Chandramukhi in Seattle

Thalaivar movie in Redmond.

I don’t say that. Seattle Tamil Sangam‘s website says it all. When the you say, you know the amount of enthusiasm behind that. Looks like they had issues in getting the Chandramukhi potti over the weekend. And so it’s on a weekday, a Wednesday/Thursday. It’s already a week late from the release and on a weekday. Still, appreciate the people working behind to get the show premiered.

It’s on the Bella Botega Theatres, Redmond on Wednesday 20 April – 7:30 PM and also on Thursday 21 April 7:00 PM. Sulekha comes to use, finally. You can book tickets here on Sulekha. All thalaivar fans are requested to come with a poster of Rajini to make the place feel like home. I’m not sure if I can make it though. Though Redmond isn’t far away, I’m not mobile to move around. Anyone promising a pickup/drop for me to the movie, will hopefully, by god’s grace, get a year long project extension and their green card approved through PERM.

For more on movie premeire at Seattle contact, Sujatha Rajarajan[sujatharajarajan@hotmail.com] at 425-557-8337. Via Raj.

Disclaimer – If the next post is on Kamal, please don’t blame me. It isn’t intentional.

For Once, I Love Reliance

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It’s a pain. I meant the phone cards. There are good ones and then there are bad ones. Some steal money and some steal minutes. Either way, you stand to loose those precious quarters and cents. If you are a desi, you would have succumbed to the diabolic world of phone cards. It’s only through a phone card you might communicate, Amma Sowkiyama, Appa Bankla Check pottaachaa, Ammamma eppidi irukka in a single breath to reduce your the minutes running out of a phone card. When you do this a phone card would stay for longer days, allowing you to say more Sowkiyamas for 10 days. There are also cards with which you call up on a sunday and talk all the 45 minutes in one full stretch. I prefer the former. The later might carry a potential problem. You would have nothing to talk for more than 20 minutes and just to evaporate the remaining minutes, you even ask for, What happened to Mettiyoli’s Bose mama ? or gossip about Pakkath aathu Gaachu aunty. That’s boring.

Starting from 5c a minute or less there are all types of phone cards which rarely connect, usually disconnects abruptly and would round-off for 6 minutes making to blink with jaws wide open. Whatsoever, you just can get out of the clutches of these rectangular credit card sized telephone cards which have flashy colors and a rani-mukherjee-on-her-mobile-phone picture on the corner.

When someone told me Reliance Infocomm has a pre-paid option to India, I discounted it thinking about the state of Reliance telephones in India. Reliance in India has become junta’s mobilephone. And you know what happens when you go-public. The rich and the poor buy it while the middle-class fearing misuse is still hanging around with Aircel/tel/whatever types. While Reliance’s market is so huge the customer service is pathetic. They have definitely improved their billing system but it might take a few years to reach corporates and upper-middle class.

While I was busy typing a toll-free, a pin number and an Indian telephone number before I could hear someone say Hello, my friends were calling India without too much hassle using Reliance Call India. I set to try out Reliance. Reliance India Call really rocks, I should say. After tons of bitter experiences with the 10c phone cards, Reliance charging 12c a minute just doesn’t matter. They don’t eat minutes, steal money in the name of rounding-off or make you embarassed by disconnecting on the middle of the call with your In-laws. All you do is sign-up, give your plastic money details and then just register you US home/mobile number. Pickup a $5 card option or whatever that suits of your talking capacity!! From the registered phone, call up the toll-free Reliance number, it automatically recognizes your number and you just dial-up the India number. Vrooooom. Before you could lift you fingers from the number pad, Amma says, Ennada Kanna Saaptaacha. I love it.

One more rainy weekend

So all I could is to bundle up with a dozen flicks of various genres including the kollywood ones and call this movie marathon. The King County library provides a free access to all the 43 libraries around. For a book types, like me, it is a welcome break. I’m just ordering books that I haven’t or wanted-to-but-couldn’t-get back in India and read them to glory.

The first one was an awe-inspiring auto-biography, Every Second Counts by the tour-de-france champion Lance Armstrong. This guy after surviving a cancer, pitched back and won not one but five championships of tour-de-france. Mind you, tour-de-france is considered to be the most grueling championship and a real test of stamina for mankind. Every man’s life has a history but very few have such completely devastating lives told in the best possible way without pretence and unnecessary adjectives. Lance Armstrong is one hell of a guy. Truly. And I’m just checking the prices of bikes around for a tour-de-seattle. BTW, the last line was a lie for a lazy like me. I’m currently reading Rebecca Blood’s The Weblog Handbook and also hae piled up Biz Stone’s Blogging book as the next read.

Films. Name them and they are available at the library. From Akira Kurosawa‘s Ikiru to Rajinikanth‘s Muthu, there is just every other international movie available. I’ve booked more than enough flicks, most of them being on the non-commercial ones that you cannot get in India. Michael Moore’s Bowling for Columbine and Woody Allen’s Play it again, Sam were some to name from. I’m surprised to see there are 50 people who have booked for Akira Kurosawa’s Rashomon, before me. That says all.

With all these films lined up, my head would burst a 1000 pieces if I don’t say my opinion on them. Instead of reviewing every other movie in a detailed fashion, how about two-minute-reviews ? Something real quick and just worthy stuff on film. The regular ones would go on as ever. I’m trying it out to see if it works.

Seattle’s Pallavan

It was like 12B. The crowd, the rush, the push and the seat blocking. Just as same as the Vadapalani-T.Nagar crowd. Travelling from a suburb to the downtown Seattle is becoming an event everyday. With a metro bus full of Indians, it gives me a feel of being in Chennai, except that not many talk Tamil.

The one sitting next to you can say, Kya Yaar/Bagunaara/Inna Mamey, anything of the listed/unlisted Indian language. Sometimes you might have an america-born-asian youth constantly fidling with the tiny electronic gadget which could be the size of a matchbox and might play mp3, kick off the electric heater in your house or sometimes remotely run a few unix shell scripts to index the cramped database at work. Who knows ? Everything is possible with technology, especially here.

You can blabber about deal going with Comcast cable or ask for the best Indian restaurant around with your Indian bus friends. All these details are available after ‘deep’ research of prices and quality. From buying selling cars to broomsticks every single product is analyzed thoroughly. So you can be sure that any advice you get from a desi with regards to price/place/product is a reasonable one. But chances are you might end up sitting with a snob whose face would read a name like Munsaamy or Goindsamy. He would just not even smile at you and would behave like descending directly from St.Peter’s special heaven. As you sit next to him, he would take out his ancient cellphone and talk stuff like gonna, awesome, whasup, gotta go, shoot and what not. The worst part is that you might meet our heaven descendent at an Indian store arguing in local tamil or telugu, bargaining for $2.75 frozen paratha. Fate.

The best thing about Seattle is the commute. The city is well connected with the bus service. For someone like me to have seen nothing but cars in Chicago, this was a surprise. The roads are built on hilly areas which means you will have a roller-coaster ride to the city and with those tall green trees half-covered with the morning fog, it’s a pleasure ride. As the bus crosses the Lake Washington, you find a maze of bridges built below and above to the one you travel. Yeah, you can slip into a dream of singing like Shahrukh on the open car[Pardes].

I am carrying my SONY Digicam with me mostly but with the pace of bus zooming on the express lane, all I could get is a shot of moving objects and not the lake. Will have to get down and click them someday.

Starbucks-ing my life

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This is something for which most desis nod heads with me. From the suda suda filter coffee in davara tumbler to the slogan on the coffee cup saying, The beverage you are going to enjoy contains hot liquid, I’m learning to accomodate.

Starbucks is beginning to be a costly replacement for my Indian Filter Coffee. Yet I’m becoming comfortable to walk to into a Starbucks Coffee shop and order in a single breath “Hey, How-u-doing, Mocha-Tall. Make it extra hot. No whipped cream. You see, I’m already going bonker bonks with the cheese thrust”. Get the covered coffee cup, open again and add sugar-like-stuff to make it sweeter. Yesterday, trying to act smart, I added some cane sugar and you must have seen my face go all eight directions.

If you didn’t know, Starbucks, the American Coffee shop revolution, started in Seattle. I knew that just a week back. While I landed, I was surprised to see a Starbucks at evey corner of a street. Not anymore. So if you are anywhere in Seattle downtown, you might be just 50 feet away from a Starbucks.

I am starting to love all the Cappuccinos, Lattes, Mochas and Espressos. Just as I enjoyed the ambience in the Chennai Barista, I’m enjoying the crowd here. Geeks sitting around with a cordless mouse and working on their laptops connected to the wireless hotspot, Women – while sipping their Caramel Mocha adjusting their upperlip lipstick on a handy mirror, a gentleman on the blue shirt and a thick reddish tie relaxedly reading The Seattle Times, a middle aged woman reading just the first page of The New Yorker and me still stirring the cane sugar in the Mocha. Vivid Images inside a Starbucks Shop. Enjoyable.

P.S: My laptop is still adjusting to the WI-FI. So it might take a week before I do some Vetti Banda stuff of blogging from Starbucks and name the post, The First Post From Starbucks On My Laptop. What a boast that was !! I hear you saying Lazy finally becomes GEEK !! Atleast I hope.