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) _ iad a 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.

birthday2016“The 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 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 

Are you the favorite person of anybody?

we have a nice coffee shop on the corner of our road. I love it for many reasons  eventhough I hardly had coffee there. I am very much attracted by its ambience, it is a small place without any fancy decorations, but it is a simple place. They have a small special menu board outside the place and there are some nice writings on the other side of the board. I actually want to write a separate post on this coffee shop with some pics of its writings. Recently I got attracted by this one.

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I walked passing this board atleast 4 times a day, and they usually keep the same message for few days. Whenever I passed this one, I kept on asking me this same question again and again, little depressing though. I wanted to take a pic of this but somehow I could not initially.

something happened Friday evening at work. Before I was about to leave, I went to ladies room to fetch some water for my plants. I saw our cleaning lady and I wished her and she said that she hadn’t seen me for a while. I told her that I went home for a holiday and returned back only a few days before and I inquired about how she has been doing. She told me that she too had been to Columbia (her home town, she is a Spanish lady) on vacation and suddenly she said she got me something from home. She went back to her desk and pulled a small packet from the drawer and gave it to me with a warm hug.

she got me a small card wallet.

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I was overwhelmingly happy that I was on someone’s mind even during their vacation time. That mere idea gave me immense happiness.

Why should I bother if I were a favorite person to somebody or not, just take the blessings of Baba as they come and be happy and contented.🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻😀😀😀😀

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 ….

 

Happiness ….

School can be replaced by anything. HopingIntoTheBed is the best thing.. That is what I have done during this long weekend. I haven’t had a memory of being in the bed most of the time in a two-day period except when I was sick and I do not even remember being sick for more than a day. My marathon has started around 4 pm Thursday, 3 July – we had an early release from work at 3 pm as we had a long weekend a head. Started watching you tube – #MEK, a few of earlier shows of it and some other game shows; Serials (I normally do not watch serials as I do not want to addict to them – but I got used to watching them for time pass when I was at my sister’s place for almost 3 months at the end of last year. So I hooked up to 2 serials – chinnari Pelli kuthuru and Sasirekha Parinayam, the latter one with due respect to Annapurna Studios even though it was a boring one. So I was catching up earlier shows of Chinnari Pelli kuthuru);  jumping in between iPad and Macpro (charging one and watching on another) back to back and sleeping around 3 a.m. The marathon of being in bed and watching you tube continues until Sunday morning except for my Revitalization of East River Park project on Saturday for 3 hours plus 2 hours of walking, my cooking time is very minimal only one dish for the whole day and I am absolutely fine with it (and fasting during day time on Thursday and Friday also helped). Crying while watching very earlier episodes of Chinnari Pelli Kuthuru also cleanse my heart and eyes. Cried because of the rights and happiness being taken away from a small girl who loves to study and be happy – and all the vicious attempts to take away those rights made me cry and I won’t be embarassed for being emotional rather I would be proud !

Very relaxing and looking forward to more of these sort of moments. Happiness is what you like to do.

It is not how much we have, but how much we enjoy, that makes happiness – Charles Spurgeon

Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions. - Dalai Lama

#WeekendWellSpent 😛