weight-loss-850601_1280Cleopatra, the last pharaoh of Ancient Egypt, was renowned throughout history for her radiant skin and her stunning beauty. It is said that she used to bathe in donkeys’ milk to keep her skin soft and beautiful. Legend has it that she required 700 lactating donkeys in order to supply the milk for her daily baths. Even today, beauticians recommend milk along with other herbs to help keep the skin supple and glowing. (This, at a time when we have high rates of malnutrition and under-five deaths in our country!) The markets are flooded with fairness creams, gels, scrubs, weight-loss supplements, and what not. And mind you, these are not meant only for the face to look good…the prescriptions are for uplifting the entire body image! Well, there’s no harm in looking good. It’s the mindless obsession after physical beauty that’s worrisome. Many young girls lose their lives every day (yes everyday!!) due to a condition called Anorexia Nervosa, which is an eating disorder that arises from an obsession to be slim and beautiful. The words ‘beauty’ and ‘beautiful’ are so obsessively used to refer to physical appearance that their precious meaning is lost in oblivion. We as a people sure need to rise above the beauty of the skin and the body.

Sir Thomas Overbury once remarked, “Beauty is only skin deep.” There is more to life than merely the beauty of the skin!

— Rajnandini Sahu



Prabhjot at 16It was the night of 30th November’ 2000, it was me – 16 year old crazy teenager, glued to the television almost biting my nails in nervousness and praying to God for a victory. No, it was not India vs. Pakistan world cup match. It was the Miss World Pageant where India was represented by none other than Priyanka Chopra. My mom was sleeping next to me and woke up scared when I literally jumped with joy and screamed when the host said “And Miss World 2000 is …. Miss India”! I remember very clearly that I had  jumped with joy, I had tears in my eyes, I was super excited, I couldn’t sleep the rest of the night. Oh, what an excitement that was.

The excitement did not last just one night, it lasted I don’t know – a few years. Next day when I went to my all-girls convent school, I realized it wasn’t just me jumping with excitement. We discussed every damn detail of the event. Remember, we did not have youtube at that time to relive and re-watch the golden moment. We just remembered everything by watching it once live on television.

Excitement and attraction towards beauty pageants just kept going up-hill with Diya Mirza winning Miss Asia Pacific and Lara Dutta being crowned Miss Universe, all in the same year. It was an intense excitement and I made up my mind to at least give it a try for Miss India. Without any Google, I managed to figure out the minimum requirements needed to enter the contest. And I was disappointed even depressed – my height wasn’t enough to go for it. Still I could give Bollywood a try, if not modelling – that was 16 year old me talking to myself. If Rani Mukherjee with that height can be as successful, who can stop me?

Needless to mention that my interest in studies declined. Though I had been a great student, I stopped taking interest in studies. All I did was to practice wearing long heels and doing model walk with bunch of my physics and chemistry books on my head. And instead of eating eggs, curd, tomato etc, I started applying those on my hair and skin. Skirts became shorter; visits to beauty parlors became a regular ritual at the cost of studies. My parents were definitely concerned about their teenaged daughter losing focus in life.

My parents convinced me to at least get a professional degree before I decide to jump into a career of that kind. So, I bagged a seat in a Government Engineering college. And things changed a bit from there on, my interest in studies came back and I topped the college. While I was in third year, a movie named “Page 3” influenced my thinking. It was a “Madhur Bhandarkar” movie and showed a reality of glam world. It was shown in such a way that it sounded quite believable. Young girls getting married to old men for money, deceit and infidelity in marriages, girls sleeping their way to the top of their careers – all that was shown as a part and parcel of that world. And I am the kind of person who had always wanted success and fame but more than that, I value the quality of my relationships and my peace of mind. I have heard that you can either have success or peace of mind – you cannot have both. Well, I believe it is possible. It just depends how one defines success.

As I have grown wiser and older over the years, I now believe that looks are only a small part of our personality which is given a huge undue importance by media. I feel sad when I see young girls posing in front of the mirror the whole day and mothers in law still giving more weightage to fair skin of their daughter in law than her intellectual capabilities. Beauty is not skin deep, it goes way beyond just your personality. Beauty is all about how much love you have for the world and how much you care. Beauty is not fair skin or good height or perfect features; it is the depth of your heart and your ability to touch people.

In one of the body image workshops, the instructor asked a group of young boys and girls – “How many of you disliked your body or your looks when you were 5 years old?” No hand went up. “At 7 years old”. Still no hands went up. “At 10 years old”, a couple of hands went up. “At 13 years old”, a few more hands went up. “At 16 years old”, almost all hands went up. It makes me wonder, what is it that we are doing with our kids today? What sort of a message is being passed onto them that make them hate their bodies?

Who creates these unrealistic standards of beauty? Media does. And that damages the confidence of our young teenagers. It makes them feel low of themselves. It leads to depression and low self-esteem. As adults, it is our responsibility to help these little adults feel good about them. We want them to value their IQ and EQ more than their looks (if not equal).

Remember – Looks are only part of your personality. It is as significant as your intellectual capabilities and your emotional balance. And beauty is not just about your looks – it is about your holistic personality.

So, be beautiful physically, emotionally and intellectually!

Author’s Bio: Prabhjot Kaur Saini, is a Software Engineer and is currently working in Bangalore. She is an engineer by profession and also a thinker and writer with a philosophical heart. She can be contacted at: ‘’ Read her Other Articles on this site. 


person-812821_1280The other day I was doing my morning devotion and the topic was exactly on what we have been discussing throughout this week.

The writer has pointed out by saying, “There are three kinds of fear that will keep you from developing your talents and accomplishing your purpose. 1. Self-doubt, 2. Self-consciousness & 3. Self-pity.”

Bingo! I shouted as soon as I read that. These are the ones which have always troubled us all always.

Further, he makes a statement which I want you all to make that your life statement. He says, “I’d rather attempt to do something great and fail than attempt to do nothing and succeed.

What a statement against those three self-giants: ‘Self-doubt,’ ‘Self-consciousness’ & ‘Self-pity!’

Ahhh! I feel relieved after sharing this with you all!

Dear Readers! Do you know Failure was the Success of Candles Online? Lol… I mean to say, the topic on “Handling Failure” was read vividly this week by you all, increasing the traffic to our website.

Why so? Because we all have experienced failures in life and we all want to learn how to handle it. We all have that fear of failure which holds us back to move forward.

I will repeat, “Failure was the Success of Candles Online.”

Yes, I failed to keep the Candles booklet published regularly. I failed to raise sufficient funds for the printing and distribution of Candles. I failed to fetch articles & write-ups for Candles to be published. Finally, I failed to run it… I had to stop it.

But that was past…

One and half year, I stayed without doing anything apart from my routine office work. I suffered from the guilt of failing to accomplish a God given vision. I struggled to find ideas. I didn’t see any help coming from any source. I was disheartened.

But suddenly on July 7th 2015, I rose up with a decision and prayed. I planned, built a team, discussed with them and there you are reading CANDLES ONLINE from 11th July 2015…

I attempted something great; I failed and attempted again to make it a success.

This is just a small example but there were in many other occasions I had failed in life but those failures could never stop me to move on in life. I did have ‘Self-doubt,’ but not for a long to stop me from getting rid of the fear of failure. Because I am one of those who would rather attempt to do something great and fail than attempt to do nothing and succeed.

Finally, I would suggest to set goals for doing good, building good character, being a good engineer, doctor etc. to serve people but never to set goals to be like that person or this person or join this institute or that one. Remember what Sulagna stated in her article? You will fail.

If we attempt anything with true spirit, with clearly defined goals and vision we can achieve it and that too with God’s Intervention, ‘Not LUCK,’ we can even be more than Abraham Lincoln.

I would encourage all to trust God that He will definitely bless our great attempts and give us success.

Stay Blessed!

Author’s Bio: Chiradeep Patra is a finance man who works in a NGO at Kolkata. He is a writer, motivator & counselor. 



Earlier I had spoken about ceasing to live in failure and moving forward. But to most of us this would seem as a Herculean task as our mind replays the mishaps occurred to us again and again. However, we should make an attempt to believe that there is always a way out. No situation especially bad ones is constant. We have heard that time is the best healer but some questions pop in my mind. Do we really come out of our failed situations completely? Do we have the strength to visit those places in our minds years later without getting hurt?

When I questioned myself, I probably could answer and it was a yes. I viewed my bad times as a time of assessment. I was able to do a reality check on myself. It was an opportunity for me to look for good in the situation so that things can be better. There has to be some good in the failure that will inspire.

It was during this time that I had an urge to learn new things and make myself updated about the world around me. An android language learning application helped me to learn a foreign language along with which I concentrated on my passion as a dancer. We all have hobbies, interests and hidden talents. This is the time to discover and nurture them.

I found my way out of the failure when I chose to view it differently. I thought about what good it did to me and soon I encountered the strong and confident person who was hidden within me. My failure seemed to be a tiny error in front of the new achievements that I made.

Let us believe we are worthy of rewards even though at times we are at fault ’cause it would help us spring up to a height whenever we hit the bottom. It would be a wonderful gift from you to yourself.

Ruth Samarpita Sarkar


hand-841787_1280His fiancé died. He suffered great loss in his business, lost 8 elections. Had he given up he wouldn’t have gone to become the 16th president of the United States of America. It was Sir Abraham Lincoln who went to the top despite of failures in his initial life.
He was cut out from his high school basketball team. Had he given up then he wouldn’t have gone on to become the world famous basketball player Michael Jordan.

People are so afraid of failures. It is sometimes this fear of failure that stops people to even take a chance. They compromise or give up just at the thought.

Mary Anne Radmacher says, “Courage doesn’t always roar, sometimes courage is the small voice at the end of the day that says, I will try again tomorrow.” Everybody faces rejection or failure in their life. But people who have tried in spite of it have gone on to become Inspirations.

There are so many such legends apart from Abraham Lincoln and Michael Jordan who have not given up when faced with such situations which can be narrated to reflect their amazing courage amidst failures. But it is important how we replicate them and their courageous acts in our life situations.

Avishikta Dey


footpath-690388_1280Often when we fail to achieve something, we accept it to be the ultimate truth. It is then that we start relating the cause of our failure with every other minor mishap in our life. We look down upon ourselves and lose confidence in everything that we do.

But one thing should also be taken into consideration, that life is not a bed of roses. It is prone to being vulnerable. Failures are a part of life as is Success. It is the part of the process of learning how to accept defeat and eventually picking yourself up and moving on.

This is the path of making of a strong and confident person who is hiding somewhere behind the failed person that we project to be.
Therefore, we can strive to be that person and stop feeling like a failure.

Ruth Samarpita Sarkar


stone-steps-409522_1280There was a boy who wanted to be one of the best batsman of his school cricket team. He played 2 tournaments but failed miserably, scoring really low. He was disheartened and broken to the core and prayed to God to give him strength. God gave him something else, He gave the little boy an information. God said “Boy, if you continue to learn from your mistakes in previous tournaments, you will succeed exactly at your 8th tournament.”

Boy was astonished but he believed it. He now felt excited, because now he knew that every failure was getting him one step closer to success.

That’s the reason, failures are called the stepping stones to success. Success is incomplete without these steps and impossible to reach.

So, do not avoid failures, learn from them and move on…