Healthy food via solar cooker
Although good solar cookers have been available for two decades, they were out of reach because of distribution issues. Nowadays you can even order them on online. Food cooked in solar cooker taste better
Prices of crude oil are falling globally but in percentage terms nowhere close to the way prices of solar powered products and cells as well as reflecting surfaces used for solar energy purposes are falling too. Not just photo-voltaic and photo-thermal cells but even paint-on or paint-apply reflective surfaces, which can be used to generate energy with even the least amount of Sun regardless of ambient temperatures around.
For the last few weeks, we have been using a new generation solar cooker at home for cooking a variety of food items in Delhi's cold weather. The list of items we could not cook is mutton (gave up after five hours, but that is also because it became foggy) and rotis (we need to tweak the flour used so that it can "rise" like a "kulcha"). Everything else can and has been cooked. Even French toast.
For the rest, for a family of five, sometimes six people, we have been able to cook a variety of raw unpolished rice (100-120 minutes), polished rice (60-75 minutes), lentils (90-120 minutes) and vegetables (60-150 minutes, depending). Food ends up tasting better, and for those of us who recall what daal tasted before pressure cookers entered our homes, tastes fluffier too. 
Cooking by solar also requires less oil/ghee, as the process involves slow cooking at its best, and this in turn reduces the amount of oil wasted by simply being burnt away. There is no need to keep stirring also, as the heat is applied from all around and within.
The all-important "tadka" is applied previously or subsequently as per your taste. Solar "chaunkh" never tasted better, especially if done in a covered vessel left in the solar cooker for a few hours to heat up well.
Prices for a typical four-container/vessel type solar cooker now start from as low as Rs2,000 upwards and there is no "brand" value attached to them. Modern nano coating techniques enable even plastics and polymers to be coated, as also metals, which can be bent or curved to any shape wanted. The one we use looks like a medium sized suitcase, about 550mm x 550mm by 300mm in size, and apart from the hinges and latches, is made totally of lightweight composite material and is therefore easy to place and move about literally anywhere.
Solar cookers are available with ease online and increasingly in local markets too. The biggest benefit we have found is that it liberates us from the kitchen, as food laid out to cook does not get burnt, because temperatures do not rise beyond a moderate cooking level. This is one product where, hopefully, local unbranded options will do much better than costlier branded types. Simple rule - if you get even half a day's sun for half the year, then you will recover your investment in short time. Not to mention that you must have access to a roof, balcony or yard, which gets at least two-three hours of Sun on sunny days.
The previous problems of birds pecking at the solar panels have been solved by using full reflecting surfaces. However, within Indian conditions, we may need to see solar cookers with drain plugs to remove condensation that forms inside the cooker at times. Right now, we just hold it upside down, and then wipe it dry.
(Veeresh Malik started and sold a couple of companies, is now back to his first love—writing. He is also involved in helping small and midsize family-run businesses re-invent themselves.)
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    5 years ago

    Any links for online purchase?

    Dr Anantha K Ramdas

    5 years ago

    Many thanks for interesting article on solar cooking. It would be a great
    feat if Government machinery is used to arrange for actual exhibitions in various cities in which the manufacturers can present their models. If they can also make available details of after sales service it would give an assurance that aam aadmi can buy and use these, and approach them for assistance if and when needed.

    Can we ask mr Malik to identify the maker, if he is totally satisfied with the performance? Is this the first one he tried? or there similar ones (capacity wise) available in the market?

    In the same way, I hope soon some solar panel manufacturer comes out with a small prototype unit that individual houses/flats can buy and plug the system to the main lines so that power generated is used at home as well. It is not easy for everyone to spend Rs 2/3 lakhs to make initial investment because the economies of scale, relating to the actual monthly bill currently paid, may not permit such a purchase!

    Such simpler units can then be clubbed together in a given area and generate power for use themselves and release the balance to the central grid...


    Veeresh Malik

    In Reply to Dr Anantha K Ramdas 5 years ago

    In response to points raised by Dr. Ramdas -

    # There is hardly any after sales service required for a solar cooker. A wet cloth to wipe the reflecting surface; and the rest is like a suitcase.

    # The manufacturer's name is "Rohitas Electronics" the product is "Tulsi Solar Oven" and their website is at -

    # I have done a few articles on solar power at MoneyLife in the past also. It is really sad that government policies in India appear to favour "big solar" but then economies of scale are tipping things in favour of "micro-small solar".

    # This aricle from the Economist explains how Africa is racing ahead with solar power.

    # In India, the Armed Forces are making major strides in solar power solutions.

    I hope this helps explain things.

    Veeresh Malik

    Narendra Doshi

    5 years ago

    Tks Veereshji,
    Just shifted to a terrace apartment and would love to implement your recipe.

    Vying for Market Share, Companies Heavily Promote ‘Me Too’ Drugs

    Our comprehensive analysis of drug company spending on doctors in the last five months of 2013 shows the most-promoted products typically were not cures, breakthroughs or top sellers.


    For more than five decades, the blood thinner Coumadin was the only option for millions of patients at risk for life-threatening blood clots. But now, a furious battle is underway among the makers of three newer competitors for the prescription pads of doctors across the country.


    The manufacturers of these drugs — Pradaxa, Xarelto and Eliquis — have been wooing physicians in part by paying for meals, promotional speeches, consulting gigs and educational gifts. In the last five months of 2013, the companies spent nearly $19.4 million on doctors and teaching hospitals, according to ProPublica's analysis of federal data released last fall.


    The information, from a database known as Open Payments, gives the first comprehensive look at how much money drug and device companies have spent working with doctors. What it shows is that the drugs most aggressively promoted to doctors typically aren't cures or even big medical breakthroughs. Some are top sellers, but most are not.


    Instead, they are newer drugs that manufacturers hope will gain a foothold, sometimes after failing to meet Wall Street's early expectations.


    "They may have some unique niche in the market, but they are fairly redundant with other therapies that are already available," said Dr. Joseph Ross, an associate professor of medicine and public health at Yale University School of Medicine. "Many of these, you could call me-too drugs."


    Read Full Story here


    Courtesy -

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    Life   Exclusive
    Aamir Khan's PK collected Rs300 crore. Really?

    Viewers are reporting empty seats in cinema halls that are showing Aamir Khan-starrer PK, while trade analysts and media reports claim that the movie has grossed over Rs300 crore and will do Rs500 crores. Hope, the taxmen remember to collect their dues from the movie’s ‘huge’ success


    Aamir Khan-starrer PK has reportedly collected Rs300 crore in just three weeks since its release. The movie is being termed an all time blockbuster, trade analyst Taran Adarsh said in a tweet , "PK creates History. Crosses Rs.300 cr. (Week 3) Sun 11.58 crore. Grand total: 305.27 cr nett. India biz." This has become an accepted fact. Global figure of collections is expected to be Rs500 crores. However, there is no independent verification of these figures. Indeed, anecdotal evidence appears to tell a slightly different story. Several people are questioning the collection figure of Rs300 crore and how this is possible with barely half filled theatres across the country.


    There are three aspects to understand the 'blockbuster' collection figures. First, the producers wanted to hike ticket rates for PK. Second, there was a controversy about 'hurting' the sentiments of the Hindus. And third, according to several viewers who recently watched the film in theatres, many seats were empty all across major exhibition territories. This raises the question that if halls were not full with viewers, how did the movie collect Rs300 crore in just three weeks?


    See the tweets below:



    In response, Aamir Khan's so-called fans started bombarding Twitter handles of everyone who questioned the big collection claims. See, for example, when Moneylife's managing editor, Sucheta Dalal saw empty seats at Regal theatre in Mumbai during a PK screening and tweeted about it, she was targeted by an army of such "fans".


    These are all bots as they are called in tech parlance. All of them have the exact same tweet. They aren't real accounts of users.


    According to Sandeep Khurana, an occasional columnist for Moneylife, the film industry rides on blockbusters. “In terms of budget of box-office (BO) collections, the film industry works due to blockbusters. Much like the US pharma industry, which survives on blockbuster drugs like Viagra, the film industry needs a booster dose of some mega success stories, to feel secure,” he had said.


    Khurana wrote, “This sets in motion a sequence of desirable and undesirable actions. A lavishly mounted movie also needs a lavish marketing budget in order to recover costs. Distributors demand item songs, which make cash registers ring and every cog in the wheel from stars to cinema hall owners work at making it succeed; and the first week is make-or-break time. With stakes so high, it also needs friendly reviewers to tailor ratings to suit the industry rather than the cine-goer who forks out just Rs200 for a ticket. The mantra is simple—after the shoot, take what you can in the first week and scoot before word-of-mouth reality sinks in.”


    Coming back to the ticket price hike issue, according to a report from Hindustan Times, Aamir khan and Vidhu Vinod Chopra, the producer, had demanded an increase in ticket prices by about 100% for PK shows at Bandra's G7 Multiplex.


    Manoj Desai, the owner of the theatre told the newspaper, "I am running the theatre with tickets priced at Rs80 and Rs100, and they are asking me to raise the price to Rs250 and Rs300, which I cannot do, so I withdrew." There was hardly any question of hiking the rates since the film is hardly drawing any crowd – even on holidays like the 25th December as this picture shows.


    Even Mumbai's famous Maratha Mandir theatre had decided not the screen PK due to the demand to hike ticket prices. In a report at that time, Financial Express had said, "The ticket prices have been hiked up across all multiplexes and single screen theatres. Vidhu Vinod Chopra on one hand has promised transparency as far as box office numbers are concerned but at the same time, such arm-twisting is in bad taste. What is shocking is that Aamir Khan on one hand has espoused so many wonderful causes through Satyamev Jayate but at the same time in a quest for breaking records he is becoming part of this race for monetary success.”


    Even the controversy that always accompanies an Aamir Khan movie did not help. Demanding a ban on PK for lampooning Hindu Godmen, activists from the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Bajrang Dal attacked theatres screening the film in Mumbai, Ahmedabad and Bhopal.


    What is surprising is another movie, 'Oh My God' starring Paresh Rawal (now a Member of Parliament) and Akshay Kumar exposed more misdeeds that are going on under the name of religion. However, there was hardly any adverse reaction to this movie.


    Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Dr Subramanian Swamy also had raised several question on the funding of PK. Dr Swamy tweeted, "Who financed the PK film? According to my sources, it is traceable to Dubai and ISI. DRI must investigate".


    DRI is the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence and ISI stands for Pakistan's infamous Inter-Services Intelligence. No need to guess what Dr Swamy had to face from the bots on Twitter after this tweet.


    Financing of Indian films has always been shrouded with mystery. More so, since the entry of underworld dons in the film financing business. In the 1960s, Mastan Haider Mirza, popularly known as Haji Mastan became the first underworld mobster to give money to directors and studios for producing films. Later he himself turned producer.


    According to a report from Daily Bhaskar, the underworld mafia gangs have been known for stopping release of films and threatening stars for money. The goons used to pressure filmmakers to give their overseas rights to their front companies. “Several Bollywood stars have been found having connections with the underworld. Sanjay Dutt has been sent to jail for his role in the 1993 Mumbai blasts masterminded by Dawood Ibrahim. Actress Mandakini was rumoured to have a relationship with Dawood Ibrahim and was spotted with the don at several occasions,” the report says.


    According to media reports, the record for highest box office collections was held by Aamir Khan’s another movie ‘Dhoom 3”, produced by Yash Raj Films. This movie had collected about Rs284.27 crore till date. With PK reportedly surpassing this figure, fans of Aamir Khan are rejoicing and targeting anyone who questions the logic or accounts of this collection. This also highlights the need to have a proper system in place to account for the entire film business and deals that have so far remained shrouded in mystery. Be it the fees charged by stars or funding sources of producers, it has always remained opaque.


    You may also want to read…


    Bollywood Box Office Unplugged-I: Why the first day and first week is make or break


    Bollywood Box Office Unplugged-II: Winners and losers among the 2012 releases


    Bollywood Box Office Unplugged-III: Movie reviewers, reviewed

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    Bikramjeet Singh Duggal

    5 years ago

    Could it be a straightforward case of money laundering through theatre receipts?

    tapan sur

    5 years ago

    this is another story like the Achhe Din phrase, hype hype & hype till u collect praise, money & everything good 4 the advertised project. But hype's fall after the cat is out of the bag, another hype & the biggest hype & loss will b the stock market where people want 2 garner profits on the back of short term achhe Din phrase.Innocent common man is always the looser, & they never complain.Moneylife should b blessed 4 showing reflection of such hypes!tapansur

    Janakiraman Rajalakshmi

    5 years ago

    My brother called J.Mohan ( a characterless scoundrel) chartered accountant who did BSc.Chemistry in St.Xavier's College Calcutta plotted along with my mother & several others KILLING my father S.Janakiraman
    on 2/1/1978.

    Also wanted to kill my brother J.Prakash , my Paternal Grandmother ( my father was her ONLY son)& me. Bombarding us with psychiatry drugs & ECT was the method he chose. One of his two girlfriends was one doctor called Lakshmi Raman ( father DK.Raman Chief Manager of SBI a big shot those days). The other was Meena Raman a model, dancer & wannabe actress. Acted in some plays of Prof.Vishwanathan of Calcutta. Presidency College student who did some comparative literature in Jadavpur University.

    Later Mohan married one Vasudharini a chartered accountant from the same Calcutta. Her father called Nagarajan ( who died some years ago due to malignant malaria) said he came from SriLanka a pauper. But did gambling , horse racing & I do not know what else becoming incredibly rich. To evade income tax sleuths furnished his house very sparingly. Hid lot of money inside various bank lockers. It was said he was in Indian jail but escaped by financing many kollywood movies & porn movies. Conned many people with his dubious chit fund schemes like " invest in my teakwood plantations in Orissa & treble your money in six months" thus swindling many.
    He boasted he was well connected to certain ULFA militants & that no one would dare arrest him. Salted away lot of his money in some private bank called 'Karur Vaisya Bank' ( I am not very sure that is what I heard).

    Both mohan & vasudharini settled down in Bangalore after marriage bying lots of properties in Karnataka , Chennai & Calcutta. he was with Wipro , Digital Electronics. She was with Shaw Wallace( Calcutta) , then Times of India & NABARD. Soon left for Kuwait.
    Mohan worked in Kutaiba & Basam Alghanim Group of Companies. she in badar Al Mullah group. Made a hell of a lot of money.
    In addition to that made lot more money through their har core porn movie video cassettes business in ISLAMIC Kuwait.

    I overheard one gururaj (another uber rich karnataka fellow in Kuwait) bragging to others during a party " mohan owns the largest library of xxxxxrated movies in entire Kuwait".

    I could NEVER approach any Police /Law Enforcer in Kuwait & in India. As my TRRANNICAL husband S.N.Ramachandran was also a partner in this CRIME with mohan.My brother J.Prakash was KILLED with psychiatry drugs in Calcutta. They were doing the same to me.I know no Arabic. Only Tamil & English.

    I have never stepped out of the house alone. My child & I were always BLACKMAILED by S.N.Ramachandran , Mohan , his wife vasudharini & my in laws , my sisters in India.

    Later mohan & vasudharini went to Dubai. He worked for Al-Futaim. Now well settled in London Ontario Canada owing a duplex apartment with a Dutch taking care of their huge garden full of cedar trees etc etc.Have one son called shiva & a daughter called madhavi.

    Despite my writing everything on Internet & communicating to Police in Canada they remain mighty UNTOUCHABLES.

    They contribute to baba ramdev for his kapalabhati , some pittance to Thirupathy Temple as bribery to Lord Venkateshvara. To all they are "aam janata".

    His number is +15198579333.
    Wield tremendous clout in Canada also. Vasudharini by screening all kinds of movies in her "home theatre" has established powerful contacts. Others call it "networking skills of vasudharini". Both are chartered accountants & have expertise in evading, falsifying , LYING etc. My husband S.N.Ramachandran's family specializes in FORGERIES.
    His birth certificate is FORGED. My marriage itself is faux that took place in Calcutta on 31/March/1982.

    Indian Embassy condoned everything he has done. The company he has been with have not taken any action. Kuwait Police arrested him twice but he could easily get away by telling them all (sic)" my wife is a psychiatry not listen to her....all hallucinations".

    He is presently CFO in Fouad Alghanim Group of Industries in Kuwait. His company given Blackberry number is +96597201449. This company also is shielding him as apparently he makes profits for them. And has procured jobs for lots of indians men & women who are obdurately loyal to him. All of his indian colleagues have assisted him several times in dragging me out of my apartment stripping me naked , shaving my head & incarcerating me in psychiatry torture chambers here in Kuwait. With the help of one egyptian quack called dr.mufty an employee of HEISCO , a lebanese called Waleed who broke open the lock many times & egyptian watchman who called me "shaitan" after accepting plump bribes in the form of Kuwaiti Dinars.


    Janakiraman Rajalakshmi

    In Reply to Janakiraman Rajalakshmi 5 years ago

    It could also be Madura Bank I know this much it was not a nationalized bank then. That is where nagarajan vasudharini's father hid a huge chunk of his ill gotten wealth. He had lots & lots of antique jewellery , precious stones that one would normally associate with some royal families. He told " some King who he served loyally gave away all those jewellery for FREE". Nobody asked him which "King" & which "kingdom".


    5 years ago

    A Villager Dhobi once said ...Film Industry is doing with Money what we do to clothes "

    Veeresh Malik

    5 years ago

    Pretty much everybody agreeing with the article are doing so in their real names while those who appear to be defending the movie appear to be in fake names. That says a lot too!!



    In Reply to Veeresh Malik 5 years ago

    do u know story of frog in a well. That Applies to most of people commenting herd.
    U wont understand the meaning of this comment also and i know y..


    5 years ago

    All posting negative comments against PK are losers. He he losers.
    Bcoz u could not suceed does not mean others cant.

    Vivek Rastogi

    5 years ago

    They are actually converting Black Money to White Money.


    Abhijit Gosavi

    In Reply to Vivek Rastogi 5 years ago

    So that's what it's all about. Have been wondering what is going on. No, the movie is not a hit in the U.S. --- based on what I hear: in most theaters, it was houseful for the first day or so, and then the attendance tapered down.


    5 years ago

    Come on money life. Whats wrong with u?Just because that Sucheda , I dont even remember her name because who cares about her. Does she exist for us.
    Ya so back to the point,how much PK earned , was it fake or not,whats your problem?
    Why you people want to graze on other people popularity?
    I m in UKand even here in Bristol, its been 4 weeks and film is still running.
    Ok,so stop it.
    Its a blockbuster and accept it.
    And I would say to that dyslexic alien lady Sucheta whatever just .....

    Kiran Aggarwal

    5 years ago

    Manoj desai owner of gaity galaxy blacks ticket.
    insider ring .
    go n check moneylife wd stringers help.

    hence VVC dis not gave him rights.

    Film business is disorganized .
    it is not AAMIR / Vinod Chopra / Hirani fault .


    Tariq Moula

    In Reply to Kiran Aggarwal 5 years ago

    yes i agree...gaiet galxy blacks for 2-3 weeks if its a big star movie...i m happy that movie didnt release in g7 and nandi we get for 60 bucks in bandra

    Janakiraman Rajalakshmi

    5 years ago

    Already certain film makers of kollywood ( Tamil Nadu)have been lobbying & I guess have succeeded in bypassing cinema halls altogether with their direct home telecasting by entering into a deal with certain cable operators. Most of these cable operators belong to dmk party. Maran brothers included.Almost all people have tv sets & movies & soaps watching is akin to oxygen one breathes for most Indians. They would be asked to pay online or to the cable operator & watch all movies. Thus all controversial movies included would reach the masses. No one would be able to voice their protest. Cinema hall owners would incur heavy loss.

    One such film maker called Cheran said " today it does not cost much to make a movie.It is marketing & advertising that involves heavy expenditure. "

    Nobody is asking the pertinent question " Why on earth should new movies be made at all by indians...why not have a rerun of old movies that are much more watchable with better stories , lyrics , music & far better actors & actresses".

    It is such a delight to watch old Bengali , Tamil & Hindi movies of Balraj Sahni, Waheeda Rehman , Guru Dutt , Dev Anand Nutan , Sanjeev Kumar, Meena Kumari ,Nanda, b/w of MGR , Sivaji Ganesan , Nagesh , Uttam Kumar today. And practically all of them.

    Janakiraman Rajalakshmi

    5 years ago

    A lot of these film folks have been tax defaulters.Occassionally newspapers report but tax never gets collected & they are NEVER punished for evading tax like middle class salaried people.

    Shah Rukh Khan,AR.Rehman , Jesudas & lots of other names including hindu actresses & actors appear as tax defaulters.

    PChidambaram once offered "tax amnesty" for them cleverly justifying it as the only way of recovering black money. So amitabh bachans & several others allegedly paid tax arrears with the luxury of escaping punishment.

    America is very strict in punishing defaulters. India is just the opposite.

    Jessie Gill

    5 years ago

    Well, when Raj Kumar Hirani can sell his religion to make money, he will even sell his mother to make money and not even stooping so low to lie and cheat on the figures. Moneylife should investigate this and get to the truth of the real collection of PK. Shame on Aamir Khan for being such a cheat and a liar as well as the producer and director. Do they really think they can get away with lying. Get the real collection from the individual cinemas and add it up, then we will know the truth.

    Invincible Guy

    5 years ago

    I watched movie during first week of jan nd the theatre was 60-70% occupied that too late eveng show...i dont know in which theatre u nd the other tweeters saw the movie...may be on another planet as aliens...😄
    Now who is paying u to publish this crap ?

    Janakiraman Rajalakshmi

    5 years ago

    What is NOT fake today?

    Let these kollybolly presumptuous know alls try making a no holds barred movie unmasking the CRIMINAL conduct of allopaths , surgeons , psychiatrists & their nexus with pharmaceutical companies , medical labs.

    The entire medical fraternity would call a nation wide strike.

    Clint Eastwood an American however has boldly made one called Changeling starring Angelina Jolie.

    Which is very much happening in India.

    Keep hidden cameras inside all indian fim makers , film stars homes & screen those calling it
    REALITY Movies.

    The fights are but simulated. And they make billions for such simulated fights. Why not take away all their billions handing them over to Indian Armymen , CRPF , Indian Police (one CRPF called Induwar was beheaded by naxalites when p.chidambaram was the home minister. It was reported Induwar's salary for three months had remained unpaid.

    The romancing they do on celluloid is but FAKE.

    amir khan has had two wives both hindus. Divorced the first wife & married the La Martiniere churned out cretin from Kolkata.

    Juxtapose these with Tulsidas's WIFE who with her one whiplash like exhortation gave a Ram Bakth Tulsidas for us.

    The Queen Madhalasa who Svami Vivekananda extols. Who with her single lullaby turned all her children into SAGES. The King her husband had to request her to spare at least one son so that he could rule over the Kingdom. Why should I write what strategy Madhalasa did??

    How can this india regain its lost GLORY if we continue to defend & worship worthless scum embracing these as role models??

    How can any country NORTH KOREA included respect such an india.


    5 years ago

    Sorry ! I omitted to mention another fact which boosted its Box office viz; PK movie is made Tax Free in 2-3 Indian States where non-BJP Government is working. Thus it became affordable to more people and got a Philip to draw more audience.

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