The day a child is born, it faces challenges of life in bits and pieces. When it is a small baby its challenges are negligible in regards to the challenges that it faces later in its life. And as the days progress the challenges keep increasing.

But those who have faced those challenges head on, they have actually succeeded in whatever avenues they got into. Challenges in life build our characters. As someone said, “God allows suffering to make us, not break us”. He allows challenges for us to confront and be the winner.

Do words have any value until they were culminated in actions?

Let me enlighten you with a challenge in my life which I dreaded the most but was desperate to overcome it…

I studied in an Oriya medium school in Cuttack. I was a good student yet apart from English all other subjects were in Oriya language. When I joined college after my tenth, I felt I was in the middle of the ocean when everything was in English.

Guess what!!!

I scored just 58%, second class without extra optional subjects. These extra optional subjects kept my izzat (my image) that year and in the certificate “First Class” was written. I had big problem getting a seat for B. Com, in the same college, Ravenshaw College (now it’s a university). But thank God, in graduation I managed to score better than before. Yet, I failed to learn speaking and even writing good English.

I remember, one time, I wrote a letter in English to my best friend, Binod Sharma who went for further studies after our college. I had to write in English as he could not have read in Oriya and I could not have written it in Hindi. I was so happy after I finished writing in the Inland letter. I read it 10 times before posting it.

When I started working in Cuttack, I started to writing poems in English though they were not so good but I tried. I was happy that I could able to at least write something in English.

When I came to Kolkata in 2001, I picked up Bengali within six months’ time but even when I was in an office set up and in one of the metro cities of India, I was struggling to speak English properly. My cousins and their Mom helped me a lot to rectify my pronunciation and grammatical errors while I started to converse with them in Or-Ben-Lish.

Khristina taught me how to chat on Yahoo messenger. There was not any Facebook, forget about Whatsapp. She created an email for me and taught. And my personal entertainment started as I was all alone for next three years till, I got married in 2004.

You may be thinking, why am I sharing my secrets with you all? It is because, Chit-Chatting on random people on Yahoo Messenger helped me to speak correct English. And slowly, I picked up after coming across foreigners and different official guests etc.

In 2006, I started Candles (not Online) and there was no looking back. I kept on learning and learning… I am still learning to speak and write good English even if I lead a team of wonderful writers.

When I look back, I wonder how amazing was my journey while I overcame this difficult challenge of learning English so that I can express myself to the whole world.

The second challenge that I overcome was riding a motor bike. My grand father and my father were carrying the stigma of not riding even a bicycle in their whole life. And I didn’t want to carry the same. But I had the biggest drawback – my health condition. I was restricted to ride a bicycle and a bike was simply out of question.

When I completed my post-graduation, I started a grocery shop at my home alongside my father as he was retrenched from his company. And I aspired to buy one scooter, at least second hand so that I can learn it and ride it.

But how will do that?

How can I balance it?

Why bike has two wheels only?

Just one more wheel will make my learning easier…

These thoughts popped up in my mind when a neighbor started helping me to learn. I never fell from the bike while learning because I was too cautious. I took time as I had never learnt or ridden a bicycle in my life. After 10 days I lost patience and told that brother who was helping me to stop. He did encourage me but didn’t force me considering my health. After couple of days, I again felt like learning it and I remember the feeling when I raised both my legs and saw the bike rolling without getting imbalanced.

Deepak Bhai, I can balance now… I didn’t put my legs down even a single time.” I shouted back looking at him who was standing at a distance watching me riding it with my spread-eagled legs in the air (not arms thought). He smiled looking at me and encouraged to keep doing that.

(Image Credit: Google Inc.)

I learnt riding a bike on the historical sea shore at Cuttack where the historical Baaliyatra Festival takes place every year before winter.

After someday, I hit the road with my green coloured Secondhand LML Trendy. Fortunately, I found a picture of it on Google as I wasn’t expecting a picture of an obsolete product. I enjoyed it for a whole year or so till I joined work at Kolkata.

I didn’t really ride bikes much afterwards as I didn’t have any scope for it but the joy of overcoming this challenge in life was in leaps and bounds.

In closing, I just wanted to quote a Bible verse that has always strengthened me whenever I faced any challenge:

For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, “Do not fear; I will help you”.

I haven’t mastered anything, but I wasn’t much behind anyone and anything. I give all the glory to my Lord God for letting me overcome these challenges in my life.

How about you?

As we keep writing on the challenges that we have overcome in our lives, you stay safe at your home and keep reading them…

Stay Blessed!