Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Politics against People who save lives

Pic source :

I always blame Indian politicians for giving false promises just to keep their vote banks happy and excited for a few weeks before the election….well guess what ?

Uncle Sam isn’t quite behind in this department either…

E.g.: The Hometown Heroes Act of 2003

The Public Safety Officers Benefits' Program became law in 1976 aimed to provide death and disability payments primarily to police officers killed in the line of duty. Firefighters were added in 1984 and emergency medical personnel in 1986. In 2002, after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, police and fire chaplains were added.

The Hometown Heroes Act of 2003 extended the same benefits to victims of heart attacks and strokes on the job.

The goal of the bill was fairness. "If you go in a building and a beam falls on your head, or if you go in a building and come out and have a heart attack and die, either way you're dead,” he said. "… If a soldier dies in battle, we don't check to see what condition that soldier was in when they lost their life."

The death benefit, which is adjusted each October for inflation, is now $295,194.

( Note : Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health found that firefighters face up to 100 times their normal risk of heart attack while working at a fire.

A Harvard study of 449 heart attack deaths among firefighters nationwide found that 32 percent died when they were involved in fire suppression or other activity at a fire. But less stressful duties were associated with higher-than-expected risk of heart attack as well: 13 percent occurred while responding to an alarm; 17 percent in returning from an alarm; 13 percent in physical training; 9 percent in emergency medical services and other nonfire emergencies; and 15 percent in a fire-station or while performing non emergency duties. )

President Bush signed the law in a ceremony on Dec. 15, 2003, and both he and Vice President Dick Cheney have used their support for the law as a sure-fire applause line in speeches before fire and police organizations.

Justice took nearly three years to write rules for the program, and began deciding claims only in recent weeks.

The law says that the presumption in favor of the claims can be overturned by "competent medical evidence," but didn't specify what that meant.

Justice Department began asking claimants to provide 10 years of medical records.

ie, Claims can be rejected for medical conditions that occurred up to 10 yrs ago.

The U.S. Justice Department has denied all 34 claims that have been decided, and has yet to act on more than 200 others.

Probable reason:

The administration was holding up the payments as "some sort of political payback" for the union’s support for Al Gore in 2000 and John Kerry in 2004.

Walk the talk is always a difficult thing right?

Source : (suitably edited for Blog use :-P)

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Iron Maiden @ Bangalore

"The roads filled with black tees having smiling eddy (the skull faced mascot of Iron Maiden) in different poses (one Tee had LEDs for eddy’s eyes), the long queue to enter the grounds, the jam packed time I spend in the front rows were I couldn’t move a finger, the long queues for water in the back which turned to free for all stampedes - the water cans being held high with loads of thirsty mouths below, the air filled condoms flying high in the air, fans of Iron Maiden who had waited up to 17 yrs for a live show coming with their entire families to enjoy, dads having giggling head banging kids on their shoulders , couples jumping together to the beats in each others arms, the sound vibrations that ran up to your knees from the ground below,the 'i will break ur nose if u do that again' warning we gave to some college guys, the sea of mobile cams trying to capture the snap of a life time, the guy who colored his hair yellow and moved proudly through the grounds, the weed smoking girl who kept screaming behind my ear as if there was no tomorrow, the look of sheer ecstasy on the fans and the ‘gosh, I am so f***ing lucky for not missing this ’ smiles on the fans leaving the grounds were all experiences of a life time... "

Dreams do come true……last Saturday on March 17th, Iron Maiden, the first (quality) rock band to perform in India gave one hell of a performance in Bangalore…

The train from Chennai to Bangalore on Friday had loads of head bangers wearing characteristic black Tees. All rock fans were moving towards Bangalore for the Saturday’s performance….some had waited more than 10/15 yrs to see these guys perfume live….

I entered the palace grounds at around 4 pm and had to wait around 3.5 hrs before I got to see Iron maiden perform.

In spite of frisking by the organizers in the entrance, liquor and cigarettes (99 % weed ones) were being used freely and the smell of weed was over whelming.

The crowd was fully charged with everyone having done ‘something’ to their hair/face…The girls in the crowd were very vocal and putting even hard core head bangers to shame….

The sole downers of the show were the 2 of the 3 opening performances which were a torture because they were first of all prolonging the wait to see Iron Maiden perform live and secondly because they were literally a torture to the ear drums….

The first was by a college band which won some god dam competition and frankly I don’t understand the logic of showcasing such crap in a show of such magnitude.
Its like allowing a karting winner of some obscure local tournament to drive just before an F1 race began…..I mean I agree that local talent needs to be nurtured and all but not at the expense of hot sweaty fans waiting for more than 3 hrs.

Predictably, the college band got lots of boos and swears words, not to mention the sea of middle- fingered hands swaying to their ‘music’…I pity those guys and applaud their thick skins.

The 2nd performance was by Parikrama and was decent enough, giving the fans something to cheer about.

Next to come on stage was Steve Harris’s daughter whose performance was also average.

At last the Gods of Rock came on stage with a bang, starting predictably, with tracks from their latest album.

The 1500 ticket people and the 900 ticket people were separated by a barricade and two rows of security and police personnel. Here and there, the 900 rs fans tried to jump the barricade only to be hit by the lathi welding cops…..but as soon as “the Trooper” track began, all hell broke lose. Fans started jumping from every where and the cops finally gave up and allowed everyone to move forward….

The band members, mostly pushing 50 yrs were a joy to watch…..the sheer energy of Brue Dickinson and the wicked laughter of the drummer(caught by a camera up close), Nicko McBrain were priceless….

The arrival of the military tank and the 14 foot eddy were other highlights of the day.

The song everyone will remember that night will be “Fear of the Dark”, rumored to be inspired by Steve Harris’s childhood fear….Almost everyone in the audience was mouthing the lyrics and taking part in the background vocals…

All in all, it was an experience of a life time….and from what Bruce promised in the end, the fans that waited for as long as 17 yrs to see them won’t have to wait for even 17 months before they saw them again :-)

I am a man who walks alone

And when I'm walking a dark road

At night or strolling through the park

When the light begins to change

I sometimes feel a little strange

A little anxious when it's dark

Fear of the dark, fear of the dark

I have a constant fear that something's always near

Fear of the dark, fear of the dark

I have a phobia that someone'salways there…

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Munnar Tales : Mattupetty Bus

(Pic Courtesy - KSRTC)

While studying in IHMCT (One of the top 5 Catering Colleges in India ) in Kovalam-Trivandrum, during one session everyone was asked to speak what they could change about their past....i said that i always wanted to study in a hill station...3 months later, the dream came true and i was sitting in the matupetty bus as i got my engg seat in CEM....the trips from tvm in mattupetty bus are unforgettable for me for various reasons.

In my first trip i met Jayesh Babu (EC),Vijayan(EC)and Suresh/Don (CS).....the journey from adimalli to munnar in the early morning was spell bounding....the lake near blossom park was fully covered with mist some inches thick…as if a blanket was floating on that moment standing with two over stuffed suitcases in the middle of the road, I knew, as the cliché goes, life would never be the same again....

Matupetty trips were always awesome...The bus starts from trivandrum at 10 pm me and jayesh will be sitting usually in the front row...Chandran,George,Charles etc would board the bus at around 1 am..... these guys wont have seats so they would kottayam, piles of newspapers will be loaded in the front of thw bus meant for adimali and munnar readers....these guys would sit on these piles and ensure that me and jayesh did not get to sleep....;-))))))....

In later years the bus became almost a college bus whenever vacations ended...full of CEMites...tourists in the bus were always troubled with the constant chattering , espically on the return journey from Munnar.

As the last semester was going on, each trip to and fro in matupetty bus reminded me that these wonderful journeys were coming to an, i would stay awake from adimali till munnar on those last trips so that i could etch in my memory as much beauty as I possibly could....ah, those were over whelming, bit senti moments... ;-)…

Recently after a gap of 2 yrs , I found myself back at the Trivandrum bus stand where I used to board Mattupetty bus for 4 years to see off a friend….the time was around 10 pm and the Mattupetty bus was about to leave…the driver started the bus…a dad walked up to a open window and told his son to call home when he reached Munnar…the son felt as if he was being treated like a child and said ‘No’ and that he will call later in the evening, ….if possible….I knew what the son was feeling ….i have had numerous such conversation with my parents, especially my mom….but that day to my surprise, I could also relate to the feelings of the dad who just wanted to ensure that his son reached safely…

Now I am not married or having a child, so I couldn’t actually relate to the dad …..

Guess I just grew up….. :-)

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Movie Review : the Pursuit of HappYness

Rating: 4.5 / 5

I watched this Will Smith starer yesterday. Great movie....someone called it "Rocky with a briefcase" :-)

Anyway, the movie highlights the situation of US's homeless population and it teaches about financial responsibility and 'living for your dreams no matter what' lessons very well.

For Malayalam movie goers, who have seen Mohanlal, Mamooty,Dileep, Jayaram and host of others stars , struggle on screen to make ends meet, the story may not be a novelty.....but its a first for Hollywood...and a great watch !

  • Will Smith gives a great performance
  • His kid (also in real life)
  • Great message conveyed through the movie of never giving up on your Dreams...
  • Highlights the plight of the homeless


  • Mallus have seen all this before :-P

(Cant think of anything else)

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Bangalore Stray Dog Issue

The last 2 weeks have brought the stray dog problem, affecting Bangalore and urban Indian cities as a whole, to the lime light, albeit for the wrong reasons...
(Photo courtesy: BBC)

2 kids were killed by strays in Bangalore which caused the Govt to start a 'removal' drive in which around 1000 dogs have being caught.....the problem is, there is no place to keep them .

NGOs have no space left to keep new dogs and hence they are kept locked up without food and water and there have been reports of hungry dogs resorting to cannibalism...

Animal lovers in Bangalore are trying hard to stop but this knee jerk reaction done with an eye on the vote bank cannot be stopped i guess...

Even Mahatma Gandhi has recommended the removal of strays rather than cause problems to humans and making the man's best friend suffer in the process.

Gandhiji says : “The destruction of bodies of tortured creatures being for their own peace cannot be regarded as himsa, or the unavoidable destruction caused for the purpose of protecting ones wards, cannot be regarded as himsa.

Which of the two is better – that 5000 dogs should wander about in semi-starvation living on dirt and excreta and drag on a miserable existence, or that 50 should die and keep the rest in a decent condition?... .”


We have to accept the fact that a huge number of stray dogs are there on the streets due to inadequate garbage disposal and slum/street dwellers both of which provide food to the strays.

But killing them wont help in the present scenario...Killing dogs was started by the British in the 19th Century (around 50,000 killed per year) and still there are dogs on the streets...

It’s been well documented and proven repeatedly that Animal birth control (ABC) pgms are the only solution to this problem....

For details on stray dogs visit:

So if you are an animal lover who feeds strays in the neighborhood, in spite of your neighbors protests, hats off to you! If you are able to take the next step of getting them sterilized by contacting NGOs lie Bluecross / PFA , the battle will be won one day!

Am myself going to join bluecross as the money i spend will help their ABC pgm and hopefully similar things wont happen in Chennai or Kerala...After all, breeding Great Danes has given me decent money and its only fair to spend some of it for their need cousins on the streets...

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Movie Reviews : GhostRider and Nishabd

Location: Seetha Devi / Devikulam Lake (Amit, me and his brother)


i am not able to restrict my desire to do some posts besides the pictures i startying Movie reviews :-)

Ghost Rider : 2.5 / 5

In spite of reading 'n' number of bad reviews about this movie i went to see it because of my room mate...well, since everyone knows that Nicholas cage cant act, this movie ain’t a complete loss of money....

  • Nicholas cage turns into a skull faced super hero which means you dont have to watch him act!
  • Eva Mendes
  • Some animations done by a chennai firm


  • Stunts are too short (maybe due to cost constraints)

Nishabd : 3/5

RGV tries his hand at 'Lolita'...
I had read that this movie was shot at never before seen locations of Munnar....having lived there for 4 years this caught my curiosity...

The lake shown in the beginning is known as 'Seetha Devi Lake' or 'Devikulam lake' and is a well known destination of Munnar Engg College students. The song 'Ariyathe parayathey' from Udhyannanu tharam and the song 'Aa raha hoon mein' by Bombay Vikings were also picturised here in the past.


  • Munnar :-)
  • Kudos for touching a sensitive subject.....Big B did the same with KANK
  • Reminds us that elder persons also have the desires to leave the disciplined, 9 to 5 job oriented, no fun, life and live as a kid with no responsibilities and no 2nd thoughts.
  • Not too much melodrama....
  • Tense situations enacted naturally. Revathy and Naser have done good jobs.


  • Due to the 'tint' given to the movie , the beauty of Munnar is subdued...maybe RGV did not want the viewers to give more importance to the beauty of Munnar :-)
  • Can’t understand why the girl has to be provocatively dressed for a man to fall for her.
  • The last dialogue was faltoo - "I went to die today....her thoughts are eating me hollow from the inside, i can’t live like this...i came back because i couldn’t die....i want to live for some more that i can think about her a bit more" phulzzzz...

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Spooky incident @ Anachal Farm House

Location : Anachal Farm House, Near Munnar.


Recently I read a spooky story in a couple of blogs

So decided to add my experiences as well….

The first one is regarding the house in Anachal…..Brrrrrrrr……….haha wish I had played some spooky background music when you read that….

Background :

It was study leave and me and my friends, decided to spent those days preparing for our exams in Munnar itself in our hostel (a 4 roomed bungalow on a deserted hill with only a church, a cemetery and the house of the church priest)….of course since the holidays were very long, we ended up renting cd player and watching movies all day long…..the college authorities got to know of it, Anto Sir came and told us to leave the hostel the same day and come back only on the eve of the exam… :-)

Me and my friends decided we weren’t leaving Munnar and it being a tourist attraction, hotel rooms were very costly for us students……so we deiced to go and live with our friend OA (Abhilash) in a place near munnar called Anachal.

The Farm House :

The piece of land on which the house was situated was in a deserted location…you had an uphill walk of 10 min to reach the gate of the plot and once you hit the road, you have another 15 min walk to reach the nearest shop/house.

Now this plot itself located in a densely wooded area prone to frequent rain and thunderstorms…

OA and Spooky Tales :

Our friend OA gave us with the best hospitality and that’s for another blog post….this one is about the other inhabitants of the plot.
ie, Spirits or Ghosts :-P…..

Me and OA used to sleep in the front room and the others in another bigger room... We often used to chat up after lights out and once during a chat I heard some sounds outside…I whispered to OA but he was already asleep….so i decided to leave it as the sounds had stopped….later when I asked him, he said he too has heard the sounds frequently (with the strong winds and the large canopy of trees it was natural I guess…but these sounds…they were different)…..i asked him what did he do when he heard them…..he replied “just ignore them and sleep” as there was no other option….Now OA is a simple guy with very few words and a big smile on his face….always…I have never seen him angry…..

He told me that the plantation workers lived in a room of the house for a couple of weeks and they were so scared by the late night sounds and curious incidents that they painted the crosses to ward of spirits….

Well now I was listening with 100 percent attention as I had noticed those crosses when I came to this place…

As I was now familiar with the sounds, I asked him about the curious incidents….

He said this happened twice and both times it was well past mid night….it seems people coming alone along the road into the plot did not reach the house….when search parties went to look for them, they were found walking around the old well at the edge of the plot as if in a trance…the people had to splash water on their face to wake them up from the trance and they said that all they remember is that they were walking towards the house but the journey was not ending…..hmmmm….

Well these incidents awakened the dormant fear of the dark in me which, till now subdued by the densely populated city, had re awaken in the deserted farmhouse with a vengeance….

The Incident:

Since we did not do cooking, having food meant a walk of around 25…
One day we left for dinner….The 10min walk to the main road is through a natural dry leaves covered path snaking through the plot formed by inhabitants of the house….When you walk, you end up rustling the leaves and we were always wary of snakes during the walk……

Well that day after reaching the main road, as we were walking towards the town I got the natures call and decided to return back to the house telling my friends to get my dinner for me.

Now as I entered the plot , I realized that I was going to walk alone through this path for the first time…..of course since I had been living right next to a cemetery for a year, I was not scared by spirits or ghosts stuff…(or so I thought)….

Well down I came, rustling the leave covered path, humming a song on the pretext of enacting a ‘calm person’ which was a really façade to hide my nervousness….

After some 15 min I was sitting on the veranda…the courtyard was dimly light with the feeble power of the lonely 100w bulb and the boundaries were so dark that you couldn’t see anything beyond….Suddenly I heard the familiar sounds of someone returning from the path uphill…..i wondered why my friends were returning so soon and waited for the familiar sounds of animated conversations to float in…then as the sounds drew nearer(that night there was no wind at all….absolute silence albeit with the sounds of the forest), it became apparent that there was only a single person returning……As the footsteps reached the boundary of the courtyard I shifted my position to see who was about to walk into the light of the faithful bulb….. But no one came…..the sounds stopped…..

Now me and my friends had been sharing ghost stories for the entire week (the spooky location kindled our memories and imaginations ) and I deiced that it was one of my friends playing a prank on me…..i started calling out the their names and telling them to come into the light where I could see them…..but no response……so I walked up to the spot where the light lost the battle with the dense darkness and stopped to listen….nothing….i walked into the dark path….still no sound and no life form….suddenly I heard the foot steps of someone behind the house ….as if the person had stopped at the courtyard entrance and decided to circle the perimeter to reach the rear of the house (my imagination was going full throttle)….now at that precise moment the winds returned whose absence I had totally forgotten about…My already rattled mind told me that now I couldn’t hear the footsteps clearly and hence cant pin point the location of anyone….in a flash I was inside the house, the door bolted firmly…..after half an hour my friends returned…and boy did I have a story of my own to tell them…. :-)

PS: many of my friends have heard the sounds n foot steps during our 2/3 week stay at that Farmhouse and I heard the present occupants still do…