Thursday, April 26, 2007


Whenever I post a URL on someone’s scrapbook or community thread on orkut, they ask me to verify the contents by viewing and typing a code that is displayed on the screen. I am sure everyone is aware of that.

Here is a case in point for my madness! Whenever I hit the submit button, the server starts recognizing the URL and the need to ask for verification. It takes sometime for the code to be displayed, which, on my ancient piece of equipment, clocks to 3 seconds.hmmm... 3 seconds! It gives me enough time to attempt to GUESS what the code can be!
What are the odds of that?!A billion to one? Im starkly disappointed when the code is different from what I had thought of, and accept that it’s a futile exercise! But that does not stop me from trying do that, again and again and again! Someday I just might get lucky! Why don’t you try?!


There is this little boy named Clint who has enrolled to learn swimming at the club I coach in. He is 6 years old, full of life and very scared of water! Coaching him is a terrible pain, but I love to do so, as I have noticed that he keeps talking to someone, and its not me! I feel he has an imaginary friend!
People do talk about them existing for real, and some say that each child has one, but forgets about it as they grow older. As for me, I cant recollect my tryst with an imaginary friend, one who is mine and mine alone, one who never leaves my side, is there for me through thick and thin, invisible to one and all!

Clint, however, im sure has one. While in the pool, he keeps talking to someone, splashing water and laughing hysterically! He would rather be left alone, as he does not enjoy my company, I reckon. He is happiest when he is alone, or, as his mom says, with a girl called Jasmine. They keep talking amongst themselves, and with other people, chiding them, ridiculing them, and often trying to hit them. There is just one slight problem. There is no one around but the two!

The concerned mother recalls her visit to a doc, where she wanted to voice her concerns. The doc had this to say. All of us, till a certain age, have imaginary friends! We forget about them, as we grow older and our thoughts get muddled due to the complexities of life. It was absolutely normal, and would vanish one day.

Coming back to Clint, one day, while trying to teach him to hold his breath; he felt the need to answer natures call. I had to accompany him to the toilet, as once, when he went to the loo unsupervised; he had tried to escape from the club! While holding his hand and observing his actions, which I admit were fun to do so, he suddenly tripped! There wasn’t an object in sight, neither did he lose his balance, nor did anyone push him! Well, at least not someone I could see! He got up, brushed himself and took off behind ‘someone’ with his slippers!

That got me thinking, why is it that children trip, laugh, cry or do silly little things for no apparent reason? Ever wondered what goes through their developing head? Do imaginary people really exist?! I hope they do!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

traffic stoppers!!

It was surprising to see a female traffic police officer one day, “wo-manning” a crowded cross- road at Vasai as I have always maintained that Traffic policing is a tough, physically sapping job, completely male dominated. It was amazing to see a woman, yelling fiercely at the errant drivers, whistling as loud as her male colleagues!

For the record, Vasai is the first place in Mumbai where women traffic Inspectors were deployed, followed by Mira road and then Thane. Since the experiment worked well, they were stationed all over Mumbai. Vasai is also the ONLY place where one shall find a Lady Rickshaw driver! There is but one courageous lady, whom I have yet to meet personally, but have seen her drive past me, determined to break the gender bias that comes with certain professions.

This century belongs to women! From heading companies, to being the head honcho of our government, they have been prospering. It is a heartening sight that we have women bus conductors, ticket checkers and bar- tenders too!

I wanted to know how was it for women to hold such authoritative and responsible jobs, so went to Vasai police station where I spotted a lady in her uniform. After exchanging pleasantries, I told her I was a ‘Citizen Journalist’ wanting to ask her a few questions, which put an instant smile on her face. Her first words though, were “No photographs please!”

The first thing I noticed was that she was a sweet and respectful Maharashtrian lady, so unlike the officer I had seen eye balling drivers the other day! Her name was Mrs Rashmi T Sankhe, and she was a Mahila Police Naik. She had been working in a police station at Thane for 7 years, followed by a stint at Nala Sopara for 6 and ½ years. I was informed that a certain S.P Mrs Archana Tyagi had given impetus to the concept of women traffic Inspectors. Mrs Tyagi believed that women could do the job too. I personally feel that errant female drivers are let off by the traffic policemen, and at least a woman would do justice to the job! Mrs Sankhe was given the opportunity, and she took it. She has been managing traffic at Vasai for ten months now.
On being asked how she felt about the job, she smiled and said that although it was physically demanding, she liked it. It was difficult sometimes to explain to people that their papers were not proper, or some were missing. She said that men were non co- operative at times, bull headed, constantly arguing (Now, where have I heard THAT one?!). She has always had the support of her superiors, if things got out of hand. I don’t think many people would dare to bribe a lady officer, which would help in decreasing traffic violations, or increasing government income!
In all, she seemed satisfied with the job, and was doing her duty diligently, with pride. As it was time for her to head home, and assume the charge of home- maker, we could not chat a lot. I have promised her a copy of this article too!

Mrs Sankhe, Mrs Tyagi, and many other women like them should serve as an inspiration to one and all!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

interview: Prakalp

Talented. Recklessly spontaneous, and willing to perform and entertain under any circumstance.That in short, is what prakalps all about. What goes into making a great band? Trust, talent, practice, hard work and patience. They have the perfect proportion of all the ingredients! Each one has what it takes to make it to the upper echelons of the extraordinary world of music and performance. Be it the technical or theoretical know-how, music-direction skills, perseverance, enthusiasm, a very big ear for music or faces that are easy on the eyes! PRAKALP ROCKS! Read on:

20th April, 2007
Venue: Prakalp’s Jam Room.

Having never interviewed a metal band before, I had my inhibitions. What would I ask? How would they respond? I was pleasantly surprised to see a bunch of courteous kids, at least till the interview began! Their enthusiasm was infectious; answers were heartfelt and the camaraderie genuine. The song they performed at the end of the interview made me a fan!

At first, a few guys had got together to form Apocalypse. One thing lead to another and things clicked. Anant Dwivedi, Alister Fernandes, Vineet Nair & Vincent Pereira got together. Gavril Mankoo joined the party. Prakalp was formed.

Here is an honest one-on-one with them.

1. The name of your band is Prakalp. What does it mean, and why did u choose it as your band name?

Anant: Prakalp, in Hindi, has 2 meanings. It means an undertaken project, as well as the Rising. We were formerly known as Apocalypse, but the band line up was different then. And it kept on changing. Once things settled down, we thought Apocalypse didn’t suit our genre, so we wanted a name which was Indian and would perfectly suit our music. Some names we thought of were – Astitva, Abhaas, etc. Then we got Ashwin Chinchkhede to manage the band, who thought of this wonderful name. All of us loved it. Why this name? Because, we have undertaken project Hindi Metal!

2. What made you want to be a band?

Ashwin: Music was always our passion! Everybody in the band wanted to make music their profession. We had creativity, and a will to perform. Personally, I don’t call it a band. It’s a family because even when we aren’t practicing, we are together and meet each other regularly.

3. What genre do you feel Prakalp fits into best?

Anant: (rolls his eyes) we absolutely have no answer for this. We don’t keep a genre in mind when we make new songs, they just happen! We are entertainers, that’s all. We love to experiment and be versatile.

Alister: I think we are Hindi symphonic metal band with clean/snarling vocals because this is what the people have starting calling us, after Anants clean snarls!
(Gives Anant a pat on the back smilingly, Anant responds with a ‘f**k you’!

4. Your vocals are in Hindi. How did you think of this concept - making songs with Hindi lyrics and Indian classical vocals?

Ashwin: Anant has been learning Hindustani classical singing for a few years is adept at playing the Tabla too. That’s our Indian Classical connection.

Anant: When we started listening to rock music and metal, we realized that music, whether Indian classical or Heavy Death Metal revolves around those twelve notes and has the same musical expression, the only difference is that heavily distorted guitars are used instead of a sitar.
(Sings the 12 notes, crisply and melodiously, while Vineet gives him the beats.)

Anant: We also wanted to attempt something new by using Hindi lyrics in metal because Hindi is a powerful language with words that have very deep meaning, Hindi comes closest to the Sanskrit language, which has evolved from the Devnaagri script, one of the oldest scripts in the world.

Alister: Besides, it is our National language and we believe we can speak the Hindi language better than any other foreign language, or at least understand better. When we sing English songs, it’s cool. But Hindi Metal rocks! And to a great extent, this experiment of ours gave quite a satisfactory result.

Gavril If Norwegian Black Metal bands can make music in their own language, why not us?
The kid has a valid point.

5. Has the metal community in Mumbai accepted your kind of music?

Vincent: Most of them have, some of them haven’t because they think that we are a Hindi band, and they do not want us to contaminate the metal scene whereas we try to put a different essence into it. They directly link it to the Bollywood industry, which mainly consists of romantic songs, prancing around trees and wet transparent saris! Bollywood music has its own fan club, I do not deny it!

Vineet: For us, language is not a barrier, because the music remains the same. Someone introduced us to thrash, death metal, progressive, and so on! All these bands must have faced the same issues that we are facing at some point of time when their genres evolved!

Gavril: And we don’t care about a few narrow-minded opinions!

6. What are the themes associated with the lyrics of your songs? What inspires your lyrics?

Gavril: The themes are death, revenge, anger, hatred, pain, sorrow, regret, etc. in a good sense. One of our songs, Maut, impersonates death and describes how death easily claims its victim. This doesn’t mean that we want people to die! This is reality! Everyone dies!

Vineet: One of our newest songs called Aatmahatya portrays the self inflicted pain a person has to go through when one tries to commit suicide. For suicidal people death means more to them than life! Imagine the things revolving in their head! This doesn’t mean that we’re promoting suicide!
Revenge, hatred, anger, pain, sorrow, etc are emotions just like love and affection. When people can write about these emotions, then why not the darker aspects of life?

Vincent: Our society inspires us! They give us points, and we elaborate on them in our songs!

7. Your third OC, 7/11 revolves around the recent Mumbai train blasts and is a favorite among most of those who have heard Prakalp play. Your reflections.
Anant: It is sad, what happened. This song is a message to the terrorists that when unnecessary killings are done, people suffer. Stop it! It’s dedicated to those innocent people who have lost their lives. We want this song to be on the lips of everyone who is against terrorism, not because it’s our song, but because we want terrorism to stop.

Vincent: Hope it does not get us kidnapped!

Ashwin: F**k the terrorists!
(middle fingers everywhere)

8. How was it to be featuring in the Global Metal Documentary?

Anant: It was a thrilling experience! Dr. Sam Dunn and his crew members are a very professional and hard working lot. We are amazed to see ourselves being featured in the documentary alongside bands that we look up to! Demonic Resurrection & Bhayanak Maut have been our sources of inspiration!

Vincent: Sam is a great guy & has an amazing personality. He is too soft spoken to be a Metalhead! No sarcasm involved!
(Everybody asks Vincent to shut up!)
“Honestly, I wasn’t expecting the Indian crowd to be so passionate here.” Although what interested him the most was the Hindi metal band, Prakalp. “I’m a fan of Demonic Resurrection, Bhayanak Maut, though Prakalp was quite interesting!” he signs off.

Ally: It was a dream come true, as the man has interviewed members of bands like Black Sabbath, Slayer & Iron Maiden!

Vineet: B******d, that guy is tall! Check the Pics!

9. Some people feel that you are over-rated and didn’t deserve your place in Sam Dunn’s doc. Comment.

Gavril: It was purely on talent that we were selected. Anant can play the drums WHILE singing. Vincent eats Bass, Vineet is superb and Alister kicks ass! We practice hard, and are improving day by day! We are one of a kind, with a different concept. And if some deserving band wasn’t selected, it was not our fault! It was Sam Dunn’s decision!
(Ashwin asks Gavril to calm down. I move on.)

10. How has Prakalp managed to achieve such milestones in such a short time?

Anant: I thank the other band mates who took such a bold step by doing what nobody dares, or wants to do, for that matter! In today’s scenario where people don’t get too many paid gigs one has to rely on competitions. We really worked hard on the technical part of our music .We waited a long time before entering competitions. Thanks to our supporters who always stood by us. We have amazing friends!
They are a tight bunch.

11. Any plans of an album or an EP?
Ashwin: We are already working towards it, but due to certain constraints, we have kept it on hold for some time. But, we are seriously looking forward to launch it some time from now! Currently, we are working on our originals. Watch out for them!
I could feel the excitement and anticipation.

12. Hailing from Vasai means power cuts and load-shedding may surely be hampering your practice and jam sessions. How do you guys manage?

Vincent: Yeah, power cuts suck! They are a major issue and we have to work around it as per the whims and fancies of those Electricity Board a******s!

Gavril: Apart from load-shedding issues, all the members are students, and so one has to keep a track of their daily routine. We make sure that we practice for at least an hour everyday.

Vineet: We write lyrics when there is no power, and work it out on the acoustic guitar, and set the drum patterns.

Alister: F**k electricity, we don’t give a damn! We practice ANWAY!

13. Any gigs that left a memory or two?

Ashwin: The Nagpur gig, chiefly because of two reasons. 1. EXTREME climate, for which Prakalp was not ready! 2. Financial crisis! The gig remains in my memory because we were completely stripped of cash, and we had to wait and hope for someone to win in some category to get the money required to head home. Anant won the award for the best vocals and received 1000rs which bought our tickets to come home!

Vincent: VCET! We had performed in front of an 800 strong crowd. Some guys were using Pyros in the crowd! They even waited for us even when the lights went out. VCET rocks!

Alister: Also the VCET chicks were hot! They couldn’t stop screaming our name!
Everyone seems to agree!

Gavril: SIES, Powerchords!

14. Do you feel that there is a scope for more bands to pick up Hindi Metal?

Anant: We do feel so, because we are doing something different, and we are getting a lot of appreciation for our music. Earlier, we faced a problem as to which songs we should cover, as we had no band to cover! Hopefully, the new bands shall get inspired by our choice of music. We want to pave the way for other bands that want to take up Hindi metal, but are a little hesitant to do so. We do not believe in following a trend. We want to set a trend so that other Indian music lovers can start appreciating this form of music and support original music.

15. What do you guys think of the Indian rock/metal scene?

Alister: The Indian Rock/Metal scene is growing at a very rapid pace! Indian bands are getting global recognition. People are beginning to appreciate good rock/ metal music! It’s a very healthy trend! \m/ to the people!

16. Which Indian bands, according to you, rock?

Gavril: Bands like Demonic Resurrection, Pin Drop Violence, Parikrama and Pentagram, Devoid, Bhayanak Maut, Infernal wrath… the list goes on!!

17. What exactly happened at the S.I.E.S gig?
Ashwin: It’s a long story. It was a f**kin roller coaster ride! We lost our guitar processor, played without the lead guitarist, and still managed to reach the finals! All this in our first competition! The details are on our site.

Vineet: More the pressure, the better we f**kin perform!!

18. What difference has Prakalp made in your life?

Alister: it has made me more mature. My outlook towards people has changed. And it has inspired me to grow my hair!!

Vincent: it has made me famous, a better performer, and a hit among the chicks!
Everybody laughs! Vincent eyeballs them all.

Gavril: Prakalp has changed the way I thought of music and increased my dedication to music.

Anant: It has given me confidence, and given me life long friends! My partners in crime!

Vineet: Yes, drinking partners! Seriously, helping hands in a crisis, whom I can completely rely upon.

Ashwin: It has made me a great manager of a great band! Have learnt time management, money management and resource management! Im more organized and satisfied.

19. Message to fans.

First of all, we would like to thank our friends/ fans/heroes:

Uncle (Anants dad) - for providing us with the jam room!
Bansi: for giving us a place to stay!
Gary: our tech support!
Sharma: for always motivating us.
Bhau: for being there
Mahesh: his guitar lessons and practice place!
Amin: for his constructive criticism.
Adil: for promoting our music.
Kamlesh/ Sagar: for capturing our memories.
Tejas: our booze sponsors!
The gals, Jyoti, Poornima, Avni, and Shraddha for their screams and applauds!
Our parents: for tolerating us!
Navjot, Shubha, Ashish, Homesh, Shree Vidya, Aishwarya, Amardeep, Rajesh, Harini, all the SIES volunteers, RGIT’s Kartik- thanks for all the love!
The Demonstealer, Pradeep, Shubham, Melroy, Charles & Chetan for their advice.
Sorry if we are forgetting someone!

We live to perform and entertain you. Please keep supporting us; we are where we are because of you! We hope to move forward with your best wishes, but we will never ever forget you! Please interact with us, criticize us, whatever! We are always available!

They then performed Maut. They have a bright future.

Signing off,

Kartikeya Dwivedi


Name Anant Alister Vincent Vineet Gavril
Petname Antz Ally Vincy Jadya Kiddo
Role in Band Vocalist Rhythm Guitar, backup vox. Bass Guitars Drums Keyboards
Idol Kurt Cobain Fred Durst Steve Harris Mike Portnoy Jaane Warman
Fav Band Nirvana Limp Bizkit Iron Maiden System of a Down Children of Bodom
Poison Imperial Blue Tadi White Mischief Imperial Blue Appy Fizz

Originals include:
Main Chalaa --------------(Power Metal)
Maut --------------(Symphonic Death Metal)
Inteqam --------------(Progressive Death Metal)
Aatmahatya --------------(Symphonic Death Metal)
7/11 --------------(Power Metal)

Contact Details:

Phone :+00 91 9226712144 {Ashwin}

+00 91 9823515958 { Anant}

+00 91 9226364861 {Alister}

+00 91 9823943864 {Vineet}

+00 91 9890296730 {Vincent}

+ 00 91 9323799803 {Gareth}

+ 00 91 9960238466 {Gavril}


Site :

Thursday, April 19, 2007

its a dogs life!

The bother I had to face while waking up today morning at 6 AM after a night’s revelry was amplified by my sisters constant nagging. I had promised her I would take her for a swim, and no, it could not wait for another minute. Un-willingly, I sat up, wincing due to a major headache. The drinking binge and improper amount of sleep was causing havoc in all my systems, while my sister’s constant haranguing was not helping in any way. Deciding that I had no way out of this particular predicament, I got off from bed and started getting ready to escort my 12 year sibling to the dolphins swimming club. I would like to advice all my male friends not to try and argue with a woman, in any shape and form, before, during and after a drinking session. We don’t stand a chance!

Sometimes, I wonder if buying a bike was a smart investment, as I have been reduced to nothing but a driver for my family! Cursing myself for the same, I tried to electric start the bike, but to no avail! Perfect start to a perfect day! I should have understood that today would be among my ‘not so good’ days by now, as it was akshay tritiya (whatever that means!), and somebody up there definitely does not like me! Whenever people are having great- auspicious days, im miserable due to some unforeseen circumstance or the other! This story has spread like wildfire, to an extent that my aunty is contemplating if I should be called for her sons wedding!

Swearing, which was met by a sharp rap on my medulla oblongata (fondly known as ‘chota dimaag’, made famous by the talented Nana Patekar!) by sister dear, I kick started the vehicle and drove off, picking up speed so as to muffle ria’s take on people who had drinks, all too regularly.

I was beginning to enjoy the drive when I suddenly realized that I needed to re- fuel and had forgotten to pick up my wallet from home. Grinning sheepishly, I asked RIA to loan me a hundred rupees, which she promptly did, while reminding me that rakhi was round the corner. I couldn’t help but notice her devilish smile in my rear view mirror while she spoke of the festival!

The club is around 7 kilometers from where I stay, and would take some time to reach with RIA on the pillion, as according to her, driving above 40 kmph is a sin. She has an opinion on most of things, especially on things which I feel she is too small to comment. That has never stopped her though, and I have to warily agree that it never will.
Cruising at 40 kmph, my mind went back to yesterday’s fun! Sigh! We had danced, hummed our favorites, and made merry! I was lost in my thoughts, when suddenly, out of nowhere, a stray pup had the urge to run across the road, much to our horror! I had no time to brake, and I ran over it, and barely managed to balance the bike! In my defense, yesterday’s alcohol had nothing to do with it, as I could not have done anything differently. I braked as soon as I could, trying to calm ria down all the while. I was silently grateful to RIA for restricting our bike speed, as had we been a tad faster, we would have ended up on the road too. I ran towards the poor dog. No blood. A silent prayer escaped my lips. I find it amazing, my sudden faith in god, and asking for his help and support. More amazing is the fact that I think of him only in trying times, ignoring him for the remainder of my life. I take credit for all my achievements, and blame him, or luck, or the exam moderator for all my failures!

While trying to assess the damage I had done, my eyes were making full use of the peripheral vision to keep a lookout for a cop, or the prospect of a crowd gathering. I was concerned about my sister, and a wee bit for myself, as I have been an eye witness to a few public displays of affection meted out on miscreants like me! I quickly analyzed that as he did not have a dog collar on, he was a stray for sure, and that explained why a circle hadn’t formed till now. I consoled RIA, and convinced her to wait at the pool, which was a stones throw away from the spot. I had to swear on many, many gods, my parents, and maybe half of the population of India that I would take care of the pup. She left morosely, and I was left there stranded with the little thing.

I won’t lie. It pained me to see the little fella in a considerable amount of pain. I inquired about a vet nearby, to which I was told that there was no one around. The only one that would be available at 6 30 in the morning was one, 5 kilometers from the spot. I convinced a rickshaw driver to drive me there, as nobody was ready to hang on to the pup, while I drove.

I had no money, so had to rush home, where I was subjected to a barrage of questions, which I had no time to answer. A puppy’s life was at stake! Vinod, the rick driver did a splendid job of mimicking Schumacher (braking late and playing dirty!) and we reached the doc in no time.
The moment I rang the bell, ria called me (she has her own cellular phone.) and I hastily told her the situation. The poor dog was breathing heavily, so I hurriedly rang the bell thrice. Dad called. I told him what had happened. These were his exact words.” Is it dead? Is ria ok? Where the hell are you?” I told him where I was, and assured him that she was ok. No injuries. Not even a scratch. Just then, I heard the door open and a very tall man, still half asleep stepped out. I could feel that his consultancy hours were to start much later, and he was not too pleased to see me. I explained to him what had happened as fast as I could, and was warmly surprised to see his sleep disappear in a flash. I could see the concern for the puppy in his eyes. The sight of the doc hurrying to save a life gladdened me.

I bid Vinod good bye, thanked him and he left. Not before warning me that the next time, it could be an infant. It sent a shiver down my spine. He had charged me only half the amount we had decided initially. People do have a heart. It was to be his good deed for the day. And taking into consideration his background and daily wages, I felt it was very decent of him.

Dr Bhakta was a vet extraordinaire, so I had heard. The genuineness in his voice was what struck me. He gave the pup an injection and started examining him. Thank god I did not have to register a police case, or fill some form! It took 15 minutes, but the examination was thorough. The pup was one lucky dog, as it had no broken bones, and no major ailments. The doc muttered something about the day being auspicious (Hmmph! all hail akshay tritiya)!

He wrote a prescription, and inquired if I would make sure the pup took them. It was a three day course, and I gulped recalling my father’s inhibitions when it came to dogs. He would keep the dog, im sure. But he would chuck me out! Observing how perplexed I was, the doc smirked and advised me to telephone the nagar palika animal department. He also told me to cut down on alcohol (my breath again!) and drive safely (sigh)! While leaving the clinic, he gave me a pill, which I presumed was for the pup. I was told it was for the splitting headache I had. I was skeptical about the pill, but courteously accepted it. No way was I going to take a headache pill given by a vet! It could have been for a horse, for all you know!

The pup stirred slowly as I came out on the road. I had switched of my phone as ria had been calling incessantly while the doctor was treating the pup. As soon as I switched it on, I got a call from ria, who was worried sick and very angry with me! I explained the scenario to her. She insisted on meeting the pup, who by now had started moving. She is not the person who takes no for an answer, so I silently hailed a rick. I was glad that the pup was safe.
So was ria. She played with it for at least an hour, and I had to get biscuits, half a liter of milk and a bottle of mineral water for “jimmy”! We then took jimmy to the animal dept, where it received a teary eyed farewell from ria, knowing full well that dad would not share our sentiment. I could feel a lump in my throat too, but I quickly dismissed it to being a result of getting a holiday mid week!

Kids form an instant bond, and so when ria said ‘ill miss him’, I believed her. Ill kinda miss him too..

Kartikeya Dwivedi