Memorable Day

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5 March 2016 stays as a memorable day in my life – met Nagarjuna – my everlasting dream – a very beautiful experience, I was completely in a different world the whole day, may be that is what cloud 9 is – nothing was sinking in, not able to understand anything going around me, just going with the flow – the day after and whenever I narrated that experience to my friends and family. It stays as a memorable day for ever.

I want to recollect those memories exactly after one year as they stay fresh and sweet as it happened now.

little bit into flashback …. Prologue …

Praveen has been asking me in every visit of mine to India whether I would like to meet Nagarjuna as he knows how strong admirer I am to him. I kept on telling him that I was not ready yet – Nagarjuna should be the one to say this – the reason behind it is I did not know what to talk about and I just do not want to meet him for just a photo op. For me, he should know at least a little about me as I know so much about him (atleast I thought I know), I keenly watch every interview of his (sometimes few times the same interview),  every public appearance of his on TV, follow his Twitter account and the bottom line is I have my very own interpretation of him.

My passion for Akkinenis started almost 50+ years ago with ANR garu was my ideal hero. But my liking or admiration for Nagarjuna does not happen as a family lineage as I was not a big fan of his earlier movies but with Ninnae Pelladutha everything takes a ‘U’ turn (no looking back since then and even started appreciating and falling in love with his earlier movies). – his style, screen presence, his clothes anything or everything about him turned me into his big admirer.

So I am not sure what I would/should talk to him if I meet and every year I am just putting off praveen’s offer. But in 2016, some how I was very much determined that I should meet him, a matter of fact I was longing to meet him. I wanted to make a nice scrapbook and got some material from US and I have ordered some scrapbook paper and some art materials from Amazon.in and bought some stuff at Waldens. I have a habit of saving his or his family’s pics (from his movies or from any public or private appearances) or any reviews on his movies on my phone, iPad or computer. So I have a huge collection of his pics, it was a humongous task for me to choose the pics I could use in the scrapbook. It literally took me couple of days to sort out the pics I want to (may want to) use. But I managed some how and got them printed. So I started working on the book and every night I spent some time on this with an everlasting doubt creeping on the back of mind that whether I could really meet him or all my efforts would be going waste.

Finally the day came amidst confusion of few dates in the last week of my trip. And it happened to be the just the DAY before the day I left India – I was leaving India on 6 March at 10am flight and it happened on 5 March at 10:15.

I made the scrap book with some nice family photos and few beautiful articles published on Manam and Shiva movies and few articles from my blog. And by 10 am, I, Unnu, and Pragati were waiting in the car at the entrance of Annaporna Studios for Praveen to come. Actually the appointment was confirmed just a day before and I was just holding myself not to get too excited about, not even thinking of meeting my fav person which I wouldn’t even dreamt of. While we were waiting for Praveen, we have realized that I haven’t even taken pictures of my beautiful (at least for me) scrapbook, and we did not even brought a nice book to get his autograph.

After Praveen came, we walked to Nagarjuna’s office and sat in the reception area as he hadn’t come yet. Our appointment time is around 10:15 and he has another appointment for dubbing for oopiri movie at 10:30. So with zero hopes I was sitting there with least of expectations and excitement. Then he came around 10:20 and he walked into his office just looking at us. Then we were asked to come in and after introductions I didn’t even sit but just handed over him few ties I got from New York and the scrapbook and I was telling him something with regard to some incidents (articles) in the book as he also stood and browsing through the book. I was in a hurry to convey him something which relate to the articles and pictures in the book with the fact that we didn’t have much time to talk about. He asked me to sit and started conversation in a very friendly way. He has been with us for 40 min, made us so comfortable and showered so much warmth and love which I wouldn’t forget forever.

I haven’t planned about what I would talk and I am not sure how would I show or express in words in a limited time to a person with whom I haven’t talked before that they are almost more than a family to me and very deeply close to my heart – I could relate to their every emotion.

I did not even remember how the conversation started but it was endless – I did not even feel the existence of any animate or inanimate objects in that room except him. Few of the conversations among many of those I could recall – I told him about the message I posted on my FB when I saw Akhil very closely at New Jersey and said what would happen to me if he were Nagarjuna and my nephew posted a reply saying nothing would happen as he travelled with Nagarjuna sitting next to him when he was traveling to Bangalore the same day and I told him “nothing would happen to you but surely any thing could have happened to me if I were sitting next to him”.

And told him how many times I had told Unnu and Prati (they live across Mahesh Babu’s house) that I would have an heart attack if it were Nagarjuna’s house (even though I visit Hyd for a month every year); the conversation between our maid and my niece’s maid after I came home from watching Soggadae Chinni Nayana movie – when my niece’s maid asked me how was the movie, before I said anything, our maid said it is Nagarjuna’s movie and how would not Saradamma like it.

I even quoted his speech from Oopiri audio function – I have narrated exactly what he said in the speech – about if we wish for anything strongly that would happen for sure – he told Amala garu after watching the French movie The Intouchables his wish that someone would do the movie in Telugu and he would love to play the main character and how after 2 years Vamsi Paidipally came to him very hesitatingly with this story –  my wish to meet him was very strong this time and it came into reality almost the last day of the trip.

He is very friendly and have a nice conversation with unnu and Prati too and asking about how they feel or agree or disagree or their emotions being twins as they shared mother’s womb for nine months.

We have picked up small pieces of paper from his office to get his autograph – when he was scribbling his best wishes to me, I had a thought came to my mind – when I looked at the way he was writing I felt like he was writing a prescription and he said the same thing that he was feeling like writing a prescription – it is really a PRESCRIPTION for me without an expiration date which I treasure forever.


When I expressed my wish to meet Amala garu, he told us he even asked Praveen to bring us to his home. And he made an open invitation to his house in my next visit but it seems like it may not happen but few more days are still there and I am very optimistic.

When I posted these pics on FB immediately, I have so many likes and comments/compliments, I was very much overwhelmed emotionally. Out of most compliments I received are about his fine hand writing 👌🏻👌🏻👌🏻

And there are many more memorable conversations ….
The impromptu conversations and the incidents I picked up to tell him that how much he is part of my life hopefully conveyed the message which reflects clearly in his message.

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My floral Christmas Tree

Having a Christmas tree is an everlasting dream for me. I used to tell my husband that we should have one around Christmas time every year and December just passed away without having one. We had one small tree only once with all blue lights decades ago.

Prashanthi keeps asking me about the tree and two years ago, I told her I would have one after I renovate my apartment. Obviously I did not have one in 2015 even though I finished renovating my apartment before summer last year. This year in November, she has asked me again and I said that I was not in the mood to have this year either.

A week or so after I spoke with her, I saw a beautiful floral Christmas tree on Pintrest. And instantaneosly  I fell for it as I love flowers. But unfortunately they did it with artificial flowers – silk flowers so that the flowers need not be changed frequently. But that decoration has inspired me intensely and pushed me to make up my mind.

When I decided to have Christmas Tree this year, I thought of Christmas tree with white lights only and decorate it with #FreshFlowers – NO IFS and BUTS. I know I have to keep changing flowers at least every week, but I decided to go that way only. I do not want to do regular stuff. Something must be unconventional – with #FreshFlowersOnly – a moment here and there I got tempted for plastic flowers, but NO. It would be so very artificial.

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Karthi has bought the tree for me and he came to my place last Saturday and set up the tree and set all lights.

 

I did not have any plan until that day how to do it or what to do. One of the reasons for that I could attribute to is how actively I was involved and be a part of my office Christmas party; another blog story I promise.

#White just flashed in my mind when I was in a shop picking up some extra lights I needed for the tree. We have put 400 lights 🙂

mct3Fixed in my mind – White is the color theme – started with peace 🌲🎄⛄️🕊 I guess,

So #AllWhiteFlowers – decided
But how to arrange them – NO IDEA, which flowers to buy – NO IDEA, how many bunches to buy – NO IDEA. OK

I was very lazy on Sunday to go out to buy flowers until 4:30 p.m.. By the time I stepped out, it started snowing. For a few minutes I gave up moving further. Then I checked a few florist places near my apartment and picked up #WhiteMums – two different types, #WhieSpiderMums, #WhiteCarnations – big, small, #WhiteOrchids.
I wanted to pick #WhiteTulips and #WhiteRoses – I do not think Roses would stay for a week, I got an idea to keep roses alive for few days, for that matter, any flowers. I was running among few places before I ended up buying those flowers. While I was getting home, some thing popped into my mind (I could see an image – a plastic tube which I could fill up with water and put each of these floral stalks). I do not know their name or any sort but I came home and I was searching on Amazon.com with different search criteria. Baba, He always always stays with me and be with me in every move I make, in every act I do and in every word I speak, helped to figure it out. Grateful for ever for His Intense grace and love. Without spending much time, I found what I was looking for and I just saw the image and I did not even read the description, I placed an order on Prime expecting them to be at my place by Tuesday.

I was really clue less before I started decorating, and I pray to Baba to guide me which I do in every thing I do, and He just helped me to do as per HIS wish, half way through, I was so excited and took some pictures and sent them to Karthi, Prashanthi and Chaitanya, Prithi and Lakshmi as I could not hold my excitement. I was really so excited as it was turning out so beautiful.

To my surprise and to my distress, the spider mums seem to be drooped by Monday morning. Carnations seemed to look fine. I did not have a clue of how to keep them alive.To keep my faith in HIM alive, the tube like structures I have ordered from Amazon arrived on Tuesday afternoon, and my joy knew no bounds. They are the perfect solution for my problem. I have bought two more bouquets of spider mums and big carnations and used my water fillers (I made water solution with flower food) and these flowers stay as fresh as the day I bought or even better even after 5 days.

So this weekend I have decided to clean out some of the withered flowers for which I haven’t used water fillers and then fix the tree with few more carnations and may be some roses and tulips (white) and make a beautiful decoration with flowers with vibrant colors for Christmas (very close to Christmas day – may be on 22nd) and one more for New Year and one for Pongal before I wind up this project for this year.

Imct4 still have another desire/dream yet to fructify – to have a train set around my Christmas tree. My husband and I love these Christmas trains. I can not find the one that I am looking for yet – hope to find it before Christmas – crossing my fingers.

I do not know how I would decorate my tree for Christmas – but vibrant colors for sure. And again I have the biggest support anyone can think of – Baba – He plans things for me in the best way possible. My husband had a staunch belief – thakkuvaemi manaku Baba okkadundu varaku – He never leaves me – so much to be grateful for 🙏 – thanking for all the blessings 🙏 …

This is the link for my shared album My Floral Christmas Tree – Week 1

thanks to Baba to help my every move 🙏

My everlasting dream has come into a beautiful reality !

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My floral Christmas Tree – Week 2

My Floral Christmas Tree – Christmas/New Year Week

#OopiriMoments

For every person, there are many oopiri moments – they are not mere amazing, magnificent, breathtaking moments, but they are life changing moments, faith assuring moments, heart touching moments …

like any other person, I too have few of them. I do not remember giving any of those moments to my parents but I am very much blessed to have some.

the very foremost one is meeting my husband in my life – our relationship is very very unconventional but it is Baba who brought us together and it is His blessing that we should live a life together on our own terms. I have learnt Many things in life from my husband. I can attribute everything to him for what I am today besides thanking my parents.

i want to dedicate this song to my husband for everything he had given to me.

Nuvvemicchavo
Neekaina adi telusuna
Nenem pondhaano
Naa mounam neeku telipena

Kanulle merisipovaa..
Neelo navvu choodaga
Hrudhayam moorisipodha
Thanalo bharuvu theeraga

Innalluga naakuda leni nennu
Eerojunne kothaga janmincha
Neeloni anandhamai

Nuvemichavo telusa vethike kala
Neevalle kadha kalisa nanne nenila

Nuvvemichavo neekaina adi telusa

when my husband passed away in 2008, my life was very void, but then again my husband showed the path to me to lead a purposeful life – volunteer service – enrolled in different projects –  education, environment and many more. That was a completely new #OopiriMoment to me when I lost my real oopiri – another life changing moment. (Neevalle kadha kalisa nanne nenila)

when one of my students (through my volunteer service projects) gave me a beautiful card when he passed the GED exam Another life assuring moment – assuring me that I am on a right path.

There is one dialogue in the movie The Blind Side which really hits deep into my heart (actually a slap on my face) and changed my perspective of my very own life. The conversation goes like this:

One friend of Leigh Anne says to Leigh Anne “You are changing that boy’s life’” and immediately Leigh shoots the bullet – “No, he is changing mine” – very powerful dialogue. People may not pay too much attention to this dialogue but it is so striking to me as I always tell people relating to my voluntary activities (especially teaching, that is where my main focus is) that I would be happy if I change the lives of at least few people. After I watched this movie, it changed my perspective of my very own life – Actually they are changing my life. Another #Oopiri moment.

and then Unnu and Prati – they just walked into my life physically when they were eight years old, I could still remember that day when they both walked into my room holding two chunnis. I haven’t thought at that moment they were just walking into my life to give so much love unconditionally. I believe strongly some #Manam factor with in our relationship. Another Splendid #Oopiri moment.

I just want to share a precious note Unnu has written on the eve of my birthday few years ago.

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this piece of her emotions is quite assuring that someone loves me as much as I love them. Very emotional moment and invariably I cry whenever I read it. Love you Unnu and Prati for being there for me and thank God for bringing you two into my life. Ever ever grateful for this blessing🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻

i have an everlasting passion for Akkinenis. I have grown up watching AnR  garu’s movies and he was my matinee idol. I have a humongous admiration for Nagarjuna for ages … And finally this month I met him – that was a real breathtaking moment for me. He was such a warm person and made us so comfortable that I could talk to him whatever was coming to my mind at that time spontaneously and felt like talking to a friend – a friend that I have met after a very long time and I had to share so many things with him. That was quite an exciting moment I had in the past 10 years. He wrote a nice message for me. I wouldn’t say this as a  #oopiri moment but #LifeAssuringMoment – it assures my admiration towards him, he just stood as tall as in my expectations about him, #BreathTakingMoments for me – that meeting gave me immense happiness.

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Nuvvemicchavo
Neekaina adi telusuna
Nenem pondhaano
Naa mounam neeku telipena

Nuvemichavo telusa vethike kala
Neevalle kadha kalisa nanne nenila

— my favorite song in oopiri – thanks to sirivennela garu 🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻

Everlasting kindness

card stockThis is something that happened during Christmas 2015. As part of my New York Cares Winter Wish Program, with the help of family, friends and colleagues, we as a group answer letters from kids, teenagers and senior citizens for almost 8 years. This time one lady asked for either a fruit basket or food basket. Somehow I felt like making one by myself for few reasons – it seems little expensive online; not exactly sure of what fruits or food items be included in the basket; and also I want to do it (my #DIY project). I have included many different fruits, chocolates, spaghetti, sauce etc, spent around $40 to $45 but I was so happy that I could add whatever I felt like adding. I could have actually made atleast two baskets with the stuff I had put in one. And then taking this humongous basket to the center is another major task but as I always trust and have faith in Baba’s helping hand, He came to my rescue and I made it through successfully. Somehow I felt like having a pat on my back or a warm hug from my husband to appreciate my efforts by going through so many hurdles in achieving this goal. I know he must be very proud of me but I want something physical which I could felt. and then He did react, never ever failed to show his support to me. Actually I had to handover two gift cards to two other ladies and I bough the cards. So I was looking for greeting cards to keep these gift cards inside rather than keeping these cards in blank envelopes. My husband used to send New Year cards to all his friends, family members and acquaintances (in US and in India too) for almost thirty years. and I stopped it after he passed away. We used to buy boxes of cards every year. I have some left overs from many years and luckily I haven’t thrown these while I did a massive clean up during my apartment renovation last year. So I opened one box which has few cards and I opened one card and that one has my husband’s scard1ignature. This is the only card amongest 10 different cards I had in that box that has his signature.

I was so emotional as he was talking to me and wishing me all the joy, peace and love. Thank you very much Bangaru and thank  you very much Baba for your everlasting kindness and love

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Fruit basket

imageAs part of my New York Cares Winter Wish program, for the past couple of years, I have been answering 25 letters from senior citizens. Most of them most of the times ask for bed sheet sets or comforters which I buy from Macys and directly ship them to the center. This year, one lady who is 69 years old asked for food basket or fruit basket. I decided to make a fruit basket and hand it over to the center in person. They are having a party tomorrow and I was asked to bring it tomorrow. I have been making Easter baskets to our dear Arya for a few years and I used to make Diwali sweet gift hampers to my friends and family and colleagues. But I never made a fruit basket. So I watched a video on youtube last week and I got confidence and I bought few baskets and ordered the cellphone bags from Amazon.com.

Today I bought fruits – green Apples, red Apples, Oranges, Bananas, Pears (three different types),  Plums, Peaches, Watermelon, Cherries, Grape fruit, Kiwis, Persommon, Strawberries and also I have added some spaghetti, Chipotle salsa, Lingt chocolates, Italian baguette, Italian Panettone cake and some hot cocoa packets.

 

I dropped the empty basket in to the cellophane bag and I used my shredder to cut the paper to fill the base of the basket and I used bamboo skewers to attach to the back of the chocolate to make it stand in the basket.

and then I filed up the basket with all the stuff. Naaku konchem asa lavu peeka sannam – hehehe. I bought so much stuff for the basket, so the basket has become very bulky, I could have made two baskets with the stuff I have. I am very much worried how I could carry this one to the center (which is located in Bronx) tomorrow in the subway. Just praying to Baba to make my journey painless and smooth. He would’t let me down at any circumstance and especially when I am doing with all good will.

I am very happy to make the basket and feeling little emotional too. I need someone to pat my back for what ever I am accomplishing. Thanks for experiencing God in everything I do. and thank you very much for every opportunity in life … Counting on innumerable blessings ….

 

Blessings from Heaven

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Today my student with whom I have been working for the past 3 to 4 months has passed her ACT Compass Exam (math and essay writing) which allows her to take college level courses. She is a high school drop out and after many years she wanted to go back to college and has been working on this exam for quite some time. I met her few months ago at the center where I do voluteer work on two week nights. She is working at a doctor’s office and wants to pursue her career in nursing.
She is on ‪#‎Cloud9‬ and where would I be, ofcourse with her only 😀💃

Thanks for every blessing coming my way – thanks to Baba, thanks to my parents and thanks to my dearest husband, each and everyone of them are holding my hands and leading me on the right path – truly believe in Manava Sevae Madhava Seva,

She has been trying to pass this exam for some time and she was very much devastated with some personal happenings in the past year. When I spoke to her on phone, she said that she was so lucky to meet me and moments like these make me cry. I am having some impact on some people’s lives as their lives stood as strong examples for many basic principles in life to me. The feeling is mutual.

feeling very emotional, I want to share this happiness, this madness with some onemanasuna manasai brathukuna brathukai thodakurundina adae bhagyamu adae swargamAnyways accept the life as is ….
#‎CountingOnInnumerableBlessings‬ what a way to end the year !

 

 

“You’ve got to give a little, take a little ” – Guess Who is Coming to Dinner

guesswhoiscomingtodinnerGuess Who Is Coming To Dinner – The film contains a (then rare) positive representation of the controversial subject of interracial marriage, which historically had been illegal in most states of the United States, and still was illegal in 17 states—mostly Southern states—until 12 June 1967.

I have seen this movie several times – I adore this movie – Katherine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy – nailed their performances #ToATee. loved it. No lesser performances from Sidney Poitier and Katharine Houghton (Katherine Hepburn’s niece)

I happened to see this movie again with my niece, Prithi.

small glimpse of the amazing performance from Ms. Hepburn – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h7__WVG7vM8

No matter how many times I had seen this movie, I haven’t read about anything related to this movie on the net. I didn’t know anything about off screen details except Ms. Hepburn and Mr. Tracey had a living together relationship. And another interesting fact is she had lived in a townhouse 4 streets away from my place in New York.

Yesterday for some reason I was reading about Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy and I was shocked to know that Spencer Tracy was critically ill when this movie was happening and passed away 2 weeks after this movie finished shooting. He was not alive to see this movie on the big screen and Katherine Hepburn could not see the movie completely as she was emotionally connected to Mr. Tracy and memories of Tracy were so painful. It happened almost 50 years ago, but some how it affected me very much as it happened yesterday and I was choked by emotion and felt very sad as it happened to someone very close to me. and then I started reading about Spencer Tracy and it was very painful to read about his suffering, addiction to alcohol and his infidelity. But somehow I am very happy that he had begun a life long relationship with Katharine Hepburn (for 26 years) and she became devoted to him and their relationship lasted until his death. And Tracy spent the majority of the last two years at home with Hepburn, living what she described as a quiet life: reading, painting and listening to music

Some how I was literally awestruck when I listened to this song yesterday which never happened to me in my earlier views of this movie. Here is the lyrics

THE GLORY OF LOVE

You’ve got to give a little, take a little 
And let your poor heart break a little 
That’s the story of, 
That’s the glory of love 

You’ve got to laugh a little, cry a little 
Until the clouds roll by a little 
That’s the story of, 
That’s the glory of love 

As long as there’s the two of us 
We’ve got the world and all its charms 
And when the world is through with us 
We’ve got each other’s arms 

You’ve got to win a little, lose a little 
Yes, and always have the blues a little 
That’s the story of, 
That’s the glory of love 

That’s the story of, 
That’s the glory of love

and watch the full song here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JW8qwOrPJQs

Just watch this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SbFOOgXmxD – Mr. Tracy asking the waitress about an ice-cream he has eaten earlier which he did not remember its name and after she served another one which he thought that it would be the one ; but it is not but he liked even the new one she served and telling her to remember its name so that she could serve this one in his next visit – through this whole episode some how he had so many resemblances to my husband and this reminded me my husband.

His Dinner Speech in the movie – must watch- I want to write every word he spoke- every word is priceless – touches my heart very deeply.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d6QiEqWcYrA&list=PLGfxWh3lNFWHO-l3L6GrMXqLoQxwsE1kb

“The memories are there: clear, intact and indestructible” so touching, so emotional and it was very heart touching to see the teary eyes of Ms. Hepburn – those certainly speak her love towards him – both real and reel; the concern and emotional roller coaster that she has been on – again both real and reel.

And the astonishing fact is that Mr. Tracy did not appear on the screen that he had been terminally ill. I wonder why he couldn’t get an Oscar for his performance even though he had been nominated for this role, but Ms. Hepburn got the Oscar – well deserved.

Mr. Spencer and Ms. Hepburn – this is a small tribute to my most adorable people, still feeling sad for Mr. Tracy – even when I am penning these few things going over my heart and my mind …. Love you both