NTR’s daughter Purandeswari and Dr Daggubati Venkateswara Rao, a former member of the Congress, have been married for 37 years now.
“My eldest sister-in-law, my eldest brother’s wife, is my husband’s sister. My brother got married about eight years before I did and there was constant interaction between the two families, that’s how we met. He was doing his medicine from Kakatiya Medical College and he also happened to be very close to my second brother Sai Krishna. Both would hang out together and even watch movies. His college was closer to Hyderabad so he would come home often. That’s how we kept bumping into each other,” recalls Purandeswari.
But, she says there were no “romantic” feelings and that she never thought he was her prince charming either. “It wasn’t love at first sight, you could call it a slow burn,” she says with a laugh. “You know how things were back in those days... once you have an eligible son and a daughter at home, you would hear whispers that probably the two should get married. Nobody spoke to us directly but we could hear the whispers. That’s exactly how it all happened,” says the sister of Tollywood actors Nandamuri Balakrishna and Nandamuri Harikrishna.
Talking about the wedding day, she says, “I wore a tomato pink pattu sari with a big navy blue border. My parents went all the way to Kanchipuram to order it. Those days applying mehendi was not as big a deal as it is today. Mehendi cones were not in vogue, so they ground fresh mehendi leaves and drew the design on my hands and legs with broom sticks. That almost took five hours.”
The celebration was a big fat wedding with all the politicians, bureaucrats and celebrities in attendance. “Every moment of the wedding day is precious and memorable for a girl. I got married on May 9 and I had exams on May 7. I was doing my BA Lit. from the South Indian Educational Trust and Women’s College (Chennai). My mother-in-law would go to Kanchipuram to buy saris for the wedding. Since Chennai is closer to Kanchipuram, she would drop by and I would get so tensed. Also, my fear of not writing my exams was more than that of getting married,” she laughs.
“Back in those days there were no emails or cellphones, so we would keep in touch through letters and once in a while would call each other on the landline,” she reminisces about her pre-wedding days. So what’s the secret of their married life? The couple shares: “I think we just blend together very well.”
Purandeswari agrees there are pros and cons in a person. “But with him there is nothing to hide. He is what he is,” she says. While Venkateswara Rao adds, “We are still together and happy, what else can we want?” And she adds, “Love is no doubt important but what is more important is understanding, adjustment and adaptability. We are open with each other and we discuss things. Any discussion could turn into an argument but that’s good and keeps us going. Communication is very important.”
“Difference of opinion is the best way to deal with issues. It all depends on who convinces who. There is nothing to feel bad or sad about. Sometimes I may be right sometimes she could be. That’s what relationships are all about,” he says. And she adds, “It’s also about give and take and trust. We also enjoy doing things separately, so each of us has our own space.”...