Grandma's Tales

March 7, 2007

Grammar – 29 No “rave parties”, please!

Filed under: Language — Geeta Padmanabhan @ 11:55 pm

A web site carried this story.
The rave party bust by the Pune police on the Holi weekend is the biggest of its kind so far.
In attendance were the young and restless from all spectrums of life. Models, air-hostesses, IT employees, the call centre crowd. It was as if the historic Sinhgad Fort had become one huge trance music zone.
Also in attendance, the police found, were significant amounts of drugs, including Ecstasy, and alcohol. More than 200 persons have been taken into custody. (
They are out on bail after enjoying governement hospitality for three days. Can they add this to the EXPERIENCE column in their resume?)
What does India’s youth think of rave parties? Are they a bad influence, a corrupting experience where sex, booze and drugs have free play, and hence to be banned? Or are they expressions of youth, and hence a fact of life?
I guess the web site wants you to post your opinion on the issue.
I have a problem with rave parties. No, no, I’m all for young people going out to find what they want in life and I give advice only when it is sought. What you do in the heady days of youth – good or bad – has a way of coming back to haunt you later, if you live long enough to be haunted. So, to each, his own.
My problem is with the phrase. A “rave” is an all-night dance event. The music has to be electronic with DJs and performers creating the right atmosphere to help you let down your inhibitions. All innocent fun, you would think. But where it loses its innocence is when drugs, especially Ecstasy, become an essential part of the proceedings. Ravers go to a remote area, usually a farmhouse to avoid complaints about noise. Police and parents’ groups chase them to protect them from alcohol, drugs, and …
Raves, short for Radical Audio Visual Experiences have been around for more than 2 decades. They began as a branch of night club culture among Caribbeans in London and later spread to different parts of the world. Raves have been around in India for centuries, say know-alls, citing Holi celebrations. What should you call drinking bhang, throwing coloured powders and water on one another and dancing to dholak beats?  Daylight raves.
That’s the point. Rave is a British slang that means a boisterous party, esp. a dance. See, rave means a party, so you can’t say “rave party”. You just say, “Mum, I’m off to a rave tonight.” (Just try it with your parents/spouse tonight! :-)) You don’t say “Rave party tonight.”
That’s like saying “I’m booking the new LPG gas cylinder today” or “My house is in Neelankarai, an area off ECR Road.” Stupid, right?


  1. When I book my LPG gas cylinder, I usually give them my PIN number.

    Comment by Navaneethan Santhanam — July 18, 2007 @ 2:03 am | Reply

  2. Ha, that is the point, NS. It is not “LPG gas”, because LPG stands for Liquified Petroleum Gas”. See? It is “LPG cylinder”.

    Comment by Geeta Padmanabhan — July 18, 2007 @ 11:27 am | Reply

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