It was the year 2009. I got a copy of ‘Candles’ – a bimonthly four-paged inspiration lighter in my hands. I was quite impressed when I saw the name of the publisher. No, I didn’t know him personally – but knew about him. Not about his literary skills or visionary dreams, but only about his health condition – simply because we were both part of the same church in our hometown. Those days almost everyone in the church knew about and prayed for Chiradeep Patra, especially during those times when he slipped into critical phases.
Having known him that way, getting to know of his literary venture touched me. Also, to get a four-pager published and freely circulated with the vision of inspiring and impacting the lives of people despite his physical and financial condition was again something that made me think of wanting to be a part of this noble objective.
After reading a couple of circulations, I mailed him enquiring of the details that were required to be a part of Candles and expressing my desire to be a part of the same. He was generous enough to give a quick go-ahead. Thus began my journey with Candles, now Candles Online! It has been 11 years since I tied up with Candles, though there was a pause of a few years in between before the leap was taken from being a paper circulation that reached a limited few to being a blog post that has now the capacity of reaching out to all parts of the world via the web.
Candles is a unique endeavour, which is what drew me towards it in the first place and has kept me committed towards it whether or not circumstances have been conducive to keep writing a topical piece a week. Let me put down a few points as to why I made the above statement:
- Candles holds a vision to impact and succor the world having the Creator as the torchbearer. No empty words!
2. Each writer is allowed to express views in the tone suitable to him/ her without getting into abusive or negative connotations. A positive platform!
3. The platform is a conglomeration of writers from different parts of India (there have been a few writers from other countries as well) settled in different parts of the world who have never met each other in person. Rich experience!
4. Not merely preachy articles – poems, short stories, story relays, quotes, interviews and a myriad of creativity packed in a week bring out the best of writers from their corners of the world. Extensive variety!
5. No one pays to write for Candles (Online). No one earns from writing. Yet, all are equally committed as if it is a vocation. Impressive motivation!
6. Through the articles, we the writers have become a part of each others’ lives without being intrusive nonetheless – rejoicing in each other’s achievements and comforting each other in times of distress. A bond sans boundaries!
7. No matter what be our respective thought frameworks, we are unitedly committed to do our bits to impact the world in our little ways – raising our voices for issues that demand so or sharing joyful experiences that strike chords. A unique voice of unision!
I started with partnering for Candles more than a decade back – the only other writer from those days is Prabhjot Saini who had started writing for Candles before me. Candles has seen both writers dropping off mid-way and new writers joining the brood. But, it has gained all the while. Personally I feel if one article of a writer on a given day is able to touch someone, the objective of Candles for that day is achieved. Yes, one day at a time – that’s what Candles focusses on.
I often thank God for putting this idea in the frail heart of a person who was perceived as feeble, yet has proved the power of his might in ways unknown to many. His leadership deserves to be applauded. There have been dry spells in Candles Online – days when writers have been too occupied to write, even with the heart to. But, Candles continues to burn bright – much like a candle that you might think is about to be extinguished by a gust of wind, but eventually does not.
Long live Candles Online!