“It Isn’t the Mountain Ahead That Wears You Out; It Is the Pebble in Your Shoe.” – Muhammad Ali

Tom and his mentor Dwyer were on their customary weekly walk through the forest when Dwyer sat down on a large rock to take off his shoe.

What are you doing?” asked Tom.

I have a pebble in my shoe,” explained Dwyer.

What are you stopping for? I have a pebble in my shoe as well, but we don’t have time to stop, so stop slowing us down. This is not acceptable. For a small problem of yours, you are  not only slowing yourself down but even involving me.

I can assure you Tom, me stopping isn’t holding us back at all, but will end up saving us time and probably pain further down the track. So be sensible and stop blaming it all on me.

Pfft,” said the young man as he turned and walked on by himself, leaving the old man behind to remove the annoying pebble.

After about 20 minutes of walking, Tom could hear footsteps behind him and was surprised to see Dwyer making ground on him.

Why are you limping?” the old man asked with a glint in his eye.

You know why?  I have a pebble in my shoe!” Tom retorted.

Why don’t you just stop and remove it?”

Because I don’t have time.”

They walked side by side for a while, but eventually, despite his best efforts and pride, Tom’s sore foot really started to slow him down and his limp became more pronounced.

He was determined not to show any pain, but he was conscious that he was now slowing down his walking partner, so he sat down on a large log and took off his shoe to remove the pebble.

When he did, he noticed a small amount of blood seeping through his sock. He removed that too and saw that he had a very sore, bleeding welt where the pebble had been rubbing.

He grimaced as he looked up at his mentor who smiled broadly, showing very little pity for his young protégé.

You know what the message here is don’t you? By not dealing with your problem to immediate effect, you not only affected your performance on the long run  but immediately blamed it on me. Whenever the, blame game starts, it eventually ends up in compromised performance.  Always deal with problems straight away.  You may think that you don’t have the time, but you’ll save yourself a lot of time and pain if you get the pebble out of your shoe before you get too far down the road.”

If you do not take out the pebble immediately, the resultant is the birth of another pebble called blame, that not only destroys Your Own performance but affects even the performance of your co-worker and colleague.

Tom nodded as he put his bloodied sock back on.

According to Jim Fanin, the World famous coach for nearly 25 NBA, Basketball stars, “Some pebbles are lodged only in your business shoes. Some reside in your house slippers that you tuck under your bed. Some pebbles find their way into your golf shoes while others form in the shoes worn while you parent. Unfortunately, some pebbles travel in all your shoes regardless of where you walk or run”.

The other day, I came across a patient, who was complaining of occasional pain in her abdomen. She was a retired Professor in English and quite a Scholar of her times. When I asked her the details of her condition, she was highly guarded and did not want to say anything. On careful prodding, she disclosed that she had a CT scan report with her, which categorically states that she had, Early stage Cancer of the Stomach. When I viewed the report, it was as she had said. I asked her, why, inspite of knowing this, she had not consulted a Surgeon and got herself treated. The reply she gave was amazing. She said, “My mother, had Cancer of the Stomach, and died of it, despite having got operated, hence I decided that since post Surgery she had died, I would never get operated.” All the time, while she was living with Cancer, she had this wrong notion that Surgery killed her mother and not the Cancer, which was quite advanced. Like the Pebble in the Shoe, the Cancer was hurting her daily but she wasn’t ready to do away with it. It could have been removed by going to a Surgeon, and just clarifying facts and notions. She did not address it immediately and that led to the birth of another pebble, which was a form of blame, which fell on the Surgeon. I assured her, that the Cancer, is a Gastro-Intestinal Stromal Tumour, as the report suggested and only Surgery will cure her and it does not have recurrence. Her Pebble was her wrong notion, that Surgery kills people.

Muhammad Ali, the most famous among the World Heavyweight Boxing Champions, was thinking, about this Pebble, in his shoe, when he was readying himself to fight, Sonny Liston. They all said that Sonny Liston could never be beaten and Ali bought that thought and lived with it for quite some time, until his trainers and advisors helped him remove that Pebble. Sonny Liston lasted just 10 minutes on the day of the fight.

While the mountain, our life’s purpose, is always ahead of us, the pebbles often trip us up.  We may perpetuate unhealthy behaviors, patterns and thoughts in our lives by worrying about all the what ifs, could have beens and never-going-to-be’s.

Keep your eyes fixed on that mountain!  Eliminate the pebbles, one by one. Use these tips to clear out the pesky hindrances to your progress:

1. Fix the small stuff.

In our lifetimes, we will spend four solid years doing housework and an entire year just looking for things we have lost in our homes.  Precious days of our life are squandered if we lack discipline and preparation.  You envision opening your own business one day, for example, yet haven’t made real progress towards this goal. The small stuff, the perpetual pebbles, is holding you back.

Do you keep looking for that form you need?  Do you need a better way to organize your bills? Taking care of these small, yet taxing tasks, will free you up for the road ahead.  Take the time to organize your home, balance your checkbook and clear out the clutter; make the preparations necessary to focus your time and effort on the real game.

2. Stop the development of a Second Pebble called Blame.

Many times we find it impossible to accept that the first pebble is hurting. In these settings, the development of a second pebble called, “Blame”develops. Blaming it on others makes it then impossible for us to remove the first pebble that was initially hurting us.

3. Never lose sight of your goal.

We must remain committed to our purpose and passion. This goes beyond lip service. Which steps can we take every day towards being a better co-worker, friend or spouse? Which actions can we point to in our lives that have cultivated not only our dream careers but also better care of ourselves?

Cornell University researchers studied something called the “endowment effect.” When we take complete ownership of our goals, we are more committed to their completion.  Writing them down and mapping out expectations for ourselves is key. There are hundreds of tools to write down and track our goals online. This chart called “Your 101 Life Goals List” is a great place to start.

4.  Lose the emotional pebbles.

Our emotional well-being is vital to tackling the mountain.  The daily pebbles we carry of stress, anxiety and disappointment slip us up.  Break down these rocks of emotional baggage the minute they creep up.  Push back against stress with a different one of the stress relieving strategies every day.  Most importantly “stop striving for perfection”, it teaches and reminds us that being easier on ourselves will start a chain reaction of positivity in our lives.  Once these daily pressures find relief, we have a more fruitful journey.

Our lives are priceless; let’s thrive by carrying a lighter load every day.  The extraction of the pebbles of distraction from your life will help you begin your ascension.




I am not sure why our brain remembers the most embarrassing moments so well, whenever someone asks me of mine, this particular one I am going to write about stands out.

One day after office, I had been for grocery shopping. Yeah, one of those days when I get to return back from office while the sun is still out there, it’s a rarity. Walking towards the breakfast cereal section, my eyes were rolling over tier after tier of various varieties of stacked up cereal, for my favourite Apple honey almond muesli. I think they were out of stock, so I picked up some other flavour. I was engrossed in reading the ingredients of the pack, when a hand landed on my shoulder accompanied by a greet, “Hey Aastha, long time, how have you been ?”.  Overlooking my shoulder, I turned around, before I could respond, she said, ” You haven’t changed a bit …”

In response I greeted her back, with out taking her name. Hell, my brain was very busy trying to connect the information stored in neurons, failing to reconstruct the memory of her, coming up with several other questions in the advent of her identity. 

My inner voice chipped in, “Aastha, you know her quite well. Please, please, please try.. I am sure you would recollect. Is she from school ?”

Me: “I don’t think so. I remember her with the exact same face I am seeing her now, which means I have met her most probably after my late teens ?”

Inner voice: “Sure, sounds very true. Some coaching centre ?”

Me: ” I don’t remember, but that sounds untrue”

Inner voice: Job interviews ?”

Me: “No way, I have attended only two interviews till now, one when I was in college, I haven’t made any new friends during the interview process. Second one, I went alone, met no one and all the interviewers were men”

My brain was confused between me and my inner voice. Meanwhile the girl was also talking. I was secretly wishing that she mentions some one or some experience so that my brain can create the pattern and connect the dots. I was smiling (such a fake smile which I am totally not used to), I was feeling quite uncomfortable to have not remembered her. She was taking my name again and again making me feel really bad. 

Inner voice: “Is she from your current work place ?”

Me: “No, that can’t be”

Inner voice: “Now, please you have almost ruled out all the possibilities, she remembers you and you don’t.. “

Me: “Really, is that it ? I have known her for a long time, it is definitely not that I met her once or twice”

She was wearing her ID card ( she must be returning from work too ), damn it, it’s flipped on the wrong side, I was praying while we were walking around that her ID card flips so that I can read her name. My stupid thoughts are making me all the more ashamed. First of all, I do not remember her name, then I want something to remind me of her ??? This continued for around 10 minutes. By this time, my guilt took over me, I didn’t want to waste any more time, but ask her.

I started with an apology,”I am really very sorry. I know we have met several times, I know you well too, but I am not able to recollect your name. Kindly can you please remind me ?” She smiled, then she started laughing. May be it was my facial expression. ” Hmmm… We started our career together and worked for the same company, we stayed at the same place too”. All the memories came back to me in no time. We talked for some more time, I apologised again before we departed. How didn’t I notice the company name written on her ID Card tag, that should have reminded me. I have not just forgotten her name, but how we were connected too.

It was the most embarrassing moment, I can never forget it as well, including the color of the dress she wore 😀

Once I realised that I am very bad with names and how embarrassing it can be,  I have made some modifications.

  • I sincerely tell them before hand if I cannot recollect who they are.
  • I pay attention to the conversation, when someone is being introduced.
  • I started storing contacts in my phone along with the relationship.

Forgetting names is not a serious illness or anything. Our brain has got better ways to store faces than names. Facial recognition is what many species including humans use to identify similar species as well as things. If someone says they have a pen, we can visualise it, but if they say it’s a Parker pen, our brain runs us through the different models Parker has in market. We are naturally not wired to remember names very well. Having said that, there are two types of people, who can remember names well and others who don’t. Undoubtedly, I belong to the second type. Some have a flashy memory, they never forget the name of the person they met even if that is only once. I wish I had one too !!!!

The ‘oops’ moments are very funny, yet they make us aware of something we haven’t known. What’s your oops moment ?


It was a Sunday night when my frazzled house-help called me to tell me that she wouldn’t be coming to work… ever.

I was stunned. For any busy mother with too much on her plate, house-helps are more important than their own husbands. I frantically asked her why she had made this sudden decision because she loved working, I knew. She loved the independence and the money these odd jobs gave her.

She answered between sobs, “Didi, I can’t stay here while my husband is threatening my life. He won’t let me be. He’s lost it. He hits me and does drugs. And he doesn’t even care for the children anymore. What will become of my children if he kills me? I have no one here in the city. At least my people can support me in the gaon (countryside). That’s why I’m leaving.”

I knew what she was saying wasn’t a fabrication. Her husband had been very abusive, both mentally and physically, for over a year, going to the extent of making an attempt on her life last year! Heaven knew why she hadn’t bolted back then itself. I insisted that she see a lawyer for a divorce but she was afraid of her folks; ‘what will people say‘. When she didn’t do that I sent her to a doctor to dress the wound. It was superficial thankfully, but the attempt had shaken her to the core, as it would. The police had refused her help because let’s face it, the Police don’t do much in India unless you have connections (if you know what I mean). Sheer will, her children’s education and a helpful sister were the only reasons why she was staying on in the city even after the attempt, but that sister too had lately moved away, leaving her absolutely alone against the wrath of her terrorizing husband.

There was nothing I could do to help her or to make her stay. I was in no position to offer her a place to stay or another job. Even I felt that she would be safer in her gaon. But I did feel strongly that people like her are always trudged upon by the powers that be just because they don’t raise their voices. They never have. Which is why the oppression never ends.

This whole week on Candles Online we are discussing the topic of Raising Voices. For the remainder of the week, you shall have compelling arguments from contributors who encourage raising a voice against some form of oppression prevalent in our society. In this article, I shall be discussing raising a voice as citizens of a democracy.

I discussed above how people like my house-help suffer in silence because they chose to suffer instead of lashing out at their oppressors. But let me not generalize it for people like her, because it isn’t just ‘people like her’ who suffer in silence, but most of the population. Take for example the recent debacle over the movie Padmaavat, which I have written about here. It was shameful that a section of the Indian population was rioting over a harmless piece of fiction, but what was even more shameful was the way the general public was silent over it, except a few brave voices. Everyone knew that the rioting was unjustified, yet people who Tweet or post statuses about what they eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner, or are quick to add hashtags to be a part of the latest fad in the country, wouldn’t raise a voice for fear of incurring the ire of the rioters, while the authorities were, as usual, playing coy of stamping out the riots for ‘political reasons’.

Coming back to the point of the unhelpful Police, have any of you lost a phone, or a vehicle and have been turned out by the Police with the statement, “Lodge an FIR, and then we’ll see”? Or have you heard that a rape or an assault victim, especially a woman, has been taunted by the Police, “If you dress like that, or roam around at that hour, its bound to happen”? Or have you ever faced a wall of stone when you approached the Police about your grievances against a political big-wig? And how many of you have taken action against such latent oppression?

The Police are not the only authority or institution that feeds on the fear or worse still, the apathy of the public to get away with it. Every authority, when it does not have the ‘check’ of a watchful public, becomes a dictatorship, even a democracy like ours that is ostensibly of the people, for the people and by the people.

Forget about the government and other authorities, sections of our population face oppression and maltreatment at the hands of those who wield power over them in some way – like my house-help who couldn’t speak up about her oppression for months because of her husband or her in-laws who forced her into silence in the name of saving the marriage. Or abused children who can’t speak up about the heinous acts done to them because of fear of retaliation and ridicule from their families.

You may say, and your point would be valid, that no good has ever come from raising voices against oppression; you would only be beating yourself down while the powers that be will be quick to dismiss you, maybe even kill you! Some of you may say that ‘the system’ won’t allow any changes. Yes, maybe in the short-term it won’t, but in the long-term, it will. You and I may not be able to see that change, but at least our children will because we dared to do it. 

History has taught us that changes come only when a voice is raised against oppression –

The bans on Sati, child marriage, untouchability, apartheid, and the right of women to vote, to study in general schools and colleges, and to own property, these changes all came about because someone dared to say ‘no’.

Having seen what it is like to be in a Democracy, I think it is time that we stopped relying on the power of our votes alone to bring about changes. All political parties, all elected candidates, all oppressive factions of societies suffer from selective amnesia after they come to power. They may write off their promises to us, giving an excuse of authoritative encumbrances or may just shrug us off like dust on their shoulders after they’ve received our votes. The easiest medium of change is raising a voice because it brings immediate attention to an existing grievance. No one achieved anything by staying silent in the face of oppression. Even Mahatma Gandhi’s Civil Disobedience and Satyagraha movements relied on silent disobedience against the oppression of the British.

We are born free and the same powers that gave the oppressor their voices gave us a voice too. We have the additional right to freedom of thought and expression granted by a Constitution that claims to belong to its people.

Speak up for change!

Let your oppression be known.

Your voice makes this society, this nation.

Make it matter. 


Image Source: Ninocare at Pixabay.



A Case Study

I have been in an unhappy marriage for five years now. My husband has been cheating on me since one year. Initially he did try to hide his transgressions by lying about his whereabouts. Our altercations hit high charts and eventually he admitted to cheating on me.

Why and how did this happen? Where did I go wrong? Will our marriage ever work?

I have been contemplating over these questions ever since, trying to rationalize my husband’s indiscretions. Being a student of science my first approach to any problem that knocks, is to go for a root cause analysis. And look what it reveals!

My husband might have been dishonest for a year, but I have been disingenuous since the commencement of our marriage. I have always pretended to relinquish his behavior and prevaricate through the situations. Our arguments have been the result of frustrations due to lack of communication.

So what are the primary reasons for lying and cheating in a relationship? If lying is fabricating the truth, cheating is deceiving the essence of the relationship and straying away. We all try to escape from boredom and lingering circumstances. Are fibbing and infidelity the actual solutions to this issue?

Most people fail to understand that being dishonest and committing adultery are just one of the options to escape situations. How about engaging in fruitful activities or actually addressing the matter with your significant other.

Digging deeper does unveil factors like lack of experience in a committed relationship could be one of the reasons for being mendacious. Sometimes the partner doesn’t understand the consequences of being deceptive. A feeling of insecurity owing to age, money, smartness or physical attributes is also linked to cheating. In such cases seeking external validation becomes more important than confronting the matter at hand. Another reason could be unrealistic whims and fancies of a partner that might lead to dissatisfaction, resulting in unfaithful behavior. Also succumbing to limerence and impulsive attractions leads to oversight of a meaningful connection.

As we skim through the reasons of indiscretions, we can find zillions of them. Regardless of the actual causes of cheating, there are always options available on grabs, like couple counselling, taking up hobbies and an honest discussion with your partner. 

I hope the articles which are going to be published subsequently throughout the week might throw some more light on the various reasons of lying and cheating in relationships. But to conclude, always remember that you always have a choice to not lie and cheat, than to compromise your integrity and give up on a meant to be relationship.


Is love a taboo? Isn’t this too strong, a statement for a fragile and most beautiful feeling in the universe? Well may be yes, but ironically it is so true for a society that we live in. Since my childhood there have been quite a few relationships in which I wanted to pour out my heart and soul. But I didn’t or I would rather say I wasn’t allowed as I was preached since early age to give my love only to my children, to my parents, my future husband and probably of own status. And these unspoken boundaries limited my capability to express what’s inherent inside each of us.

Love is often hidden in layers or cramped in boxes and as a word is most hard to speak or talk about. Don’t believe me? Look at these statements:

“Think with your head not with your heart”, this propagates you to be logical and not sensitive. Why is it that bad a thing? What do Abraham Lincon, Thomas Alva Edison, Jim Carey and Nicole Kidman have in common, they all were noted a having highly sensitive characteristics and they did phenomenally well in their field and are admired and recognized as leading through caring for humanity, positive change movements, and self-discovery practices, something that sensitive people are good at!

Let’s take a look at this statement, “This is not your age to fall in love”. Well, what does it even mean? I guess the moment child is born; it develops an emotional bond with its mother. Have you ever noticed how when a child crawls it keeps coming back to its mother? That is Love! So guess, the above statement by ‘experts of society’ remain flawed.

Not agreed yet?

How many of you watch the daily News? Most of you, ever heard of love being talked about in the news channels? Forget about News channels in our own social media accounts how many times do we share thoughts or tweets about love. Remember that couple that we all have on our facebook friends list, so much in love and are always posting romantic pictures. After some point in time, we start criticizing them, start getting annoyed or sometimes even block them. “They were show-offs.” Really? Aren’t we dealing our own fears here?

As a young girl, we had a maid and she had a daughter just my age. As kids, we are the purest soul and never care about the classic obstacle in our mind ‘What will they think! I remember when her mother used to do the daily chores, I used to play with her daughter, and we slowly became best friends, completely unknown to my mother, who was a working woman.

I used to share all my toys with her and she used to get me ice candies from local ice cream shops all the way from her home, most of the time I consumed my ice candy in the form of colored water. But what matters is the gesture!

It was my Birthday and I had all my friends at my place, dressed in colorful and expensive clothes. As my mother, held my hand and took me to cut the cake, I told her I am waiting for my best friend. “Did I miss calling someone dear? As far as I know all your friends are here?”  “No, I am waiting for Meena”, it was my maid’s daughter name. “You and she can’t be friends, her mother works for us and that is the only relation you have with her, let’s cut the cake.”

As I was cutting the cake, I saw her standing in the corner, she was easy to notice as she was the only one in that party with faded frock, messed up hairs but that always welcoming smile and today she was holding two ice candies as my Birthday gift. I so wanted to go up to her, give her a bite from my cake and tell her how much I love her but couldn’t. The societal block overcame me that day. I lost a friend over a taboo!

Years passed and now Meena has taken over the responsibility of her mother. Whenever I look at her, she still greets me with same loving warm smile and makes me wonder; maybe we could have been friends if society rule of love was not based on our socioeconomic strata. Today as I sit here and think, how can love ever be inappropriate? Shouldn’t we say “I love you” to anyone we want, simply because we feel that way. Shouldn’t we deny the internal and external pressure to hide our feelings because they’re somehow inappropriate?

It all starts early; in schools and colleges we get teased by our friends for falling in love and are often mocked. Why, is it such a bad thing?

How many times have you felt uncomfortable when someone told you “I love you”, be at school, at college, a work, at our own homes. Sometimes we freak out when our parent come and tell us “I love you”. You have thousands questions running your mind, when all that is needed is a simple “I love you.”

Guess we don’t have much choice here either we can continue to live in a guarded way to feel suspicious of love and or we can work to reduce the taboo that love is for us!

(Image Source: Google Inc.)


Desperation can be simply defined as despair resulting from unfulfilled aspirations. In other words, it is a feeling of hopelessness resulting from a deep desire/longing within the heart which has thus far remained unfulfilled. The feeling of desperation may not always be for big and lofty aspirations. What makes a person desperate depends upon his/her desire.

A fatherless child may be desperate for fatherly love. A person facing repeated failures may be desperate for a success. A couple in love may be desperate to make their relationship see the beautiful bond of marriage. An athlete may be desperate to win at various competitions. A person caught in the traffic may be desperate to reach the airport in time so as not to miss the flight. A poor woman on the street may be desperate to get just enough food so that her children don’t spend another hungry day.

Let’s not confuse desperation with desire. Desperation is one step ahead of desire. Desperation unsettles a person. It creates a sense of covert chaos which is many times reflected in the overt behavioural patterns. Desperation may lead a person to go beyond the set boundaries and end up doing the unwanted.

I am reminded of an incident from the history of Israel.

It was a time when food supplies had run short. The scarcity in the land was great and things that could never be considered to be food (donkey’s head and dove manure) were sold at a premium price. One day while the king of Israel was passing by, a woman called out to him for help. The king expressed his helplessness saying that there was no food available in the kingdom which he could offer her. But the woman had another problem. Unable to bear the pain of hunger, she had agreed with another woman to kill and eat their own children. So, they killed and cooked her son and ate. But, when the turn came for the other woman to give her son, she refused. And so, she wanted justice. Hearing this, the king tore his clothes in despair as the people of his kingdom had to stoop down to such a level.

The desperation for food drove two mothers to think of eating their children. Unimaginable for most of us! As horrific as this may seem, such incidents do happen in various parts of the world even today. Parents offering their children as sacrifices to deities – desperate to come out of financial debt and prosper in business. People drinking water from sewers and cooking with drain water in the absence of potable water – desperate to quench their thirst. Barbaric incidents of rapes and sexual crimes – desperate need to meet sexual urges.

Three chief causes of desperation

Firstly, it is situational. As in case of extreme hunger and poverty, it is the innate desire for survival which leads to a desperate act. The question of surviving with dignity or looking for choices does not even arise here. It is simply about existence. Such a desperation may cause one to do even the menial of tasks or even sell one’s self. Bonded labour and slavery are some such examples. The bonded labourers and slaves never had choices – they never could think of any. Poverty drove them to submit to the high and mighty. Desperation to save a dying friend, may lead one to flout the rules of the hospital. Urgency to reach the workplace in time, may make one to violate traffic rules.

Secondly, inability to accept NO for an answer. A spurned lover desperate to avenge his rejection, attacks the girl he claims to have been in love with. Being refused a toy by the mother, a child may go ahead and grab the toy or roll on the ground or hit his head on the wall.

Thirdly, inability to control one’s desires. A desperate longing to be wealthy makes many to take bribes, carry out illegal financial transactions and go in for unreasonable deals. Desperate sexual desires result in visiting prostitutes, raping minors and the aged, watching pornography, masturbation and other violent crimes.

The unsettling turbulent feeling of desperation ceases only when the object in question has been attained. We heave a sigh of relief in catching a running train that we were so desperate not to miss. A father-to-be beams with smiles as his desperate wait to see his wife through a safe delivery ends and he holds a healthy baby in his arms.

In other words, desperation comes to an end when the object of desperation is achieved. Desperation increases when the object in question seems far out of reach. We need to deal with desperation in a healthy way. Since it is a spontaneous feeling of anxiety, it won’t do much good to stifle it. Dealing with it rightly and helping others to do so, is the answer.

Have you ever felt desperate for something? How did you deal with it? Let’s share so that we have a repository of information as to how to deal with our desperate moments without wrecking our nerves or doing something atrocious.


Ring out the old,

Ring in the new,

Swipe out that which is worn,

Usher in the new morn.

That which once started as new with warm wishes of happiness and prosperity filling the air, has become obsolete today. A few more hours and we would finally bid farewell to another calendar year and welcome a new year with its promises and challenges.

For many, ushering in a new year spells plans for festivities and celebrations. After all, we need to enter into the unseen with positive vibes and merriment around us! For some others however, there is not much reason for celebration. The year behind has shown them so much pain that they shudder to think what more the coming year would hold for them.

There are another category of people for whom each day is alike. Each day holds similar challenges – nothing new to anticipate, no merriment, no enjoyment. Think about the daily wagers around us. They may not even have enough money to buy a box of sweets to celebrate the incoming of another year. They hardly have a track of the days and months that pass by – depending upon the more fortunate to give them updates about the days, months, years and events.

No matter which of the above groups we belong to, all would agree that each day, each moment casts imprints that stay etched in our memories. Some episodes are such that we would not want to remember, while some events are such that we would not want to forget. However, who can ever claim a control over the power of the brain!

As we step out of this year and let it go out of our hand, let’s take some time to reflect on the events that have gone by. The way we started the first day of this year and the way we are about to bid it good bye – we have treaded so many steps, dreamt so many dreams and may be even got some of them fulfilled, seen many newborns, bid a teary-eyed farewell to many loved ones, struggled through sicknesses – our own and/or that of family and friends, tolerated difficult colleagues and friends, waded through financial struggles, endured certain criticisms and ridicule, basked in the glory of praise and appreciation, many regrets of things done and of those left undone, the delights of novelties experienced and so on.

Surely, the year that is about to pass by has had its highlights. And if you and I reflect on all things, we would agree without doubt that many of the occurrences were beyond our control. They just happened and we had the choice whether to accept them and move forward or lament over them and curse our fates.

However ways things have gone by, as we find ourselves at the threshold of another year, let’s take a few moments to thank God Almighty for His Sovereignty over our lives. Let’s also take some time to confess our wrongdoings before God, before our loved ones and before those whom we may have hurt by our words and actions. Let external celebrations not mask our internal shortcomings.

I want to wish you hope, joy, peace and love for the year that is to come. No matter how the last year has been, tomorrow springs newness. New dreams, new hope, new milestones, new happenings – all meant to strengthen us in this journey of life.

“. . . all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose.”

Wishing you all new beginnings with good tidings – a wonderful year ahead in which you choose to walk closely with God and experience His goodness in your life!