A year in Review – Reflections on 2018

b0d2c169-fc61-4173-975a-7ade59e06ea0A year in Review – a memorable year in my life – so many wonderful memories and experiences, traveled to places which I never thought I would go – not even existent in my non-existent list … experienced the transformation of my life in an amazing way – the essence of the year is the profoundness of Sadhguru’s grace upon me. The amount of travel I have done this year and the places I have been to have never happened to me in my entire life. This year had another significance in my life – my 60th birth year.

The year started with my usual India trip in Feb, immediately few days after I landed in Hyd – we had a mini family vacation with 12 adults and 3 kids to Goa to celebrate Unnu’s and Prati’s birthdays. We have stayed at Taj Exotic Resort & Spa at Benaulim – staying next to the beach, chasing the Sun from Sunrise to Sunset, walk as much as I would love to, walking in the sand near the beach and going into waves as much as I can and bumping into one of the family members all the time, roaming in and around the area are some of the amazing moments I could keep it in my heart so fondly. I always always love to watch Sunrises, Sunsets especially when I am around beaches, and oceans. I make a point to wake up early just to watch Sunrises.

96C71EA9-E061-4812-BC7A-5E1B79782408Then I went to Anakapalle and Vizag for few days after almost close to 40 years. Anakapalle – the place where I  was born and brought up – the place where I spent most of my life in India – 18 years of my 22 years in India – so many childhood and adulthood memories, the places I visited there were the College where My father worked as Principal for 18 years and the college quarters where we lived. To my disbelief, I could not even spot the place where our houses were – all 6 houses were demolished, I could not even recognize the place except for few places. In my memory that place was very huge but somehow I felt it very small especially from my dad’s office to our house. I wish I could have stayed there for considerable time to visit and feel every little spot I have memories with, but I could not as it was very hot and the place is wide open. Thanks to Chanti (Yashodhara) who made it possible. And we visited Nookalamma temple at Kasimkota and returned back to Vizag. I met few of my cousins, had lunch with them all. As Chanti lives close to Rama Krishna Beach, we both went for a walk along beach side before sunrise to get a glimpse of Sunrise over the Bay of Bengal – moments to live for and moments to die for …

And a week after my return from India, Sekhar and I instantaneously decided over a cup of coffee at Dunkin Donuts to attend Inner Engineering (IE) with Sadhguru at Philadelphia in the first week of May. That is the best decision I ever made and wonderful things in my life have been happening since I attended IE.

Read this – The Profound Effect of Sadhguru upon me – how he came into my life years ago before IE Happened to me

That was a huge milestone in my life. When we were at IE program, we were shown a video of Kailash Yatra with Sadhguru and it touched me very deeply. Through out the IE program, a desire born like a seed and has grown into humongous tree – Kailash Yatra with Sadhguru – it was a burning desire – never in my life I had given any thought of being at Kailash not in my dreams.
So the Monday after inner Engineering, I have opened my FB, and it asked me what is on your mind Sarada – I immediately posted the following
kailash“What’s on your mind, Sarada” FB is asking.
I would say #KailashYatra with Sadhguru; Inner Engineering course has a profound affect on me, every atom and molecule in me is longing for #KailashYatra; feeling highly emotional; whether I can do it with my knee issues🤔 ; but then remembering Sadhguru’s sayings – do not think of what is possible and what is not possible 🙏

And how my Kailash yatra happened – Shi-va alone knows – My inward journey to Kailash

This is what I would have said if I had to at Sathsang with Sadhguru in Kathmandu on our return trip from Kailash – SHI-VA that which is not

Everything happened in a matter of 3 months – IE, the desire to be at Kailash and finishing Kailash Manasasarovar Yatra. Truly blessed.

dhyanalingaIn between these two major events, I had another desire to visit Dhyanalinga at ISHA Center Coimbattore, India, that too on Guru pournami day. and I was reading at ISha website that only two days in a month – Amavasya and Pournami days all the devotees are allowed to do water and milk abishekam to Dhyana Linga and the desire becoming intense day after day. When I went to India before I started Kailash yatra, I had to stay at Hyderabad for 5 days awaiting for my group visa to Tibet. I planned a day trip to Isha Ashram at Coimbattore on Gurupournami day.e8c5aef2-82ef-41ac-a1a4-94164ba2437b

Visiting Isha Ashramam at Coimbattore India – July 2018 on Guru Pournami Day

Kailash and ManasaSarovar yAtra in detail in another article

I wanted to attend Bava Spandana (BSP) with Sadhguru – an intense desire aroused- when I heard that Sadhguru would be conducting this program at Isha Institute of Inner-Sciences (III) at McMinnville, Tennessee in October. I was just praying it should not be the same weekend as Ram Sai’s wedding (my very close family friend’s son), he is like my child, he and his sister are literally like my own kids, I have seen them from their birth, celebrating Christmas times with them at their place and at my place year after year, a very strong bonding with those kids to me and to my husband. To test my intense desire, BSP happened the same weekend as his wedding weekend. So initially I dropped the idea of BSP and did not want to apply as I would not go anyways. I was in Hyderabad before my Kailash yatra started when the registration for BSP opened up and I have received an email with the registration form. I did not take any action and my cousin’s wife from Buffalo called me and my cousin mentioned about the BSP and he told me that he has applied and asked me to apply and I told him the same as I would not be able to attend BSP; nevertheless after the phone conversation, I have applied for it and knew that there were remote chances only of getting into it. Throughout my Kailash trip, I was trying to check my mail where ever I got internet and I was not sure with which email I have registered – personal or office. I was not able to open my personal gmail through out almost my trip and I was sort of concerned what if I miss the confirmation email. People I met during Kailash trip told me how amazing BSP was and it should be taken by Sadhguru only and was also told it would be very difficult to get a slot when Sadhguru is conducting the program and there was a rumor going around that he would stop conducting this program soon and hand it over to trained teachers. I was back to New York from kailash trip on 16 August and went to Boston with unnu on 18th August and returned to New York on 21 August. That night I was talking to Lakshmi and I asked her whether Sridhar had gotten any message from ISHA regarding BSP and she said they haven’t received any. After I finished conversing with her, I have opened my office email and to my astonishment, I have received an email from ISHA around 7 pm confirming my slot for BSP (19 October to 22 October). I was on cloud 9 or whatever high I could be at that moment. I had to respond to them in 4 days otherwise I would loose my spot. Then the real struggle started – how to convey this to my friend – I have applied with the real intention of attending BSP and I knew my chances were very feeble. I applied (even though back in the mind there was a strong desire to attend) not to regret later that i did not even make an attempt. the next day I called my friend and broke the news to her and she was not very happy. But luckily they were performing pellikoduku (making the bridegroom) function on Raleigh, North Carolina on 18th October and I told her that I would attend that event and go to McMinnville, Tennessee from there on 19th morning. She was not very happy for that. But for some reason I did not want to miss attending BSP as there was no guarantee that Sadhguru would conduct this program again and even if he did that I would get a slot. Then I started listening all stories from my ISHA Kailash yatra whatsapp group that they did not get their slot and have been on waitlist even last year also. So BSP happened to me in a very euphoric way. another article on BSP (not in detail but just to touch it peripherally) would follow soon. I really felt everyone I know or unknown without any exceptions should experience BSP. Looking forward to volunteer for BSP to relive those moments again.

Then with in 2 weeks after I finished my BSP, I had an opportunity to volunteer at Inner Engineering with Sadhguru at San Mateo, San Francisco on 3-4 November. So much blessed to be in Sadhguru’s presence for so many times in a matter of 7 months. Initially Inner engineering with Sadhguru at Phily in May, about 30 minutes in his sathsang at Isha Center Coimbattore end of July, almost 3 hours of Sathsang with Sadhguru at Kathmandu on my way back from Kailash yatra, 3 and half intense days with Sadhguru as BSP at Tennessee, IE at San Francisco – blessings to be grateful for.

I have volunteered 4 days at a teacher led IE program in New York on my 60th birthday – how blessed I was to spend at IE on my milestone birthday.

I had a nice birthday party with family at prashanthi’s place and she has made a cake for me with all the things and people I am so passionate about.

Of course I had a real surprise birthday party from all the people whom I would proudly, lovingly, and dearly called my second family Surprise birth

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day party – 60 is just a number

Thankful and grateful for all these loving people in my life …

Then came Christmas – wondering what should I do with ornaments as handmade and handcrafted have become my signature these days – then Unnu came up with the idea of family photos ornaments – actually she said I should make photo ornaments – 60 things I am very passionate about (to commemorate my 60th birthday) – here is the Christmas tree – No No family Christmas tree – have a glimpse – I was able to bring my maternal grand father, my mom with her sisters, my parents, my siblings, people very close to my heart  – the big challenge is to select the pics and reprint them – I missed making ornaments of many other people those are close to my heart and take some space in my life, not overlooking them, but in the limited time and resources I had (time to go through my albums to pick their pictures, get them printed and also the availability of CD shaped clear ornaments).

and I tried to push my boundaries – baking cakes/cup cakes.

PR cakemade#DoubleLayeredVanillaCoconutCake with lemon curd in between the layers and topped with blueberries and raspberries and dark chocolate covered Almonds;

Few of our office staff had planned a baby shower to our colleague Monica and there were not sufficient funds, so I have decided to bake a small cake for the party – Coconut lemon curd cake (which I have tried once for Prashanthi’s birthday). monica baby showerI wanted to make double layer but I could not handle it. So a single layered cake which received nice appreciative comments from my colleagues. For Thanksgiving get together at my sister’s place, I have made chocolate cup cakes and with all the appreciation I received, I made Sparkling Cranberry Vanilla cup cakes and Chocolate cup cakes for my office Christmas party. Actually 2 days before the party, I was talking to Unnu and checking something on the phone and suddenly these Sparkling Cranberry vanilla cup cakes showed up with the recipe. The pics were so attractive and I thought I should try it and they are instantaneous hit. Again I baked the same combination for the Christmas get-together at Prashanthi’s place.

And I tried my hands on some healthy salads – my very own recipes

Of course I laid my hands on Photography classes another passion I would want to be proficient in – Prashanthi gave me beginner’s photography class (JP Teaches Photo) at Manhattan as a gift for 2017 Christmas and I have used it in March and then I got so excited and registered with them for 3 more classes. So much fun but I have to learn a lot. Mastering the art of photography is one of my ever lasting passions. and it has become a burning desire when volunteers at Isha going around with the state of the art cameras at Isha events especially when the events are led by Sadhguru.

And 35 years at the UN –

I have traveled a lot this year than in any other year of my life since I was born. Year started with my India trip in Feb – where I traveled to Goa and Vizag), then to Philadelphia to attend IE in May, then to Buffalo in May for few days, then again to India in July – visited Isha Ashramam in Coimbattore, kathmandu, Tibet, ManasaSarovar, Kailash, after my return, few days to Boston, and to Raleigh in October to attend Ram Sai’s pellikoduku function, then to Isha Institute at Tennessee to participate in BSP, then to San Francisco to volunteer at IE. I missed the last trip of the year to Van Cover with my vadina which was cancelled at the last minute.

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sadhguru

So many accomplishments, so much to thankful for, so much to looking forward to – the profound effect of Sadhguru on my life changes the way I think, I act and I react and I move on with life as it happens – In is the only way out

I do not know how it unfolds 2019 for me but as an Ishaan, I am ready for life as it is happening and explore every possible dimension of life. My only prayer and wish is let Sadhguru happen to every creature on this universe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Visiting Isha Ashramam at Coimbattore India – July 2018 on Guru Pournami Day

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In between these two major events, Inner Engineering and Kailash Manasa Sarovar yatra with Sadhguru, another desire borne – to visit Dhyanalinga at ISHA Center Coimbattore, India, that too on Guru pournami day as I was reading somewhere  only two days in a month – Amavasya and Pournami days all the devotees are allowed to do water and milk abishekam to Dhyana Linga and the desire becoming intense day after day. When I went to India before I started Kailash yatra, I had to stay at Hyderabad for 5 days awaiting for my group visa to Tibet. I planned a day trip to Isha Ashram at Coimbattore on Gurupournami day. Even when I was still in US, I was making inquires (by sending emails to ISHA foundation) whether I could attend any of Sadhguru’s programs on that day as I wanted to see/hear him at least for few min. There was Sathsang in Tamil (apparently he was speaking only in Tamil) and it would start around 12 pm and goes until midnight as chandra grahanam or lunar eclipse fell on that day. Even though it is in Tamil, I just want to stay there for few min to have Sadhguru’s darshan and listen to him for few minutes even though I do not know Tamil. But I was told that once I sit in sathsang, I was not allowed to leave the place (I know how strict Isha people are in that

e8c5aef2-82ef-41ac-a1a4-94164ba2437baspect).

So I was there around noon time and i got awestruck looking at 112 feet Adiyogi welcoming me very affectionately.

 

 

I was in a rush to go to Dhyana linga even though my aid was suggesting to visit Linga

dhyanalinga

Bhairavi (there was a long line there too), I went to Adiyogi Alayam. I read that water abhishekam f

rom 6 am to 12 pm and Milk abhishekam from noon

till 6 pm. So I did not want to miss my chances of water abhishekam. But of course due to some miscommunication, I did not get a chance for water abhishekam. And I was just sitting there not to loose my chances for milk abshishekam. My aid suddenly came with a vessel full of water and told me that it was Kailsah water and I could do abhishekam and my joy knew no bounds. Then I got to milk abhishekam also – do not think of what is possible and what is not possible.

 

Around 2:30 pm I cam out of Dhyanalinga and had some lunch and wanted to visit Linga Bhairavi but the temple was closed and I was told it would be opened at 5 pm. So I went to dhyanalinga and sat for 2 hours – I was not in any deep meditation or any of that sort, but some how I did not feel like getting out. when we came out and went to Linga Bhairavi temple, we were told that there was going to be a special pooja for ammavaru and the tickets were sold out by then and we were told to wait and may be after 7 pm ( after amma vari procession around the ashram premises, we would get to go in the temple. I was sitting out side and all the mantras that are being chanted in the temple are very well audible to us sitting in the open premises out side. And it is was nice cool evening and listening to the sacred chants was an amazing experience. I was sitting little farther from the temple and more people are coming and sitting very close to the temple, I also went and sit at a corner. after I sat there no one was allowed to sit next to me, even if people were coming , they were being directed ny the volunteers t go the other side. I thought I was sitting at the back and to a corner. To my amazement, amma varu came out for procession and she just quietly passed by my side, just goosebumps and thank all my stars with such a blessing (as I was little bit disappointed (not very much though) as I was not allowed to enter the temple) as ammavaru came and walked just by my side to bless me and compensate for the little disappointment I had undergone.

1a04cfb6-981b-4638-8133-9d24d3d844ff.pngOnce that happened, I immediately found my way out to go out the ashram as I need to catch my flight in a couple of hours. When I was approaching Adiyogi, I heard Sadhguru speaking in English. He was having Sathsang in front of Adiyogi in an vast open space. I was in an extremely blissful state as I could see him, hear him in English. I was standing there for another 20 min. He was almost at the tail end of his Sathsang in English, there was guru stotra for another 10 min by the fabulous Sounds Of Isha group and then Sadhguru started his Sathsang in Tamil.

I am thankful for every min of my visit to Isha Ashram. Every desire fulfilled in a beautiful way.b0d2c169-fc61-4173-975a-7ade59e06ea0

 

Where is SHI-VA coming into my life from …

This is the BIG question popping in my mind while I was on my way to Kailash  – Shi-va, Kailash, Manasa Sarovar, travelling with some unknown people for 15 days (which I never thought I would do), dying for oxygen on those high elevations, chanting Shiva Shamboo through out my 14 km parikrama at an elevation of close to 16000 ft – even before I started for this trip, many questions were popping out my mind – why Shi-va, why ISHA, why Sadhguru, everything happened in a blink of an eye – in a matter of 3 months. I had wonderful moments at the processes performed at Manasa Sarovar and Kailash.  But the questions were being popped out since then or even before. I even asked this question at #unplugWithSadhguru when there was a month long campaign where Sadhguru traveled to many places in India to have a conversation with youth of India #YouthAndTruth. I was little envy for the celebrities when they got their questions answered in an elaborate way.

I do not remember doing poojas to Shiva when I was a child neither my husband was a Shivite – He was more for Venkateswara Swami. We were doing Shiva rathris when we were kids so that we could watch back to back movies or playing games.

But for some reason, for the past 10 years, I have been observing Kartheeka Masam very devotedly – fasting through the whole month. But not doing any specific poojas nor chanting any Shiva Stotras during that time.

That is the reason the question has been popping of my head especially when any one says that I was so lucky to do this pilgrimage.

Then suddenly few days ago, I found an answer for my quest. It just got into me and I felt like Sadhguru has answered my question – the question that is bothering me a lot – where is Shiva coming into my life from ……

I read the same  page, the page from which I have found the answer – (from the book Adiyogi The Source of Yoga by Sadhguru and Arundhathi Subramaniam) to my nephew while we were travelling to Boston immediately after I have returned from my Kailash Yatra. I was just flipping that book and randomly that content got my attention and read it to him. Even at my 60th birthday surprise party few weeks ago,  I spoke the gist of that paragraph but some how I was not able to join the dots.

I really loved the essence of it and took a pic several weeks ago to post it in FB and Instagram, but did not do it for some reason. I want to write an excerpt from that page

Shiva should not be kept in your home. Shiva is not meant for those who are simply seeking a little more profit, a little more advantage out of life … Shiva is only meant for those whose greed in unlimited, for those who are not willing to settle for life in installments, for those who want to become one with the very source of existence…. If you have the courage, you carry him within you. If you seeking the highest, you do not keep him in your home. You carry him in your heart.”

shiva

 

 

I was so overwhelmed with ecstasy. And today Sadhguru’s tweet made me very emotional and felt truly blessed. “If yopic 1u have really been with me even for one moment, this is your last life.” 

Hyderabad to New York

On my return from India on 14 March, after few hours of sleeping on the flight, I started feeling little down and started analyzing my emotional disturbance and started penning my thoughts at that time …

unnuPrati feeling like I left a part of me in Hyderabad and started missing it. I know the best part of me lies in New York but I still yearn for the missing part. New York and Hyderabad are the two places very close to my heart – Hyderabad more for people and their unconditional love but New York, besides people I have a strong affliction with the place it self – the place where I met my soul mate and where we have shared many beautiful moments and I could still feel the warmth of his love for me; saw many hills and valleys  in life;

 

 

and the way New York embraces me and gave me enough sIloveny.pngtrength to battle the loneliness and showed the righteous path and making me a better person day after day after my husband passed away 10 years ago; it extracts some of the imbibed qualities in me and made me a stronger person. I know besides New York, my beloved parents, my husband and Baba are helping me to achieve many things which have been mere dreams in the past; to pull me and provide strength when I become weak and fall on my knees; to recreate my life in a way which I never thought exist.
When I am writing this, I could feel a lump in my throat and tears are just rolling down …

Conditional and Unconditional love

ishaThere is really no such thing as conditional love and unconditional love. There are conditions and there is love – when I saw this message on Isha Foundation FB page few weeks ago – I just brushed it off as I strongly believe in unconditional love (it is not love without conditions, rather love under all conditions – sounds the same meaning, may be love a person/persons or things without expecting anything in return – even love in return). But in contrary to my very own strong belief, few weeks after it is posted on FB, I have posted a message affirming that statement  – as my strong belief and feelings about unconditional love are being shattering and was ready to accept that there were conditions and there was love and no such thing as conditional love and unconditional love. Some of my close people – friends and family, were little worried that something might have happened and some one might have hurted my feelings as they haven’t seen that sort of negativity from my side. I was not questioning someone’s behaviour or actions rather I was questioning my sensitive heart about my love (which I thought unconditional towards some people until now was little bit wavering). I am not sure why I was reacting that way – may be I am expecting too much or atleast some in the way I wanted or may be not able to respond or realize the love I am receiving). I have been in that mood for a day or two and then again became normal. But not sure that I was convinced completely of the existence of unconditional love to which I was held on strongly for decades. Meanwhile I have experienced God’s love and blessings in many ways while I was in India (my Tirupathi visit and Lord Venkateswara’s darshan is a testimony for that fact- kori kanipinchava leka korikani penchava … hopefully in another blog article). But there is a small void somewhere in my heart and a lump in my throat.

Then I returned back to New York and came to my office and to my astonishment saw this on my keyboard – this is from our cleaning lady and she got this nameIMG_0273 plaque custom made from her country – Columbia. She got these for few of our staff (very few I should say) when she went home for a vacation; and then again with the divine intervention, I am slowly on my way back to my norms – believing in the existence of unconditional love – pure bliss, hope and wish to be in this state of being without getting affected by any storms .. am I differing with Sadgaru on this aspect or may be I am not able to understand what exactly he meant by that statement or may be I expect the same quality of love in return from the people so very close to my heart or may be I am not able to realize that love from them even though they are showering love on me boundlessly … I am in a dilemma .. just praying to Baba to give me that resilience to overcome these small nuances …

 

 

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.

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