Who's bad? Gambhir or Watson?  

Posted by Praveen in , , ,

Aussies have done it again. 'Provoke and trap', the Aussie strategy has worked again. The latest casualty in this well set trap is Gautam Gambhir. Yesterday, Shane Watson provoked him with an outstretched hand and some real nice words while he was taking a run. He returned the favour as he ran back with a slight elbowing, which he himself termed as unintentional. He was again targeted by Simon Katich. Now, what we see today is that Watson was let off with a small fine and Gambhir was banned for the next test match. This is another case in a long line of ones where the victim is the one who is punished. And by some strange coincidence, these victims happen to be Asians.

Aussies are real bad losers. The moment they find that they are losing their grip on the game, they let out their ugly side. Many might not have forgotten the Monkeygate at Sydney. Gilchrist, one of the few Aussie players I used to respect, showed his 'true colours' with some uncharitable comments against a man who is considered as the embodiment of fair play on the field. After retiring, he found himself out of the limelight and this was the way he discovered to get himself back there. Another hidden agenda was popularising his book. Now, he's at it again with more such comments on Sourav Ganguly. I pity these guys. Ponting, before coming to India for the current tour, was bragging about the Australian brand of attacking cricket and made fun of India's old school game. Once the real game started, the tables turned and Indians played attacking cricket whereas Aussies went into ultra defensive mode. Then they went into 'attack' mode, not with their bat or ball, but with their behaviour. As usual, the best performing player was targeted. But, unexpectedly they got a taste of their own medicine. And, the administrators with that 'Hate Asia' agenda didn't like it.
the McGrath-Sarwan spat

I don't understand, why this partiality? The Australian team was bowling at a slow over rate. If my memory serves right, this was the reason for which Sourav Ganguly was banned for a few tests some years back. Then, why did they not take action against 'Punter' Ponting? There are numerous such cases where they have gone scot free and we've got punished. BCCI's monetary clout been troubling them for a long time. Now this is the way these jealous guys get over this frustration. Though the Aussies appear tough from outside, they are real cry babies inside. They'll taunt you with expletives of the highest order. If you give one back, they'll cry foul. Remember that famous Sarwan-McGrath spat? McGrath asked Sarwan, "How's Lara's 'u know what'?". He just replied "Ask your wife". Quite a funny retort. But McGrath got really angry. If you can't bear with it, don't do such things in the first place. But these guys never understand. They neednot. Because, they have the match referees and the administrators at ICC to help them by punishing the victim.

images courtesy-Timesnow.tv, cricketnext.com

your crusader Praveen

Train of thoughts  

Posted by Praveen in , ,

Train set and match spied under the blind
Shiny and contoured the railway winds
And I've heard the sound from my cousin's bed
The hiss of the train at the railway head

Always the summers are slipping away

A 60 ton angel falls to the earth
A pile of old metal, a radiant blur
Scars in the country, the summer and her

-lyrics of "Trains" song by the band 'Porcupine Tree'

After a long time (about 1 year) I travelled in a train last week on my trip from Bangalore to my hometown Trivadrum. I've become fed up of those long journeys in the volvos where you have to sit and sleep in shapes as weird as 'S' and 'Z'. Also, the buses used to take a long time to reach the specified destination. Now, am happy that am back to travelling in trains, although procuring a ticket is a hard task which is a process that you have to initiate atleast 2 months before the journey. So, atlast last wednesday I got back into my love affair with trains. I reached the station 1 hour before the departure and then it was a long wait inside the half empty compartment. Some foreigners clad in saffron(No no, they are not from the ugly saffron brigade) and white were roaming around with books of epics like Ramayana, Bhagavatham, Mahabharatha etc. One of them came to me and started his lecture on Ramayana and Mahabharatha. After some minutes of patient listening, during which I was trying to control my laughter , I told him that I've read these books before. He smiled and said "Thanks. Hare Rama, Hare Krishna" which I found myself repeating back. I pondered over the irony of foreigners selling our own epics to us. After a long wait, my favourite sound of the train's long horn was heard and it started chugging along slowly. As it gained momentum, the faces of the people standing in the platform started to roll along fast. It reminded me of a film being rewinded. The film of my train journeys.
My first memories of train journeys are of the long hauls from Trivandrum to Kolkata(then Calcutta). For 3 years, we used to shuttle back between these places at regular intervals. A single journey meant 2 days of your life spent in a train. The entire flora and fauna of India would be on view as the loco snaked its way through the various Indian states. And taking along a naughty kid like me, who was such a nuisance, meant that my parents never loved these journeys. Same was the case with all the elderly people who by sheer lack of luck happened to occupy the same compartment as me. As I grew up, I always waited for an opportunity to travel in trains. From those days till today, there are some things which I find really special with travelling in trains in India.(For your info, that was just a show off dialogue. I've never crossed Indian borders, except in dreams :D ). I'll list out a few of those.
Bombay VT-India's most beautiful railway station

1. First and foremost, the bystanders- I meant the people, mostly innocent children, who stand and watch the trains with wide open eyes, as the train passes by their village. Particularly, I love those kids who never get tired of waving at trains. Some of them try to run along for some distance. A lot of them are so poor that they would never travel in this wonder vehicle which they see everyday.

2. The 'chaaai, kaaapi' calls- This is irresistible. Although the taste of the coffee and tea served at the railways leave a lot to be desired, the long tuneful calls of 'chaaaai, kaaaappi' is sure to make you drink one. And another amazing thing is, wherever you go in India, they sound the same that I sometimes used to wonder whether it was the same person selling tea in all stations across India.

3. The unknown- The places you see during train journeys are mostly those which are hidden from you when you travel by road. Most of the times, these are uninteresting. But sometimes, I've seen some of the most beautiful sceneries from the train windows.

4. The bridges- When the train travels over long bridges, its an exhilarating feeling. If you look down through the window, you will most probably see only water. You would never feel that the train is travelling on rails. And if it is early morning or late evening, you'll see the sun in all its glory which adds to the 'picture perfect' effect. A lone sailor on his country boat(common sight in Kerala) is an icing on the cake.

5. The people- The ones you meet during the train journeys, the ones that you share the compartment with. I've got some really good friends in these journeys. I've also met some of the most irritating people here. Still, its always a nice mix. Not tobe left out, some really beautiful gals. ;)

6. "aane ki sambhavana"- The famous dialogue that preceeds the arrival of the train. This has gone on to attain a legendary status mainly due to some real horrible PJs.(Keralites would know what am speaking about)

7. the "dhak dhak" beat- The sound of chugging of the train drives me crazy. I can spend long hours on journies just by listening to these rhythmic beats. Sometimes, it breaks into a 'dream theater' like off-beat. Thankfully, I haven't headbanged to it until now.
During the all- India train journey with friends

A small note one of my most special train journeys. A 15 day (almost) half-India trip during engineering with my classmates. Our journey route was Trivandrum-Goa-Mumbai-Pune-Hyderabad-Bangalore-Chennai-Trivandrum. We hopped from train to train as we were treated to the richness and diversity of India. Those 15 days will always remain in my memory. Also requiring special mention is the journey me and my friends had from Trivandrum to Guruvayoor on a general compartment filled to the brim. We even didn't have space to sit on the floor. All of us sat together on the floor near the smelly as hell toilet with no space to move. But, still we enjoyed the journey like anything. Same with the train trips with my band. These journeys are priceless when compared to a trip in the executive class of a boeing.
me and friends sleeping on the floor of a general compartment

So, thats my list. Do you have such favourite memories associated with trains? Share with me.

PS-checkout the "trains" song by Porcupine Tree. Its awesome.

Pic 1 courtesy-narsapur.net

Raj Thackerey has a dream  

Posted by Praveen in , ,

I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for regionalism in the history of our nation.

I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the Maratha Manoo dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are not created equal."

I have a dream that one day on the saffron streets of Bandra, the sons of Marathis can chop the sons of North Indians in the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Uttar Pradesh, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of north Indians, will be transformed into an oasis of Mumbaikars and Maratha Manoos.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by their patriotism but by their regionalism.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day, down in Kerala, with its vicious communists, with its politicians having their lips dripping with the words of incomprehension and stupidity; one day right there in Kerala, little Maratha boys and Maratha girls will be able to join swords with little Kerala boys and Kerala girls as enemies.

I have a dream today.

This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into an even bigger cacophony of attacks and fights. With this confusion we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for regionalism together, knowing that we will perish one fine day.

This will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with a new meaning, "My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside, let regionalism ring."

And if India is to be a great nation this must become true. So let goondaism ring from the prodigious hilltops of Western Ghats. Let goondaism ring from the mighty mountains of Himalayas. Let goondaism ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Parassala!

Let goondaism ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Kupwara!

Let goondaism ring from the curvaceous slopes of Aandippetti!

But not only that; let goondaism ring from Stone Mountain of Gundalpet!

Let goondaism ring from Lookout Mountain of Raibareily!

Let goondaism ring from every hill and molehill of Mumbai. From every mountainside, let goondaism ring.
-'I have a Dream' speech as delivered by Raj Thackerey

Yesterday, with the arrest of Raj Thackerey one of my long standing dreams was fulfilled. His high handedness been going on for too long. It was ridiculous to even think that in such a big country, a not so well built man and his band of Goondas been unleashing terror and still not even a single little finger was raised against them. Every other day he gives an inflammable speech on North Indians. His party(Is that a party? Its like another terrorist outfit) workers go on a rampage with little or no provocation attacking North Indians, not even sparing poor taxi drivers. MNS(I have made a really filthy abbreviation for that, which is too spicy to post here) is shivsena served in a new bottle. Sena used to go around(they still does that) moral policing and attacking whatever they found to be against their ideology. So, Valentines day cards were burned, couples were beaten up, rock concerts were stopped, art exhibitions were vandalised. Bal Thackerey once even called the great A.R.Rahman a traitor and accused him of purposefully disrespecting the national song by releasing the album 'Vande Mataram'. I dont know who gave them the license to decide what we should do, what we should hear or what we should wear.

MNS, on the other hand is less of a moral police. Its more of a regionalistic bastard. And its even more dangerous. Though Shiv Sena also promotes regionalism, MNS took it to a whole different level so that it became an unwritten rule that 'If you are not a Maratha, you don't have a place in Mumbai'. So, they set out on this whole excercise of regional profiling where even young street vendors from other states were beaten up and terrorised. The latest in these attacks is what happened this weekend at the recruitment to central and west Railways. All the north Indian candidates were beaten up and their certificates torn apart. A peculiarity of Raj is he never denies that the attacks were done by his men. Rather, he proudly says, 'We did it' and starts telling you the reasons for it. Such haughtiness arises from the fact that he knows nobody would even dare touch him. Thankfully, yesterday he was arrested under a non-bailable offence and is on remand till November 4. I really wish MNS was banned along with Bajrang Dal and Raj is tried as a traitor alongwith Arundathi Roy, who by the way has put out another stupid opinion on the Batla house encounter.

So, onto the closing words of the 'I have a dream' speech(this time in my own words)
And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, South Indians and North Indians, Hindus and Muslims, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Christian spiritual, "Dead at last! Dead at last! thank God Almighty, he is dead at last!"

PS- No offence meant to any community or religion. All offence meant to Raj Thackerey, MNS and the rest of the saffron brigade.

Unrelated PS- Sorry for breaking my promise of not blogging till next Tuesday. I was so happy that I do to post this. Wish you all a Happy Diwali once again. See you next week.

your crusader Praveen

Pick This Flick 7- Into The Wild  

Posted by Praveen in ,

Two years he walks the earth. No phone, no pool, no pets, no cigarettes. Ultimate freedom. An extremist. An aesthetic voyager whose home is the road. Escaped from Atlanta. Thou shalt not return, 'cause "the West is the best." And now after two rambling years comes the final and greatest adventure. The climactic battle to kill the false being within and victoriously conclude the spiritual pilgrimage. Ten days and nights of freight trains and hitchhiking bring him to the Great White North. No longer to be poisoned by civilization he flees, and walks alone upon the land to become lost in the wild. - Alexander Supertramp May 1992 "
-from 'Into the wild'

I decided to see the movie 'Into the wild' after hearing its rousing soundtrack by 'Pearl Jam' frontman Eddie Vedder. Filled with gems like 'Hard Sun', it was enough to make me see this movie somehow. Still I didn't expect much great things from it. Written and Directed by Sean Penn, 'Into the Wild' is based on a book written by Jon Krakauer about the real life adventures of Christopher McCandles, who embarked on a journey of self discovery after his graduation. Christopher, played brilliantly by Emile Hirsch, was an idealist who alongwith his sister, had a troubled childhood owing to the constant fighting of their parents. He hated his parents' materialistic ways most evident in the scene where he rejects their offer to buy him a new car as a gift for his graduation. The film is shot from the point of view of two persons, the first hand account of Chris and the narration by his loving sister Carine.

After graduation, Chris donates the $24000 in his account to charity and sets off in his car to the edge of America, the wilderness of Alaska. He loses his car to a flash flood. The rest of his journey is a series of hitchhikes when he meets with different people who influences him a lot and he inturn influences their lives also. He has destroyed all his personal identity informations, credit cards etc and travels under the name of Alexander Supertramp. He meets a farm owner Wayne(Vince Vaughn) , the hippies Rainey and Jan and old and lonely leather worker Ron(Hal Holbrook). On the course of his journey, he canoes down the Colorado river to Mexico. And this without any prior experience in manouevering such dangerous waters that too without any protective headgear. This single incident reveals the amount of craziness in him. Ron teaches him leatherwork and tries to dissuade him from going to Alaska. He even offers to adopy him as his grandson. But, in the end, no one can prevent Chris from reaching Alaska after a 2 year journey. There he lives in an abandoned bus which he calls as "The magic Bus".
The real Chris McCandles

In Alaska, he puts to use all the things he learned in his life changing journey. He hunts with his rifle but his inexperience in preserving the flesh causes him to starve. When he decides to go back, he finds that the river which he had easily crossed while coming there has now turned dangerous. He is trapped. He tries to survive by eating plants but he accidently eats a poisonous plant which causes problems in his digestive system and he starves to death. Its when the end title card flashed that I was in for a shock,'In memory / Christopher Johnson McCandless / February 12, 1968 - August 18, 1992'. Thats when I realised this was a true story. Imagine a man going on such a journey. This film will make you think with some of the best dialogues that I've seen in recent times. Some are truely poetic and some really inspiring. At the end of the movie, a self-portrait of the original chris, which was found undeveloped in his camera, is shown. His body was found only 2 weeks after his death by moose hunters. According to Wikipedia, Chris himself welcomed his death by going to such wilderness without a proper compass or map. There was a hand operated tram near the place where he died, using which he could've easily crossed the river. Anyway, one has to salute the spirit of this man. Truely awesome! And kudos to the cast, especially Emile for his fairly accurate portrayal of Chris.

Following are some of my favorite lines from the movie(courtesy-IMDB)

"I read somewhere... how important it is in life not necessarily to be strong... but to feel strong. "

"If we admit that human life can be ruled by reason, then all possibility of life is destroyed."

"The core of mans' spirit comes from new experiences."

"Mr. Franz I think careers are a 20th century invention and I don't want one." (I agree a 1000 times)

"Happiness only real when shared. "

Also lookout for some of the best visuals that you'll ever see in a movie. Another one to add to my list of favourite road movies headed by the classic "Motorcycle diaries". After I watched the movie, I checked the IMDB rating of the movie and yes, it was there in the top 250 list of all time great movies at #137.

Sources-Additional info on Christopher courtesy Wikipedia.

PS- Don't forget to checkout Eddie Vedder's soundtrack which led me to this movie, rather than the other way around.

Unrelated PS- Morrow am going home for Diwali. So taking a brief hiatus till next Tuesday. Wish you all a Happy Diwali. Will miss your blogs.

your crusader Praveen

Growing up with a Genius- Sachin  

Posted by Praveen in , ,

Rewind. 18 years. Stop. That day, we got our first ever TV at home. Till that day, the word 'cricket' didn't mean much to me though I had visited the mecca of Indian cricket "Eden Gardens", as a toddler. My only other information on the game were the things which my father used to tell me, which honestly I found hard to comprehend. One of those days just after the TV became a part of the household, we saw a small program on cricket in the exciting and only one channel called doordarshan(yes, it was exciting then). They were talking about an immensely talented young cricketer and his latest exploits. I didn't understand much of what they told. But the smiling face of that youngster got imprinted somewhere deeply in my heart. Then after some days, one of my neighbours, a big guy who used to come to play with us told me a story. A story about a braveheart cricketer who as a 16 year old playing his first match against a team boasting of some fearsome fast bowlers. Sadly, he got hit many times on his body by the ruthless bowlers. At one point of time, he was bleeding too. But, he declined to be carried away in a stretcher and played some audacious shots. Though, he didn't score much, he had made his mark. After the story, I made him repeat the name of the guy many times to me as I was finding it hard to pronounce and remember that name. The name was, as you might have guessed, "Sachin Tendulkar". From that day, that name's been on my lips whenever I think of the game of cricket. No wonder, my favorite ad those days was the boost ad featuring old Kapil and a young Sachin saying "Boost is the secret of our energy".
Just like with A.R.Rahman's music, it was a case of growing up together. Those days, in school, there was no question about who the world's greatest cricketer was. We were all Sachin fans, so there were no fights in that regard. India didn't have frequent matches like we have today. So, we had to wait patiently for months at a time to see him play. And, there were no ways to see the overseas series. Thats when I first started touching the newspaper. As soon as I get it, its a frantic rush to the last page to see the cricket scoreboard. My eyes first went to the middle of the score board, where Sachin's name used to appear. Only then would I proceed to see the team score. It gave me immense pleasure whenever he had a good score. The hero-cup semifinal match against South Africa when he bowled the last over, with them needing 6 runs and he conceeded just 3 runs is still fresh in memory.The madness reached its heights during the 1996 world cup. The whole country was glued to the television. Though Jayasurya and his mates from the island won the cup, for Indians it was Sachin all the way till that horrible day at Eden Gardens. The Titan cup with him as captain is unforgettable. In the matches that India won, including the finals he made sizeable contributons with the bat. Though many others scored tons of runs, I never bothered. None of them gave me the sheer pleasure that this guy gave. His straight drives and cover drives were enough to make me jump up from my seat and scream. Whenever he failed, it was heartbreak. I would switch off the tv and would forget about the match. The images of him walking back always made me sad.
Talking of images, I had this hobby of keeping paper cuttings. There are 1000s of images of Sachin that I got from 'The Hindu', the local 'Mathrubhoomi' and 'The sportstar'. His shots, his ADs, his public appearances, everything were cut up and neatly stacked in my collection. Still, there were sometimes when I thought he's not that a good player as I expected. He's failing many times. There were some days when I just hated him. Thats when the year 1998 came. Sachin was everywhere. From decimating the Aussies, right from the tour match against Mumbai to the deserts of Sharjah, Sachin once and for all tore that elements of hate and doubt away from me. He kept me happy the whole year. I read and re-read the "I'll be going to bed having nightmares of Sachin just running down the wicket and belting me back over the head for six" comment by Shane Warne. Those 2 nights in Sharjah are worth adding to the 1001 Arabian nights for its sheer beauty. Then came 1999 world cup and tragedy struck. His father died. A world cup without Sachin was unimaginable. India lost the first 2 matches. Then he came back, placing his country first. And what a comback it was. A blistering 140 off 101 balls, coming from a man who's coming to terms with a tragedy in his life. They won some more matches. But sadly, this time also India didn't win the cup. We used to watch India's matches at a house near our school. I still remember watching his innings of 186 against New Zealand one whole morning and coming to class with a beaming face in the afternoon. Around this time, Sachin's classic cover drive made it to the cover of the TIME magazine.
Sachin kept going. Records kept tumbling. And we were treated to more innings of heavenly quality, most notably the 136 that he made against Pakistan at Chennai battling an injury. When the other batsmen fell like nine pins and India lost by 12 runs, he was blamed for not finishing th game. That was the start of the age of mindless Sachin bashers. They questioned everything from his commitment to his greatness. As a stupid poll in NDTV asked 2 days back , just before his 12000 runs in test cricket, "Is Sachin Playing for his records alone?". And close to 50% of those who voted said yes. Is this what we should give him for being a tireless warrior who put his everyting into the game for 2 decades? How can anyone forget what he has done to Indian cricket starved of brilliant players? We look into the filtered statistics which point out his failures and conveniently forget his victories which are larger in number. If he scores runs against minnows, its a sin. At the same time, we forget that he has scored the maximum against the invincible Aussies. He was ridiculed as an injury prone cricketer. 'Try playing international cricket for 20 years and come out unscatched. Then speak.' Thats what I've to say to these so-called learned critics who consider themselves to be the grandfathers of W.G.Grace.
In the 2003 World cup, India started off with a string of very bad losses. The fans back home were baying for the team's blood. Sachin appealed to the home fans to show a little patience and promised them that they will deliver the goods. From then on, we saw a different Sachin. Every bowling attack was torn apart as he went on to score 673 runs and win the player of the tournament. England's Caddick said-"Sachin's just like another batsman in the Indian team". Next match he saw this another batsman hitting him out of the park and scoring 36 off his 19 balls. That pull shot off Caddick which went out of the park is another unforgettable one. Then, the sublime innings against the Pakistanis. That was just perfection. Still, the failure in the finals saddened him. He had nothing much to do after the bowlers conceded 358 runs to the Aussies. The critics as usual quickly forgot those 673 runs which took India to the finals and tore him apart for the runs he didn't score in the finals.
Last week, I fulfilled the long cherished dream of watching him live,at Bangalore. I passionately joined in that earth shattering roar that always accompanies Sachin's arrival at the crease. Its a reception specially reserved for him, no other cricketer ever commanded that much fan frenzy. The 'Sachin Sachin' chants start from the time the 2nd Indian wicket falls to the time he faces the first ball. But sadly he failed in the first innings and my wish to watch him conquer the record was vanished. Yesterday, as he reached the pinnacle of world cricket by overtaking Lara's record and being the first person to score 12000 runs in test cricket, I was at office. I wanted to scream out loud, but the company policies don't allow me that. He is now the emperor of test and one day cricket with 12000 and 16000 runs respectively. In one days, no one is even near his record. Still, I saw stupid people arguing on Sachin's commitment to the team. What is enough for them, I dont know. What more do they need, God knows. I can't find a more perfect role model than him in Indian sports. If there's a human equivalent of 'down to earth', it is him. He's an example for everyone on how to carry success and brilliance on one's shoulders. Coming to on-field behaviour, there's no one better. The only guy to be given 'head before wicket' hasn't bothered to turn back or show dissent on even a single occaion when he was wrongly given out. He still lives the simple life of a family man and stays away from 'page 3'. He does a hell lot for charity but prefers to keep it all a secret rather than boast about it to the media.
The critics have been talking about his retirement for too long. And yesterday, they got a fitting reply. "People sometimes throw stones and you convert them into milestones"-Words from a softspoken man who always made his bat do the talking. I just have one more wish for Sachin-the 2011 world cup. I hope he retires only after that. But once he hangs up his boots, cricket won't be the same again, atleast for me. I may stop watching cricket regularly as I did with Formula 1 after Schumi's retirement. India will never find a replacement for this man, a man as charismatic, and such a genius as this. Like Federer, like Schumi, like Maradona, he's an once in a lifetime player. And we all are lucky to have lived in this times. To all those criticize him mindlessly, we, the billions of Sachin fans around the world, are doing just fine without you. You can 'think' whatever you like, because nobody cares what 'you' think. Go, Sachin GO. The world is at your feet.
-with love, an ardent fan of 18 years

your crusader Praveen

Blog action Day-The Final Harvest  

Posted by Praveen in , , ,

October 15 2008-A momentous day in the history of blogs. Today, thousands of blogs the world over will discuss the same topic-Poverty. Titled 'Blog action day', this is an initiative to 'change the conversation' to shed light on this global problem and arrive at various steps to alleviate poverty. Am posting this song on the big issue of farmer's suicide in India. I started writing this last year and left it after four lines. Yesterday night I completed it.

Every year thousands of farmers in India are ending their lives because of high debts and extreme poverty. There were many cases of whole families committing suicide. Widespread industrialisation, lack of help from Government, unexpected natural calamities and the worsening economic conditions have almost made it sure that agriculture is on the way to its graveyard. Hope the Government reinvents its agricultural policy and save the fast diminishing breed of farmers. I dedicate this song to all those men who died on the very land they used to cultivate.

*****The Final Harvest******
Staring at the twisted noose
hanging from the shattered roof
My sturdy hands go numb
Am I doing something dumb?

My first smell was that of the soil
On which I had a life of toil.
My first steps were on this land
which always gave me a helping hand.

The rub of the green used to go my way
everyday was meant to make hay
Songs of harvest were on my lips
Worry was nowhere to be seen a bit.

Then, one fine day, it all dried up
the streams were flowing empty
as was my child's stomach
the crops were waiting death.

the land of green is a thing of past
skyscrapers mock at me from there
Highways zoom over from nowhere
Where should I go, am unaware.

Silently I cry, helplessly I plead
But no one here to pay heed
For they are all gone, my family,
Four lives taken by poverty.

The fertile land which bore me
Now smells of innocent blood.
As the noose tightens around my neck,
I know for sure I was never dumb.

As the world sheds millions of tears over the crashing markets and the falling billionaires, lets all shed a single tear for these unforgotten men who doesn't have the bank balance for the media to go after them. Afterall, without people like them, we can never dream of having a hearty meal.

Check these heart rending images of poverty from another blog action day blog

Pic courtesy-topnews.in

your crusader Praveen

Community Madness  

Posted by Praveen in ,

"orkut is an online community designed to make your social life more active and stimulating. orkut's social network can help you maintain existing relationships with pictures and messages, and establish new ones by reaching out to people you've never met before. orkut makes it easy to find people who share your hobbies and interests, look for romantic connections or establish new business contacts. You can also create and join a wide variety of online communities to discuss current events, reconnect with old school mates or even exchange your favorite recipes."
-from the description of Orkut by its makers.

I was going through Richa's post on some funny advice she got from an unknown guy in orkut. This made me log into my orkut account where am not as active now, as I used to be. And I had a horror waiting there. There, in the front window diplaying my communities, I saw this name 'Proud to be gay'. Enough to send me into a fit of madness. Never in my wildest dreams would I've joined such a community which can put a big quesion mark over my sexual orientation. Neither am I a person who consumes drugs or alcohol to join such communities in a half conscious mind. Then, How could this have happened? My train of thoughts led me to a conversation I had with a friend sometime back. He had told me that some communities in orkut changes their name and description one fine morning and morph into an entirely unrelated new community. Some clever guys create communities under popular titles so that lots of people will join. Then they change the name to whatever they want. But the people who joined the old community will be retained unless they themselves rejoin. So,that might be the case.

I had this habit of joining any community which I found interesting. So I ended up with close to 800 communities, mostly music related. And, now am finding it hard to figure out which straight community suddenly went the 'gay' way. Anyway I unjoined from there the next moment. To prevent me from more embarrasments, I started checking each of my community names and that gave me another shock- "Raju fans club". My first thought was about malayalam comedy
actor Raju, whom I admire. But I didn't remember joining such a community. A closer examination proved that this is some random guy who had cleverly changed the name of some popular community after getting many members. The depths people go in self promotion. As my search for such lousy communities in my list continued, I stumbled upon some real cheesy ones that I had joined about four years ago. Sample these-"I am born to be cool", "I will always make you smile", "GenX Junction", "I will never leave your hand". Now I really fear I were under the influence of drugs when I joined these kinda communities.

So, what the makers say about it has indeed come true, orkut has made my social life stimulating, but not in a straight way. It has also helped me "maintain existing relationships with pictures and messages, and establish new ones by reaching out to people you've never met before". Very true. I donnow how many such new relationships are waiting for me. I am still continuing my unjoining spree from many communities. Its such a long list and I am dead tired now. Next up is my friends list which will be halved if I delete the people who have added me and never even scrapped thereafter. Just thinking about the days in which friends meant the 10-15 guys whom I used to play 'hide and seek' with in the backyard.

Bad Bad server.No donut for u.

PS-Check your community list too. You maybe member of "I suck bigtime" community by now.

your crusader Praveen

Pick This Flick 6-Changing face of Bollywood  

Posted by Praveen in , , , ,

Been a long time since I wrote something in the 'pick this flick' series. So, here I am offering you 3 movies in one post. 3 movies that are a commentary of the current troubled times that our country is facing. 3 movies that are a departure from Bollywood's tried and tested to death masala formulas. Am talking about 'Aamir', 'A wednesday' and 'Mumbai Meri Jaan'. Watched these 3 movies over the past 3 weekends.

'Aamir',directed by debutant Raj Kumar Gupta is a neatly packaged movie which will manage to keep you on the edge of your seat till the end. It is all done so tightly that even after the interval, you are left in the dark on what is actually going on. The movie starts with the words "Kaun Kehta Hai, Aadmi Apni Kismat Khud Likhta Hai?" (who said man writes his own destiny). As we progress into the movie, we understand the true meaning of these words. How circumstances force the protagonist to act in ways which he wouldn't even dare to if things were normal. Aamir Ali(Rajeev Khandeiwal) returns to India from London after a longtime. The scene where the customs checks his baggage more than once just because he belongs to a particular community makes you think. And aamir then asks the officer, "what if my name was Amit?Would you treat him the same way?". As soon as he finishes, the next man in queue arrives and utters his name 'Amit'. Aamir lives through a nightmare right from the time he steps out of the airport. He's forced to play a treasure hunt like game obeying the orders that he gets through a mobile phone from an unknown person. Am not revealing anything more as it'll spoil the experience of watching this movie. The climax is just superb. It is a slap in the face for those who sympathise with terrorists and blaming circumstances for their barbaric act. Some may brand this climax as too cinematic, but I for one doesn't think so. Its so apt. Kudos to the debutant cast and crew of this film for such a wonderful film.
Next up is 'A wednesday' directed by another debutant Neeraj Pandey. Its the story of a strange case narrated by police commisioner Prakash Rathod(Anupam Kher). He tells us about a man, played brilliantly by Naserrudin Shah, who called him up and told that he has planted bombs in 5 key places in the city and is set to go off in 4 hours. To prevent the bomb from being detonated, the police has to obey whatever he's telling. He sits atop a half finished building with all the latest gadgets and driving the police mad. To dispell the doubt whether he's a hoax caller, he makes them search out a bomb from the nearby police station, which he had placed earlier. Rathod employs his best young officers to solve the case. A young funky hacker is also brought in to trace the man's whereabouts. the hacker makes a really funny comment on the outdated equipments used by the police which leaves us in splits. The man also gives mysterious tip offs to the media regarding what is going to happen in the next 4 hours. This all leads to one of the best climatic scenes I've seen in bollywood in recent times. The speech that Naserrudin Shah gives at the end is just spellbinding. He talks at length about the plight of the common man faced with terrorism. A touch of class is given by not revealing the man's name even at the end of the movie. It just ends up as a case which doesn't have any official record. Its only there in Prakash Rathod's memory. In the same way, this movie will be there in the memory of everyone who has watched it. I really wish things like what is shown in this movie happened in real life too.
The final film in this series is 'Mumbai meri jaan' directed by yet another newcomer Nishikant Kamat. This is his first film in Hindi after his debut with the Marathi film 'Dombivili fast'. The film chronicles the life of 5-6 random people in Mumbai during the 09/07 train blasts. Rupali(Soha Ali Khan) is a typical news hungry journo who thrusts her mic into the face of grieving victims of some tragedy and asks that stupid question "how do you feel?". Her fiancee makes fun of her in this matter. Nikhil(Madhavan) is a professional who never travels in a taxi or doesn't have plans to buy a car, preferring instead the local trains. He also preferrs to work in the country having said no to lucrative offers in the US. Suresh(KK Menon) is a Hindu who has a suspicious eye over all the muslims. He reminded me of Edward Norton's character in 'American History X'. Then there is constable Patil(Paresh Rawal) who is soon to retire from service and spends his time making others laugh and teaching some good things to the hot blooded new recruit Kadam. Thomas(Irrfan Khan) is a madrasi tea vendor who finds himself a misfit in the big city of influential and rich people, which is clearly portrayed in that scene where him and his family visits the mall and ends up insulted. All these people's lives take a different turn after the blasts. Rupali loses her fiancee to the blasts and finds herself as the target of news hungry journos who are eager to sell her story and make a soap opera out of it.'Rupali ki rudali' reminded me of Aaj Tak. Nikhil who had a close escape from the blasts is scared to travel in trains anymore and prefers to take a taxi instead. Suresh suspects the muslim guys who used to frequent the tea shop as having a hand in the blasts. Thomas, in his fit of anger against the mall owners who insulted him, starts making hoax bomb calls to the city malls, which ends up bringing hardships to many. But in the end, something good awaits each one of them. The film is a tribute to the resilience of the Mumbaikars. The most beautiful thing in the movie is the portrayal of the change in Suresh's anti-muslim mindset. Towards the end of the film he is seen sharing a cup of tea with a musalmaan. This movie is worth watching just for that. And hope Raj thackerey sees this and get some sense into his bloody senseless head.

The timing of these 3 movies is so apt. We are having terrorist attacks every other day in this country. There are so many misguided opinions flying around everywhere. Films like these can end up educating people regarding the need of the hour and prevent them from doing anything rash. It also helps to reduce the building tension in the soceity. It also reinforces the idea that new directors can bring in fresh ideas. We don't need big banners, big stars or big money to make meaningful films that contribute in some ways to the soceity. For that, we need creative directors and powerful writers who can script things which are unthinkable in the masala framework. This new wave of cinema which is neither purely parallel nor purely masala can do a world of good to Indian cinema. It can bring in the audiences as well as increase the stature of Indian cinema in the world. Thanks to the multiplexes and the changing mindset of the audiences without which such a revolution wouldn't have been possible in Indian cinema.

PS-Sorry for the really long post. Can't help it. :D

images courtesy-dearcinema.com,indiatarget.com

your crusader Praveen

Why is it so  

Posted by Praveen in ,

******why is it so**********
Why is it so
that the god hid his oneness
why is it so
that he left the world to fight

The fallen mosque, the broken temple
the looted church and the slain monk.
Lost are the sacred idols of yore,
buried under the communal debris.

The clouded conscience of the spiritual merchant,
selling lessons of religious hatred,
to those learned unwise souls,
Their god is fraud, he preaches.

missing the oneness of it all
training eyes on the dual.
caught napping unknowingly forever
As the ages die and religions rise.

Another song that I wrote last year. Wrote the last 2 stanzas about 3 months after I completed the first two. The image is of the famous Buddha statue at Bamiyan in Afghanistan after its destruction by the Taliban. The symbol of world's most peaceful religion lying in tatters under attack from one of world's worst regimes ever.

Photo courtesy-daylife.com

Bush, we love you  

Posted by Praveen in , , ,

"India is my country. All Indians are my brothers and sisters. I love my country as well as Mr.George.W.Bush. I am proud of its rich and wealthy people. I shall always strive to be worthy of them. To US and Bush, I pledge my devotion. In their well being and prosperity alone, lies my happiness"
-the Indian national pledge rewritten by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Please don't get ready to shred me to pieces. That was not meant as a sign of disrespect to the nation. I wrote it just after seeing Manmohan Singh's "Indians love bush" comment. I never expected this educated and respectable man to make such a stupid comment. Its no secret that the majority of Indians hate this mass murder machine which goes by the name of Bush. And just because the US congress passed a nuclear deal, Indians are not gonna kiss his hand and sing his praises. This comment, coming from India's prime minister is an embarrasment for all of us. His love for US is well known. Thats his personal choice. But, why stoop down to such a level and embarass a whole nation? Just think about it, We, as a nation of peace loving citizens(inspite of terrorism and religious fundamentalism) declaring our love for Bush in an international forum. Such a shame.

If the Bush comment was not enough, Manmohan was ready with another comment-"India won't support Iran's nuclear program". Don't forget that this is a statement from a country which was planning for a gas pipeline with Iran. It was from 2005, when India first voted against Iran at the IAEA that relations began to sag. All these statements coming a few days after the nuclear deal went through, is a clear indication of where matters are heading. US will dictate, India will obey. Never have we surrendered our pride before anyone. But what Mr.Singh is doing is just that. We always had independent views on foreign affairs. But, going by these recent developments, we might not have an independent view even on internal affairs. It would be good if these people remembered the time-proven fact that US is never a reliable ally. Its just like giving milk to a snake. You never know when its gonna turn around and bite. But, as an Indian, I really do wish something good happens out of the nuclear deal.

Just beforeyou start blasting me, read this 2006 newspaper report-
US Concerned Over India-Iran Ties Says Rice(source-spacewar.com)

The United States is concerned over India's ties with Iran but will not ask it to sever links with the Islamic republic in return for American civilian nuclear fuel and technology, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Wednesday. "The United States has made very clear to India that we have concerns about their relationship with Iran," she told a Senate hearing on the controversial US-India civilian nuclear deal. "We've made clear to them we have concerns about the pipeline. We have made clear to them that we have concerns about their initial" reservations about bringing Iran before the UN Security Council over its nuclear program, Rice said. "So, of course, we have concerns about the relationship with Iran," she said. Iran, which Washington accuses of trying to build a nuclear bomb and being a state sponsor of terror, is nearing an accord with India and Pakistan for a natural gas pipeline project costing more than seven billion dollars. Despite its initial reservation, India voted for a referral of the Iranian nuclear program to the UN Security Council. Several Senators during the hearing Wednesday expressed concerns over India's military links with Iran, including New Delhi's reported training of Iranian naval personnel. Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer, citing a defence journal report, said it was "very disturbing" that India provided training to Iranian naval personnel at Kochi, the headquarters of the Indian Navy's Southern Command, under a three-year-old military cooperation agreement. Rice said two Iranian warships had just paid a port call on the Indian southern city and there was no military training involved. "There have been Iranian ship port calls in India. The assertion, we understand, that they train Iranian sailors is not right. There have been and probably will be Iranian port calls in a number of countries in the world," she said.

Hope now u got what I meant.

My previous posts related to Bush-
Champions of peace, Evil dies satan lives, Bush in India, Anti-bush peom
Your crusader Praveen


Posted by Praveen in

Another season of tags comes knocking. The first tag is from multimenon

Here it goes

1.What have you realized recently?
That am getting older by the day. This year's birthday gave me an awkward feeling that am not young anymore. But thankfully that feeling passed on after sometime and I was back to my cheerful self.

2.Have you given your first kiss away?
No. I even put up posters and announced free offers like "10 hugs and a chocolate" with a kiss. But, some offers just bite dust without people even noticing it. And sadly this was one of them. By the way, the offer is still up for grabs. All pretty ladies can apply.

3.If you were to be stranded on a deserted island, who are the 11 blog buddies you would take?
Am not taking any names here. There are lots of people that I want to take with me.

4.Where is the place you want to go the most?
Till last year, it used to be rio de janeiro, sydney, mexico etc. But now after coming to Bangalore, am missing my home a lot. So I would like to go to Trivandrum and spend time at my homeland.

5.If you have one dream to come true, what would it be?
Not one, the list is endless. Want my old college band to become an international phenomenon and then we can spend our time touring the world and playing concerts like hell. It would be an exhilarating feeling to see lakhs of fans screaming for you and singing your songs alongwith you.

6.Do you believe in seeing the rainbow after the rain?
Yeah, I do. Saw a brilliant rainbow some months back, here in Bangalore.

7.What are you afraid of losing the most now?
Whats the point in being afraid about losing something. Its better to be happy that you are having it with you now. Just get the thought of losing it outta your head.

8.If you win $1 million, what would you do?
Which fool will give me $1 million?

9.If you meet someone that you love, would you confess to him/her?
I would be telling before I write this.

10. What are the requirements that you wish from your other half?
That I wrote as a separate tag sometime back. Its here, a pretty long list.

11.What type of people do you hate the most?
people who fight in the name of religion, terrorists, lots of politicians, people who tell you one thing and thing the opposite in their mind...many more to add.

12.What is the one thing you can’t live without?
lots of things are there. parents,friends,music etc etc.

13.If you have faults, would you rather the people around you point out to you or would you rather they keep quiet?
Yeah, I love frankness.

14.Are you a shopaholic or not?
Not much of a shopaholic, but sometimes am crazy about music and movie cds and books.

15.Find a word to describe the person who tagged you
his blog name would suffice.multimenon, the multi-talented.

16.If you have a chance, which part of your character you would like to change?
I am happy with what I am now.

17.What’s the last shocking thing you’ve seen or heard?
heard that Himesh is gonna act in more movies.

18.Would you rather have love but no money or money but no love?
Love, I need but I do need money atleast for a stomachful of food each day.

Now on to the second tag by akshaya.
I have to name my top 5 addictions.

1.MUSIC and my ipod-A.R.Rahman,Punk floyd,heavy metal,rock...I can't leave without these.
2.Guitar-though I been lazy recently in practising, I can't live without it.
3.Blogs and writing
4.My bike-addicted to speed
5.Food and drinks-coffee,tapioca n fish curry, chicken curry etc etc.

Now I've to tag some people..those who are interested can take up..
Akshaya - the 1st tag