Monday, June 29, 2009

Chp 249. MM: Krypteria – The Night all Angels cry


To celebrate this week’s glorious Monday by taking part in
Lady Java’s “Monday Music”, I give you Krypteria, one of the lesser known symphonic gothic bands, but nevertheless, one of my favorites.

As we all know, symphonic gothic is no longer a Scandinavian domain. Sirenia’s latest frontwoman Ailyn is Spanish, Battlelore’s vocalist Kaisa is from Indonesia, Dremora’s vocalist Julian is from Brazil and there are loads of symph-goth bands emerging out of Japan, Australia and even Turkey.

Likewise, what sets this band Krypteria apart from many of the other symph-goth bands in Europe is that although the band members are from Germany, their vocalist is of Korean origin! And man is she hot!

I would like to dedicate two songs of Krypteria for this week’s Monday Music – “The Night all Angels cry” and “Lost”. Love them lots!

There are no music videos yet, so I am embedding just the youtube music links. But hey, look at the bright side – the files will load much faster on your slow connection as its only music! Hence you do not have any excuse for skipping them. Please do spend just 5 minutes of your precious time listening to them. I assure you, you’ll love them!


Krypteria - The Night all Angels cry




Krypteria – Lost




And a few pics of Krypteria to brighten up your Monday Blues!

[ The oh so beautiful Ji-In Cho ]


[ Ji-In Cho in action – Stunning stage performance ]




[ The Band Krypteria ]


[ One more time – Ji-In Cho in action ]


[ The Grand Finale ]



So this is my post for Monday Music. It’s just my second MM, but now I am planning to do this regularly and share some of my favorite symph-goth music. This is also a great platform to promote some of the absolutely amazing Mizo songs to the rest of the world! Next MM will definitely be a song by some of our talented Mizo artists. Watch this space, all my dear blog friends from S.E.Asia to S.Africa to the rest of the world, and get ready to be amazed at what these unsung artists can do!

Cheers. Monday rocks!

Come join Music Monday and share your songs with us. One simple rule, leave ONLY the actual post link here. You can grab this code at LJL Please note these links are STRICTLY for Music Monday participants only. All others will be deleted without prejudice.





Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Chp 248. The story behind your (online) name.


The internet hit me in the late 90s. Technology went a notch up like never before, shocking the byte out of us. Some of us were still using those large flimsy delicate 8 inch floppy discs back then! There was no Google, and the two most talked about sites were hotmail.com and hotsex.com
IRC wasn’t popular then, and we used to chat on Perch, or Pearch, something like that. Netscape was a much much much popular browser than IE too.

My classmates of course told me people don’t use their real names in the online world (read:Chat), so we used to think of really strange and funny online nicks. Those names became a part of our identification even in the real world much later, so it was really important to come up with a good and catchy name in the initial phase.

Hence when blogs hit the scene and spread like wildfire, I was adamant in using a name that would be catchy and not embarrassing. If you are using an online nick, how did you come up with that name? What’s the story behind it? I’m tagging all my visitors on this, and I would love to hear about the origin of your nick(s).


Mizohican :

I started blogging in 2004, and back then, I had a Mohican hairstyle. Proud of my Mizo heritage, I combined the two and violà - Mizohican. It’s no rocket science, but it’s kinda catchy, unique, and simple. The name gave me two identities in the blogosphere – People I interacted with came to know I’m a Mizo and that I had a “funky” hairstyle.



I was fascinated about the Mohicans, and the book "Last of the Mohicans" was one of the first “real books with no cartoons” that I read during those Primary school days. I even fell in love with Madeleine Stowe in the movie version, years later. I saw a lot of similarities between the Native Americans and us Mizos as we’re both war-mongering tribal warriors, where bravery/courage is regarded as the highest honor in both our cultures, and cowardice a condition worse than death – the ultimate shame & dishonor!


illusionaire :

This was a name I coined from the words illusion and legionnaire – hence illusionaire – A “Dream trooper”, a warrior well-versed in the mystic arts of illusion and black magic. Phantasmagoria, the supernatural, mysteries of the unexplained etc had always fascinated me and I used to have a large collection of comics with fantasy-based themes. I wanted my writings to deliver just that.



I planned “illusionaire” to be the name and theme of my blog while “Mizohican” was supposed to be my blog-nick (the name that appears when you leave a comment). However, things got screwed up and illusionaire appeared as my blog-nick instead of Mizohican and the name stuck (trust me, blogger.com wasn’t that user friendly back in 2004). Now it’s too late to change, but I am not that disappointed because I kinda like this name too anyway.



Sandman :

This was a name I was planning to use only in the Mizo online world (discussion forum etc) but somehow the name caught on (due to mybloglog.com) and all my blog friends from South East Asia came to know me as Sandman too, which wasn’t my intention at all.

I wanted to use this only in the Zo online world because “Kima” is a very common name in our community. Similar to “illusionaire”, the Sandman here is about that mythical dream bringer, which again has a lot to do with fantasy, folklore and myth. It is by no means related in any freaking way to that person who can control sand or turn into sand, à la Marvel comic books (Spiderman movies etc)! Aaargh.

Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” and Lordi’s “Blood Red Sandman” are based on this particular Sandman. I used the name because I wanted my writings to bring some sort of a dream-like fantasy or mesmerizing imaginations to my readers.



Morpheus, brother of Death, from Neil Gaiman’s
much acclaimed “The Sandman” series.


---------------------------


So that’s how I came up with Mizohican, illusionaire and Sandman. Three online nicks of mine that I use in the cyber world. Do tell me the story behind your online nick(s). What are all the common online nicks that you use at various platforms – blog, orkut, mIRC, discussion forums, twitter etc? How did you come up with them or what inspired you to have such names? I’m sure you did not come up with it out of the blue with no reason at all, or did you? I am all ears, my friends.


Ps. Some of the more interesting online nicks who visit my blog frequently, that I’m dying to know the origin of, are given below. I’m just guessing the reason why you all used such names. Do correct me if I’m wrong… … (All in good fun, as always. Hugz, in advance.)


Just a Grail Likes to drink her wine from a medieval chalice. Probably owns a chastity belt too.
Sundancer One of those crazy people we see dancing on the streets in broad daylight.
Evuhleen Actual name - Eveline. Boyfriend - “Me Tarzan, you Evuhleen. Me hungry, me poo poo…” type.
Pixie Mischievous, alluring, foxy, but unfortunately, married.
Mimi Tried to think of an exciting nick, any damn nick. Couldn’t, so she used her pet name.
Goldmember Gold is inert. His “member” is the same. Hence, Goldmember.
Blind Dayze Used to think ManUtd is the greatest team and became a fan. Regretting those blind days ever since.
NotGood It was the first thing his girlfriend said after their first… you know…
Wonderboy His folks wondered if it’s a boy…
Nohiddendepths Not a very deep person. Quite shallow.
codeAries Because codeTaurus was already taken…
father_sphinx A she-male. Cross between a man (father) and a woman (sphinx).
The Chhamanator Big fan of Arnold. Still has a naked poster of him on his bedroom wall.
Uncas Another Mizo who’s a big fan of the Mohicans. But alas, “somebody” has already beaten him to the name “Mizohican”.



How close was I?


Thursday, June 18, 2009

Chp 247. Blog Cemetery


Pinggggggg!!!

The sound echoed spookily across the silent bedroom. Mathew’s heart skipped a beat. It was the chat alert notifier. At two in the morning, Mathew wasn’t expecting anybody to come online and chat with him, especially since he had set his status as invisible.

“Maybe somebody took a wild guess to see if I am online or not,” he thought. So saying, he quickly saved his ongoing AOE-III campaign and minimized the game window. He clicked on the blinking Yahoo messenger to see who was trying to chat with him at such a strange hour in the morning.

It was Bobby.

Mathew raised his eyebrows in surprise. He had known Bobby since elementary school and they had been inseparable right through college. And then suddenly, ever since that fateful night at “Jalwaa Dhaba”, they had never spoken to each other again. Bobby still blamed him for Pooja’s death, even though he was never involved directly in her gruesome murder. Pooja… Bobby’s girlfriend and fiancée… raped and murdered… Bobby of course knew that his best friend Mathew was innocent, but he also knew that Mathew’s hands weren’t entirely clean either…

The chat transcript showed,

“Laid low, very low,
In the dark we must lie.
The merry glees are still;”

Mathew’s eyes widened. Bobby continued to type…

“The voice of the bird
Shall no more be heard,
Nor the wind on the hill.”

Mathew thought for a few seconds and then smiled. He punched in the words quickly.

“All things will die, by Lord Alfred Tennyson.”

Mathew used to play this game with Bobby back in College. They would suddenly quote lines from a poem and ask the other to guess the name of the poem and poet. Mathew found it strange that Bobby would break the ice after nearly 2 years of silence this way, but quickly brushed it aside with the thought, “Ah, it’s just Bobby”.

Bobby continued typing the same poem, “All things were born. Ye will come never more, for all things must die.”

Mathew stared at the chat transcript for some more time, and then finally replied.

“So, bro. How have you been???? Where the hell are you now?”

No reply.

Mathew waited for a few more minutes, and then finally typed, “You there????”

Still no reply.

A chilled air suddenly blew across the bedroom and Mathew immediately got a few goose bumps. He looked around his bed nervously. Then he stared at the chat console once more and the message appeared, “Bobby is now offline”.

Mathew sat motionless for a few more seconds and then quickly shut-downed his system. He dove into bed immediately and feebly muttered, “That’s weird,” before falling off to sleep.

------------------------------------------

A week later, Mathew had almost forgotten that strange incident, when he checked his mail and saw a new mail from feedburner. It was an update notification from Bobby’s blog feed that he had subscribed to a long time ago!

“Whoah,” he exclaimed.

Mathew immediately clicked on the link. He landed on Bobby’s blog, surprised to see that it was the first update after 2 years!

“Damn Bobby, you lazy old fart,” Mathew smiled.

Bobby’s new post was a poem…

I was angry with my friend:
I told my wrath, my wrath did end.
I was angry with my foe:
I told it not, my wrath did grow.

And I watered it in fears,
Night and morning with my tears;
And I sunned it with smiles,
And with soft deceitful wiles.

And it grew both day and night,
Till it bore an apple bright.
And my foe beheld it shine.
And he knew that it was mine,

And into my garden stole
When the night had veiled the pole;
In the morning glad I see
My foe outstretched beneath the tree.


Mathew read it slowly and carefully. His eyes lit up as he was familiar with the poem. Finally, he clicked on the comment section and typed, “A Poison Tree, by William Blake.” He clicked on “Publish your comment”.

And then he thought for a moment and wrote another comment.

“Dudeeee. You spooked me a little bit that night. Did you get disconnected or something like that? Catch me on chat tonight, 11’ish pm. We have soooo much to catch up on.”

He clicked on “Publish your comment” again and his comment appeared for the second time on Bobby’s new post.

Suddenly the monitor flickered and the electricity in his apartment went off.

“Crap,” Mathew cursed.

------------------------------------------

Another week went by and still no word from Bobby. Mathew was starting to worry a bit. Bobby had never treated him this way before. But then again, considering the way Bobby had partially blamed him for Pooja’s death, he was not surprised.

And then, one fine day, two burly men came knocking on his door.

Mathew opened the door.

“Yes, may I help you?”

“Mr. Mathew Jacob?”

“Yes?”

“May we come in please?”

“Urmmm… who are you?”

“We’re from the CID…”

“Oh! Crime Investigation Department?”

Criminal Investigation Department.”

“Ok”.

Mathew led them inside and as they all sat down, one of them got to the point immediately.

“Mr. Mathew. I believe you know a certain Mr. Ajay Poonawalla and Mr. Sebastian Chandy.”

Dark memories flooded Mathew immediately. He blurted out… “AJ and Sebby… Yes, I know them… I mean… I knew them. Haven’t spoken to them in almost… 2 years now I think.”

The two men looked at each other, and the leaner man with the spectacles spoke, “We know that. We’ve been checking on your online activities at orkut, facebook and twitter. You have not followed them back on Twitter in spite of them following you, and you have not added them as a friend in orkut or facebook, even though you guys have so many common friends on your lists.”

Blood rushed to Mathew’s face immediately.

“What???? You’ve been checking up on me? Invading my privacy? On what grounds??? How dare you…”

“Relax,” the burlier man assured calmly. “I am Inspector Verma from CID Crime Branch and this is Inspector Rana from CID cyber cell. We are working together on this case.”

“What case?”

“Well… five years ago, you were involved in the death of a certain Miss Pooja Dhania, right?”

Mathew’s eyes popped wide open.

“I was acquitted. I was never there at that time of the night!”

“Right. You were acquitted. But your friends Ajay Poonawalla and Sebastian Chandy…”

“They are NOT my friends!”

“They raped her, right?”

Mathew’s mouth trembled in anger. He screamed, “Yes! They bloody raped her, those bastardssss!”

“And what happened at the trial?”

Mathew hung his head down… and slowly whispered, “They were acquitted too. Lack of evidence, the Court said. They had their own alibi, just because Ajay’s father is a fucking Minister.”

The burlier Inspector now spoke in an empathizing tone.

“And to this day you blame yourself because…”

“Because,” tears flowed down Mathew’s cheeks. “Because I was the one who took her to the party but had to leave suddenly due to my uncle’s heart attack. I left her alone! Goddammit, I left her alone for those animals to rape herrr….”

Mathew broke down.

Inspector Rana got up from his chair and sat right next to Mathew. He kept his hands on Mathew’s shoulder and said, “Mr. Mathew. We need your help on our case…”

A teary eyed Mathew finally looked up and tried his best to maintain his composure, “What case is this?”

“A few days ago, Ajay and Sebastian were brutally murdered.”

Mathew was now sitting up straight and attentively listening. If there was any thought of exuberance, he did not show it.

“Murdered?”

“Yes. Both were killed at the same time, in the same fashion, even though they were miles apart from each other. Strangulated while sitting in front of their respective computers.”

Inspector Verma joined in, “The weird thing is, the postmortem revealed that they were strangled from the inside, with finger marks INSIDE their throats.”

“How is that possible?” Mathew asked in surprise.

“We are not sure. But our cyber cell has discovered that they were killed at the same time you left a comment on your friend Bobby’s blog.”

“What? Oh no… that’s not possible… I mean it could be a coincidence. You mean the exact same time?”

“Not exactly exact,” Inspector Rana corrected. “They were killed at the exact time a new post was published on Bobby’s blog. You commented a few minutes after that.”

Mathew now laughed nervously.

“See… like I said, it could be a coincidence… And I am sure Bobby is not the type to take vengeance, even though he still blamed me for Pooja’s death… I can vouch for Bobby’s innocence…”

“His innocence is confirmed, Mr. Mathew… Bobby... passed away, two weeks ago in a bus accident in Kashmir. They fell off a gorge at around 2 in the morning…”

Mathew froze. His face became as white as sheet.

Now it was the two inspectors’ turn to be worried.

“What’s the matter? Are you alright?” Inspector Verma asked.

“Two weeks ago… at around 2 in the morning… Bobby came online and chatted with me on yahoo messenger…” Mathew blurted out.

A long dead silence followed, with none of the three knowing what to say next.

Finally, Mathew nervously said something to break the awkward and deafening silence.

“That is why… the cyber cell is involved? You think this may be the work of some hacker or prankster with a sick twisted mentality, right? Right?”

He was trying hard to convince himself that this was not what it sounded like.

“Well... we have traced the ip address of the person who wrote that post on Bobby’s blog. We thought it would be rerouted or the ip scrambled, but it was a pretty much direct access.”

“Who was it?” Mathew asked, still trying to come to terms with the fact that one of his closest friends had been dead for 2 weeks and he never knew about it.

“We’re not sure. The ip address shows it is coming from somewhere near Wichita in Texas, America. Yet when we contacted the police there, they said that the place has been deserted for years.”

Inspector Rana opened his laptop and showed Mathew the location of the ip address.



“Interpol has also confirmed that this has been a deserted farmhouse for many years now.”

And then, Mathew looked at the ip address… something was familiar about it… extremely familiar… and then it hit him. He froze as if he had just seen the ghost of his dead friend.

Inspector Verma shook him hard, “Mathew, Mathew, are you alright son?”

With a trembling voice, Mathew lifted his fingers slowly and shakily pointed at the ip address…

“That ip address… 214.80.07.52. That's 21st April ’80, 7:52am. That is the exact date and time Bobby was born.”


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Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Chp 246. Ahhhh. Online Life!


Whenever I go home, I try to meet as many people as I can, apart from relatives and old friends. I’m talking about online friends here. The internet has become the most effective “social event” for someone to meet new people, especially for those who don’t socialize much in real life, like moi.

Mom still can’t get used to the fact that I know so many people so well without actually “knowing them”. She doesn’t understand this whole “online socializing” trend due to her generation. (*My folks are the types who have to know my friend's background. Extremely irritating but that's just how they are.) A typical evening conversation at home usually goes like this…

“Mom, don’t make dinner for me. A friend invited me over for dinner.”

“Ok. Where?”

“I am not sure… I’ll ask him as I leave…”

“You don’t KNOW his locality??? Who are his parents?”

“I don’t know…”

“You idiot… And what’s his name?”

“I don’t know…”

“What??? How long have you known him!!!???”

“For around 5 years now!”

“Huh???”

“You see, I know him by his online nick only, and I call him just by that name. I know his profession, I know what kinda music he likes, I know his birth-date, I know which political party he supports, I know the names of his ex-girlfriends and the exact dates they dumped him, I know whether he drinks or not and whether he supports the Total Prohibition Act or not, I know the level of his spirituality when it comes to religion, I know the websites and chat channels he regularly haunts, I even know the license plate number of his bike. But for the love of God, please don’t ask me his name because I… DON’T… KNOW!”



lolz, online life! No wonder some of the older folks in our society can never understand this, because to them, socializing starts from meeting that person in person, followed by names, to folk’s names, locality etc and from there they move to other personal details like the ones mentioned above. In the online world, things are quite the opposite! hehe.

And the funny thing about online friends is that, if we haven’t met him/her before and yet know that person so well online, then we usually start assuming that he or she is something he/she actually isn’t in real life! We picture that person in our head, solely based on the way he or she writes. And of course the shock we get when we finally get to meet that person, sometimes is quite disappointing, but most of the time it is funny.



Those who haven’t met me or spoken to me on the phone before, mostly assume I have this deep, masculine, baritone-like voice of James Coburn or Sean Connery. Lolz. I am flattered but noooooo… I have the voice of an 8 year old boy. And yeah, thank you all for sooo sensitively saying it right up to my face, “Whoah! Your voice isn’t something I was expecting at all!!! I imagined it to be a lot deeper, huskier, more masculine etc etc.” Yes, it doesn’t hurt me AT ALL. *sarcasm*

Some even go an extra mile over the phone, “Hi.. oh you must be Kima’s sister. Can I please speak to Kima?”

Ouch!

Why don’t I have a deep masculine voice? Probably because I use words like “ouch” in my blog.

But seriously, I don’t know why my voice is not deep. You can ask my genealogist. And, errr... mind you, that is genealogist, NOT gynaecologist.

My friends told me they assumed my voice would be a lot more masculine because I write a lot about social issues, football analysis and other sports, Heavy metal and Gothic music, and occasionally about male stereotypes and humorous sexist articles. I write about discs, pubs and parties because I love living my life in the fast lane. Hence I guess all that probably stereotyped me as the alpha-male, which is so not true in reality. I even met online friends who thought I would this short, portly, loud-mouthed, big-headed nerd who talks non-stop and argues with everybody in the room.

In real life, yes I have an abnormally large head (after all, I am a Mizo ) but I am NOT short (at least for a Mizo), extremely shy and introvertish, hardly talks, eccentric to some degree, with the voice of an 8 year old cherub. There you go. That is me. Though it is quite an honor for somebody to picture me as something so… macho, I just don’t want to burst your bubble.

And I guess that is what online life is all about. Either we become a different person from our real life avatar (role playing) or we assume others to be somebody they are not. There is still no substitute for a personal one-to-one physical contact, but online socializing comes pretty close.

Role playing is fun, but I think that should be restricted to MMORPGs like Tribal Wars, Travian, Ikariam, Neopets etc. Such games demand that you have an alter-ego online, and that you should talk and act just like that online avatar. But when you are socializing, say at blogs or social network sites, things will work out best for you and your friend if you don’t put on a façade. Likewise, here is me warning all my wonderful friends out there – Chances of your online friend turning out to be exactly like the person you have pictured in your head is extremely slim. That’s Life. The Online life.

Cheers!


Friday, June 05, 2009

Chp 245. TGIF, seriously!



My good friend Marzie does her “Monday Music” posts every Monday, where people take part and share their favorite songs. It’s a way of facing the Monday blues, collectively.

Well, this week being an extreeeeemly stressful week, I think I will share a couple of my favorite songs today so as to mark the end of this hectic week and relax to the soothing music for the weekend. Next week, expect a lot of serious, hard hitting, controversial articles that will touch the core of socio-ethnic issues right up to racism and religion. Until then my friends, let us relax for a while.

[Ps. Mizo Blog Directory has been updated. Those who haven’t registered yet, please do so. Also check out the Mizo Tweeter Directory managed by CodeAries.]

You like this mascot?


Now back to the post…

Friday Music Leisure :

First up is a band that I generally don’t like because they’re a Melodic Black Metal band. I love Symphonic Gothic Metal, which is way different from MBM. But this band changed their style completely for their latest album, which is more acoustic & symphonic in nature.

Yup, I’m talking about the Swiss band Eluveitie. This album comes under “Folk Metal” genre, but some may argue that it is more of Acoustic Folk. Whatever, it is AMAZING. Here is the song “Omnos” from the album “Evocation I - The Arcane Dominion”.

DON’T SKIP IT! I know many of you may not like my taste, but this song is different. I swear! It’s not “noise” (as one of my dear visitors bluntly admitted!). Just listen to the sweet symphony for a few minutes and I’m sure you’ll like it too.

Aluveitie - Omnos


The lyrics are in Gaelic, an ancient language of the Celts. Eluveitie means "I am the Helvetian". The first stanza and chorus goes like this:


Eluveitie Forum: Lyrics of Omnos.

Immi daga uimpi geneta,
lana beððos et' iouintutos.
Blatus ceti, cantla carami.
Aia gnata uimpi iouinca,
pid in cete tu toue suoine,
pid uregisi peli doniobi?
Aia gnata uimpi iouinca,
pid in cete tu toue suoine

Aia mape coime, adrete!
In blatugabagli uorete,
cante snon celiIui in cete!

Vrit- me lindos dubnon -piseti
Vrit- me lindos dubnon -piseti [x2]

The translation is about a young innocent girl and a big bad wolf walking together in a dark forest all alone. The girl falls in love with the wolf but he takes advantage of her and defiles her, roughly snatching away her virtue & innocence, shaming her for eternity. She begs him to stay with her after that, but he walks away, now that he’s done with her. The little girl then cries, “I was a fair and pretty girl. Now I'm poor and overcome with shame. Now only the deep pond awaits me.”

Dark, melancholic and extremely poignant. It’s like Little Red Riding Hood meets Josef Fritzl. But then, aren’t most folklores like this, especially the Nordic ones? This song is quite metaphorical too, applying perfectly in today’s era. Look around you. I’m sure you’ll know at least a woman or two who have faced such a situation before…

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Second song for Friday: You see that beautiful angel blinking at the top-right corner of my blog, over my big big ugly head? Yeah, that girl is Ailyn, Sirenia’s latest vocalist. I am soooo in love with her. Have even mentioned about her a couple of times on my blog too. Their latest album “The 13th Floor” was released a few months ago, and as of now, there are two music videos already produced. Here is one of them, entitled “The Path to Decay”.

Sirenia – The Path to Decay


Oh mannnn… so in love am I. Ailynnnnn, will you marry me please???? I mean, it’s not just her face… it’s her freaking voice. Somewhere deep inside, her angelic voice has struck a deep chord with my soul, bonding the two together for eternity. Ahhhhh…

------------------------------------------

Third on my list is a new Polish band that spewed out a lot of debate in the Metal world regarding if it is symphonic goth or alternative goth. Frankly speaking, I think it is alternative metal because the vocalist pales in comparison to the other symphonic gothic babes out there… her vocals are too plain and… simple. There is none of those sudden changes of pitch, style and emotions etc so common among other bands.

Nevertheless, it is a good song. Frontman Mauser is the ex-guitarist of popular Death Metal band Vader and vocalist Aya (Anna Stefanowicz) is hot. Here is their music video of the song “whisper”.

UnSun - Whisper


I think you’ll know what I mean by “being too plain and simple to be SGM” if you listen to this song.

------------------------------------------

The last song for Friday Music Leisure is more of a Friday-based theme song – Industrial Metal! I love Industrial Metal because it is something you can actually party & dance to, sans the head banging (not that I’m saying I don’t like to head-bang).

Here is the song “Follow Me” by PAIN (not to be confused with the American Punk/Pop Rock band of the same name). This song features Nightwish’s new vocalist Anette Olzon. Readers of my blog may be familiar with my post: The Women in my Life where two of Nightwish’s new music videos “Amaranth” and “Bye bye Beautiful” are featured. Olzon may or may not be better than Tarja Turunen, but this song with PAIN is a masterpiece, and an apt song for a Friday night.

Pain featuring Anette Olzon – Follow Me


Olzon looks kinda old in this video, doesn’t she?

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With that I covered four of my current favorite songs, across four different genres – Folk Metal, Symphonic Gothic Metal, Alternative Metal, and Industrial Metal. I hope you like them too, although I’m not expecting much response for this post… Still, I do hope you spare some time to listen to them. I would really appreciate that.

Here’s to Metal. Cheers!





Monday, June 01, 2009

Chp 244. Expensive Aizawl!!!


Now that I am back here in Mumbai, I feel quite relieved. Of course my heart lies in Mizoram, but I like it better here because Aizawl is
too damn expensive! I used to think that the cost of living here in Mumbai is high… oh I was sooo wrong. I’ve been all over India at every Metro and most of the major cities, and there is no place more expensive than Aizawl.

Sure Mumbai contributes the highest tax in India, and has been in the top 10 most expensive city in the World (in terms of office space and property) consistently for the past many years, but there are many other locations that are not that expensive and quite rentable. And sure, there may be discotheques and restaurants so bloody expensive that I can wipe out my entire monthly salary by simply raising my forefinger to the waiter to signal that I want “one more”. But again, there are many other places that are cheap and affordable without compromising on quality and service.

In Aizawl, to take the taxi means you’re filthy rich! Traveling from my locality Chaltlang to the next locality Chanmari by taxi costs 40 freaking bucks! And that distance is less than the minimum auto fare of 9 bucks here in Mumbai. Yes the people are annoyed too. They grumbled, “Prices of fuel went up and the very next freaking day, taxis jacked up their fares while the petrol pumps were still selling fuel by the old (cheaper) cost. And then fuel costs were cut a long time ago and the drivers still refused to bring down their freaking fares till now.”

And of course, if there’s any talk of making the taxis run on alternate days (odd and even license plate numbers) so as to trim down the congested Aizawl traffic, there will be hundreds of articles and protests bombarding newspapers like Vanglaini, Mizo Aw, Aizawl Post etc about how these poor taxi drivers were made victims of circumstances, and how capitalism is evil and that all rich people are dirty and corrupt while all poor people are honest and exploited etc etc. I am not getting into this debate right now, but it did hurt a bit to be “taken for a ride” when I noticed that many of those so called poor hungry taxi drivers were sporting mobile phones way more expensive and sophisticated than mine.

When my friend OPie met with his accident, I visited him daily. And I always bought junk-food for him, like chips, pepsi, biscuits etc. Not even once did I buy those items by the exact MRP printed on the box/bottle! No sir, all the shop-keepers near his house were selling every item for around 5 bucks more than the MRP. At first I didn’t protest, but later when I did, I was “politely” asked to buy from the other shops if I had an issue with the cost. What nerves! Eventually, I had to buy them from my locality if I wanted to save a few tenners.

The same with cigarettes. Recently, small Goldflake (chhota goldflake) increased their cost from 28 to 29 bucks. In Mizoram, supposedly it had been 30 bucks all along, even before the increment.

Vegetables and meat are expensive too. And my oh my, don’t get me started with the restaurants. Sure there are a lot of good roadside restaurants that serve great food at really economical rate. But the (upper-middle class?) hotels like Hotel Chief, Ritz, David’s Kitchen… damn, taking into consideration the ambience, the service and the quality of food, it is definitely not worth it. There is no value for money at those places. I can sit in a much better restaurant here with finer service and dining for the same cost that they charged me there.

Magazines? Wowwiieee is all I can say. I will not name any magazines here, but from my point of view, most of the popular Mizo magazines are over-priced. And here’s the sad part – most of the articles in those magazines were ripped off directly from the net and translated into Mizo. I wanted to read thought-provoking opinionated Mizo articles written by Mizos on various issues ranging from socio-ethnic topics to politics to sports etc etc. Sadly, the mags weren’t the place I should have looked in.

I also wanted to buy Pu Zamawia's best-seller “Zofate zinkawngah” badly. Unfortunately, its monstrous price of 850 bucks turned me off completely. If any Mizo here in Mumbai have that book, can I please borrow it?

Long time ago, I used to look forward to going home for one reason – the second-hand flea market. You get amazing apparel at dirt cheap price. Now it seems people hardly go to those places and instead indulge themselves at shopping malls and showrooms. And the price of a good pair of jeans at a show room there? 3.5 K !!! Mon Dieu! Aren’t show-rooms of the same brand supposed to sell the same item with the same price uniformly all over India? Or that’s not how it really works? Do enlighten me please.

At the end of the day, I have just a couple of questions. How are we able to afford all this? Where’s all the money coming from when we are so underdeveloped as compared to other cities? Is it because almost everything is subsidized hence the reason some (if not many) people living Below Poverty Line can afford to own refrigerators, mobile phones, TVs etc.? Mizoram is a Notified Backward Area… yet, one look at Aizawl and any humanitarian is bound to be shocked. Children sporting the latest mobile phones, designer wear, expensive shoes, extremely high car ownership per capita, westernized style of living, and in spite of all this, the capital Aizawl is also (ironically) known as the cultural capital of Mizoram! What culture?

Seriously, I am not anti-development or anti-progress. But we cannot let ourselves be bullied by merchants and industries that monopolize the system. Look at our Telecom industry. A few years ago, BSNL used to happily rape our arses because they were the only cellular company in Mizoram. Now look at the scenario - Aircel, Airtel, Vodafone, Cell One, Reliance, Tata Indicom, etc etc have all entered the market. Nobody can now afford to exploit us anymore due to competition. Likewise, we the consumers need to stand up to those shopkeepers, hoteliers, publishers, associations and others who think they control the market.

Of course, one need not necessarily indulge in all that is mentioned above. But for those who want to get a little nibble from the luxury pie, the financial requirement is extravagantly high. I guess I can conclude like this – If you are planning to buy or do only the bare-essentials and necessities, then Aizawl is probably the cheapest place in India. Otherwise if you want to cross that line even by an inch, then it is the most expensive place in India. Period.

Meanwhile, for a person like me, Aizawl is definitely one place I cannot afford to live in anymore.