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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


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'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


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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


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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  

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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