Aishwarya Rao
Casting, production, hits, musicals, favorites, opening nights, performances and reviews. I have always only read about Broadway's shows...until 'Mamma Mia' happened yesterday! And my first reaction was My My Does it show again?

Sitting inside a theater amidst a thousand odd people, laughing, clapping and singing along with the characters, admiring the fluent choreography, mind-blown by the handiness of the sets and props, I finally understand what they mean by 'The Broadway frenzy'. After all, it is not everyday that one gets to watch the mesmerizing Broadway favorite Judy Mclane (One more look and I forget everything)!

Mamma Mia is the story of a 20 year old bride-to-be who invites 3 men (that could potentially be her father) to her wedding. The musical is based on the celebrated numbers of the 80's pop sensation ABBA. 'Money Money Money', 'Knowing Me, Knowing You', 'Dancing Queen' and I sing along, feeling a rush of sentiment and excitement inside my head!

Notwithstanding the fact that this is my first Broadway experience, I think it is the feel-good story of Mamma Mia and the delightful performance of the actors that quite literally held me spellbound! I can't think of any more adjectives to describe the most engrossing theatrical show I have ever witnessed...
Aishwarya Rao
In today's web 2.0 world, the scope of digital marketing cannot but stretch beyond internet advertising and online sales. And for those brands that target the internet savvy youth, the opportunity to leverage the medium has never been brighter. So the rush to capitalize on the 'interactiveness' of the internet is not surprising!

From an Indian market perspective, Sunsilk's combined the power of social networking, blogs, photo and video sharing. With online makeovers, fashion tips and information on hot jobs etc., sunsilkgangofgirls continues to be an active online community.

Although the long-term sustainability of interest in this medium for mainstream brands is still to be established, more of them continue to join the bandwagon. However, only few of these manage to generate the much needed online buzz. P&G that launched Being Girl in India, as an answer to Unilever's 'Gang of Girls', remains an embarrassing experiment yet to embrace the strength of social media. On the other hand a more successful and recent example is that of 'youth' brand Fastrack that is going the digital way. Their innovative and interactive 'virtual campus' website engages the young audience well. From forums, polls, contests to online catalogs the interaction is holistic.

And it doesn't stop there. Fastrack has stepped further into the world of social networks. With a "Fastrack-How many you have?" fan club on Facebook, the brand seems to have got the art of engagement and online relationships going right.

A user poll in a community 'Fastrack Rocks!!!' asks what the brand stands for? I am confident its brand manager is logging in every day to find out what Fastrack fans are saying. From the way things stand it seems like for youth-fashion brands like Fastrack, the digital effort will not only help sharp target their audience base and be proactive, but also remain relevant and futuristic in a market that is becoming increasingly driven by online search, technologies and virtual customer experience.
Aishwarya Rao
So this semester has come to an end and the grades are out. I stare at them and wonder if they reflect how I am going to apply this knowledge in business. I have never wondered this way because at least in the last 7 years of my education I have always been in the top-tier of the class if not the first ranker.

Then I join an institution where everyone else has been the best in their own professions. All of them high-achievers, some of them with decades of work experience and some others with the knack of managing spouse, children, assignments and tests.

Like this MBA Journal Writer (Business Week), Nathan Kolmodin says "What takes time to get accustomed to is that being among the best makes the perspective of being average change dramatically". With a semester behind, the grade-passionate inner self is unwilling to accept the recent sacrifice and be convinced about statements like 'when it comes to work place grades don't matter'. May be they don't. May be I will be a billionaire soon...
Aishwarya Rao

A print ad for Videocon by Ogilvy & Mather, Mumbai. I loved the apt and clever imagery. I am not sure in which publications it has appeared, but the ad is a 'nice and quiet' reminder of a household name like Videocon.
Aishwarya Rao
I came across Wufoo while responding to a survey. I figured that the site is a fast and easy way of creating forms online. It requires no more than a fair understanding of how to create surveys. Certainly no coding! So I went ahead and quickly put together a survey. Then with the help of the invite button on their home page, I invited some relevant people to take the survey.

I am still receiving answers on the site and may be I will be able to generate a report out of it. It is not just the live updates (as and when the survey has been taken) but also the fact that Wufoo is so user-friendly that makes it a great tool for students/managers and research groups.
Aishwarya Rao
Beginning with designer jewelery, luxury apparel, exclusive dadada to personalized gifts, premium peppermints have come to permeate our lives. Increasing economic power or increasing fashion consciousness, Victoria's Secret, Swiss Navy and other such brands seem to have exploited the opportunity. So much that it is becoming seemingly impossible to fix price points even for 'low involvement' categories like peppermint.

What is interesting is that while high-value commodities like airline travel are gearing to offer a low cost-no frill service, low-value products like peppermints and chewing gums are wearing the designer label.

While questions like does an extension of this sort negate the premium tag of the original brand or what role can a designer label play in driving utility in a category like peppermints remain to be answered, we can sure pop a D&G mint and live the luxury of branded fresh breath!
Aishwarya Rao
I am currently reading 'The Kamasutra' and it is certainly entertaining.
Vatsyayana is clearly talking to the men, ain't he? When he says "In love, men are the actors and women the acted upon..." I can only give an amused smile.
Aishwarya Rao
The path is a wooden slide. Falling. And rising each time it falls.
So far from the 'circle of trust' of a pony cart...
So easy to get lost in the joy of these rides;
That the hand seeks someone to hold...And I sing

"Polly put the kettle on, Polly put the kettle on, Lets all have tea!"
Aishwarya Rao
'The days when Robinson Crusoe lived on an unknown island with his man Friday are over'.

Linkedin, Orkut, Facebook, Myspace, Gazzag, Wayn, hi5, Shelfari, Yaari, Stumbleupon, Twitter have taken over the world. Today, it is a new one. I received an invitation to join '' which is allegedly the next social networking site that is sweeping the world.

While I personally have discovered Linkedin and Orkut to be fantastic professional and social networking tools, I find the redundancy creep in when you sign up on multiple platforms. Everywhere, you meet new people, make a circle of friends, socialize, track friends, share photos, spend several hours on the internet and eventually go to hell!

I wonder if there is any correlation between the increasing depression rates and the increasing social utility sites across the globe. The more people want to connect with me on these domains, the more I wish to run away and find myself a Man Friday. To someone who believes in the cause of web2.0, the last thing I want to say is - "Honey, I registered in one more of them today!" Unchecked social Networking, for me is certainly, Notworking.
Aishwarya Rao
I had always heard about the Free Hugs Campaign. Most of us must have caught the Desi version of the magical hug in either 'Munna Bhai MBBS' or its remake 'Vasool Raja' in Tamil. But I was excited to see it on campus today.

After two years in Symbiosis where students hugged more than they made power-point presentations (which was infinite), the sudden loneliness is killing. People here are so friendly yet so distant; that I would have paid to get a hug. Free Hug certainly was a better bargain!

Aishwarya Rao
It didn't look any different from a Saturday evening at The Music Academy in Chennai. Padmashree Shobana and her troupe performed 'Maya Ravan', a Bharathnatyam theaterical ballet that I had earlier spoken about here.

The show was organized by the Dallas Chapter of Association for India's Development and impeccably at that. The programme commenced on time and ran as per schedule. The time the dancers needed to change their costumes was well compensated with videos dedicated to dancer, actor and Shobana's aunt, the renowned Padmini Ramachandran.

Since I was watching the show for the second time, I could appreciate the scenes much better. I thoroughly enjoyed the inaugural pieces that were dedicated to Lord Krishna's tantrums and the spirit of free India. It was also amazing to see how Shobana managed to retain the essence of the ballet despite more than half her troupe not traveling to the US. Costumes and co-ordination were as engaging. Overall some great and flavorful entertainment!

With samosas to munch on and maamis all around, it was certainly an evening to remember!
Aishwarya Rao
I recently came across this article What's in a name?

It is very interesting how brand names stick to our lives. On being asked for my opinion on the name CIRAKA for an online product, my immediate connect was with the established toothpaste brand CIBACA.

A market research report that I came across back in India stated that, some of the 80's brands like Nirma, Ujala, Goldspot, Rin, Dinesh, Lux, LML Vespa, Mysore Sandal, Ind-Suzuki, Vicco, Sundrop and Limca scored very high on brand recall. 'Washing Powder Nirma', 'Naa Ujalavuku maariten', 'Take the world in your stride..Dinesh' are jingles that almost defined a decade of booming consumerism.

Apart from once occupying much of ad space on television, these names were short and easily pronounceable across the country. This can explain why the brands enjoy such a high recall despite leaving little allowance for easy associations. And in a country like India, where every quarter speaks a different language, brand naming and writing must have certainly been (and may be to a certain extent still is) a challenge.

Some of the other brands that hounded screens just before the cable TV entry, I think, are White Giant detergent, Moov, Ariel, Chandrika, Real Value containers, Dhara oil and Cadbury. And it seems like the brands that came earlier had and less and less to do with obvious associations.

However, today brands like Hamam, Lijjat and Idhayam compete with the likes of Schwarzkopf and L'oreal. I guess it is less fuss when the audience has access to an array of information. Who knows, soon 'Lady-Killer' might be the next kid on the block!
Aishwarya Rao
'None of us are as smart as all of us.'
- Japanese Proverb

From an exciting teamwork session during leadership camp.
Aishwarya Rao
This morning, I was going through a business story on the multi-billion dollar ice cream industry. It spoke of how the days of the local ice cream shops have passed.

I was reminded of the good old days, when we had Dunlop (Karthik corrects me to say Dullop) in spherical containers and the local non-fancy Arun ice cream shops. The kuchi-ice is Marina Beach is still a favourite. Eat two plates of molaga bajji and wash down the fire with a kuchi ice. And oh memories of the Kwality mobile ice potti, with a temple bell hanging from the top, still haunt me. More recently, I was relishing some awesome cone-ice from a stand alone shop in Pondy Bazar. Cha - what an unparalleled delight.

The movenpicks and gelatos of the world might have taken over...but i still love my innocent kuchi-ice!
Aishwarya Rao
A gold fish in the dark will ultimately turn white.
Aishwarya Rao
Who's the better spy - James Bond or Jason Bourne might remain debated, but Matt Damon in The Bourne Ultimatum is almost perfect. The latest in the series is a treat for Bourne fans and others alike. With some amazing stunt sequences, a gripping plot and impressive acting, Bourne is simply exciting to watch. If he were gritty in 'The Departed', Matt Damon is certainly deadly in this one. Deserves ten perfect stars for being I-can-still-feel-the-frenzy entertainer.
Aishwarya Rao
It is the time of the year again - starting school. Looking at apartments, finding room mates and trying to be all-set-for-classes. The business school experience already seems to have begun here.
We hit Circuit City to get hold of a best-bang-on-the-buck Toshiba laptop computer for $479 and ended up with a HP Pavillion widescreen notebook for $749. Only the psychology of consumer behaviour can explain the motivation behind the decision.
Having said that, if you are from India and joining school here, add the following to the list of things you can think of carrying from home.
  1. Web Cam (not available for less than $30)
  2. Head phone and mic
  3. USB drive
  4. Computer Mouse (if required)

While you must carry minimum luggage, make sure you dont miss out on these.

Aishwarya Rao
What I can't understand is why is Worcester pronounced as Wustaer!?
Aishwarya Rao
After a year from the first time I decided to make it to the US, I am finally here. It has taken a lot of time, money and energy and feels good at the end of the day. After what seemed to be a very entertaining journey and a stopover at Charles De Gaulle, Sid and I made it to Newark.
We have had a good time going around New Jersey and Washington. New York and Boston trip lined up...While I have had some amazing time the past week, I am missing home already; Amma and her high BP lectures, Anna's constant' Now-you-are-married-so-be-a-good-girl' advice, my pattukutti sister (even her friends!), the white scooty I drove for ten years and Paati's samayal the most. Hope to find some more time and continue blogging regularly.
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Aishwarya Rao
I haven't been more occupied in life. Amidst protocol visits, lunch, coffee and dinner there have been other things that I have been upto.

Lest dining becomes a way of life, last Sunday, I hosted 'Saroja Samanikalo' an event jointly organized by Ascendas and The Tamil Nadu Hadicapped Federation. Apart from biggies like actor Vivek and Gangai Amaran, the crew of the recent super hit Tamil movie Chennai 600028 entertained the audience at the show.

On Monday, I caught up with some Japanese drumming at ' Classic Arpana 25', a fusion dance presentation made by the California 'Arpana Dance Company'. The classical Bharatha Natyam movements, with the LA based Japanese Buddhist group - Kinnara Taiko playing in the background was both creative and enjoyable.

'Maya Ravan', a theatrical recital; has by far been my most wisely spent evening. I loved Shobana's concept, choreography and direction. The sets were clean and artistic. The costumes were apt and Shobana as Kaikeyi, Soorpanakha and Ravan just enthralled the audience. Voices of Suhasini Maniratnam, Naseeruddin Shah and Revathi added grace to the ballet. Although I thought the presentation could have dealt more about the life of Ravan, instead of restricting itself to narating the Ramayan again. John Abraham was an added attraction of course!

Thanks to these three evenings I wouldn't be forced to describe my first week of being married as a rich dining experience!
Aishwarya Rao
The wedding bells are making me turn blue.
They say a marriage will open many doors and shut a few. The big day is round the corner and I cannot believe I have just 3 more days to be the care-free, indulgent, single-girl!!!
God is in heaven and all must be well with soon-to-be-brides.
Aishwarya Rao
I must be a blessed child.
I got to be at the preview show of Sivaji: The Boss at Albert theatre last night. It is an ummala gumm feeling. An experience of a lifetime to watch a preview of a Rajni movie amidst unprecedented fan hysteria.
Aishwarya Rao
Make a visit to the science lab in the much esteemed Padma Seshadri School in K.K.Nagar, Chennai and you will see a petite lady with eager brown eyes and a perfectly clad cotton saree, probably going through a student's record. You cannot miss her small frame, the way she wears her reading glasses around her neck and endlessly searches for the pens she keeps losing. Sitting there by herself, she carries a dignity that gently commands respect.

She is one of those few teachers who could pull you by the ear and yet make you feel not-so-bad about it. P.Ds child-like yet crisp voice will make a mockery out your slip yet affectionately tap you to impress her. She has a tendency to stress on the 'n's and 't's and 's's and not a student not enjoys imitating her articulation. As a 'Karuna' club activist she exemplifies an incredible compassion towards animals and effortlessly tells her children to live in a better world.

The sessions in the football ground, her high-pitched dictations and her elegant 'P.D' signature on the notebooks are now only memories that will live forever. I, at this moment, am only upset that I wont get another chance to tell her how she has touched my life with her genuine love for people and her generous compliments for my biology diagrams. I wish I had visited the lab a couple of weeks ago. I wish I had told her what a truly amazing person she is. I pray that her students never forget the lessons she taught. May she be the prettiest angel in heaven.
Aishwarya Rao

Sometimes the abuse history makes a person incredibly driven and that ambition allows them to achieve a great deal. But underneath the success lies a very different picture. It represents a stark imbalance in life. And at some point that imbalance can bring everything else crashing down.

- Simple Genius, David Baldacci, Hardcover, April 2007

Aishwarya Rao

After premium brands, Wills Lifestyle, Satya Paul, UCB, Ft, Man Mandir, Beyond Luxury, CANARY BLUE is the next fashion label to hit Khader Nawaz Khan Road in Chennai.
This Sunday, CANARY BLUE was simultaneously launched in New Delhi (4 showrooms), Mumbai (one), Ahmedabad (two) and Chennai (single compact boutique).

From printed cotton shirts, embroidered jackets for women to ethnic accessories, the place has a compact and interesting collection. Says its sourcing head Sudhakar (who has over 2 decades of experience in the fashion export business) ,“Product is our strength. We have some unique designs in easy-to-use fabric."

Falling into the premium category, the brand aspires to remain fresh and fashionable at all times. Reflecting its values, the interiors are minimal and appealing.
Do check this place out or you can wait for it to open next to your home, considering the owners plan to open another 100 showrooms in the next 3 years.
Aishwarya Rao
Yesterday I hosted 'Cool with Cotton', an event organized by Cotton Council International to promote awareness of cotton as a fantastic fashion fabric.

Chennai’s based ace designer Chaitanya Rao and the city's latest design sensation Vivek Karunakaran showcased their exclusive cotton collections.

Fleur Xavier and Vidisha Pavate, supermodels from Mumbai flaunted those fashionable cottons. I had some great fun springing into cotton yesterday! Check out the pictures here.

Aishwarya Rao
Its deep plait with mythology is the reason why I loved Masquerade's play "Thus spake Shoorpanakha, So said Shakuni". It was refreshing to see the protagonists Prateeksha (as Shoorpanakha) and Amit Singh (as Shakuni) explore the great epics Ramayan and Mahabharath to highlight the relevance and importance of these characters in classics that almost forgot to honour its victors.
On one hand, Shoorpanakha gets insulted by the Ayodhya princes Ram and Lakshman. She urges her brother Ravan to take revenge, thus igniting the war in Lanka.
On the other hand Shakuni, who survives the ill-treatment meted out to his family by the Kurus vows to destroy them. He initiates a game of dice, laying the roots for the battle of Kurkshetra.
Giving refreshing insights, the play also highlights contemporary issues like racism and sex. Prateeksha as Shoorpanakha questions how Ram could shun a woman only because she was black. Was it wrong for her to fall in love with a married man?
However, the loose script apart, I was disappointed that the play got its facts wrong. We have all studied how Shakuni's dice are made from his father's bones, giving it magical properties. Amit Singh, however cries out angry and loud, as to how his dice were made from the ashes of his brothers. I haven't ever heard this version of the story and my cross-checks didn't prove me wrong either. If you are not a sucker for minimal sets and mythology you might not exactly be excited about this play.
In the meanwhile, I have resumed compering after a 4 month hiatus.

Yesterday I emceed a dance recital at The Indian Fine Arts Academy. Medha Hari , Sathvikaa Shankar & Yatin Aggarwal, came together to put up a splendid show on the occasion of Maharajah Swathi Thirunal Day Celebrations. All of them are students of Bharathanjali, a dance school run by Guru Anitha Guha.

I simply love hosting these dance recitals. Unlike corporate shows, it compels me to do my homework on mythology, religion, arts and literature. (This show, for example, made me find out how the veena (a music instrument) originated. Ravan is said to have given life to this instrument by severing his arm and one head to form the base of the veena.) Okay, there I go. If your interested in knowing the rest of the story, you can mail me. I will spare the other readers of a mythology session. Cheers!
Aishwarya Rao
'Snapshots from Hell' by Peter Robinson is one of the few non-fiction books that I have thoroughly enjoyed reading. It is a terribly honest account of pursuing an MBA in Stanford, one of the top schools for business. I particularly loved these lines from a letter that second years send to first years before a mid-term examination.

"Most of us come (to Stanford) as perfectionists and feel very uncomfortable doing a so-so job on anything. The sooner you give up this habit, the happier you will be...if you constantly remind yourself that passing is not the issue, that you are here because you want to learn and grown, that every minute of hard work is making you a better, tougher and more capable person, your experiences will be much more enjoyable...What makes the difference is perspective."
I think this applies to a lot of us in a whole lot of situations...
Aishwarya Rao
I consider myself reasonably net savvy and given the fact that I have developed a recent obsession for finding the meanings of words I come across, I was rather stunned to discover SPAM meant

'Stupid Pointless Annoying Messages'!!!
Aishwarya Rao

The explanations for the things we do in life are many and complex. Supposedly mature adults should live by logic, listen to their reason, think things out before they act...For little things in life we should, of course, react according to our reason. But for really big decisions, we should heed what our unconscious tells us.

- 301 Oliver's Story - Erich Segal

Aishwarya Rao
Today, a window display has become almost as important as advertising or marketing itself. It is less about putting mannequins at the frontage and more about communicating what the shop offers or what the brand stands for. In Chennai, I have seen brands like Globus do eye-catchy and appealing windows regularly.

Speaking of windows and interiors, I also love what Barista has done for its interiors off late. There is an unspoken class in its simplicity and new color.
The shadow that is naturally formed on many of its seating is rather appealing (although this might not be deliberate).
Can ya guys think of other interesting windows in the city?
Aishwarya Rao
Marks & Spencer a British retail giant and one of the most widely recognized chain stores in the World was recently in news for the wrong reason. A member of the European Parliament Robert Kilroy – Silk had accused M&S of using “distorting” mirrors in its changing rooms. According to Kilroy the mirrors were either deliberately tilted or angled to make women look slimmer. Kilroy accused the store of misleading women with their mirrors that made them look slimmer in its clothes. M&S on the other hand has denied the allegation, insisting that it used normal and standard mirrors.

Picture Courtesy:

Not considering the reputation of this international brand at the moment, it comes as a surprise that a retailer has been accused of misleading the customer.For what is emerging is an elitist view; called the art and science of retailing. From color cues to flattering lightning our showrooms have done it all. For instance, Lifestyle, India’s leading retail chain opened the country’s largest retail store in Chennai last year. The 75,000 sq ft of shopping space was scientifically divided into 3 distinct zones to make shopping comfortable and enjoyable. Floors were color coded to attract relevant sex to a particular zone.
Walls have been built between large spaces to create pockets of interest...
said Kabir Lumba, president, Buying and Merchandising, Lifestyle International at a press event.

But I guess, at a time when we are still tackling development issues in retail, we will accept these ‘scientific moves’ in style. A slimmer reflection is not such a bad idea after all!

Aishwarya Rao
In a city like Chennai, the message on a hoarding is almost the primary means of communication. And with the proliferation of hoardings from 2000 in 2001 to 3500 last year, marketers seem to be having a ball of a time. Yet when one lives in a city which is true-to-its-name -' the city of hoardings', there is very little awe on seeing the skin of the sky-line change. Amidst screaming colors and repulsive messages, hoardings like these are the only saving grace!

Hutch Valentine Outdoor, Cenotaph Road

Koblerr, T.T.K Road

Apart from the above, I can recollect the Fitness One Get Into shape outdoor and the RMKV girl on a swing hoarding.You guys seen anything interesting across the city's landscape??
Aishwarya Rao

Parking Lot, Sathyam Cinemas, Chennai

If marketing as a practice itself is not intrusion enough here is a classic example of a creative marketing/branding effort. Diet Coke takes over the parking lot at Sathyam Cinemas. It is the ultimate activity for a mass brand like Coke. Considering the proximity to a majority of the city's population, the effort scores full points on brand visibility. So has Diet Coke hit the nail by reaching an attractive full and over-flowing market at the parking lot? How has this impacted sales/revenues/ bottle pick-ups for the brand is left to be answered. Nevertheless, it is a commendable market design and execution. I only wish they had not stopped with a still lay out. Take a look at this ambient advertising done in Europe.

Aishwarya Rao

Day 1 of the week long mega cultural event 'Chennai Sangamam' promised some amazing performances. Natesan Park, T.Nagar one of the venues for the event was a special sight.

I reached the venue when the 'Villu Paatu' was being staged. 'Villu Paatu' is an ancient form of musical story telling with very basic orchestra like the 'kudam' (drum) and a thala kattai. This particular group 'Velayudham, Sangeetha and co.' from Tirunalveli has been performing for the past 30 years. The group specializes in narrating episodes from ancient literature (Raja Harischandra being their most talked after ones). This evening they performed the story of the legendary Tamil heroine Kannagi who is alleged to have burnt the city of Madurai as a revenge on its King who falsely convicted husband Kovalan. Although a light hearted and entertaining performance, one couldnt miss the political undercurrents.

Villu Paatu was followed by a series of patriotic tunes rendered by The Madras Youth Choir. The 15 year old group that performs in over 30 languages emulated the Tamil spirit by rendering popular Bharathiyar Songs.

The star of the evening undoubtedly was Sudha Ragunathan. She enthralled the audience with some brilliant renderings; 'Alaipayuthe', 'Om Saravana Bhava', and 'Brahmam Okkate'. The shining star of carnatic music she is, she alone could have mesmerised the audience and recaptured the essence of M.S.Subbalaksmi's gems 'Kaatrinile Varum Geetham' and 'Kurai Onrum Illai'. One couldnt help smiling at the unique vocal style of ending the current number with the initial lines of the subsequent piece! Whether she was dressed in Pothys's Parampara Pattu, I have my own doubts!

And there could have been no better end to the first day of Chennai Sangamam at T.Nagar. Folk artistes from Pasumalai near Madurai had the audience almost speechless with their Karagattam, Maiyul attam (peacock dance) and a series of bizzare acts. Pazhani Kumar and his troop turned the park into a circus ring ; jumping through a fire ring, mocking bull fights, stacking several layers of flaming iron rods on their heads. The team that has been performing for over 3 decades now is fighting to revive the ancient folk form.

Says Pazhani Kumar "While we give several performances in countries like Singapore, Malaysia, France and South Africa, the demand in our own land has sadly fallen. We get paid a maximum of 5000 for each show. With over 25 artistes performing, the money helps us in a very little way!" Pazhani Kumar runs his school in Madurai where one can learn the folk form in a matter of 3 months by putting in 3 hours each day. It could be more inviting to women who get paid slightly higher than their male counterparts for leaving their homes and children behind!

Well all Kudos to Kanimozhi, the Tamil Maiyam and Tamil Nadu Tourism Department for conceptualizing and organizing such a wonderful showcase of art, culture, music, dance and drama.

Aishwarya Rao
Seen this 'show-stopper' piece of communication in Pondy Bazar recently?

No we are not discussing the incidental media innovation (notice the natural tree top) here. After color changing saree, pocket saree, it's now turn for a Denim Silk Saree.
Sri Kumaran Stores, once a leading name in the garments business now seems desperate for market share. So out comes thinking caps (or is it cowboy hats) and innovation for the sake of it. In contrast to the appealing RMKV's 50,000 color/ reversible saree, the concept as well as communication is a mild put off!
Aishwarya Rao

On our company's first anniversary, we went on an exclusive office trip outside the city. Our first stop was for some yummy breakfast at Mamalla Bhavan in Mahabalipuram. Couldnt help chuckling at these interesting instruction boards put up in the hotel!

Photo Courtesy: 'The Big Boss' Abhishek D Shah
Aishwarya Rao

Barista might be wanting to brew a fresh look, but this is slightly overdoing it. If they are planning to give a premium lounge look and feel to their outlets, why do something as shoddy as this?
Aishwarya Rao

The World Islands is a collection of man-made islands shaped into the continents of the world, located 4 kms off Jumeeirah, Dubai. It consists of 300 small private artificial islands divided into four categories - private homes, estate homes, dream resorts and community islands. It is expected to be complete by 2008 and several celebrities including Richard Branson have already purchased their own islands. Image shows a ship building one of the 300 islands.

The same image, when you zoom out.
Reminds me of the scene in "Superman Returns" where Lex Luthor shows Louis how the world will look afterhe builds his kryptonite island. Unmistakably similar.
Aishwarya Rao
I am gonna take some sunrise, Sprinkle it in dew,Cover it in chocolate and a miracle or two...
I am gonna take a rainbow,Wrap it is a sigh,Soak it in the sun and make a strawberry lemon pie!

I am gonna celebrate every single moment of 2007, drink truck loads of water, blog regularly, don’t cry at all, laugh lots, follow news channels, watch at least four movies a month, read at least one book a week, change my wardrobe, visit a foreign country, learn a new language, listen to music, stop fighting, stop hurting loved ones, buy the entire Calvin & Hobbes series, have an open mind, watch a sport live, go Para gliding, go to a far off vacation spot in India, follow timetables, laugh, giggle, be positive, be a person of all seasons, have a makeover, add new things to resolutions and follow all of that...I hope by 1 Jan 2008, I would have struck out most or all of it! Here's to a spectacular beginning!