Home & Body – Cleaner The Better

My entire childhood and teenage (till 18) was spent in a small single room with just partition walls to separate kitchen and bathroom (if presence of a gas stove and a commode makes them respectively what they are called). And the space available in the middle of the house was a convertible one. When plates were arranged it was our dining room and when mats were laid it was our bedroom. If guests arrived third chair would find it difficult to fit in forget about having a couch. And when it rained we had a personal pool right in middle of the house. With regular power cuts we spent innumerable nights under the star lit sky and water supply as good as probability of finding an oasis amidst a dessert.

Memories!!!! Those days were tough. Financial and physical hardships have toughened our mettle indeed. Our navigation through those tough waters was guided by a compass with two blades –

  • You have a roof at least over your head and a full stomach when you go to sleep.
  • Work hard for your betterment, stop complaining.

14 years later, in 2017 I moved into MY (OUR) own house. What a joy it was! The peace of having and living in an abode where you are sure no one will surprise ( read shock) you with an evacuation notice out of nowhere is surreal (conditions apply – regular EMI thy name ). Every hardship, every austerity measure in the past finally paid off.

But since we moved into an old property considering our budget constraints then our house needed lot of renovation. We recently got the heating system changed in the pursuit of having hassle free winters and also to add to the resale value of the house if at all in future we decide to do so.

Allegory came to mind: We all know what renovation means – lot of dust and dump to clean up. While I was at it, one thing stuck my mind – isn’t our body same like our home? While a structure made of bricks and mortar gives us shelter, another structure made up of flesh, bones, water and blood shelters our heart and soul. We take a lot of pain and make lot of efforts to keep our premises clean lest it won’t be presentable and hygienic too. Then why we behave negligently towards our body that is nothing less than a temple created by the greatest architect – The God.

Yes I can hear those voices “what are you talking about? We take utmost care of our hygiene and with Covid around we are not taking any chances whatsoever”. I would say ” you are doing great. But what about those who are maligning this temple with various addictions like smoking, drinking, drugs? What about those who are knowingly or unknowingly giving shelter to dacoits named ego, greed, jealously, lust, anger, pessimism in the compartment called heart that are corroding and robbing them of their sanity & peace and consequently Joy. These termites are blindfolding us and deviating from the path which everyone of us is destined to trend. The path they make us walk are ecstatic to begin with filled with fun and frolic but as the end approaches we

  • Clueless,
  • Corrupted morally and ethically,
  • Consumed by poison once we were consuming,
  • Crippled by illness, close to a painful death.

Get your Insurance done: Just like a house has insurance against any possible loss and damage due to theft, fire, water etc. Insurance for our joyful lives is HIS WORD, EMI being EP – everyday prayer. If you sign for a premium plan of “Please Enlighten Me” you shall surely be delivered from temporary hardships of falling prey to the vices and get a bonanza of eternal joy!

Points to be noted :

  • Respect your abode, be it house or body.
  • Keep them clean for health – physical, mental & spiritual.
  • Rent/EMI/Prayer – being regular is the key.

Just like a structure that we live in needs regular cleaning so does what lives in us needs a regular check.

From rented house to own- I had my fair share of experiences, hardships, memories and delightful moments. Now I have embarked on a journey to cleanse my temple – renovating my approach, dumping out the negativity. It’s hard and I am prone to falter but assurance of Joy of Enlightenment is my driving force.

More Pain, More Happiness you are Rewarded with

It is said that ” the height of emotional pain we endure, measures the amount of happiness we gain”.
What do you say?

Happiness is not just a stand-alone emotion, it is a comparative emotion.

If you notice, some people are overjoyed with even little things in life, because they have suffered the most inwardly and everything else they receive in life seems to give them the strong gush of happiness.
It is told that, if we do not experience darkness, we do not value the light we receive. It is hard to measure in terms of how much joy it gives, but if you feel your heart is uncontrollably happy and thumping, then you have the joy of your life.

Being a mother, i felt this joy, when I look into my daughter’s eyes, the immeasurable joy i find being with them, cannot be even expressed in words.
Some days, i get too tired and exhausted that i feel like the world is hanging upon me, especially when I was going through the postpartum depression state, it is hard but i guess most moms can relate to it. In such a state, the pain induced into our mind, due to insecurity, the helplessness, the chaos in life, the acceptance of becoming a mom, the madness of mad hours and much more is like a crazy drive, but again, in the end, when i hit the bed, be it like 12 in the night, or maybe like early morning 2, i just fall into the bed, and then comes, the soft little fingers looking for me, the moment it touches my skin… it is like magic.
I feel like being lighter and floating in some cloud. As if i am transported into another world and every burden seems to fly away from me. It is like a cradle holding me up in the world, protecting me from the thorns of expectations, troubles and much more. And all i need that tiny hands to hover upon me and put me to sleep.

This joy is immeasurable !!!
The joy of motherhood.
All pain disappears and all I need is my angels near me.

As i said, you cannot enjoy the joy every moment gives you, without enduring the pain.
People build walls around them to protect themselves from the emotional pain, but they forget, the higher they build the wall, the lesser happy they are gonna be. When we build walls, we disconnect from the world, which is also bound to give you happiness too.

Pain does serve several purposes in life.
It signals us to pure joy and happiness that is like a rainbow after the rain. But the more we run away from everything in life, we are gonna miss what is in store for us.
You can’t reach a destiny when all you want to do is stay indoors.

The intensity of the struggle determines the happiness you will receive.

MY DISCOVERY WITH CANDLES ONLINE

One of the blessed days of my life book is the 10th of January 2016. As we were driving back from church, it was my first ever personal time with Chiradeep Patra. Probably, it was his 2nd/3rd question where he enquired about my hobbies and I replied, one of them is writing quotes almost on a daily basis. Without giving a second thought, he proposed to me to write for CandlesOnline and being speechless for a while, I was like “How on earth is it possible for me?” But he didn’t give up on me! He insisted you give words to your thoughts, for the rest, I am there. Lo and behold, the first-ever article of my life “HOW GOOD IS OUR MASK OF PRETENCE?” got published on @CandlesOnline and last month I was able to post my 116th article for @CandlesOnline blog “RELIGIOUSNESS OR RIGHTEOUSNESS – WHAT DO WE NEED TO LOOK FOR?“ Summing up this blissful experience I would say,

“God, at His time, gears you to your way

He makes you something out of nothing

For His glory, in His way.”  

One of my favorite songs is Chris Rice’s famous song “There is a Candle in every soul”. Apparently, my journey with CandlesOnline aces the same. On a personal level, if someone knows us much better than us, undoubtedly, He is God! Since God loves us, he has gifted us with numerous talents, some we know – some are still in that unknown darkness. Possibly once at a time, God sends someone to lit up a candle in our unknown darkness to make His sacred gifts known to us.

His sacred gifts are for His glory

Whereas it all seems inadequate and misty

But like a sculptor out of a mere stone,

He chisels and shapes me, gives me the beauty and maketh known.

Well, that’s the picture I would drop as a referral for my journey with candles. God’s sacred gifts which are our talents that always come in a raw form, primarily it appears to us as inadequate. We feel our talents are incompetent, we struggle for relevance and finally, as we dearth of enthusiasm, we feel bored enough to give up. In spite of, this boredom as we stay put to our talents, learn from our experience, our talents proceed to excellence. Since the gluiness of comfort doesn’t allow a man to grow, God puts the man in discomfort to chisel and shape his learning experience and builds him for excellence.

Sow a seed, water enough the plant

But all it may become extraneous

If the thorny bushes chock, making it impotent     

While speaking to a crowd, Jesus used the parable of seeds to explain why some people do not grow in the Word of God while others do grow. And one of the reasons He mentioned, using the instance of the seed that fell among the thorns, went unfruitful because of its environment, it was choked by the thorny bushes. On contrary to the picture is, what I feel being in the CandlesOnline community. It won’t be wrong to say, CandlesOnline is of my extended virtual family. In which, there is always someone out there to care and support spreading out positive vibes. In the Candles Online group, I always experienced everyone is too good and gracious enough to make you feel friendly. Refreshing a couple of my experiences, whenever I felt low and it reflected on my social media posts or in personal connection whether it is Chiradeep, Preeta, Kalpana, Rajnandini someone in some way always enquired my negative state and had comforted my soul. Going further, friends like Sreepriya, Kuljeet, Sriram, Astha, Sakhi, Sony always makes you feel friendly and alongside respectful. How can I go unmentioned about the three tiny peepers Aparna the first Bengali girl who addresses me as Dada; Payal whom I never meet physically but time to time made her presence vital through reasoning on some facts virtually; and topping all Vipra, my Choti Doctor Sahiba, always trusted and lavished her affection through enquiring about my health condition and also scolding on having late dinner. She never gives a prolonged gap to our virtual chats that had always brought smiles to my face. Putting right my experiences I would say, the best place to grow in your talent is being in a positive environment and that’s each of the Candles Online community made me felt.

God out of His infinite riches

Gifts and Grows our talents.

He gifts out of many purposes

It’s all for His glory through impacting lives.

God gifts us talents, equips us through life experiences to excel in our talents, and provides us a community to grow with positivity, God’s way of work always denotes God has a Purpose in whatever He does! And God’s purpose is we may have a personal experience in our personal relationship with Him and encourage others to have a taste of the same experience and as we continue to do so God’s name is glorified. This perspective becomes more evident as we look at our life situation through the Word of God (Bible). It reminds me of the Bible verse,

“The Word of God (Bible) is the mirror for our souls”.

MY JOURNEY

I am a story person. I mean I love stories. Throughout my life I have been a voracious reader. So much so that I used to enjoy reading the comprehension in the English language exam too. Some people love songs and keep listening to it in a loop similarly I can keep reading novels or books or magazines back to back.

But still I never thought I could actually write something interesting which others would enjoy reading. Confidence was low but still there had been a desire to read my name printed somewhere in black and white. I wrote letter to the editor in various magazines in the hope that my letter would get published in the next edition of the magazine. And my gamble worked also. I still have a couple of copies of Femina from more than 10 years ago where my letter to the editor was published along with my name.

My sister Prabhjot Kaur on the other hand had been dabbing in writing for a long time. I guess she was writing during her college time also. She had been writing short stories and articles which got published in actual books and websites. She was very much involved in the print version of Candles Online too. I used to her read her creations on FB, impressed and in awe that she could write so well.

Once while chatting with her I told her that I am very impressed with the article series called O-Zone in the Sunday supplement of Times of India. They gave such a sound advice and such good examples in the article. I said that I wished I could write something similar which touches people. And she said something very simple. “Why don’t you write? You can.. You have the potential..

But who listens to a younger sister. What does she know. Of course I said a no..

But she is also not one to take no for an answer. She promptly told Chiradeep about me and told him to contact and convince me..

Thus entered an angel in my life.

Chiradeep.. my buddy.. the guy who showed confidence in me when I didn’t have it myself. He convinced me that I could actually write. He edited my first few articles too. He was my cheer leader and my critic too.. He came with great ideas and topics to write every week and I loved rising to his challenge every time.

This is my journey on how I became a blogger. A tag which I carry with pride. Candles Online has re-instilled my confidence in myself. It came into my life when my self esteem was at an all time low. My life has enriched by simply sharing my thoughts with my readers.

AND CANDLES ONLINE HAPPENED….

When journey begins with simple conversations

Close to 7-8 years back, I was going through a period of distress in my personal life. Writing greatly heals me so I started my own blog for which I wasn’t getting any readership. I started browsing looking for platforms where I could publish my blogs. I came across an interesting article on Wrytestuff.com (another blogging website like Candlesonline). The article spoke about how connecting with God really helps. Since I was going through a hardship, I found the article really helpful. I posted a comment on the article thanking the author for bringing some inspiration in my life. Along with this, I too registered myself as an author on wrytestuff and started blogging endlessly.

For a few weeks, I did not get a reply on that comment. I was checking it quite regularly because I really wanted to connect with this author. I almost thought this guy must be some established author, maybe too arrogant to reply to a petty comment on his article. But one day he replied and to my surprise, it was a very warm and friendly reply. He mentioned that he was away and had not logged into this website for certain reasons. He too became regular with his blogging and we started following each other quite regularly. Wrytestuff had certain assignments for the writers, I remember waiting for his article so that we could talk about it. There was no whatsapp those days, so we used to chat over Facebook and gtalk.

Needless to say we had endless discussions, debates, generation of new ideas and fun together. One thing led to the other and I contributed to Candles for the first time on his request. At that time candles was a printed version. I was very surprised to see his dedication over getting Candles printed and distributed as much as he could in his personal capacity. Eventually in July 2015, candles online was born. And he catered to it like a baby. Right from designing the logo, bringing up the website, hunting for writers, keeping the writers family close and connected, basically being a great leader to Candles – he did everything. I am so glad that I am connected to him as a friend. Of course, I am talking about Chiradeep.

I wrote one of the first few articles. At that time, the Candles family was really a small one. Chiradeep used to discuss the topic for next week and we used to brainstorm together. A couple of years later, I got really busy with my work and my contribution to Candles reduced. However, by then the Candles family had grown with a lot of talent. We kept churning out articles every week and reading was such a pleasure. We did story relays, debates, picture captions. All credits to our boss – Chiradeep for coming up amazing ideas. I am so proud to be a part of this family. We have fun with each other, we tease each other, we support each other and we write together.

THE CANDLES THAT BUILT MY IDENTITY AS A WRITER

Never did I imagine myself as a writer before. I discovered my writing abilities when I was away from home country, in Shanghai, when I had plenty of leisure time. After hubby left for office, I would finish my chores quite early and my son Arjun, who was 1 at that time, didn’t bother me much as he would mostly sleep and play on his own. I started as a hobby for one of the websites, participated in a few contests and won too. However, once I returned and resumed my job, I stopped writing as I got too busy with my work and pre-schooler Arjun. Soon after, I gave birth to my second son in March 2016.

Pregnancy, childbirth and handling two kids really wears you off physically as well as mentally. Though living in a joint family proved to be a boon for me at time, I felt lost, maybe due to postpartum.

If there’s any good news or any problem I am going through, or any other thing that bothers me, I have a group for me to vent out my emotions. The group, which is my biggest support system, consists of my cousin sisters Kuljeet & Prabhjot. As I was struggling to be normal, Prabhjot prompted me to write as she said I needed my mind to be occupied. She introduced me to Chiradeep. I was hesitant initially, exchanging messages with the leader, but this guy was so understanding and we connected really well. He trusted my writing skills and I was soon part of the Candles Online. It was in November 2016 when my first article When In Doubt Just Google was published. The story relays helped me to gel well with my fellow writers. Surprisingly I haven’t ever met Chiradeep and other writers on Candles Online (excluding my sisters, of course)! Yet, we all chat like age old friends, which is the best part.

The article gave me recognition as a writer and soon I was motivated to write more. The views and comments really inspire me to write further. Nothing is better than the connect the viewers make on reading my articles. And that’s my biggest reward I believe! Candles Online gave me the identity as a ‘writer’ and I can’t thank Prabhjot & Chiradeep enough for doing that.

Thank you Candles!

IT COMMENCED WITH A COMMENT

https://world4womencom.wordpress.com/2016/04/15/should-learn-to-say-no/?preview=true

Above mentioned is a link to my first ever blog on WordPress platform dated 15th April 2016 “Should Learn To Say No“. My post followed many congratulatory comments on Facebook page and other social media which I am part of. But one comment that not only caught my attention but handed over me delight and made me ponder over the thought “how different you can think yet stay effectively relatable with masses”. Giving you all a glimpse of the comment that earmarked my journey on board with Candles Online.

The man you see there is the reason why I am writing this 😁, Mr.Chiradeep Patra, founder of Candles Online with a motive of igniting thoughtfulness thereby warding off the darkness of ignorance.

15 years and counting, a beautiful family virtually and emotionally connected and innumerable posts on various issues concerning the human psyche, behaviour, relationships, tendencies, their societal effects, social issues on micro and macro levels, questions hovering in our minds pertaining to the purpose of our existence, identity and how the almighty chose to answer them….. basically everything under the sun that matters A LOT. Apart from the serious issues it highlights there’s a fun facet too – humourous articles mostly real life experiences of the writers, short story challenges (shortest being 7 lines story), poetry weeks, story relays (don’t miss out on them), caption challenges, personal interviews and a lot more – just as a whip of fresh air when things are embroiling all around us with seriousness, negativity and gloom. Whatever the tone of the writer is or issue being spoken about is here at Candles one thing that is never taken for granted. It’s the “underlining message” that is being conveyed. Our writing should drive home a point, set the thinking wheels of the minds of the readers churning, communicate effectively.

So coming back to my journey with Candles family – it’s been fantastic to say the least. I remember my first post on Candles Online was “Reinventing – makeover of inner self” (link mentioned below). And it started with a bang!!! No it wasn’t that great but I made a goof up. Here in Candles we have a set time of publishing articles and they get published only after the administrator reads them, gives a nod to go ahead. In fact its him/her only who pushes the “publish” button if every criteria is met – language, tone, message. And novelty in writing is always welcomed. And I surpassed every such regulation by self publishing it. I still remember the fiasco it caused, how it was retrieved to be re-published. Then my co-writer , Aastha explained how it works on Candles. I must say – lesson learnt😁.

https://candlesonline.wordpress.com/2016/06/01/reinventing-makeover-of-inner-self/?preview=true

What I have learnt? Or let’s put it this way – What Candles taught me. Makes more sense, I guess. Since June 2016 I have been regularly (almost) writing for Candles. To be Frank with you all, I am procrastinator of highest order. That’s the reason after a good start on my personal blog I slowed down miserably. But my commitment to write once a week to Candles kept the writer in me alive. It not only furnished me with topics to ponder over and write about but pushed my thinking abilities, to present in a different manner about the things everyone already knew. “Thinking out of the box” I would say is Candles gift to me. At least I tried to think, and trials do succeed at some point of time, what say? Deadlines kept me on my toes which I would say is a good contribution to my life.

What excited me? We, the writers on Candles online have a WhatsApp group with the same name. Apart from the commotion of topic discussions we used to have poll results for “Best Article Of The Week” adjudged by the number of views and other criterion. That was really exciting for me. This in fact gave me the impetus to write better (excuse me for this little unapologetic competitive streak in me🙈😁).

Best Article So Far (going purely by views) : I am not sure how good it is but even after a couple of years this article has been posted I still see views coming everyday leaving me to chuckle and astonished at the same time – don’t know how 🤷‍♀️. Link mentioned below:

https://candlesonline.wordpress.com/2017/08/16/marriage-for-you-a-bond-or-bondage/?preview=true

About the Candles Family: Can you ever judge your family? I guess no, but I don’t have to. Co-writers by status, sweethearts by nature, family by bond – do I need to say more. @chiradeepnf @aastharao @aditirranade @avinashdas @kuljeetsaini @prabhjotvarsha @praditachandola @preetacreations @sakhibansal @sizzlybizzly @sonyr1 @sreepriyamenon – few names to mention that cheered me up, motivated me, been together in thicks and thins, making my journey with Candles a memorable one, one that I yearn for, one that I would continue in future too.

Last thing to say before I sign off: Thank you is a small word for what you have done for me Candles : made me realise “I am never Nothing”. I thank that moment when I accepted your proposal to join Candles Online @chiradeepnf. Hope this union nurtures further strong in future.

Stay blessed.