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Looking back
Looking back, 2007 been one hell of an eventful year.

This was the year during which my four year holiday called 'engineering' ended. It was hard to bid adieu to the fun that was life in college. I'll forever miss some of the great friends I had there.

And this was the year in which I started my job and got my first salary. The training[that am currently undergoing] in infosys more than made up for the sadness I had in missing college life. The last 2 months here been really rocking with many of my old college friends and new ones that I met here.

The time I spent with my band 'Stoneage' was also great with some memorable onstage performances and some good original music. Again it was hard to say goodbye to the rocking life that I was having with this band. It was another lesson of life that U cannot have all the good things in life together. You have to sacrifice something to win something else. Still I hope to rejoin the band and have some more shows with them in the future.

This was the year in which I spent a mammoth amount of time on one of pet hobbies-movie watching. The 4 month vacation I had between the end of my exams and the starting of the job training was spent mostly in watching movies,sometimes even 3 per day. I discovered some great classics and bowed my head in tribute to masters like Satyajit ray,Ingmar bergman,Akira Kurasowa. It was a virtual download cum movie watching fest at home considering the sheer volume of dvd rips I downloaded and watched with sheer pleasure. This might not make the people who are obsessed with policies and values happy, but I can't help it. Its fitting that my movie watching this year was topped with one of the best works I've seen from India in recent times, 'Taare Zameen Par'. Its one film which made me think, made me laugh, made me cry and most of all, inspired me. It was the same kind of feeling that I had after watching 'Pursuit of happyness'. I miss the daily movies after coming here but I hope to restart it after I get my laptop. And then hopefully I'll reach my goal of owning and watching all the movies in the IMDB top 250 movies of alltime list. Now my number stands at 79 out of 250.

But besides all this, there are somethings that remained the same as before. And the number one in that list is 'punctuality'. I've never been known for my punctuality. I been a perennial late comer in school and a regular bunker in college. My attendance percentage of 15 in the final semesters speaks volumes for that. Its only because of my kind faculty head that I was able to appear for the exams. I thought I'll become punctual once I start working. No,It didn't happen. I scored a hat-trick of latecomings in Infosys training and was greeted with the training faculty's "please come in the afternoon" dialogue many times. Then there are these old habits of never listening in the class, writing poems in the class and studying just the day before the exam. One more thing will remain the same-I'll continue my evergreen resolution of not taking any resolutions this new year also. And there are somethings that I haven't mentioned in this, somethings that has made me sad. But I don't want others to read the sad stories of my life. Radiate happiness and be a black hole to the sorrows, thats my principle.
So its time to wind up for the year.
Wish you all a prosperous and happy[thats the important point] 2008...

PS-2007 ended with a bang today afternoon with a mail from the HR to meet her. It was regarding me and my friend's late coming to the campus last week. The 9:30pm time limit was set considering the safety of employees. But punishing the same employees for a slight lapse is a little too hard on them. Inspite of having a solid reason, we were fined 500rs and a warning that we'll be expelled from the campus if we repeat the same. These are the times which make me think we are considered just as some numbers in the employee roll call, not humans. Anyway, a nice way to end a great year. As usual, I don't have any regrets about what I did or what I did not do. Am happy as ever about my existence. Am thankful to God as I live to savour another year full of glorious uncertainities.

your crusader praveen


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'Flexibility' is a word we associate mostly with the english language. There are so many brands of english around the world. Sometimes, even the British guys do have a hard time understanding some of these exotic brands. In the name of flexibility, the language has been subjected to gangrape,gruesome murder and sometimes re-birth.

But even this knowledge of the language's flexibility didn't prepare me to handle the shock of reading one simple sentence some days back. We have this habit of drinking Capuccino every night at 12 30 from the coffee day at FC3. But this special day, we were greeted by a big banner that read
"Hot bewerage not available. MASHIN FALT".
Hope all of u understood what they meant.

your crusader praveen

Its my Indyeah!!!  

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TV has become boring off late. Most of the time I'll be surfing music channels and news channels. And I do miss VH1, what with V and MTV ruled by the likes of Himesh. The only show I watch regularly is 'My India Report[MIR]' in V. Its a really cool concept with 6 youngsters selected from various parts of India travelling all over India. During this journey they discover different cultures, path breaking thoughts, shocking truths and share it all with us. As far as i think, this show is conceived as an amalgamation of the themes of 2 popular films-'motorcycle diaries[MD]' and 'rang de basanti[RDB]'. The idea of a country round trip from 'MD' and the idea of the nation awakening from 'RDB'. There were so many interesting thoughts that came out from their visits to various cities.

The team comprises of an interesting mix of people including a lady bartender and an artist based in Canada. Every episode, they'll be posing some questions to some random people they see on the road. In Varanasi[India at its religious best], they surveyed about belief in God among the youngsters there and found that most of them were god fearing but not mad about the religion they follow. This should serve as an eye opener for some 'religiously' political parties in India. One taxi driver gave an interesting discourse which would put even well known philosophers to shame. These are the things which tell you that you should never underestimate anyone. In Kolkata, the team found out that Che guevera is more popular than sourav ganguly. Is it the 'MD' effect or the good old love for communism? Yesterday, they went to Shillong, India's rock music capital. This city was in the news recently for showcasing the largest guitar ensemble in the world as 1730 guitarists strummed together for the Bob Dylan classic "knocking on heaven's door". Its told that almost everyone you meet on the road is a musician. There are more than 100 rock bands in the city alone. After meeting up with some bands and musicians, the team went to an NGO. There they met a woman who suffered a lot in her life. She was a servent in a household and her master sold her to other men. She somehow rescued herself from a brothel and helped the police to bust a big racket which specialised in human trafficking. According to her, more than 300 girls were rescued from there. She and other women like her are being given a chance to live a new life by the NGO.

Besides these interesting and sometimes touching anecdotes and opinions, what I found interesting about MIR is the nice camera work. Wherever they go, we are treated to some amazing visuals which really make us wonder whether there are such places in India. These visuals sometimes remind me of the great BBC documentary 'The story Of India'. I downloaded this documentary running close to 7 hours some months back. I would recommend it to those who want to see some unseen but breath takingkly beautiful visuals of India. Coming back to MIR, there are still some more episodes to go. Those who have missed it, try to catch it at 7.30pm on thursdays. Am not telling that all of what is shown on MIR makes sense. Sometimes they do sound absurd. But most of the time its really good and shows us some little known but interesting things about our motherland

PS- In MIR, there is so much talk on the lack of values and too much of skin show on television. It might be an irony that all this happens in a channel which has shows like Pia's beach diaries, where you have an anchor wearing just a bikini and strolling along the beach and 'India's hottest' which awards people based on how hot they are.

your crusader Praveen


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Here's another song.. wrote this during today's class on infosys quality standards...These are my thoughts on terrorism in the heavenly kashmir valley.

Shrouded by the dark cloth,

Is it the veil of ignorance?

Fighting for the devil's cause

Yours is a venomous death dance.

Snowy fields in the divine valley

turning red time and again.
Unholy flags of your holy jihad

fluttering like vulture wings.

Brainwashed morons on a killing spree

dreaming of a better morrow

throw their lives away for the dirty work

taking lives for a final ride.

Life's a full metal jacket
burning away inside the barrel.

Faceless u came,faceless u go

as your ashes pollute the serene lake.


your crusader Praveen


Posted by Praveen


Indian filmdom has a long history of stories of normal men producing superheroic acts onscreen. Most of the time we are left scratching our head or banging our fist on a nearby hard object, after such an onscreen assault. Rajnikanth is credited with pioneering this exotic art form of executing actions of unimaginable impossibility. But long before that, the great malayali actor Nazir have done some awesome tricks on screen. Its a little known fact that the bullet dodging trick that the whole world watched with gaping mouth in matrix was actually done years before by our very own Nazir. That too, without the help of slow motion, wire trick or stop motion cameras. In the original bullet dodging scene starring nazir, he comes off cooler than the one and only Neo. Our hero sees the villian firing the bullet from a distance. He raises his head and with his trademark doubtful look with the hands on his chin mouthes the dialogue-''vediyunda aanennu thonnunnu. Maarikkalayaam"[seems like a bullet.Let me move aside]. And he moves aside. Whereas poor neo had to bend backwards within milliseconds of the firing and couldn't even speak a single word eventhough the bullet was coming in slow motion.

Though we all dismiss these kind of tricks on screen as crap and all, these very scenes turn out to be the most viewed in video sharing websites like youtube. Its a debatable fact whether this popularity can be attributed more to the heroism or the comic element in it. It makes me laugh my head off to think that the directors are actually making such scenes with some serious situation in mind. Still, they are doing us a great service. After doing lots of assignments or sitting through boring sessions, these type of scenes can lighten you up like anything. The most popular one here at present seems to be another bullet trick scene, but of a kind which even neo would find hard to reproduce on screen. This stars Vijaykanth, another tamil actor who is popular for his superhuman scenes. The villian fires the bullet at Vijaykanth and he bravely shows his chest to the bullet. The next moment we see the bullet going in the opposite direction with double speed and it hits the villian who fired the bullet and he dies on the spot. Now the frame shifts back to vijaykanth and the great secret is revealed. He opens the top button of his shirt and removes a steel plate[the same thing we use to eat dosas from wayside eateries]. Its time the government gave a steel plate to all politicians and make it mandatory to place it inside their shirts. We can save millions of money that we spent on security for the politicians every year.

Another very popular man on youtube is telegu actor Balayya. His scenes ranges from moving a train just by pointing his finger to singlehandedly fighting and killing a whole building of pakistani terrorists in pakistan. Though I have watched all these scenes many time before, I still laugh real hard when I see it again. Most of the time in discussions on such scenes, the blame always fall on south indian films. But to tell the truth, Hindi films have produced a long list of such movies, right from Amitabh bachchan through Mithun chakraborthy to shakhrukh khan. Not many would've forgot shahrukh's action scenes in dumb movies like 'main hoon na'. Though the general advice for those who are going to watch such movies is to leave their brains at home, its real hard for even a no-brainer to tolerate such scenes for a whole movie, which happens mostly in the case of tamil superhero movies starring vijay,ajith,Rajnikanth etc. But, these small clippings can really cheer u up. So, enjoy with these no-brainer dumbos until my next dumbo post...

your crusader praveen


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Here is the song i wrote in class today...

Tracing back the footsteps
that I first took as a child.

Racing forward on my mindscape

with a blissful world to recapture.

Breeze brushes my time-worn face

blowing away the maple leaves
that line my way back home

rushing into me the times of old.

Cradled by the innocence

that i lost somewhere back in time.
Its time for reminiscence
of the days
when the clock stood still.

I never cared to look back

on my all conquering selfish march.

Until this day, when i lost everything

with just the memories to fall back on.


your crusader praveen


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So atlast the hiatus ends long before than expected. Its been more than one month since my last post and supposedly the last one in about 4 months. But, here I am much before that to bore you with more of my thoughts. The last one month been exciting having joined my job at a really wonderful campus at infosys, Mysore. The sheer enormity and elegance of the buildings and the greenery all around mesmerised all of us. Though the training is a bit hectic, we do enjoy every moment of our life here. The activity that we spend most time on is sleeping. The air conditioned classes and the boring powerpoint slides are an added bonus to sleep starved people like me. After many years of constant bunking, sitting everyday in class is a little hard. And after years of experience as a regular late comer, reaching class at 9'O clock is also a tough task. So, last week reminded me of my college days as i scored a hatrick in late coming and was thrown out of class for 3 consecutive days. The attendance tracking system is also a tough nut to crack. On any given day, you have to swipe in and swipe out your id card in the morning and evening. Then, there is an attendance client installed on our computer which has to be operated with your four fingers pressed on specific letters on the keyboard, all at the same time, four times a day. And the thing is active only for 30 seconds, to prevent proxy attendance. And then there are the daily assignments,module tests and projects. STILLL...we r enjoying...

Today, the assignment load is much less. So i found time to write this bit of nonsense. And surprisingly, the boring slides didn't put me to sleep in the morning. So i found time to scribble a song too. Am posting that too. Am missing the newspaper here. I only have the news channels to catch up with the latest news. But most of the time I end up watching endless clippings of the same news on every other channels in the 30 odd minutes I sit before the tv everyday. Rest of the time is spent in roaming around the enormous campus, playing one game or the other, eating at one of the food courts or just sitting somewhere and watching everybody. My walkman phone is a constant company without which I'd already've gone mad. So, life here is like a box of chocolates[forrest gump style]....
Hopefully, i'd soon find sometime to write on some serious issue[which is the purpose of this blog]...

Your crusader Praveen

100th post-A small goodbye  

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before the last show with Stoneage...
the last show......


This is gonna be a special post in many ways. After years of huffing and puffing and a slow down as the mark neared, I completed my long awaited century. yes, 100 blog posts. And this one gonna be the last one before i join my job at infosys in mysore. Last week been one of the most hectic ones that I ever had in my lazy life. It all started with the preparation for my last show with the band. And as always, we went for it with the last minute practise. thank god, we were able to put up a decent show[hope so]. Its hard for me to leave this band, which's been a part of my life for a pretty long time now. And I really hope these guys would continue for a long time to come and conquer some unchartered territory soon.

After my last show, it was a mad rush all week long to visit all my relatives and old gurus. And some trips did bring many nostalgic memories.

I gotta cut this blog short now...Since am running outta time...
From morrow, am gonna miss lots of things which been part of my life for a long time. My 'miss'list would read as follows... parents, band, friends, my bike, long chats in yahoo...and this blog too. Its ironic that my 100th post here is about something personal. As you all know, most of my posts here have dealt with issues that are not even remotely personal. And now, here I am, shedding 'blogtears' on the things am gonna miss...

thats it 4 now...maybe, my last post in 4 months...
A big thanks to all those who supported me all along in writing this blog...I dedicate this milestone post to all those who commented, to all those who criticised, to all those who advised and to all those who have read atleast one post of mine...


with love, your crusader Praveen

checkout some more pics of the last show-


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Rama sethu-aerial shot

History or 'His'-story

So, we got a new historian to teach us 'Ramayana'. Karunanidhi with his thoughtful comments questioning the existence of Lord Rama has added another chapter to his efforts towards national integration. He even asked 'which university did Rama get his civil engineering degree from'. Going by this comment, we can very well guess that all the egyptians, Romans and the guys who built Taj Mahal must have got their engineering degree from Anna university. And as a result of his worthy comments, the saffron army went on rampage and attacked his daughter's house and also torched a Tamilnadu transport corporation bus. After the incident, Karunanidhi commented that these incidents showed the culture of Ram sevaks. Talking about culture and such acts of goondaism, Karunanidhi has proved his mettle in this field too. Not many have forgotten his men's tirade against sun tv, which resulted in the death of some people. Also, DMK men been regularly torching buses and unleashing violence on the streets, from time immemorial.

Am not supporting the attackers in anyway. But Karunanidhi has no right to talk about the attacks. Its his own inflammatory comments that resulted in this backlash. For a long time, he been muscling the central government with his MP strength into doing things in Tamilnadu's own selfish interests. Its no secret that the DMK ministers at the centre been exclusively serving their state. Serving ones own place is understandable, but sometimes this has crossed limits to damaging the interests of neighbouring states. For eg, in the Salem division issue, they took away more than 500 Kms from the Palakkad division and gave back just 59kms, that too from the metre guage portion of madurai division, which will only add to kerala's woes. They were not even ready to give that. Now, they are planning to cripple the Trivandrum division by taking away nagercoil from under its jurisdiction. Another recent issue is the Mullaperiyar dam, where Tamil nadu stood adamant on its stand to raise the height of the dam, even after it was scientifically proved that the move will cause serious damage to the life of lakhs of people in Kerala. Such high handedness and arrogance from ministers at the centre is a violation of the Indian constitution. It also will cause serious damage to India's unity. One should never forget that we are all Indians first, state borders shouldn't be turned into LOCs.

Now back to the Sethusamudhram issue. The Rama setu[or Adam's bridge, as the non Indians call it] may or maynot be man-made. If its man made as the Hindu organisations claim, it is certainly a thing that should be preserved under the archeological laws of India. And if it is not man made[natural], as the 'well-educated' historian Karunanidhi claims, then also it should be preserved as it may be to serve some purpose. Last week, some scientist was claiming that this bridge could've been a factor in reducing the effect of tsunami in the Kerala coast. Am not sure, how much of this is true. But still, destroying the bridge could produce certain negative effects on the ecology like damaging the coral reefs and affecting the small sea creatures. The Sethusamudhram project is aimed at reducing the shipping time by a few hours. Other than this, it serves no purpose. So destroying a historical or natural formation, spending a mammoth amount of tax payer's money is out of the question.

And Karunanidhi would do well to give his tongue some rest. The same goes with arrogant ministers like T.R.Balu...Also Mr.Karu should brush up his history lessons. Making unguarded comments against Rama, whom the whole of India reveres and who is considered as the perfect human being can cause serious backlashes which may even result in Karu's head rolling on the ground. People still worship Rama even thousands of years after he walked or the face of earth[or belived to have walked]. Karunanidhi is in the evening of his life and his name will be forgotten within 10 years from his death. And 'his'-story would die with that. But not real 'history'.

your crusader Praveen


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Rage- Making Chennai bang at it again. Writing another concert review. After I wrote the report on Motherjane concert, someone commented, ''That is the most Amateurish write-up that I have read in my whole life about a concert''. So, here is another amateurish stuff on an awesome band coming your way.

Rage, the band been ruling the kerala metal kingdom for sometime. No one played the way they played their covers. Over the years, they've built up a legion of fans all over the state. And it was just a matter of time before they crossed the boundaries of the state and won fans beyond the borders. And cross they did... with a majestic show at Madras Christian College[MCC]. As we all know, MCC is a place where almost all the top bands in India have performed at some point or the other. And, so Rage getting a call to play at this very same venue is a matter of pride to its loyal fans down here. So, we [me, raja, nikhil, pappu, jk] decided to go with the band to chennai.

We reached there on Saturday morning, the day of the concert. The campus, with its vast greenery blew us away. In the morning itself, Biju chettan and pramod chettan were called upto judge some acoustic competition. The other rage fans like govindan potty arrived in the afternoon. The soundcheck started around 3 30. And tell you one thing, the whole sound system was a piece of shit. The band had a hard time getting a presentable sound out of it. The soundcheck took close to 2 hours to complete. After the soundcheck, the local band Udaan performed. It played some Hindi rock stuff, somewhat like 'jal'. The band got ample support from their home crowd. It was over in less than 30 minutes, and now it was time for the all out attack from our very own RAGE.

The crowd was slowly building up when the band got on stage. Most of them preferred to sit in the gallery at the back. Only a few were standing in the front. And then, rage started the blast with '2 minutes to midnight'. In 2 minutes, the whole scene at the grounds changed. People were rushing to the front and banging their heads in tandem. The crowd was composed mainly of guys from the north east, whom we all affectionately call 'chinkis'. In recent times, the Chennai scene was dominated mostly by funksih bands. And Rage was a whiff of fresh air for them, as one of the students there told me. Biju Chettan was the most active on stage, running around, jumping and displaying all his 'Dickinson inspired' mannerisms. Abi chettan and Pramod chettan competed with each other in coming right to the front and proudly giving a wavy display of their long locks. Nithin Chettan preferred to let his guitar do all the talking, cutting out all the show off. Mithun chettan was all smiles as he attacked the drums with all his might.

The sound system was the one bad element in the whole show and any other band would have wilted under the pressure, but not Rage. The guitar lead parts were getting somewhat drowned because of the improper mixing and the sound system's limitations. The S & M version of 'one' gave keyboardist Biji his own time under the spotlight. It was all going along well until Nithin chettan's cable got separated from the processor towards the end. It happened when he, in a spirited mood, tried to come on to the front seeing the frenzied crowd. And, for a minute Pramod chettan's guitar[the processor was having a bad tone], the keyboard and the drums were the only things audible. But, they somehow pulled it back and ended it. Another untoward incident was the breaking of Nithin chettan's string towards the end of 'Master of puppets' lead. Barring these two incidents, there were not much human errors to speak about. And that is a huge credit to the band, since the whole show happened in trying conditions of sweltering heat and a sound system that could boast of nothing.

They also belted out 'Holy wars', 'aces high', 'back in black', 'gets me through', 'caught somehwhere in time'. The crowd were screaming out the names of all their favorite songs especially from Maiden and Metallica. Maybe, they thought that this would be their only chance to hear such near perfect covers which even the original bands themselves find difficult to perform on stage. Some nu metal fans were obviously in the audience as there were calls for 'killing in the name of', 'toxicity' etc. The crowd had a great time swaying to all the songs. Biju chettan and abi chettan played their part in bringing the crowd to its feet. Biju Chettan even hurled a bottle full of mineral water at the audience, a really thoughtful move considering the crowd who were getting tired with constant screaming, banging and jumping. And, so the show came to an end by 7pm, which was the time limit set by the college authorities. After that, there was the band interview with SS music, which also covered the entire show. Those who missed the live show should try to catch them on SS music sometime soon.

Thus, Rage has made a mark outside the state too. Hope many more big concerts come their way in the near future. Best of luck to the godfathers of metal in Trivandrum...rock on RAGE..\\m//

your crusader Praveen


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God's Own countries
Haven't written anything in a while. Been busy with onam, mainly eating, hanging out and visiting relatives. So, I thought I'll post something here today. And here it is, a song that I wrote some weeks back. Our band was having a practice session without our drummer. So we decided to do some funny acoustic stuff. And our bassist Mahadevan came up with this idea of ''God's own countries'', about kerala and guys like us...and thus this song happened. Since we din't record the song properly, the song can't be uploaded here. As an onam special, am posting the lyrics here.

***God's Own countries***
We were born to rule the world
With not a care for the ways of the herd
It may all sound so weird
But we sure will burn you red.

We ride the boats of freedom
Our lips taste the smelly toddy
We search for lips to share the taste
But we end up sharing more.

So you hear our words coz we r writing this
The song of nothing.
The song of nothing

We r the god's own countries

We spit fire..
We ride the storm..
We kill the flies..
We r the god's own countries...
We r the god's own countries...

Once we believed in those grandma tales
where white clad damsels ruled the roost
Now we write our own stories
Ready to end up in history..

We have the world at our feet
Ready to bang to our beat
We never tasted defeat
So this is for you to repeat...

We spit fire..
We ride the storm..
We kill the flies..
We r the god's own countries...
We r the god's own countries...

Thanks for reading that load of crap.....Happy onam to everybody

your crusader Praveen

\m/otherjane- The homecoming  

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They Came...They rocked...and they conquered... That would aptly sum up Motherjane's sojourn in Trivandrum. Titled 'The coming home' tour, this was really a coming home for the band after having conquered more than 100 venues all over India and being featured in numerous international radio stations and compilation albums. Its a little known fact that their first album 'Insane biography' have sold out. Now with the second album 'Maqtub' ready for release, the band is at the threshold of even greater success. Even before the 2nd album released, everybody knows all of its songs by heart. And that was evident from the crowd singing many of the lyrics alongwith them yesterday..

So..Here is a brief description of the day. The day started with me and Raja going to Hotel Maurya, where Motherjane was staying. After meeting them all, we went with them for the soundcheck at Nishagandhi in the afternoon. Sooraj chettan satyed back nursing his sore throat. John Chettan had already gone there. A glance at the stage had all of us laughing. It had a broken bullock cart, many small pots[like folk dance set] and some raised platforms made of cardboard at the back. Motherjane's great sound engineer Fali got to work. After tweaking it all around, the band started the soundcheck. We got a sample of what to expect when they played 'broken', 'chasing the sun' etc. They kept on doing it until it all sounded perfect. After the soundcheck, me, Nikhil and Raja returned to the hotel with them. Baiju chettan enlightened us with some great tips and some interesting anecdotes. Deepu chettan was his usual self cracking some really intolerable jokes that made everyone burst into uncontrollable laughter. Sooraj Chettan was radiating positive energy all around although he was suffering from some throat problems. The band had a private meeting behind closed door before leaving for the show. Once they came out, we posed for some snaps with them.

Raja n me with John chettan

Me, Nikki n raja with Mother

And, now it was time for the real show. We reached Nishagandhi around 7pm. The crowd was only starting to build up. Maybe beacuse of lack of ads in newspapers and banners at the venue gate, the crowd was not as big as expected. Anyway, I was really happy when I got my prized possession, the Motherjane t-shirt. I saw some of my non-rock friends among the crowd. They all became Motherjane fans recently after the wide coverage in rosebowl. The screen which was set up in front of the stage was constantly playing the motherjane rockumentary produced by rosebowl. At around 7 30, the band appeared on stage sending the crowd into a frenzy. They all rushed to the front. If not for the wooden barriers, they wud've stormed onto the stage. Sooraj chettan started the show in a thoroughly professional manner with some pep talk and then bursting straight on to 'Disillusion'.

Baiju Chettan on the lead was the cynosure of all eyes. The crowd was chanting 'baiju, baiju' everytime he started one of his legendary leads. John chettan with his brown tinted goatee was not giving any respite for the hapless drums as he pounded on it mercilessly. 'Mindstreet', in the new version with heavy eastern influences was a favourite with the crowds. Not to forget, the now cult classic 'Broken' from the new album. One quality which i found with this song is that everyone who heard this loved this song[including those who never listens to rock, even my mom]. Clyde chettan, though not at all talkative off the stage, was attitude personified on stage with his bass doing all the talking. Deepu chettan with his infectious smile, provided the rhythm support and also was singing all the songs along with sooraj chettan. Sooraj Chettan carried the show wonderfully well and no one there would believe that this man was nursing a sore throat all day. He punctuated the introduction of each song with some wonderful anecdotes. The one I loved the most was about 'Walk on'. A foreign guy having cancer used to listen to this song everyday because this inspired him. After his death, his brother wrote a letter to the band thanking them for giving his brother hope while he was alive.

'Maya', the song about a girl of big dreams, who ends up as a prostitute also struck a vibrant chord with the audience. My other favorites were 'Chasing the sun', 'Questions' and 'soul corporations'. The innovative 'shh..listen' had the audience hissing 'shhh' all the time. The band also belted out 'prison chains', 'blood in the apple'[about 9/11] and 'karmic steps'. But the ones i missed the most were their 2 short songs... 'An Ode to life' parts 1 and 2 from the 1st and 2nd albums respectively. Both the songs consists of only just 4 lines each. But the story behind the songs were amazing[saw that in the rockumentary]. 'An Ode to life' is about losing loved ones to death and it was written after the death of sooraj chettan's mother. 'An ode to life 2' is about new life. This was written after the birth of his son. These songs are an example of how much you can convey in an one minute song. As soon as the last song ended, I held out my hand at Baiju chettan asking for his guitar pick and he promptly obliged. Now, that is a souvenior for life.
sooraj chettan n baiju chettan

And so that was the story of Motherjane conquering their home territory after a long journey out of the state. An analysis of what endears them so much to everyone, we can find many reasons. The strong eastern influence in baiju chettan's guitaring, the underlying melody in all of their songs, the thought provoking lyrics or the innovative progressive stuff, the reasons are just too many. But the thing I find most remarkable about them is that they were able to pull in some people who have been known rock haters. I salute them for that single achievement more than any awards or recognition won abroad.

PS- After writing this post, I happened to read today's Indian express and found that the opening line of this post matched word to word with an article on motherjane that appeared in it. It read , ''They come, they rock and they conquer''. And mine went, ''They Came...They rocked...and they conquered''... Needless to say, I was astonished at the similarity. Maybe a case of great music bringing the same thoughts in two different minds. ..

For more concert pics, checkout my online album

your crusader, Praveen

60 years young  

Posted by Praveen in , , , , ,

Happy 60th birthday to my motherland... This is gonna be another post on movies. But a different one at that. This is a tribute to the men who guard our borders, men who fight for people they don't even know, men who love their country more than their family and men whom we all forget. Yesterday, I happened to watch the Hindi movie '1971' about Indian soldiers held as POW s in Pakistan after the 1971 war. Most people won't even have heard about this beautiful movie. Though I've seen the ads some months back, me too never thought this would be so good until my friend Nandan recommended this to me.

After the 1971 Indo Pak war, India handed over all the Pakistani POW s to that country. But Pakistan didn't reciprocate the gesture as it secretly detained 60 odd Indian soldiers. They even duped the red cross into believing that there were no Indian soldiers left in Pakistani prisons. They hid the men in some secret locations close to the border. They were made to believe that they'll be released soon. But some men among them got the plot and decide to escape from the place. The movie follows their escape bid and ends in a very sad and realistic climax. The camera work is splendid, capturing vividly the heaven on earth, Kashmir, in all its splendour. Manoj Bajpai dazzles with some superb acting. The supporting cast is also equally good. The climax will surely leave you misty eyed. And to think that 60 odd men spend the better half of their life in prison unknown to the people of their motherland is really sad.

Only their relatives remember these war heroes now. The government seems to have not even heard about them. 2 days back, there was this news that a 1971 war veteran threatened to suicide on august 15th, 2007 as a protest against the government for ignoring him and not giving him the benefits which are due to him. This is a sad state of affairs since soldiers are the ones whom the whole country owes a lot. And by not giving them what they deserve, the government is showing disrespect to the country itself. They brave bad weather, bullets and so many unfavourable conditions just because they love their motherland. And what do they get in return... apathy from the part of the government and forgetfulness from the self centred Indian citizen.

Its time to change it all. The Indian soldiers should be given pride of place in the society and the benefits that are due to them should be cleared at the earliest. On this independence day, lets salute those forgotten heroes, if not for whom, we may not be walking so freely as now.

Checkout the great Jana Gana Mana Video initiative by A.R.Rahman featuring India's greatest artists. Its shot at the world's highest battlefield, Siachen. As always, when it comes to Indian patriotic music, this maestro is the last word....

Jana Gana Mana by A.R.Rahman and other famous Indian artists

Take a look at my old post on how meaningless Independence day celebrations have become..

also see this video..a foreigner singing jana gana mana

with salutes to the great Indian soldiers,
your crusader Praveen

The Drug Trilogy  

Posted by Praveen in , , ,

Last 3 days been a trip. A drug induced trip of unimaginable highs and the final fall from the top. In these 3 days, I tried my hand at every imaginable drug in the universe, from cannabis to cocaine to heroin. I thought like any other addict, I had my own share of hallucinations and illusions. Ok, now don't get me wrong. I haven't yet broken the vow of my life..I.e. to never touch any drug or alcohol. And after this trip, am sure I'll never break that vow in my lifetime. The 3 day trip am referring to are the 3 movies that I watched in the last 3 days. 'Trainspotting', 'blow' and 'Requiem for a dream'. All these movies deals with drugs, drug peddling, addiction, drug mafia, withdrawal syndromes and the ultimate tragedies of this social evil.

I started the journey with 'Train spotting' about a group of friends who are heroin addicts. A pacy well conceived film on their life which revolves around drugs, their attempts to clean up their life, then going back to their old habit and atlast the main character's final act of coming clean and choosing 'life', as he puts it. Ewan McGregor as Mark Renton puts up a great performance and also doubles up as the narrator in the film. To fully enjoy this film, you have to tolerate a really disgusting toilet scene at the start. I almost puked on the screen when i saw that. Then another disturbing scene is that of the death of a baby. Robert Carlyle as Begbie demands your attention. This is the man who blew us away with his portrayal of the great dictator in 'Hitler-the rise of evil'. 'Train spotting' was a great start to the drug movie fest.

Next in line was 'Blow', the real story of the drug smuggler George Jung. Johnny Depp gives it his best shot as the central character. The film chronicles Jung's rise from a simple village to one of the biggest drug dealers in America. He starts by selling Cannabis, gets rich but get busted soon. In jail, his room mate tells him about cocaine and the great opportunities that are awaiting him. So, after he gets out he goes to Colombia and starts off a roller coaster ride of smuggling drugs all over America. At one time, more than 85 percent of drugs that came to America came through Jung's hands. But his friends double cross him and his family life is affected. He ends up in jail and his wife divorces him taking custody of their only child. He gets out again and gets ready for one last job before he settles down with his daughter. But he's again double crossed and he fails to keep the promise with his daughter. Now, the real George Jung is serving a sentence in jail and will be released only in 2015. His daughter visited him in jail one year after this movie was released. Ray Liotta portrays George's loving father who tries to bring his son into the right path and delivers a great performance. At last George realises that all this dabbling in drug trafficking was not worth it. The final words from the movie are really well written and well delivered,
''So in the end, was it worth it? Jesus Christ. How irreparably changed my life has become. It's always the last day of summer and I've been left out in the cold with no door to get back in. I'll grant you I've had more than my share of poignant moments. Life passes most people by while they're making grand plans for it. Throughout my lifetime, I've left pieces of my heart here and there. And now, there's almost not enough to stay alive. But I force a smile, knowing that my ambition far exceeded my talent. There are no more white horses or pretty ladies at my door.''

Its an irony that the film's director Ted Demme died some years later because of cocaine addiction.

The final film in my drug trilogy can be called perhaps the most disturbing and effective of the lot. Accompanied by a rousing soundtrack, 'Requiem for a dream' is an all out attack on your senses. If you are a drug addict, you should see this, because you would never again touch or smell that thing in your life again. If you are not a drug addict, this is for you too, because this film would keep you away from the temptation to try out for atleast one time. The film is a commentary on the drug culture that has gripped the youth. Its also about people's addition to reality television. The models who take 'diet pills' to look slimmer also should see this. Ellen Burstyn as the old TV addicted Sara delivers one of the best acting performances I've ever seen in my life. Her love for her son and her obsession to appear on celebrity TV will keep u glued. She begins to take 'diet pills' to fit into a skin tight red dress she wore as a young lady. This takes a toll on her health and she begin to get hallucinations of the worst kind. Her son, Harry played by Jared Leto and his girlfriend Marion played by Jennifer Connelly are heroin addicts. Harry even forces Marion to sleep with another man to get money to buy more drugs. The makeup man deserves special mention for aptly capturing the physical changes in each character as their dependence on drugs increases. We are also teated to some imaginative cinematography. The film is depressing to the core. But this is a true depiction of how one's life could get damaged because of addiction. And kudos to the director Darren Aronofsky for not providing a positive ending. The horrific fate of Harry, Sara and Marion will serve as a deterrent for the wild youth of the world.

Checkout one of the songs that I wrote against drug addiction. This also happens to be one of our band's new original songs.

And do checkout the article by George on the rock stars who ruined their life as a result of drug addiction.

yours addictedly, crusader Praveen

Media Matters  

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These days the Indian media is making it a point to go overboard with issues that are of no concern to the common man. If the national media is obsessed with bollywood and the celebrities, the media down here in Kerala is over focussed on the political battles, that too within the same party. They find it hard to include issues that are of social relevance in their prime time news. Yes, its all a matter of ratings. And its all a matter of money too.

No one would have forgotten the extent to which the media suffocated us with news on Ash- Abhi marriage. The speculations which started months back reached its climax when the national news channels made the marriage a week long festival. For days on end, all the channels were showing the closed gates of ash's and abhi's palatial buildings. And then after the mariage, we were given a daily dosage of their temple visits, honeymoon and what not. Recently, there was the Haneef mohammed episode which went on like a soap opera for weeks. It was as if he had saved India from a national disaster or he did something heroic. And now its the Sanjay Dutt saga. Am a fan of his and is sad at the verdict he got but I just can't tolerate these kind of media madness. A common feature of all this is that we are bombarded with tons and tons of irrelevant details on the subject. Also they keep on repeating this same thing for days, with only a change in the name of the program. Am just wondering whom are they barking for.. For Whom are they wasting their precious journalistic saliva.. The national media's cameras have a visibility range only till the borders of the metro cities. They prefer to close their eyes to the ordinary man's plight. Instead they would show how sivaji rescued India or where exactly did Cristiano ronaldo kiss Bipasha basu.

For example, just tune into headlines today, owned by the great India today group, at 9pm everyday. This is the time most of the people are back home after a hectic day of work and switch on the tv to keep abreast with the day's happenings. And what do they get to see.. Pure celebrity news. The channel has devoted the prime time slot to special reports on the latest release or trivial details on celebrities. So, we had Paris Hilton's jail days, a serial actor's sexual escapades, Ash's horoscope, Harry Potter madness, Rakhi Savant's latest s'expose', Shakira's shaking hips and many more page 3 stuff, everything except serious news. The 4th estate is doing a commendable job indeed.

The scenario is a little different down here in Kerala, or it may appear so from the surface. You can never see any celebrity news in the channels. Here the channels are more focussed on the political battles, and that too mostly within the same party. During the UDF regime, we had the shameless father-son-daughter trio of Karunakaran-Murali-Padmaja playing all kind of dirty tricks against the A.K.Antony and Oomen Chandy. Then there was this comic circus of them joining NCP and now the occasional ''Going back to congress is not a crime'' dialogues from Mr. Karunakaran. But, wonder where the retarded daughter of his, Padmaja is hiding now. She's not been seen in the media for more than an year now. Now, its the time for the communist party and its ugly infights to take centrestage. One of the few sane persons left in that party, our CM VS Achuthanandan is being targeted by Mr.Mafia Pinarayi Vijayan and his goonda accomplices. The latest in this murky game is the interview with the tainted bussiness man Faris Aboobaker in the party channel, Kairali TV.

I had high regard for the Kairali TV MD John Brittas till yesterday. He used to handle the raging discussions on the channel impartially and with impeccable coolness. But he spoiled all the respect I had for him with this interview. It was clear that the interview was scripted cleverly at the behest of Pinarayi Vijayan to make some baseless allegations against VS Achuthanandan. The arrogance with which Faris talked was notable. There was also a stupid bishop[More on the other stupid bishops in the next post] to support him. He dint spare Mathrubhoomi, one of the best newspapers here, either. 'Mathrubhoomi' was the paper which came up with the damaging reports on the unholy nexus between the communist leaders and some dirty businessmen. And from that day on, the communist leaders are up in arms against the newspaper. And now they are using their own channel to tarnish the newspaper's and their own leader VS's image. John Brittas says that Kairali did only what any normal media would do and also that the whole interview was not at all a drama. But, having seen it all, i beg to disagree. Its no secret that VS is now the communist party's greatest enemy having taken a strong stand at Munnar and in various recent issues concerning the party. Now, the channel has also become a pawn at the hands of this goonda leaders in their battle against the old man.

The other channels like asianet also waste precious time discussing on issues such as these. But compared to the national channels, they are making an effort to go beyond the cool confines of the city and bring to the fore the sufferings of the poor. The channels have also taken a strong stand in various issues affecting the soceity. Still, as instruments to bring about a change, they also have to go a long way...

Waiting for a day when celebrity escapades are no more prime time news on the channels...

your crusader Praveen


Posted by Praveen in , , , ,

So, it was evening and I got out of home for my regular[once in an year] jogging at the museum grounds. As usual, got on my bike, plugged the earphones for my evening dose of heavy metal and sped on. The traffic police headquarters is a stone's throw away from my home. As I was riding on, I saw someone coming out of the gates of the headquarters. I sensed that he's gonna stop my vehicle. But I was not feeling anything wrong as my records are up to date after my harrowing experience with a very decent policeman some months back. As expected, the traffic police stopped me and asked to get the vehicle inside the office compounds. Thats when it struck me..The long arm of the law has finally caught up with me. I been breaking the helmet rule ever since it was implemented, except for the first day. Now, here am, caught in the act.

I was led to one of the rooms in the office. Another guy was also caught at the same time and we both reached the office. There were 2 trafic inspectors sitting there ready with a receipt for 100 bucks, the fine you have to pay for breaking the helmet rule. There is a funny side to this law. Some days back, one of my friends was caught for breaking this rule, but he had his helmet hooked on to his bike when he was caught. And he was fined 150 bucks, the extra 50 for carrying the helmet and not wearing it. Now, back to the story. The policemen smiled seeing my really scary Iron maiden t- shirt. He started writing the receipt. I started my usual helpless act with those long winding sentences containing a 100 'sir' calls. He said he was helpless since the government has asked for follow up on their 'helmet catch'. So they actually started this exercise yesterday to fill up the numbers[and the coffers].

I held on talking about the disadvantages of helmet mainly about my hair falling rate and all. Seeing my long hair, he said ''You have more than enough hair now. Who cares if some falls from it''. But, I do care..hmmm.. The I said this is unfair, this act of bringing hardships to people and forcibly collecting money. Now, he was getting angry. ''Boy, I been decent with you all along. Now dont make me do the usual stuff''. I got the message and my hands reached my pockets and pulled out a 100rs note. Still my itchy tongue won't keep quiet. I said ''Whoever is getting this money won't get any advantage from this as this is not given with my full wish''. He got fed up, ''Give the money and stop your big talk. If you got anything to say get a flag morrow morning and go to high court to register your protest''. I gave the money and told the truth that I was actually going to the museum and then asked whether they'll stop me again today. He said the receipt will help me for the day. ''Ok sir, now I gotta ride all over the city''. As I walked back, many more were being brought in for breaking the 'Hell-met' rule.

Now, morrow if you see a person with a helmet on his head, running along the museum grounds don't be surprised.. That would be surely me....

also checkout my previous post on helmets

your crusader Praveen


Posted by Praveen in , , ,

'An ad on female foeticide'


India's women are really fortunate if the UPA Government is to be believed. We got a madam President and a madam leader of the ruling party. What more can India's female population ask for? Now take a look at this news item...

30 female foetuses found from garbage dump in Orissa
Nayagarh (Orissa): They were killed before they could be born. Killed because they would grow up to be girls.On Sunday, the remains of at least 30 female foetuses were pulled out of an abandoned well in Nayagarh in Orissa.Even in a district where foeticide is shockingly common, people couldn't believe what they saw.
“We found skulls and bones in some biological waste. We have seized them and they have been sent for chemical examination,” said Superintendent of Police, Nayagarh, Rajesh Kumar. The police team that found the foetuses was raiding hospitals in Nayagarh following a similar discovery nine days ago when a schoolboy discovered remains of seven female foetuses a few kilometres off Nayagarh. At 901 females to 1000 males, Nayagarh district has the worst sex ratio in Orissa. It's no coincidence that it also has over 12 private nursing homes and ultrasound clinics.

This news item was accompanied with some shocking visuals on Tv. The female foeticide in Punjab is also really notorious. According to the same channel, about 10 million girls were killed off before they were born, all over India in the last 20 years. As we all know, India's sex ratio is a cause of concern with only 933 girls per 1000 boys. The Government which talks so much about woman empowerment should understand the sad fact that if this trend is allowed to continue India will have no more women left to be empowered. Am sure this case will also go like those that happened before in that no stern action will be taken by the government. The headline of morrow's papers would be about Prathibha Patil taking oath at office and some cliched stuff on Indian women. The sad reality as is evident from this report will remain in the inner pages to die down morrow itself...Rejoice women of India- U R EMPOWERED!!!

your crusader Praveen


Posted by Praveen in , ,

Crusader turns 2

Oops...this is so bad. I forgot my own blog's birthday. I started blogging on July 5th, 2005. And so this blog turned 2 about 18 days back. Like the 1st year, this year too was eventful with me getting a fair share of both accolades and brickbats. And coupled with that, with the increase in number of posts with titles such as 'X sucks' or 'I hate Y', my mailbox was always full with abuses and even threats to wipe me away from the face of the earth. But donnow why, most of these people chose to remain anonymous, maybe to avoid a direct confrontation with this heavyweight writer. The 2nd year started for crusader with a shocking occuring, the India govt banning blogs. Though it was back to normal within 2 days, I dint lose a minute in abusing the government. Then, for my post on the Lebanon crisis killing innocent children, I got some touching comments which were an inspiration for me to write more. This was an year in which the great Michael Schumacher bid goodbye to F1 and also the music world lost the great Ustad Bismillah Khan. Also, the evil Saddam was hung by the satan Bush. How can I forget 2 of the biggest days in my life- my meeting with A.R.Rahman and then watching the kings of heavy metal Iron Maiden live in Banglore.

But, the posts which got me the biggest response were the so called 'hate posts'. First in the list is the one against the founder of Sahaja Yoga, Mataji Nirmala Devi. The most funniest feedback i got is as follows

''i am sure from this time onwards life for you will not be great..all shaktis around you will disappear and the day will come soon when you will have to pray to the invisible GOD to forgive you for what you said in this article and till this time believe me your life will be miserable then you would have imagined..but we still forgive you from heart as "you do not know what you have said" and may the divine adishakti still bless you and forgive you..''

I was laughing my heads off for 2 days reading this post cursing me for a bad life. At the same time, I was sad at the fact that there are such naive people among Indians who blindly believe such fake divinity.

The 2nd hate post was for 'Dhwani', the cultural fest of college of engg, Trivandrum criticising the bad way in which the event was conducted and the arrogant attitude of the organisers. This was a post in which the supporters are detractors were in equal numbers but I did get a lot of filthy comments. I am also to blame for this because of the really abusive language that I used. And after 'the whore post' on Nirmala Devi, many of my good friends advised me never to use foul language because that reduced the authenticity of the post. Most of the time, my abusive words deflected the discussion away from the core issue. So, from then on I vowed never to use foul language in my blog. Although, one word did surface towards the end of the article criticising the saffron army for its tirade against arts and artists. This was also an article which caused much furore and gave me a truckload of abusive mails.

The rest of the time my blog was filled up with some movie reviews, videos, poems and stuff..So that was the 2nd year for my blog. I express sincere gratitude to all those people inspired me with their continued support. I also thank all those people who took time to comment on various articles[special thanks to the abusive mails]. Now, as a birthday gift to my blog, am changing its outdated description a little.

Your crusader Praveen


Posted by Praveen in ,

all the world's music is here

It was not long back, about 7-8 years ago. It was a source of great pleasure when I somehow got hold of a song I been looking for. For some rare songs, I had to wait for years to get it into my collection. But it brought me immense satisfaction and a certain genuine happiness in the heart when I got it. I still remember how or where I got some of those songs. Now, that pleasure is not there. In a world filled with torrents and file sharing stuff like Ares, shareaza, limewire etc, you can obtain any obscure song just by typing its name and pressing enter. You can even get complete collections of every artiast on the face of the earth. I, for one, has downloaded tons of discographies of various artists and am having a hard time devoting my time for a particular artist. This kind of easy availability has diminished the value of the music somewhat. The old world satisfaction of securing a much loved and rare song is also missing. Also, its confusing sometimes thinking on what I should listen beacuse I've all the world's music at my disposal. But still...getting a free meal is good...hahhaa...

your crusader Praveen

Arabikkatha- An ode to Kerala's Communists  

Posted by Praveen in ,

The computerised communist

Today, I watched the Malayalam movie 'Arabikkatha'[Arabian Story] directed by the ace director Lal Jose and starring Sreenivasan, an actor whose roles most Malayalis can identify with. This movie is the story of 'Cuba Mukundan', a hardcore communist loyalist who thinks the party is the last word in everything. He's even prepared to punish his own father if he goes against communist ideals. He got his nickname because of his blind love for the communist cuba and china. He thinks that these are the ideal states where there's no unemployment and no inequality is prevailing. The only thing he knows is to strike and fight against the wrongdoings of the capitalist businessmen. But the film reveals how at present the party is being governed by people who are ready to forget their ideals for money. It also shows how the real communist always spends his whole life toiling for his party but never gets into the upper echelons of power.

Mukundan is forced to go to work in Dubai to pay back a big debt his father had brought upon before his death. There he discovers certain bitter truths and some harsh realities. He finds out that the same things he once fighted against are the ones preventing his progress now. The one I most liked is the scene where he remembers about his strike against computerisation back home and here he's unable to do anything without computer literacy. This was a clever jab at the leftists who about 10 years back opposed with tooth and nails computerisation of offices. Then there was this scene of him being asked to sell coca cola and then him remembering his fights against the cola company back home. He realises the hardships men who go to work in the Arab countries has to face. Compared to that, the labour problems in our own state is nothing. Still, the same men who went on strike for petty reasons in their homeland never utters a word at the really pathetic work conditions they are subjected to.

This film is a wakeup call to Kerala's communists- both young and old. The youth organisations who jump out for misadventures hearing the leader's words should realise that believing them blindly would only lead to their own downfall. No leader here lives by the ideals once Marx spoke or wrote about. Leaders like Pinarayi are a shame to the whole idea of communism. His tirade against the malayalam daily 'Mathrubhoomi' is now quite famous here. He and his comrades even isued death threats to the editor of the daily. And y...Just because they reported the shameful truth that the party newspaper accepted bribes from some big bussinessmen. He also tries with all his might to somehow defame one of the remaining real communists in the party, V.S.Achudananthan. Pinarayi's close associates Kodiyeri, Jayarajan etc are known goondas. Its no secret that kodiyer's son is also a main goonda in the capital. Such is the legacy that the present communist crop gonna leave for future generations to follow that the future looks rather bleak. The student organisations also dont give much hope what with some old men past their college days being its leaders and the organisations itself carrying some outdated ideals. Hope the young leaders understand the real meaning of communism and adapt it to the ways of the modern world. LALSALAAM...

PS- Watchout for a really wonderful piece of direction towards the end of the opening titles. Some comrades get shot by the police and there is a pool of blood. All this is shown in black and white. Then Nedumudi venu gets a piece of white cloth lying on the ground and puts it in the pool of blood to get a red flag...and also checkout the poem accompanying this...

with a really red salute,
your crusader Praveen

Moshpit- God's own rock  

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Once upon a time, they used to say..Oh, what a place..always in a slumber..and what kinda people..the most sleepy unappreciative dead crowd u can ever have..and a rock show here..forget it... Now, to all those who used to say that or ever said that, here's our answer. We, the rockers community of Trivandrum is proud to say that, your perceptions or claims won't stand any longer. Because, today something happened which can be said to be an epoch making event in the history of rock in Trivandrum. Because today, MOSHPIT happened.

Billed as 'God's own rock' in 'God's own country', Moshpit broke all apprehensions about the feasibility of a rock concert in the city and also exceeded all our expectaions thus turning out to be one of the best things to have happened to the local rock scene in a very long time. When we started off with Moshpit last year, the scene was totally different. Not many were ready to shell out hard earned money for a rock show. Still, people came out in satisfactory numbers to cheer the 3 bands rage, rubbur band and afterdeath. But, now it has all changed for good. The number of new bands that have come up is a testimony to this fact.

In the morning itself, local metalheads were present at the venue, VJT Hall, happily doing all the small small chores. It was raining heavily from the morning itself thus proving right our decision to conduct the fest indoors. And to provide us security, there were a bunch of policemen from the world famous Kerala Police. The expressions on their faces during the show were great to see. They were as if standing on some alien land. Small groups of metal freaks started trickling in the afternoon. And by the time, the show started rolling towards 4 pm, the hall was filled up with a sizeable crowd, most of them wearing the traditional black t shirts and sporting long locks.

The proceedings started off with the band 'Xitropy'. As the guys from my band 'Stoneage' was having exams, I played guitar with xitropy. The set list consisted of 4 original tracks and 2 covers- distubed's voices and deftones's my own summer. The new age stuff did go down well with the audience. Nirmal spirited up the audience with his heavy screaming. The combination of weirdo lighting and smoke provided a great atmosphere to play in although sometimes the lights blinded me. Alex was pounding real hard and tight behind the drums. Cliffy put in some nice solos though the guitar tones kinda sucked. And Robbins did good work on the bass although he could've avoided delaying the whole event. The decision to play one more song Deftones's 'My own summer' was really unnecessary as it didn't add anything to the nice performance till then but only served in diminishing the effect. Next up was the band 'Soulburn' and they did burn the place with some tight numbers. My favourite was their cover of Pearl Jam's 'even flow'. Another notable one was Alice in Chains's 'would'. Lead guitarist Arjun's shirtless act attracted loud cheers from the crowd. Chippu did amazing work on bass. Vivek was aggression personified as he pointed at the crowd and said ''I want a f***ing mosh right here in the front''. Sabu, the drummer needs special mention as he was the one behind designing the posters, brochures and tickets of moshpit '07. After soulburn's grunge attack, the gospel band 'Live jam' came on stage. But I cant write anything on their show because I had to leave for some urgent work outside and couldn't watch it. I heard from someone who watched them that they played songs by POD. If anyone has more info on their performance, please do comment.

I came back right in time for one of my favourite bands 'K.OS'. Now, let me tell you, these guys mean serious business. The crowd really came alive to the fullest with their soundcheck playing Metallica's 'sad but true'. Then came 'Seek and destroy' and their original track 'Coup d etat', which now most of the rock fans here know by heart. The highlight of their performance was the awesome cover of Pantera's 'Cowboys from hell', which they dedicated to the late Dimebag Darrel. Nikhil, wearing his trademark torn jeans did some great work with the solos. Raja sporting his heavy mop of hair and ever present smile regalled the audience with some great rhythm work. This was a special performance for him and nikhil as their parents were present among the audience. Weirdo bassist Pappu was as weird as ever on stage. Wikiboy Basil did some amazing work as he slammed the hell out of the drums. Then, there was Mr.Louda JK with his powerful vocals, although he could've done better with less of the swearing. K.OS signed off with the crowd Favourite ''For whom the bell tolls''.

Next up was 'Heretic', the band from Ernakulam, which is quite famous in the Kerala rock circuit. I could watch only a couple of songs as I had to go for another urgent work. The ones I watched confirmed the fact that these guys have real substance. Their cover of SOAD's 'toxicity' was great. I heard that they also did some slipknot songs. Really missed the whole show. Guitarist Abhijeet's processor 'POD XT Live' did turn a few heads. My envious eyes also had a look at the jumbo sized processor. The next band in the non stop show was 'Rubbur band'. The highlight of their performance was the cover of Iron Maiden's 'fear of the dark'. Kripa should henceforth be called 'the lady dickinson' for this performance. The crowd chanted along with her during the chorus. Izak did some powerful vocal performances singing Slayer's 'Dead skin
mask' and Pantera's 'This love'. Sadly for Duttan, there was no one to sing the 'this love' chorus on stage as he had planned. But he did do some great work with the lead guitar. This was a special performance for the great Sunil as this was his last show with the band. We will all miss this innocent looking elephant on stage. Hari did amazing work on the drums. But the one who stole the show was 'Death Nithin' with his growling vocals. His vocals in Arch enemy's 'we will rise' and Iron Maiden's 'hallowed be thy name' deserves special mention. Not to forget was crazy Rahul on the bass. They ended the show by officially announcing the vacancies for vocalist and rhythm guitarist.

Now, it was time for 'slingshot' to liven up the fest with some funky stuff. This band's been in the news lately after winning the 'Kingfisher Kerala rocks' competition. They burst on stage with RHCP's 'hump de bump'. Professionalism was one element that shined through their performance. My favorites from yesterday's performance were ''country liquor'' and ''way back home'', their original tracks which are really different from what you usually hear from local bands. Fad was as high spirited as ever with his energetic vocals and also with his mic stand circus. The really fat Kaushik was too small for the big bass he was holding but he proved that size doesn't really matter as he blasted out some real cool bass lines. Then there was thalaivar Jhanu on guitars. I really love his unique playing style. Vineeth provided great support behind the drums. The guys came on stage wearing 'che guevara' t shirts, the symbol of revolution. Indeed, a representation of the revolution that is happening in the Trivandrum rock scene. The guys had their own unique way of interacting with the audience with some interesting games like 'Name-sucks or rocks' and 'Jump', when they made the audience sit on the floor and then jump back to life together. This was innovative performance at its best. Some other notable numbers were 'Blow' and 'get in line'.

Ok, its time for the final act. The one and only kings of Trivandrum rock- 'Rage'. There's a saying that goes here in the city- 'If u are doing covers, you gotta do it the rage way'. Such is the perfection with which they cover popular metal songs that you would mistake it for the original ones if you just hear the sound. They came for moshpit with just one practise session under their belt. But not once did that show in their performance. They soundchecked with Megadeth's 'holy wars' that send the crowd into a frenzy. The whole crowd was headbanging when they started iron Maiden's '2 minutes to midnight'. Rock Biju, the new vocalist blew away everyone with his vocal range as he rendered 'aces high' perfectly. His stage act reminded me of Bruce Dickinson during the recent Iron Maiden concert in Banglore, although once he almost fell on the ground as he jumped from the drum raiser. Next up they performed Ozzy osbourne's 'gets me through' and ACDC's 'Back in black'. Abi on the bass and pramod on the rhythm looked like twins as they banged their long haired heads in tandem. Mithun on the drums was bang on with some heavy drumming. The final song was Metallica's 'Master of puppets'. Now I have to mention one man who made this song all the more special. Lead guitarist Nithin chettan. The soloing was perfect to the core. He never missed a note in the whole performance. And his behind the scenes work for moshpit was exemplary. Without him, this fest would never have happened. He even sacrificed his practice sessions to run for various organising activities connected with the fest. Now, this showed why the whole rock community here respects this man so much. And the whole show showed why 'Rage' are the uncrowned kings of Trivandrum rock.

Oh no..I forgot 2 names. 2 awesome drummers who made this festival all the more worthwhile- Vlad Jayesh and his student Manu. Their solo performances were the highlight of Moshpit '07. I've no words to describe what I saw there. Some of the best drumming work I've ever seen in my life. Altogether, Moshpit '07 was a real fest of pure music that again underlined the fact that the rock scene in Trivandrum is alive and kicking. Can u believe that a mosh actually happened here in God's own country? Thankfully no one ended up with broken legs or jaws. And this was the first time stage diving happened down south. It was during Rage's power packed performance. I never knew that there were so many metal freaks in this city. The guys who came all the way from Ernakulam and Calicut also made the atmosphere lively. We've to thank the sponsors 'attitude' and 'cellular world' for coming forward and supporting our cause. As I said earlier, Moshpit '07 exceeded all our expectations and turned out to be a grand success. Going by this, I can very well guess how big Moshpit '08 gonna be. Those who missed it yesterday, am sad for you. Hope you can catch when its shown on 'rosebowl'. Still, U had to be there to know what it really was. If you were there you would be having a sore neck and sore throat now. Really 'god's own rock' in 'god's own capital'...

a big thanks from trivandrum rockers to all those who came and supported us..and to all those who helped us in some way or the other

your crusader Praveen


Posted by Praveen in , , , , ,




I hate politics. I hate politicians. But i always end up writing just about that. Because, someway or other, their foolish decisions affects us[mostly badly]. The latest political game being vigorously played out now will rob us of one of the most illustrious persons to have adorned India's presidentship. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam is a man whom all indians[except politicians] love, irrespective of age. He's the 'Father of modern India', a man whom we all see almost on par with the great Mahatma. A man who redefined India's standing as a technologically innovative nation. A scientist par excellence. Above all, a down to earth human being who saw himself as one among us despite being the nations' first citizen. His inspiring words and deeds have fuelled a whole generation to follow in his footsteps and serve their own motherland rather than sweat it out for foreigners. He taught us all to dream and exhorted us to reach for our dreams. He din't care about his own security as he reached out to the common man. He set an example worldwide with his inspiring words and made the whole world to look at our country with envy for having such an enlightened soul as the leader. His speeches, most notably the recent one at Europian union, are classified as the best ever to be spoken by a world leader. Yet, unfortunately, India's famed political leaders find this great man unsuitable to be India's president for a second term.

All the politicians were competing with each other in blaming Abdul Kalam for expressing his desire for a second tenure. We had GuruDas Dasgupta calling him ''a gimmick'' and asking ''what has he done for the country''. May I ask this revered communist leader, ''Have you ever spilled a drop of sweat for your motherland? Have you done anything other than using up all your saliva in crticising anything and everything?'' Then we had Sharad Pawar, the man who made a mockery of BCCI with his political games telling Kalam. ''Your game is over'' . Is this the way you talk to one of the most respected elder statesmen we ever had? Maybe, this is the Pawar culture, since he doesn't know what the word 'respect' means. Last but not the least, we had India's official buffoon Laloo Prasad Ji[I respect him for what he did with the Railways], giving a piece of advice to Kalam, ''You should quit gracefully''. I can't help laughing at the irony of it all. Here is a man who's still going strong after a string of multicrore scams alleged against him and he's advicing the purest soul to have adorned India's highest post to quit gracefully. I can't understand what's the wrong thing in he wanting to run for a second term. He's actually making himself available to serve the country. His critics[politicians] speak as if he's a culprit in some big scam. Shame on all of you for this unbecoming behaviour. How can we forget so fast all the great service he has done for the nation?

And what we get in his place? Pratibha Patil, a lame lady who looks not even good enough for the post of panchayat president. It makes my head to bow down in shame to think that this woman is going to represent India worldwide. Whats this big deal about woman empowerment, i can't understand. Presidentship is not the kind of post where you make experiments on empowering woman. It requires a person of great stature, who has proved his/her credentials. We shouldn't be nominating some unknown lady all of a sudden to become the president of India. There are so many other ways to empower woman, by setting up woman co-operatives and giving them special training. By giving the post of presidentship to this woman, we won't be progressing even a single step in woman empowerment. Rather, her blunders will eventually make everyone to believe that a woman is incapable for this post. Mind you, she's no Indira Gandhi. She's just a puppet in the hands of the worthless foreign lady, Sonia Gandhi. The image of Sonia tugging her hand and leading her to a press conference reminded me of a little kid being taken to school by her mother. Pratibha's own words, ''I am not a rubber stamp'' confirms the fact that she herself has a feeling that she's a rubber stamp. Already, all the filthy politicians are happy to lick Sonia'a feet. Pratibha is one more addition to the growing list of Sonia'a shameless sycophants. Our Prime Minister Mr.Mamohan Singh is a highly efficient man who could've become a great leader. But he too is a puppet of Sonia.

Already, there are many many allegations surfacing against Pratibha. You can dismiss some of them as the opposition's way of tarnishing her image. But you can't dismiss all. A woman who claims to have talked with ghosts is not at all suitable to lead a nation. Then there's this story of the woman's co-operative bank founded by her. A woman's co- operative is supposed to give loans only to woman. This institution is meant for the so called 'woman empowerment'. But most of the loans that were given was to men, mostly from prathibha's own family. Now, we can call that 'man empowerment'. Atlast the bank shut shop some years back and still owes a lot of money. Then, the other story of the sugar factory, of which she was a co- founder, owing a lot of money to some banks. Lastly, the report on her brother's being murderers and prathibha trying to protect them. You cannot turn a blind eye to all of these and tell its all baseless. Atleast, one of these charges should be having something behind it. No one would build up such stories from scratch. Do we actually need such a person to lead our nation, just for the sake of this divine stuff called 'woman empowerment'? Despite all this Mr.Manmohan Singh was eager yesterday to dismiss all these as nothing more than 'mudslinging'. And when asked about some ministers from his cabinet talking irreverently to Abdul Kalam, he was quick to point out the 'context' and defend the ministers. So, according to him its ok to talk any rubbish about India's greatest scientist and best president till date. But we shouldn't utter a word about a president cadidate who's yet to prove her credentials. Isn't it the right of every Indian citizen to know the background of the person who's going to be the president of the country? Another thing is that we still haven't heard Prathibha opening her mouth to comment on any of this. She got the whole congress party to speak for her. Maybe, they know that if she opens her mouth, she'll utter another blunder like the now famous 'veil' comment.

The union minister P.R.Dasmunshi went as far as to request the opposition candidate Mr.Shekhawat to step down from the election and thus pave way for India's first woman president.If electing a woman is so important, why dont you look at some really popular female social activists like Medha Patkar? That wont happen because they wont be ready to lick sonia's feet or toe the congress line. Its really a bad state of affairs that a foreign lady of not much credentials to speak of, is taking India' most important decisions. The Gandhi family is leading this country to doom. The whole political community in India are the exclusive sychophants of this family. And now because of them, we've lost a great man at the helm. We'll miss you dear Abdul Kalam Ji...The morons in Indian politics doesn't know your worth. How I wish the people had the power to vote the president. You would have won hands down. Now, Lord save India from the hands of the loan defaulter, corrupt and sister of a murderer, Pratibha, the new president of India....

adieu to our beloved president Kalamji,

your crusaderr, Praveen