Of all the beautiful reads I had, the one that I could not get over was Rachael Lippincott’s five feet apart. I remember waking up for hours in the middle of the night, checking up my tab and having the long read. Intriguing, emotional, heart-wrenching and absorbing is how I define my favourite book.
The story of the Stella Grant and Will Newman still makes my heart flutter. It dealt with Abby’s and Poe’s death, how the two affected Stella’s life and Will left her amidst this giving her a new life. The drug trial involved with cystic fibrosis patients having B.Cepacica was a whole new concept that gives us a sense of hope and the author wishes it too that one day such a treatment be found.
Having five feet apart in my collection is what that made me ponder about the life, the death, the love and the perseverance. It’s written with a heart that believes true love exists even in the most unrealistic circumstances. Don’t know where to start but this book has so much to say and what not to teach. A careful read of this book taught me that the death is inevitable to all and what we are supposed to do is to live in the moment and make the best use of it. When on medications what one must not lack is perseverance and the faith. It proves that love is the ultimate expression of the will to live. And children’s love is what binds the parents together when the terminal illness evokes in. Where there’s a love, there’s a sacrifice. It values the human touch as the premium ease of all sufferings. The protagonist of the story, Stella shows that girls know coding too. It shows how the transgenders share the equal rights and how the socialisation and technology has made living easy, causing awareness and helping people win the battle over a terminal illness such as that of cystic fibrosis. And above all, what this book had for me is one more lesson teaching never to take your health for granted.
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
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.
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.
Past 7 months of pandemic have been really rough for all. We have been surrounded by gloom, demise news and too much work load. How can one cheer up in such cases?
Well, I couldn’t. I thought I was braving the situation well but a point came when I realised that I am not able to handle this anymore. The monotonous routine of too much of household chores, ever piling and very demanding office work and a hyperactive toddler was all getting more and more difficult to handle with every passing day. I knew I had reached the limit when I couldn’t control my anger and tears at petty things. I was reaching the breaking point.
I knew I had to do the damage control because If I remained upset for a long time, my family was going to suffer, my child would see my wrath, my husband would not feel loved and my MIL would miss my usual chit chatting self. Yes, if you are unhappy, your ENTIRE family suffers. The food you cook doesn’t come out tasty, how much ever you dress up, you don’t feel beautiful and how much ever you sleep, you always feel tired.
So what did I do? I packed my bags and headed straight to my mom’s place. 15 days spent with my mom made a big difference. Aarnav got to meet his other set of grand parents, I got to meet my parents after a very long time! The change in air, the change in environment and the change in routine made wonders. My mom dished out one of my favourites every single day! My dad got so many new toys for Aarnav. Late night talks with mom which we had long forgotten about ever since I got married, no household chores – I was only a helping hand to the mom. It felt nice to be able to lean on my mom for support because I was tired being a support to my family all these months. Being devoid of any responsibilities and expectations for good15 days helped me cheer up. It transformed me to a happy human being that usually I am.
It took nothing out of the box to cheer up myself. Good company, lessened responsibilities and good food did the trick. And if you see, these three things will do the trick most of the time. Lot of times, we expect a lot – from others as well as from ourself! We must learn to cut the slack. Take time off. Relish good food. Binge eat sometimes. Give in to your cravings once in a while. Hug your kids tight. Cuddle them while sleeping. Steal a kiss from your spouse, watch the sunset together. Chat over a coffee. These are the most sasta and tikau (tried and tested) remedies for a cheerful mood.
I understand, it may not always be possible. We cant fit every single thing in our routine and if you make a routine out of this, it won’t be fun any more! Just know that when you want to do this, go ahead and do it. Be happy and cheerful!
“If I can trade my words I would invest them in your smile”
That’s pretty much cheesy, right out of a popcorn romantic flick, isn’t it? Don’t blame me, I am currently watching way too many Disney movies – Prince, Princess, Love story, perfect fairy tales. They not only entertain me but a perfect recipe to cheer me up. Apart from that my phone’s gallery is my hideout. Binge eating, unforeseen shopping (apart from groceries 😜) are more or less commoners in the world of “let me cheer you” force.
But it is undeniable that no matter how much ammunition one has to ward off shadows of gloom, a strong shoulder to lean on and an empathetic & soothing word is still an unmatched comfort. We can falter and crumble at some point, all while throwing around a charade of being strong. We do need someone to ask and say “How are you?”, “I understand”, “I am with you”, “what can I do to cheer you up”, “you are strong”, “you deserve much more”, “relax, I am there for you”, “just chill”, ” let’s hangout, don’t bother for anything else”
Why do one need someone or something to Cheer themselves up? When one gets tired of chasing dreams, battling adversaries, struggling demons ranging from bullies to inner enemies of that of depression / anxiety, our mind send us SOS. Nursing of a dented spirit is so much needed to bring it back on its feet. All the apparent and oblivious battles deplete us of our both physical and mental strength and that’s when exactly doubts trend – Can I fight it out? Can I do this after all? Seems I am unworthy? This is proving futile, let’s quit? I have lost everything? Was it meant to be this after all? If these questions left to knock too much one’s soul they can bring sabotage the same beyond repair. That’s the very reason we are talking about this issue at the first place today. Be attentive dearies!!
Me as a person on the other side of the fense, in the capacity of a friend (universal relationship with every related person in our lives) got a weird sense of intuition (I can be boastful sometimes, kindly excuse me😂). With people whom I am in regular touch with can easily read between the lines from our seemingly “Fine” conversation. From dry OKs, lifeless HMMs, tone of “I am fine” in chats I can tell not everything is fine. May be rapport over years is the reason. Whenever I sense something off, the first thing I do is to pester them with one question “what happened”. Sometimes no matter how close you might be some investigation is imperative. *Note: an immediate call in person rather a chat always scores. Lending an inquisitive ear is very important. I believe in strongly saying this “I know it’s easy to say that I understand and be strong because I am not there in your shoes. But also I know that you have fared much better in more worse situations in life before, you will surely see the shore surely. You are loved. You matter to us, just remember this. And for anything else I am here, Talk to Me”.
A page from my therapeutic experiences (if you can call talking one): a friend of mine who now shifted to Switzerland had her share of self esteem blues (parenting can really take a toll). We used to talk a great deal. My only aim was to cheer her up invoking her love and confidence in herself. I used to say “You are doing great”. These words seem very simple but might rekindle the positivity streak within one self. Might work at least 5 out of 10 times. Even if it is 1 out of 10 it’s worth giving it a try!! And what made be happy was she used to say “talking to you brings positivity to me, I feel relaxed”. Can anything beat that?
Words can make or break so I chose the first one.
“If you are giving chocolates don’t forget to mix sweetness of words – for someone sweet like you.
If you are hanging out don’t forget to imbibe these words in the itinerary – it’s always so much fun with you.
If you are gifting diamonds to lift up the spirits don’t forget to polish them with words – for someone more precious than these.
If you can only talk then don’t forget to send your warmth via vocals – thank you for being with me, so PROUD OF YOU!!!❤❤❤”
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 Aparnathe 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”.
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.