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!