Surprise birthday party – 60 is just a number

PHOTO-2018-09-23-09-13-18Thank you everyone who has been part of this amazing party 🙏🏻
I was anticipating something would be happening but not expected this. When I reached the venue and felt you all there inside, I was little upset momentarily, I was not mad at anyone, not even at Prashanthi but I felt very uneasy, the only thought I had was I would have come little prepared not like the one walking on Manhattan streets 🤣 even if Unnu hadn’t brought my sarees, I would have stayed in those clothes I came in – since that is what ‘true me’ – right ? The rest are all accessories – so many layers and extensions we have been adding …

If I had known earlier that you were planing this, I would not have accepted it. The main reason is I do not want to be ‘the center of attraction’.  The second reason is I do not want to waste money on these things. If you had still insisted, we could have a potluck get together at someone’s place and donate the money to a cause.
even I am thinking about the same with the gift if you all could agree for that – if we could return it and donate the money for a cause.

Putting aside all these, it was so nice to see the whole family with the exception few people who have been very close to me and not able to be there – Karthi, Tammy, Lakshmi, Prithi, Madhurima and Sneha and the list goes on and on as my ‘inclusiveness’ is bringing more people into my life (getting greedy in an unlimited way in Sadhguru’s sayings) and the bonding with everyone is getting stronger day after day.

Nevertheless, where should I start thanking people from ….
C713E905-5229-4458-A6DB-760CE43194DBI’ll start with my sister who has taken all the trouble traveling by different modes of transportation to come from Flushing to almost Trenton with her knee problems – thank you Geetha akka for your love, affection and concern for me and of course I missed Karthi;

263556EC-AF72-403A-B71F-11B6F472C60CThank you Lakshmi and Krishna Mohan to take the trouble to be part of this event as you are not attending many events nowadays and also thank you Krishna Mohan for mentioning and remembering chinna annayya – very touching 🙏🏻

73C8C644-E670-483C-B796-9C6F0D1377BDI would like to thank Radhika and Sekhar as through the WhatsApp conversations realized as they have spearheaded the event and selecting the restaurant 🙏🏻 by trying various places – don’t blame me Sekhar for putting on few pounds 😜and wishing their best wishes through video clippings – besides all these, I have a special bonding with Sekhar, we try to share things happening in our lives either sad or happy or anything in between and try to gossip sometimes 🙊🙉 and I try to be his mentor sometimes – whether it works or not 🤔

C2950704-A912-4599-B96B-CF218D7755ABI want to thank Ramana and Radhika for taking time to decorate the venue place which is so beautiful;I really know how much work is involved – time wise, ideas wise and etc., special thanks to Ramana for doing all these irrespective of her knee pain. Very truly appreciated your love ❤️

Ramu and Ramana – thank you for the beautiful song – ee mounam – from Dr. Chakravarthy – one of my fav ANR garu’s songs and with that song you tried to cover Akkinenis completely (very passionate for Akkinenis from my childhood) and always Ramu makes me feel emotional by his compliments for the works I do and calling me a ‘Role Model’ happy tears 😅and big hug 🤗

480874CD-5B35-4FAD-B5F4-CAC8FB6CBC35Kameswari and Kanth – for posting some fake WhatsApp messages in our small group fitness freaks that evening and also selecting Apple Watch ⌚️ and Kanth saying some nice things about me 😊 and Kameswari calling me a ‘good sport’ 😊 did I have a choice 🤣

9D4ACEB7-55F1-418E-86E2-5C4D840F2801Ramana and Sirisha – for being part of the event and Ramana for challenging me for cards game and talking about our good olden days 🤗 and also mentioning about 2017 Kailash Yatra video, that is just a sample 😜

 

 

EC8B5A0C-DE09-47A8-A3D1-1B0AF7E98829Radha – thanks for being there and brought back those beautiful memories of your childhood and making uncle and me a big part of yours and Ram Sai’s childhood. ❤️ and hugs 🤗

 

 

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Uma, Ramesh – thank you very much for that lovely video clip from your family and I was so surprised and happy to see Rhea being very close to me – she has appreciated the colors of my saree 🤗and even she has invited me to your place before she was leaving. So lovely and thanks for being part of event.

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Padmaja and Rajesh – thank you very much for being there and part of the team efforts to make this event happen in a beautiful way.

 

09EC13E0-A715-4CED-8C66-52EF9EB711D4Radha, Siri – thank you for being there as it has become a rarity to see you at the parties (I guess we haven’t had any lately) and it just hit me that I am 60 when Radha wished me as ‘Sastipurthi’ 🙉🙈

Satya Thank you for singing that beautiful song 😍😘❤️

 

Rachana and Tanvi for bringing so much happiness to me and delight to everyone by dancing for my one and only fav hero – Nagarjuna’s songs – picked from three different times – vesamkalam vennelalona … nee kosam nee kosam; Soggadae Chinni Nayana; greekuveerudu naa rakumarudu .. ❤️❤️❤️😍😍🤗🤗😘😘

And Rachhu for sharing your memories of spending time with me along with Nikki and how I have protected you from the pigeons 😜 and made me realize I should take you to a Broadway show.

Sowmya and Ramya – again you Yamarthy sisters rocked with picking chaitanya’s and Samantha’s songs
From their debut movie to their latest ones – YMC, UTurn, RRVC, again all my fav songs ❤️😍😘

How come you girls ignored Akhil Akkineni 🤔🙁

Then comes our Akhil – you have really touched me by calling your second MOM – that is the best birthday gift I could ask for – I am on my journey to become an ‘Universal Mother’ (hopefully that is Sadhguru’s future mission for me) – what an honor, thank you very much Akhil 😘❤️

Rishi Babu – thank you very much for recollecting a very nice memory of ours. I am so used to read books for Karthi when he was a child and I would never say NO to read a bed time story. So much love ❤️ and 🤗

Surya – you really surprised me when you came before the mike to talk and dwell a nice memory of Toys R Us – thank you very much Surya 🤗

Tarun – thank you very much by acknowledging every one’s statement that I am RELIABLE 🤗😘 and I always think you are more matured to your age as sometimes you speak absolute truths in a casual manner. Love you ❤️

Chaitanya – thank you very much for expressing your love towards me and also speaking on behalf of Karthi – as you two are always my leg pullers; love you a lot 🤗

Unnu thank you very much for being here and I know for every birthday your wish was to be here with me to make me celebrate my big day and your wish was so STRONG that it happened this year itself ❤️😍😘🤗 and putting a poker face when I talked to you that morning about something was cooking and I could feel it ….

E2D9DC70-346B-4315-BEAE-3A7817ACE7D2Last but not the least – a big BEAR HUG to Prashanthi for considering me as her MOThER – you are all assuring me I am on a RIGHT Path and making such a beautiful video, I know how hectic task it is to communicate with people and getting messages and compiling them with nice apt music at the background especially when Arya was sick the whole week.i ❤️Manam background And also not leaking anything and made me to go the event … and also the way you expressed your concern and fears but how everyone of you has sent me to Kailash Yatra 🙏🏻

my birthday picI have to thank one more person here – Abigail- Arya’s friend who came to the party and scared by looking our gang and she literally got shivers and decided to stay away from us 😜 while we were returning , she wanted to have music played in the car despite of the fact she was very sleepy (she heard and simultaneously sang many songs while we were driving to the venue ) and she asked some singer or some series where there is a Happy Birthday Song – I knew immediately that she was asking that song for me and while the song was half way through chaitanya asked her why she has chosen that song and she said it was the birthday of someone in the car – I must say Girls are very mature – love you Abhi 😘😍🤗

Sorry for keeping you all waited for so long at the venue since it was a surprise for me it was very difficult for Prashanthi to keep me on the track for an outing and also the restaurant is far away from our place. even our Arya didn’t give me a clue when I asked him several times where we were going, love you Arya Babu and Shakti Babu for enjoying the dance 💃🏻 💃🏻💃🏻💃🏻

And you people have a nerve to ask me whether it was a surprise 🙈👺 looking at me, my dress, my hair, my face, and my sneakers.

I love you all a lot and please consider my request for returning the gift and donate to a cause 🙏🏻

  1. Prashanthi’s beautiful compilation from you all  This is the video link
  2. Link to pictures more pics to be added

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Bubbling Ideas

I am #bubbling with so many ideas:

  •  Deepavali – my gift hampers to my family, and colleagues – every year I want to add some extra touch to it 😊 evolving in the process 😜 of making Diwali gift hampers, this year for sure something new is coming 😍 And aiming to make some traditional Telugu sweets 😻
  • Prashanthi’s housewarming party – decorations and return gifts – try to achieve something new – very much inspired by Samantha’s gift hampers for #WoVen
  • I wNt to add something new – #OctoFest – celebrating October with #Orange – 🎃🍂🍁🍁🌾🌾🎃

so much on my plate besides my demanding office work – even my physical trainer could not fit me in her time slots and she sent me a message that my schedule is very tight 😜 I myself found it is very true as 24 hours in a day is not at all enough 🤔🤔🤔🤔

One more thing I forgot – I have to squeeze in some time for #RajuGariGadhi2 – for Nagarjuna and Samantha ❤️❤️❤️ For the New bindings, new beginnings 👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻🍸🍸🍸 I wish I could see the movie on  #FridayThe13th 🙈🙉💀💀👽👽👻👻

I am trying to explore in the domains which I never dreamt of or thought but the bottom line is I am enjoying every min of what I am going through right now – #findingInnerStrength 🤗🤗💪💪💪 #Handmade gives so much happiness since no two pieces look alike 😍😍😍 #PushingAndKickingMyBoundaries 💃🏻💃🏻💃🏻💃🏻💃🏻

You will for sure see the pics of what I have achieved for each of the events I am planning ….😍

A reflection on 2016

A reflection on 2016
All good memories – dreams came true in a blossoming way, discovering inner strengths and talents, taking paths those I even didn’t know they exist, all positive vibes.

pongal-2016Just to showcase my hidden talents – Pongal 2016 at Ramana’s place – I have practiced birds muggu as we planned to have muggulu on that day, but after I had that one, got so much inspired and checked for radham muggu on iPad and just put it on the spot, felt very much blessed.

It all startnagarjunaed with a memorable India trip in Feb/March – I met Nagarjuna (on 5th March) which I never ever dreamt of. Praveen has been asking me and I was asking praveen too about meeting him. But some how in my earlier trips, when ever Praveen asked me and he was shocked  when I was telling him that I was not ready to meet him yet. I truly admire him for many of his qualities and a day in my life wouldn’t pass on without me remembering him atleast once. But i really do not know what I should talk when I had lot to talk and for sure I did not want to meet him for just a photo op. I want him to know atleast a little bit of who I am when I know (I think) so much about him. So I have been postponing this for almost 5 years I think. This imagetime I have mentally prepared to meet him (even though i was not sure what I would talk to him 🙂 ) and I have decided to make a scrap book with some pictures starting from his parents’ pics to his kids’ pics and those all in between – from his real and reel candid shots. I had tons and
tons of his pics on my iphone and iPad – wherever i see a pic I like, I SAVE it. It took me a few days to select the pics from my humongous collection and got them printed. I have ordered scrapbook stuff from amazon.in and took some from here too and bought some stuff at Waldens. I also added some of the articles from my blog. I guess I need a separate blog article for this whole episode as I want to write every little thing related to this event. I got an apt prescription from him.

End of April – we had a baby shower for Prashanthi at my place – the first event that has brought out my hidden talents – I, Prashanthi and Chaitanya unknowingly each other’s ideas thought of Peacock theme for the baby shower. I had to thank Lakshmi Gonji immensely for bringing her artistic mind into this to make this venue a perfect Peacock land. One day, few weeks before the party ,  Lakshmi and I were talking on phone about this theme and in the next 15 min, she has sent me photo of a bird she made with paper (of course that one looked like a turkey, that is a different story) and then we  shopped for some nice paper in peacock colors.prashanthis-baby-shower

We made some banners and the day before the event Lakshmi with the help of Prithi and Babloo made some more peacocks. I was able to buy the gift bags designed with peacocks for return gifts. I found those online a week before after an intense search on the web and we were able to get those just on the day of the event. I even printed the labels with a thank you note with peacocks on it. With out any idea of this theme nor any planning, the sari I got for Prashanthi (my sister’s gift to her) is peacock colored shades one. I have ordered some sweets from Vellanki in Hyderabad and they have sent ladoos in hard boxes so that they won’t break into pieces have big peacock on each of the boxes. Of course, nevertheless to say that the flowers, eucalyptus stems  we used for decoration, the cake and the cup cakes everything is peacock themed.prashanthis-baby-shower1

When Prashanthi and Chaitanya walked into the party room around 4 pm while we were still decorating it were so amused (Prashanthi even complimented that she was feeling like walking into a Peacock land with eucalyptus and fresh flowers aroma is spreading the whole area). Chaitanya felt like he should hire an official photographer to make and preserve the event even memorable. But he could not find any in a short notice and Lakshmi gladly took that responsibility.

Wittheteamh the confidence that we have gained from Prashanthi’s baby shower, we (I, Prashanthi, Lakshmi, Babloo) have established our ‘theTeam – an event management group‘ and initiated this on Guru Pournami day with Baba’s blessings at Flushing Temple

Then came Tanvi’s langa voni event.

tanvi-langa-voniI have asked Sekhar whether we could decorate the party hall (for Tanvi’s langa voni ceremony) and it was confirmed 5 days before the event – the event was Saturday lunch and we were given a green signal on Monday morning I guess. We plunged into the opportunity and had conference calls everyday and with whats app group, Lakshmi, Prashanthi and I came up with ideas and ordering stuff from amazon with prime. We were asked for center pieces on tables – Prashanthi came up with the idea of small dolls garned with langa vonis and lakshmi got the idea of making lotus flowers with paper so that we could keep the dolls on the lotus flower and we could use them as centerpieces on the tables. We have ordered barbie dolls and we used old pattu blouses to make vonis for them and decorated them with some jewelry and bindi etc. We bought a stand for the photo backdrop and some sarees were used as drapes and I made garlands with fresh flowers (carnation and mums in pink, yellow as the color theme for the event was pink and mustard).

Then Vinayaka Chavithi
vinayaka-chavithi-2016
Some how few days before vinayaka chavithi – I had some images in front of my eyes – to arrange flowers in circles and keep Vinayakudu in the center. I had another vision to celebrate Vinayaka Pooja in an open farm amidst nice plants – may be Vinayaka would bring this dream materialize soon as I have a passion for farming and am looking for the options to start something in those lines.

I usually keep some books when I do Pooja on chavithi, and since I am not studying anything new by attending schools, I have just picked up a book from husband’s humongous collection of books. That is another story for my blog (my husband’s voracious passion for books, and music ) and I realized later that the title of the book I picked was Now, discover your inner strengths, so surprised and happy that Vinayaka’s blessings are with me always.
Then Rachana’s sweet sixteen

rachana-sweet16for this event Prashanthi and I have worked with Ramana (Rachana’s mom) to make the decor as beautiful as we could think (dream) of. For this event we had ample time, almost close to a month. The color theme for the event is Aqua Blue – Rachana’s dress color. We have completely taken ownership and used our creative abilities to bring beauty to – Welcome Table, Photo Booth, Sweets Stall, Guest Book, Papers Used for Guest Book, Printing Rachana’s 17 photos (16 birthday pictues + the one on the day she was born). For all the banners we made – Rachana’s Sweet 16, Guest Book, Sweets Stall, Photo Booth – we tried to stick to the theme colors – shades of Blue and white. These banners literally takes several hours to make those big circles with floral arches and the letters – thanks to Martha Stewart Arts and Crafts tools.

#Photo Booth – This one was an instantaneous hit. 1. Hand-made paper flowers – one big blue, two medium sized blue and 4 small white flowers 2. A backdrop for Photobooth 3. Hand-made floral props (became very popular) 4. Sweet Sixteen props designed and printed 5. Small slate.

#Guest Book 1. Hand-made banner ‘Guest Book’ glued to a Blue tulle and put it nicely in a photo frame 2. Printed various pictures of Rachana as watermarks on various colored papers so that guests can write their wishes and those papers would be nicely bound for her to keep it as a beautiful memorabilia.

#Sweets Stall 1. Hand-made banner – Sweets Stall 2. Cup cakes, Cake pops and Cake cones baked by Prashanthi and those are nicely wrapped in fancy decorative paper. We have placed a cherry Blossom tree on the table to bring elegance to the Sweets table.

Printed ‘Thank You’ labels to be affixed to the return gifts. Designed the labels with the birthday girl’s attire, shoes etc with a nice message.

Printed 16 birthday pics of Rachana with an extra one that has been taken on the day she was born which goes on to the 16 Candles table and the rest are nicely positioned on the walls of the party hallrachana-sweet161

Diwali – Worked with some mason jars – nicely wrapped with jute ribbons placing LED light strings inside. Also made paper lanterns with a string of LED lightsdiwali-2016

My office Christmas party –  Everything is hand made except for the raw materials. The decor completely reflects the holiday spirit. Made food place card holders with glass candy canes; Printed some food (our menu) labels with all Christmas based images;

oppba-christmas-party-2016decorated Mason jars which reflect the holiday spirit – lights, snow, pine cones, leaves and the red fruits; Made #GrinchFruitKabobs, Bombay Halwa (an Indian sweet) with Christmas colors; Made a beautiful garland with 100 multi colored lights string by knotting different colored ribbons (red, green, blue, silver, gold, white and jute). Made cotton ball garlands for bringing the snow effect; Made photo props; and finally the backdrop for Photo booth. Used meshed ribbon (close to 2 ft wide), with cotton ball garlands and the lights floral garland as the border with some Christmas decorations. Of course I was there with Canon DSLR and became the official photographer of the event and won the appreciation from many including the admiration and recognition from Ms. Bettina Tucci Bartsiotas (Assistant Secretary-General, Controller Department of Management)

New York Cares giving gifts to kids project – with the help of family, friends and colleagues was able to answer 105 kids’ wishes. New York Cares – Give Holiday Gifts 2016

My floral Christmas Tree – read about my passion for having a Christmas Tree at home christmas-tree-week-2

my-christmas-tree-christmas-week

On my birthday – I have been seriously thinking of celebrating my birth in a different way from next year onwards (regretted for not doing anything constructive this year) _ I I had a beautiful experience at the place I go to volunteer two days of a week – teach Math and English to students (adults) who are preparing for college entrance exams.

birthday2016The place where I go to teach (through New York Cares) is 1199 medical insurance company. They had a tutor appreciation day dinner a week before my birthday and I could not attend that one. Today when I was working
with my two students, the coordinator asked me to see her supervisor after the class as she had some gifts for all the tutors (I went to the class yesterday but she did not say anything) I wasbirthdat-gift-2 still with the students and her supervisor came to me and handed over this to me in a small gift bag, I thought there were some cookies, I came home and opened it and to my surprise I found a data bank and on that engraved Rabindranath Tagore’s quote, very emotional moment to me, a perfect birthday gift from Baba, my parents and my beloved husband, I was in tears 🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻”

Taking all these beautiful memories and with the confidence and strength they have provided, and with Baba’s protection, guidance and grace and the love and support from my dear parents and my beloved husband, walking into 2017 to unveil more talents and to blossom into a better human being 

New York Cares – Give Holiday Gifts 2016

imageThis year with the help of friends, family and colleagues, we as a team answered #105WinterWishLetters from kids, teenagers. Very happy and an emotional moment for me. Thanks everyone who has been part of this happiness – Geetha akka and her colleagues around 36 letters), Karthi, Prashanthi, Chaitanya, Arya, Tinku, Radhika, Ramana, Radha, Radhalakshmi, Girija (Sirisha), Kameswari, Sarada (Prashanthi’s friend) and my colleagues – Gilbert, Dawit, Eswaran, Joseph, Rama Krishna, Monica, Liz, Mario, Michael, Nicole, Eline, Cheryl, Marta, Brenda, ever thankful and grateful to everyone who has faith in me and supports me in this journey ❤ ❤ ❤ #NewYorkCares

Usually New York Cares posts this project for us to request the letters around 3rd week of October, I logged into this site around 24th October and I did not see any letters for senior citizens. I sent them an email inquiring about senior letters and to my astonishment I was told that those letters were taken away already. I could not believe it and I was arguing with them with exchange of emails. I am disappointed a bit that I could not answer their wishes but I am very delighted that people are more aware of this project and embracing it with so much grace.

One of my colleagues who was a major support to me in this project for almost 7 years had left the United Nations and I was little worried that I might not be able to answer my usual 100 letters goal. But I have full support from Baba and my sister’s colleagues were very enthusiastic and took almost 36 letters vs. 20+ letters in the past. And some new colleagues and family members joined me in this journey and helped me reach my goal and we collectively made some kids smile on that day and tried to support their belief in giving – #Believe

one of my supervisors said that he was glad that I had asked him to be part of this project and this was the most rewarding thing he had done during this Christmas season and another colleague complemented my efforts by thanking me by letting him to be part of my humanitarian efforts.

thanking Baba for every opportunity that is coming in my way to make me grow into a better person 🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻

Knee pain sufferers group (KPSG)

Few months ago I have joined the Elite Group of Knee Problem Sufferers Group (KPSG), I need to find a better name for it. In an other space, I would go through the step by step process how the actual problems with my knee were diagnosed, how pro active I was at every step with my logical thinking, Karthi’s suggestions and finally with Baba’s grace.

This is drastically affecting my workout schedules. 😟 at the same time I have realized how many things we have been taking granted for.

But I have hope in Baba and just clinging on to him with a strong belief that He would help me to sail through any difficult situations successfully as He has always been doing. 🙏🏻
Today I was in my physiatrist office getting the fluid out of my knee with a needle injected inside. he did numb my knee area but I could feel the sharp and sensitive pain inside. Suddenly my doctor’s assistant asked me whether I was an Indian for which I nodded my head and he said that my face was so straight without showing any emotions, and he also asked me whether I was trained like that, I said no but back in my mind I thought I wish I was. Shruthi Hasaan in RAcegurram movie came to my mind. “Feel avuthunnanu andi, ekkada? Inside” 😆😃😂

I just prayed to Baba and my husband to hold me tight when the pain was little sharper when he was injecting cortisone. Of course both of them are always with me anytime I ask them to and even today they didn’t disappoint me. Thank you !

i Wonder whether I should take my doctor’s assistant’s remark as a compliment, comment or criticism ? Anyways. On the positive note, I accepted it as a compliment 😜

New York Cares Winter Wish Pogram 2013

http://www.newyorkcares.org/winter-wishes

 
I have been part of this event since 2008 Christmas. Started with answering 3 wishes. And it has been growing since then and trying to involve more and more people with in friends, colleagues and family.
this year amidst of some many tragedies in the family, I am able pull up the spirits and am able to answer 77 wishes –  record.
Thanks to my sister, Geetha and her son Karthi (her personal contribution and also from her colleagues) in spite of facing the biggest calamity of her life – my brother-in-law passed away on 5 November, which is a major blow to our whole family after being through the loss of two brothers in the last 3 months.
Thanks to my former colleague Ewen Buchanan who has been a bigger support for this program through his very generous contribution since 2009.
Thanks to my brother who has joined this project from last year and to my niece Prashanthi who has been with me since the beginning of this project and to her husband Chaitanya.
Thanks to some wonderful people in my life whom I could gratefully call my extended family – Radhika, Ramana, Radha, Radha Sai, Lakshmi –  these are only few to mention, but I am mentioning these people as they have been part of this event consistently.
Thanks to Anu. And I am go grateful  to some wonderful colleagues who have been with me for the past couple of years

The most adorable human being – Amala Akkineni

Naa manasuki baaga nachhina vyakti Amala Akkineni – very simple, pleasant, strong, inspiring, works for the causes she believes in … I wish I knew her personally. Hope with Baba’s blessings our paths meet somewhere in the future…

Many Many Happy Returns of the Day to the most beautiful and the most adorable human being !!!

I wanted to add few of the heart touching emotions expressed by Nagarjuna about Amala in several interviews. Usually in his interviews, Nagarjuna always expresses high acclaim on Amala. In a recent interview by Keeravani garu on Shirdi Sai, Nagarjuna very proudly acknowledged that Amala is his spiritual guru. I was very much touched by that gesture.

After Ragada release, in a TV 9 interview, the anchor was asking about his comments on different heroines, and Amala was one of them. He said that he can not think of her as an actress and he said very emotionally that she is his heart and soul and everything and she lifts his moods up when he is down, and brings him down to the ground when he is high above the ground. I really loved the way he expressed his feelings.

Amala garu, thank you very much for coming back to the big screen and wish you all the happiness you truly deserve.

As Sekhar Kammula garu said, you have your own identity besides being the wife of Nagarjuna and you are actively involved in many wonderful things and your life inside and outside his movie justifies the title of his movie – Life is Beautiful.