranks to share, you can start collaborating for sponsored posts. This happens both ways. Several forums in Facebook request for bloggers to share their social media links, so that brands can contact them to write a product review. This can either be through  a barter system or a paid review. Depending upon the requirement you can earn anywhere between 500-5000 for a post.

      • To get sponsored posts, widen your reach, build contacts and network. Keep your lookout in Facebook media groups, follow other twitter influencers to see if there are potential opportunities. It took me a year to find a few of these. But once you get the hang of it, the opportunities will start flowing.
      • Approach brands PR directly :  If you have the contact details of PR, approach them with your blog media kid, your past achievements, Social media follower count, other blog engagements you might have done etc, along with your contact details. Again be sure not to spam them too often.
      • Instagram/Twitter Influencers : Sometimes all you need is a huge follower count like 8-10K and people would automatically start approaching you for influencer campaigns. This works very well especially with Fashion niche collaborations.

      5. Freelance Projects : Over the past year, I have done a couple of freelance projects. These freelance projects might last anywhere between a day to even a week and has a fixed pay.This involves a fixed set of deliverables and even a couple of blog posts, tweets and instagram posts from your end, depending on brand requirement.


      6. Skreem : (Applies to only India) If you are a good influencer and have a sizeable number of followers in FB or Twitter, you can apply to be a "Skreemer" . Once you are signed up , you will start getting short Twitter campaigns that you can execute which will reward with a small PayTm money. Their app link :  https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=io.skreem
      If it asks for a promo code , use mine 'hkmurali'

      7. Book Reviews : If you like reading books , this is a golden opportunity.  There are several publishing agencies and people who are looking for people to review their novels in your blog and also pay you for doing so. How cool is that? You can always reach out to me if you would like to get signed up for the same.
       book reviews income

      8.Brand Collaborations : At the start, let me tell you this is not easy. It takes months, if not years to build a popular social media profile that grabs the attention of brands and their PR's . Once you reach that stage, start writing about such brands and tag them in your posts. It just needs one collab to get the steam rolling and you'll find opportunities coming your way all the time.  In the fashion network, you might sign up to networks like PopXO which gives a signficant no of possible collaborations.

      9.Food Reviews : Zomato has a powerful feature caleld Food blog reviews. Next time you publish a restaurant review in Zomato , write it instead in your blog. Open the restaurant link in Zomato, scroll down to the bottom, you'll find a "spoonback" link. Copy the spoonback link and paste it back to your blog.
       Check my Maplai Food Review here.

      As you post more reviews, you'll find yourself among the top "Food Bloggers" in your city which can be a potential target for restaurant owners.You'll find yourself being invited for campaigns, food launches, resort stays and so forth. You can connect with me on Zomato here: https://www.zomato.com/hkmurali




      10. Buy & Sell blogs (Domains) : It's ironical that I am including it as a final point to sell your domain or blog after working so long. But you can also see this as a way to do it in a temporary basis. Buy a popular domain , increase domain authority by working on it for few months and sell it for 3-4 times the price you bought. Few sites which helps you do this is : https://flippa.com/ or https://forums.digitalpoint.com/

      Wednesday, July 19, 2017

      A Grand Feast in ECR - Maplai

      The food scene in East Coast Road, Chennai just got a face-lift thanks to a series of cafes and restaurants setting up shop here. The latest addition to this is the well known "Maplai" restaurant . After getting rave reviews of their first branch in Nungambakkam, they have now confidently expanded to ECR. This should definitely be included in one of ECR Top Restaurants.


      Luckily I was invited to a food bloggers meet to try out their super speciality "Maplai Virundhu" on the house. "Maplai" literally translates to Bridegroom in a wedding. Hence the meal technically stands for a grand feast that is usually served as a part of the hosting ceremony for the new family. So you might probably imagined how the meal served here turned out to be.


      Maplai Virundhu Menu

      Staying true to its name, the menu had an enormous variety of dishes right from a delicious soup, 8 types of veg starters, 6 non-veg starters, 3 rice varieties, 8 types of gravies, 10 types of breads and 6 starters.




      Quite thankfully, they have this meal served on the table than the standard buffet fare you find in most hotels. Without a doubt, it was a fabulous meal and definitely one of the best I've had in recent times. The lunch started with a thick Tomato Soup and then came 8 irrestible dips in various colours along wiht freshly fried Vadaams ( a South indian version of Paapads). The Dips included Mint, Avaka Mayo, Chilli & Garlic and a few other variants. They should have probably added a disclaimer, that this could be super addicitive and you cant resist eating them.



      Starters 

      Coming to the most favourite part of my meal, I give extreme importance while choosing a buffet. Despite being a vegetarian, I was given around 8 choices (most of them cooked in Andhra style)  which included grilled pineapple, bashed potatoes, Tandoori Vegetables, crispy fried Okras (LadiesFinger), Guntur Corn and ending with Paneer Tikkas . The starters were not anywhere similar to what you get you in typical "Barbeque" joints but rather had a distinct flavour , cooked in a Southern style which was super refreshing.



      Main Course 

      Having been given an interesting foray in starters, the main course also followed suit to have a completely revamped menu. Main course included 3 types of rice and 10 types of "South Indian" breads. This included Ghee Rice, "Thalassery Biryani" and Curd Rice. The Thalassery Biryani in particular was one of the highlights of my meal . The rice coupled with the curry layer beneath turned out to be the best I've had . My craving for "Veg" Biryani has suddenly shot up post this.


      The South Indian breads included : Malabar barotta, Appam, Idiyappam , Coin Parotta, Kal Dosai, Paniyaram, Wheat Parotta and the likes (All served on request) and not the usual Tandoori Rotis and Naans.

      Desserts

      A grand feast certainly contains a  dessert that should ideally a notch above what was servd earlier. The guys at "Maplai" ensured just that with a delightful mix of 6 types of desserts. These included :
      Sheer Kuruma(Vermicilli Payasam), Paan Ice Cream, Kubaani Ka Meetha, Pudding made out of coconut milk, Fried Bread soaked in Masala Milk and Tapioca Phirni .



      This is certainly one meal that you should experience atleast once.

      Maplai Restaurant in ECR is located near to the Neelangarai station and quite easily identifiable from the road.

      Maplai Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato



      Friday, July 14, 2017

      Under Construction Plug-In

      So the first time I encountered this Wordpress plugin , I mistook it to be something under development. Only to later realize it was an app to build a temporary under construction process and hence the name for this coming soon page plugin.

      coming soon page plugin



      Having said that, this can be an incredibly useful plugin which makes a huge difference in terms of professionalism and retaining visitors to you site . Despite buying a hosting and domain plan, there's still a lot of work left in building the site, adding content, designing a template etc.

      During the process, you may have felt the need to inform a set of audience that this is your domain. As expected the traffic might flow through , and they'll thrown with a bad error page ( probably a 404) or an incorrect URL page or worst case doesn't open at all.

      Designing Temporary Pages


      Retaining every person who comes through your site is key in engagement and increasing the organic traffic percentage. In software development mode, this is called "Test/Sandbox" environment and a "Live/Production" environment. In a website, you may not have such facilities or advanced features to create two parallel environments. So until you require the site with actual content to go "Live", you require a temporary "Under Construction" or better "Coming Soon" page.

      Designing a temporary page should be very important to attract audience ,make them remember to come back once the site is live. You should also have some  social media handles in the page which can help them stay connected to your website. In a normal blog editor all you can do is add a page full of text and a couple of images. This may not really appeal and may look very unprofessional or amateur.

      To solve this and make the job much simpler (of course save on hiring expensive web designers), you have a free WordPress plugin called Under Construction.

      So what should you do to get this?
      • Download the plugin here https://wordpress.org/plugins/under-construction-page/
      • Activate in the plugins panel in your WP Dashboard.
      • Configure the settings,social media links etc
      • Choose one among the 100's of page designs which you find here : https://www.underconstructionpage.com/
      • You are Done!

      coming soon page designs

      Advantages of using Coming soon page plugin :

      • Its super easy to use and loads pretty fast.
      • It's FREE !!
      • Updated designs are available every month.
      • Provides support for all caching plugins.
      • Highly optimized for SEO.
      • Social media integration with the page.
      • Google Analytics tracking of views support.

      If you still have doubts, you can probably check their video here