Aishwarya Rao
It was a quiet afternoon and one of her favorite TV serials Shanti had just ended. There was no particular reason why it was her favourite. Of course she was captivated by Mandira Bedi's large eyes and impeccable attire. And fascinated by the lives of 'rich people' as shown on DD2. However these weren't reasons why she watched Shanti. In an odd sort of way she didn't have much choice. The only other serial during that time of the day was Swabhiman where the Tamil dubbing was worse. Well, she could have done other things; like build a toy kitchen with Cheruba (the only other pre-teen in Officers' Colony) or play running and catching with her baby-sister (who had just started kindergarden) or solve that week's crossword in The Hindu, Young World. But she chose to watch Shanti instead. If not anything, Shanti's life was richer and more exciting in all senses. After all, as a 11 year old, she better get trained to face the real world soon. 

Once the serial displayed its customary 'To be continued tomorrow' message, Parvathi would spend the next half hour reading Champak or Gokulam sitting on her jula. She could never really understand why Swabhiman wouldn't immediately follow Shanthi. That half hour in the middle seemed like days. Although she preferred Shanti over the longer and weepier Swabhiman, she yearned to see the handsome face of Rishabh. At 11 years, her secret love for Rishabh was one of the most promiscuous things she had ever done. And she tried to conceal her impatience to see Rishabh on screen as she read the moral stories in Gokulam. Honestly Nancy Drew and Five Find-outers would have been her idea of 'reading' in the afternoon. However she made a conscious choice to reserve the thrillers for the night. It somehow made the entire experience more chilling. And she liked that edgy feeling...the goose-bumps on her hand when Nancy decides to explore the ranch by herself...

And so she continued on her jula, humming the Shanti title song that was stuck in her head...
Aishwarya Rao

Today, America elected Barack Obama as its 44th President. The very first African-American President in its political history and I consider myself lucky to have been a part of an experience of a lifetime...For it is not everyday that you see history unfold in front of you. And this is a story I will tell my grandchildren...This extraordinary moment. Here is a nation full of people, who chose to see issues over color, who chose a path that is not just radical, but is sincere and hopeful!

Before you jump on me with all your cynical heart,;I am not an American. I have temporarily made this country my home and I have less than two months left in this land. Yet, I feel so connected, so much a part of this election that I want to experience the "high" of this historic victory and savor it.

While it does not surprise me, what leaves me in awe is the spirit of this nation, well reflected in both Obama's and McCain's speech tonight! In his gracious closure speech, McCain pledged his support to Obama to help him lead us, although conceding that differences will remain. And Obama was equally impressive. For a long time I will remember the smile on his face when he said "Hello Chicago"!

I am excited about this because here are millions and millions of people that voted and voted for change and made the country stand upto its reputation of being a place where everything is possible. And you know what is truly beautiful? The fact that Obama stood there as a lovely leader, underplayed his African-American victory and said "it is only a chance for us to make that change". I particularly loved his mention of the 106 years old lady and her heartaches and hopes. She might not have voted because she was a woman. May be because of the color of her skin. But today like millions others, she was given the right to make a choice and she exercised it.

This is why the democratic victory is not a victory for a candidate, but for an entire nation that embraces free spirit like no other. Truly the land of democracy, liberty, opportunity and unyielding hope...

Aishwarya Rao

Yesterday I hosted the UTD Indian Students' Associations' annual day celebrations - Sangam 2008. Given that this was the 10th year of celebrations, the entertainment was bigger, better and more professional than ever.

To say that the 'desis' present at the Charles Eismann centre last night was one of my most beloved crowds would be a miserable understatement...Because in the last 8 years of professional emceeing I have never addressed such a berserk audience ever!

My co-host Rajiv Karanam and I had prepared a very tight script which did not give room to any last minute confusions. We based it on a Bollywood theme and tried to convert the emceeing into more or less a FilmFare Awards ceremony. But lo and behold! That is reel and real world is very nasty! Some logistics issues demanded that the very well prepared emcees had to fill in for up to fifteen minutes - extempore!

A wikipedia article on Bollywood (that we had printed out in order to have snippets on our fingertips) was our saving grace. Not just that...time and experience had taught us to sport a smile and tell a story without the audience having a single clue about the craziness backstage.

As for the delivery itself, I thoroughly enjoyed interspersing my commentary with Marathi (Shah rukh, tu kutte ahez), Hindi (Ek Chutki sindoor ki kimat tum kya jano), Telugu (ipudi choodu), Punjabi (chado hunnu luvu shuv) and of course in Tamizh (enna koduma saravanan idhu)!

Apart from the insane cheering from the crowd each time I reminded them that I was Aishwarya Rao (and not Rai), friends and school mates screaming out my name in deep affection, the moment I will remember for a very very long time is when I mentioned the name of my favorite rock star- Rajnikant! For a full 40 seconds the crowd applauded in a fashion that could have only one description-maniacal. The last time I experienced such a thing was at the preview show of Rajnikant's Sivaji in 2007. Yesterday, I simply stood in front of the podium sweetly paralyzed by the frenzy of the people in front of me.

It also reminded me of an old lesson.
When you speak to an audience of a thousand people there are various touch points. It is important to touch all of them, but also find that one common thread and connect. Once that happens the engagement for the rest of the show is a cake walk!
Altogether Sangam 2008 was an emcee experience I will cherish for a lifetime...The very adorable crowd (that wondered where I vanished and demanded I be brought back when the second set of emcees took over) made my day. Sangam might have been one of my few non-commercial shows, but the feeling, the sensation and thrill of being a part of a very large and happy Indian crowd was unparalleled!
Aishwarya Rao

I wasn't surprised that Microsoft came down a spot (to #3) in the Interbrand Best Global Brands ranking this year. If the value of a "brand" to its business is evaluated just like any other asset, surely the retirement of a CEO whose name was synonymous with the brand itself has to make a difference...

Now for a moment let us forget the ridiculous Microsoft-Jerry Seinfield commercials. And look at this one - Microsoft seems to have done an excellent job with the latest "I am a PC" ad. The idea is simple. (Given it is an outraged reply to Apple's PC user, the idea is not annoying at all). And it tells a story. A normal story that an avaerage person can relate to. A story even a Mac user would enjoy (without admitting it ofcourse!) with a smirk on his face. Yes, it is warm and real. (even with Bill Gates in it!)

I believe a communication like this is a guaranteed winner in this consumer driven world. Simply because it does not insult my intelligence. And it does not complicate things. Or overwhelm me. And also because it sincerely follows the most cliched and romantic theory taught in every brand management class -

Keep It Simple, Stupid!

Aishwarya Rao
2008 for me has undoubtedly been the year of travel. Beginning from New York, to New Jersey, Ohio, Miami, Orlando, Key West, Tampa, Houston, Austin, San Antonio, Mexico, Los Angeles, New Orleans and now Chicago!

I was at Chicago for the labour-day weekend and Fun refused to take a break. It began with a it-is-not-so-surprising-that-it-was-delayed AA flight at 11.30 on Friday evening. On the flight, I had loads of fun reading the palms of my co-passengers and surprising them with what I could say about their past...Lol!

On Saturday morning. We headed to the world renowned Art Institute of Chicago. While the museum itself did not live up to the hype around it, I was fascinated by the intricate work of the Thorne Miniature rooms that elaborately captured the decor of European, American and a few Japanese houses from the 13th century until the 1930's.

Our next destination was something that deserves an entire post being dedicated to it. It was the musical Wicked that transported every single person in the audience from the heavily ornate Oriental Theatre to a world of wizards and witches. It is by far the most amazing live production that I have ever witnessed. I can rave about the brilliance of the actors, their costumes, and the jaw-dropping eccentricity of the props and stage. I will reserve that for another post and tell you that Wicked was simply magical!

With an entire evening to ourselves we walked the green grass of the Millenium Park, enjoyed the architecture that dominates the Chicago skyline, clicked crazy pictures at the Cloud Gate sculptute (that resembles a drop of mercury), sat on the edge of the it-cant-be-more-blue lake and dined at Kan Zaman, a very beautiful Lebanese restaurant. The night was wasted in the happy lounges of Zed and Billy Goat Tavern on Red Bull and water...As they say even fun felt like resting after a long and tiring Saturday...
Aishwarya Rao

I am not sure if I am in love with everything Google ever manufactured in its labs. I use gmail, orkut, blogger, yada, yada and...Chrome! It excites me! May be not as creatively as Apple does...But in a very snobbish kinda way. I love the way we download chrome, discuss how Google is going to take over the world and look at that company in awe and a biting lip! 

While I am not certain if the simplicity, snobbishness and sophistication itself is creating an aura around the brand...I only know whatever it is, Google has this secret fan following and it only managed to strengthen it with Chrome..Those of us that suck up to its services and write articles on BusinessWeek that debate its recent Microsoftish monopoly games...

So you see, I can't comment on Chrome being open source or not...But I can say excitedly that I love the way the tabs open (they are cool), the way I can search in my address bar (it is making life less complicated) and I can access my favourite pages without bookmarking them! Reminds me of a class about "customer delight" long ago... (And no points for guessing that this is my first post using Google Chrome!)

Having said all this though, it is not like I am going to give up on /using Firefox so easily. Firefox has what marketers would call core competitive advantage. It has a reputation, a brand name and a strong and positive user experience that will not be easy to erode. In a very corny emotional way, I like the Mozilla's honesty better than Google's "Do no evil"! 

While I ought to wait and see how Google markets Chrome, the thought of a good-bad browser war certainly excites me...
Aishwarya Rao
I spent the weekend in the party-on-the-road New Orleans with a rather large bunch of colleagues. We stayed at a Holiday Inn in the French Quarter and wandered the streets. From pub-hopping in Bourbon Street, tarot-card reading, going on a river walk to listening to a jazz band in Preservation hall, the trip was about color, smiles and an unusual sense of freedom in anarchy! Here are some trip memories. More posts to come soon!

The streets of French Quarter

A home and one of the famous ghost-bars in New Orleans
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Aishwarya Rao
The Dark Knight is not about its superhero Batman. It is not about the chaos at Gotham City or 'Two Face' Harvey Dent. It is about the Joker. His feverish performance. His restless hands. The smacking lips. And the unsettling feeling the Joker leaves you with at the end of two and a half of hours of intense drama.

In The Dark Knight, Heath Ledgers metamorphoses into the mass-murdering Joker to such an unbelievable extent that you do not catch yourself not noticing the beloved Batman and the directorial brilliance of Christopher Nolan.

Of course I can go ahead and appreciate the beauty of the stunts, the impatient pace of the camera and the memorable lines in the movie. Yet, the sheer flamboyance of the Joker, keeps me captivated in a vacuum! Because, ironically enough, there was nothing comic about him. Ledger plunges into his character from this first scene onwards and remains engrossed in it until the very end. The impact is so exhaustive that you want to stop and ask him "Hey, why so serious?"

However I would be overemphasizing his importance as a person, if I did not give due credit to some of the fantastic lines he spoke. You can't miss the giggles when he passes the playing card to the city's criminals and says "Here's my card" . Or his disturbing narration that ends with "Why... so... serious?"

Beyond these memorable lines, I particularly enjoyed two scenes in the movie. The first is at the Gotham Ball. The Joker bursts into the hall with an evil glamor as he goes
Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. We're tonight's entertainment.

My other favourite is a close up with the district attorney, where he says
I'm a dog chasing cars. I don't have plans. I just do things. I'm not a schemer.
In each of these scenes and many others throughout the movie, Ledger carries an aura around him. Notwithstanding the dramatic tone of the entire movie, I think Heath Ledger as The Joker was unmistakeably the entertainment tonight. And for this fabulous performance he deserves an Oscar,albeit posthumously! For, Heath Ledger might not be around to have the last laugh, but at least 'Let us put a smile on that face'.
Aishwarya Rao
One does not expect to arrive at the movie half an hour in advance to find the last few seats available right in the second row! Especially not when, Dark Knight was releasing in the screen next door. But one might have underestimated the power of this ABBA based musical, that seems to have had a roaring opening in the US.

While at the theatre I couldn't help wondering what was more cheesy; 'I-am-no-more-James-Bond' Pierce Brosnan singing in the rain or my 73 year old neighbor and her girl friends who had tears of joy and happiness rushing down their cheeks...But I realized two things.
The movie brought alive the eternal magic of the 70's and by the end of the movie everyone was humming (and in a loop) 'Mamma Mia', 'Dancing Queen' or yet another addictive ABBA number that the movie is based on.
While I do not have much to say on the story itself (I had the joy of watching Mamma Mia at Broadway), I fell in love with Meryl Streep and the way she carried the weight of the film on her. She brings out her best in 'Winner takes it all', where she addresses her lover from 20 years earlier, Sam Carmichael, played by Pierce Brosnan. The only other notable characters were Meryl's girl friends, British actor Julie Walters and Golden Globe nominee Christine Baranski. Other than that, personally I can't recall of any path-breaking acting or scenes in the movie.

The camera was well experimented, the color and tone of the movie certainly did a good job of bringing out the 'exotic' spirit of a not-so-known Greek island and the dance moves did not lose their charm on-screen!
While the movie was a terrific effort in remaking a musical, it cannot match the live energy and electric air of a Broadway show!
Overall, you would enjoy it if you were in a rich man's world!
Aishwarya Rao

Claire Goulthorpe is a senior principal consultant with CSC and she is my mentor in graduate school. She is a fabulous person and a fitness freak. And how does she maintain work life balance? By volunteering, including teaching a high school class about how to choose a "career with a purpose". Find Claire's coffee tips below!

With recession tales on, b-school students cannot but worry about the job market. As a mentor what tips do you have to offer students?

  • Try to predict which industries will be booming in future, such as biotech.
  • Consider how your core skills and strengths can be applied in a variety of different fields, not only the one you prefer.
  • Package yourself to have "general appeal", especially with a good MBA.
Don't stress too much about possible recession. You will probably see many booms and busts in your life and you will survive them all!
A consultant's job is highly demanding. Tell me how you achieve a work/life balance.
  • Keeping physically healthy is very important, So I work out every day
  • I request alterations to menu items to make them lighter and healthier
  • Find a work out routine which you can do anywhere, such as running or strength exercises in your hotel room.
Don't become your job!
  • Keep in mind there is another world out there.
A lot of us are taking up internships this summer. What is that one thing you would advice your students to take up/train etc?
  • Meet as many people as you can in the organization.
Branch out to departments and functions other than your own. You'll get a great understanding of their business which could make you more valuable to them, and of course raise your visibility.
And it will give you a chance to consider what other types of role might also suit you.
Aishwarya Rao
While at LA last weekend, I noticed that the entire place was wrapped in iPod's silhouette people against electric colors. Undoubtedly iPod's marketing is a reflection of the product itself - Simple and Expressive. And an inspiration for a different lifestyle. But inspiration can have different meanings...

When I looked at the hoarding I couldn't help reminiscing a presentation on 'ethics' we had prepared in an advertising class last semester. Here we had given the example of Arrow's Lugz boots and Apple's iPod.

Apparently the Arrow's ad appeared in 2002, 3 years before Apple's 'Detroit' commercial was released in the market. Our reference was this 2005 New York Times article.

Fortunately for Apple fans (including yours truly), if it cannot be justified as inspiration, then we have the theory of coincidental innovation to bank upon. Coincidental innovation is the theory that things appear in the market at the same time in response to common pressures. An often used example is that of the Pyramids of Egypt and the Pyramids of Mexico. Separated by 2000 years and an ocean, in two different continents and at a time when Robinson Crusoe lived on an unknown island, it is said, the Pyramids were a result of common invention pressures.

In this context however, whether the coincidence is regrettable or not, I think it ultimately depends on what the ad can actually do to the brand. It is not just about how often it was talked about but also whether it succeeded in its objective whether it was awareness/recognition or recall. And in my mind, iPod's silhouette campaign did more than that.

After all like Steve Jobs said "Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works!"
Aishwarya Rao
After much deliberation and efforts to make 'Coffee with Ash' a 10 minute video session, I have, for the moment settled for a quick coffee bite. On my debut, I invite Michelle Peluso , CEO Travelocity, for an exciting espresso shot. And remember, no questions on the impact of oil prices on the airline industry.

We have always known her as the woman transformed Travelocity into the happy global brand it is today. Michelle Peluso is one of the most powerful and influential women in Texas and she hates soft beds...

Alternate Career
Well...if not for the travel business, may be I would have been in politics.

Biggest 'Kick' from being powerful and influential
I don’t think I am! But working with the Travelocity team each day is tremendously inspiring to me.
We have some real rock stars here, and it’s a privilege to work alongside of them.
Hotel fetish
I hate polyester comforters and soft beds!

Blog’ you do wouldn’t miss for anything
Amy Ziff’s travel blog

DVD/book you are devouring
I’m always reading – but right now I’m just about done with Team of Rivals about Abe Lincoln – it’s fantastic

Travel wish
I’d love to spend more time in Africa

Secret ingredient that makes you the best in the business
I know how to surround myself with exceptionally talented people – and to put them first.
Comment on “Americans are insensitive to the culture of their destination (during trips)”
This is certainly not true for most Americans. But I do think we all have an opportunity to travel more, see more countries, and respect the great diversity of this wonderful world.

Your travel tip
When you go on vacation, take a day or two out of your trip to volunteer, especially if you are in a foreign country. You can learn about opportunities through Travelocity’s Travel for Good program. It’s a great way to feel good about yourself, to spend time with your family, and to experience your destination more richly.

Random question: If you were a wrestler, what would be your finishing move?
Hmm . . . I’ve never been one for sports, but if you throw me a question about going to a spa, I’m sure I can answer it!
Aishwarya Rao

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Aishwarya Rao
After a claustrophobic 'international' journey on American Eagle, we made it across the border to Monterrey, Mexico. Half our class is here on a 'Foreign Studies' trip and honestly it is refreshing. Well, lets say the sultry weather is not exactly my idea of 'refreshing'...but the fact that we are chilling out in a quaint hotel in Mexico and not sitting in a classroom lecture is.

And in a weird way this country reminds me of home, of India. The lazy bus ride, the authentic smell of oppressively hot air, the Delhi-like air terminal, the Mexican Peso that resembles our own 20 ruppee note, the smudge from car leaks at parking lots..Oh this is so close to home.
Initially ofcourse I had my own doubts about this being an 'foreign' studies trip. Well, it is Mexico and it took us less time to reach here than it took me to fly to Jersey. But the more I think of it, I realize how this could be an intenrational trip in so many ways. First, given the fact that Mexico is emerging as one of the most favoured destinations after China and India in outsourcing, it will be interesting to visit businesses here and see what Mexico is going to be offer to the rest of the world. And second, I am convinced that the company of my 'multi-ethnic' colleagues in a non-class room setting, a group that is stuck here in its own company for the next 7 days is going to be very interesting...Atleast it already has been...
From trying to find some traces of vegetarian food, buying an international calling card that actually works, watching Shrek II in Spanish and communicating with people who look sympathetically and helplessly at my franctic expressions, it has been a thouroughly enjoyable sultry day. I feel like how 'Lin Baba' felt on his first day in home with a country that he was visting. And sure thing, I am looking forward to the week ahead!
Aishwarya Rao
What if God was following us on Twitter...May be blogging his own story ? Would he have entered 'The Coolest Person Contest' in Facebook? I don't have answers myself but I found this very cool website. Dear-God is from the guys who created my most favorite web destination The Cool Hunter. My favorite one of course is 'The Crucifix...' sent by Ieon Stellar in the humor category...only not sure if God will take it in a lighter vein!

Aishwarya Rao
Recently during my spring break, when I was done with indulging in the pleasures of the beautiful Miami beach and riding monster coasters, I jumped into the bottomless pit of indoor games.

Some friends and I literally relived primary school days playing Monopoly, Rummy, Ace of Spades, Snap, Pictionary and Scrabble. And if that weren't enough to drown one in the memories of an innocent childhood, we indulged in the traditional version of Snakes and Ladders. The game board read Parama Pada Sopanam (translated to mean a step to the highest place) and the play was endless! We wrapped up the show with a game of Pallankuzhi (another traditional board game played with shells).

But the fun did not end there...There is something that I noticed throughout the week's play. I believe that the games we played are fine examples of the game theory concept of an iterated prisoners' dilemma where the players, based on the memory of at least one previous encounter, choose to either 'betray' or 'mutually cooperate'.

In a strategic context Putnam and Holmer 1992, explain this as 'Framing' where "bargainers conceive of ongoing sets of events in light of past experiences". It was interesting how after some rounds of different games, a couple of us began to unintentionally frame each other. Our cold postures, sharp verbal exchanges and not-so-subtle comments directed at each other only further triggered memories of outcomes of previous games and the emotions that ran alongside!

These might be straightforward truths of the games we play, but it was amazing to notice the pattern, observe the language cues and handle the candidness when it struck us...
Aishwarya Rao
Watched Anne Bunker and co.'s dance performance at the university theater last evening. A truly mesmerizing concert, I have to admit...for it is not in every recital that dancers cut like a knife through air, sharp and soft at the same time... And although I watched novel foot movements and listened to unfamiliar music, in my mind I somehow followed the story...As I watched her in a solo act, I couldn't help thinking how Bunker transformed into a bird - graceful, in air and flying...suggesting a rather curious explanation to the story she was narrating...While pairing with her male partner Charles Thompson the ethereal aura was almost unmistakable...And then of course there were students from the university who made the ensemble vibrant and entertaining. Although the costumes were way too simple, there was an unexplained grandeur to the entire show...As they say, everyone has a story to tell, a story they call their own ... only this one was told in air...
Aishwarya Rao
Yesterday, I was lucky to attend the 'Mozart: Piano Concerto No.15' and the 'Dvorak Symphony' at the Dallas Symphony Orchestra (recognized as one of the world's finest concert halls). It was then for the first time, I realized why a symphony (meaning - sounding together) is called that. For, although I could not recognize the music, I sat there hypnotized by the alchemy of the performance. The concert was so finely put together that it seemed like the players were engaged in some kind of a vibrant and meaningful prayer.

The prize of course was pianist Andreas Haefliger who performed Mozart as if he was solving a very basic math equation. He played and explored with such elegance that it made me wonder if I were sophisticated enough to witness the artiste. I felt like Charlie in the chocolate factory, excited and over whelmed about his first-in-a-lifetime experience. (So much that at some point I was scared to breathe loudly at the fear of disturbing my neighbour's concert experience!) But as the show progressed I fit more comfortably and began to relax, taking in the moment, second by second.

For someone like me who could not name more than half the instruments at the ensemble, the experience was certainly an unparalleled learning experience. In my mind, the repertoire of synthesized hand movements that produced the music was more like a dance (something I can relate better to), may be a static dance that I will cherish and wish to revisit over and over again.
Aishwarya Rao
Have a $2.7 million and don’t know what to do with it? Buy a Superbowl 30 seconds spot this year.
It seems like neither the number of zeros or the fear of recession, will desist the Pepsis and Unilevers of the world from spending a few million dollars during the game.
But at this point, the argument has gone much beyond the biggest bang for the buck theory. It is less about a massive reach and more about brand ego and engagement. It is not the marketers fault that a lot is now dependent on the concept, production and execution of the ad. Catchy jingles, unforgettable characters and feel good stories are becoming redundant already. Our expectations are higher. And we are much smarter. We want a celebrity driven, highly-digitally modified and living-upto-the-hype campaigns. That will make us brand the commercials the favourite part of the game. That only bottomless purses can ensure.
This is not wholly unrealistic either. Insurance company Nationwide announced its decision to stay out of Super Bowl. It was not a financial decision they claim, but more of the lack of a concept/idea that will match consumer expectations.
And the battle doesn’t end here. Brands need to sustain the campaign thread. The ideas must be full enough to spill-over. To bill boards and home pages. The campaign must connect at all levels and on all platforms. Surely when you are spending a $2.7 million you must have a clear idea about the form and rate at which the reach can be multiplied.
While it is not surprising that Victoria Secret is making a come back or that Dell will makes its debut on the commercials game, I am wondering what will be this years turn-on? Pepsi has managed (as always) to create a hype with its 1 minute silent ad before the game…Will there be another halftime scandal? Who will be the victor in the battle of the brands?
Only the sundae party will decide.
Aishwarya Rao
I am only half way into Shataram...but I realize that there hasn't been another novel that is so true to its places and people.

My favourite reasons why Shantaram is such a bona fide Indian's novel.

"She wore a salwar kameez-the most flattering garment in the world, after the sari.."

"'Hey, I love this song yaar!' Vikram cried out. 'Turn it up, baba! Arre full karo!'"

"...And any Indian man will tell you that although love might not have been invented in India, it was certainly perfected there."

" We ate chicken biriyani, malai kofta, vegetable korma, rice...dhal, papadams and green mango chutney. It was a feast..."

Aishwarya Rao

As a part of the new year initiatives, I am planning to launch a chat show on Coffee House. 'Coffee with Ash' (forgive me for the lack of originality) will be a series where I invite and interview some of my 'celebrity' friends.

A popular IT consultant who is an independent film maker, a famous lawyer who runs her own international NGO or a well-known radio jockey, model, theatre personality all rolled into one... 'Coffee with Ash' is where they will express their 'other' self, share their life-changing moments and answer trick questions over a virtual cup of coffee...

I am still fine tuning the format, and connecting with people you enjoy meeting. It will be great if you can share your ideas/expectations/recipes for the coffee session...
Aishwarya Rao

I am not going to climb mountains or follow every stream
But I am going to fool around, until I find a dream
Then I am going to take tomorrow and dip it in the dream...
Separate all the sorrow and collect up all the cream!
May be if I have the time, I will mix it with my love
If you like I can pass it on, only tell me how...
Heres to an incredibly mad 2008!