MY SEARCH FOR A DIFFERENT SUCCESS

Few days back I was gliding through my LinkedIn page. One of my distant relative updated her status “promoted to the position of Director”. I was happy to see her succeed but in another moment started self introspection “what I am doing?” , ” Where I am standing?”, “Will I ever succeed in my life?”. Basically I was anxious about “will I ever be able to EARN?” A question that I am struggling for a longtime now.

But is it just about money? Answer is an absolute NO. It’s about my craving for Identity. My thoughts at that (on many occasions) point were convoluted. I want to earn, I want name for myself, I want financial independence. I kept applying for jobs. Many applications were rejected outright, few made for interview round but success still eluded me. It was not just the applications that were being rejected but a piece of self was slowly dying inside. One of the reasons that prompted me to start blogging was to put forth my opinions and earn (I am not ashamed of admitting that). Five years now and the kind of success I supposed it would fetch me is still a distant dream. Who and what shall be blamed? No one except me and nothing except my lack of regularity, missing niche (my work doesn’t stick to one genre).

Am I a complete failure? Last week my friend’s husband came to dinner (we are careful enough to follow the social bubble 😁). Out of nowhere he asked me “how’s your blogging going, seems you have a good fan following”. I dismissed him with a smile “No, nothing like that” . To this he told me that one of his friends sent him a link of one my blog (never before he read any of my articles) and praised it too. His friend liked the subtle manner of explanation, relatability of issues/situations mentioned. And as a matter of fact I never met or spoke to the “friend”. There was a certain sense of euphoria for me at that moment. That night I decided to once again go through the comments on my articles. That was the moment of realization for me. My success is not in the additional perks of followers, hits on site and money but how well I can connect to the people. How well I can communicate, how I can impact, how can I be a part of lives of those reading my words in some or the other way, how well I can motivate myself to reflect positivity in my work, Am I making any difference, Am I putting forth a good message relevant to people, Am I honest while voicing my opinions, Am I trending the path I talk about or refer to – My parameters of Success. Falling short of even one criteria renders me unsuccessful in my judgement! And I believe that’s the worse.

What inference my failures have given me? I was looking for “success” in the form of an offer letter, a designation and a certain amount credited every month to my bank account. What if I get them at this moment, would it put an end to my quest and thirst for “success”?. I might have been aiming for a higher pedestal everytime. Nothing wrong in that, absolutely. But what is wrong is getting bogged down if your plans and results aren’t in linear correlation. Wrong is deeming yourself to be worthless. Wrong is inability to draw inspiration from people and incidents showing us a different way and zest to live life as we are too consumed by a bubble we have created in our minds. In short wrong is inability to respect life and the designs almighty have for us ( I may be professionally unemployed because someone else might be more competent, qualified and in need – it’s that simple). And identity of a person is about the perception and ideologies one owns, can never be defined by a designation or job role. And people knowing me by my work irrespective of the level of fame (non existent 😁) I might have acquired is purely my Success!

I Have Decided My Path: I will keep writing, I have stories to tell, I have messages to deliver. In that process if I earn materialistic success I will receive that. In case not I have my own yardstick to measure success – Have I made you think? If yes I am SUCCESSFUL!!

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”.

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!

“I’M IN THE SPOTLIGHT” – DISCOVERING SELF

I remember when I proposed this ‘Discovering Self’ series, in the beginning, everyone was doubtful about what I was talking. But as one or two posts were published one after the other all of the members of my team started to feel excited about their time to come. And soon days passed by with a total of 12 writers answering the questions asked to them by their teammates.

Personally, it was an amazing experience answering 10 questions prepared by teammates, my angels for their leader – Mr Charlie 😛

Summarising the whole series, I want to quote a few of the writers for their remarkable statements. They are as under:

We only concentrate on whom we love ignoring those who are showering us with love. Virtual connections and texting are only making it worse. Physical presence, caring touch, a delightful hug has become a rarity. There are very small things in life we stopped appreciating.  – Aastha

If I could eliminate a vice, then that would be “the Ignorance in human heart regarding the sovereignty of God. – Avinash

I ask a simple question “can I change anything?” If the answer is yes then I must do it instead of sulking in a corner and if no then I should better go to bed to avoid dark circles thinking over spilt milk. – Kalpana

I love myself the way I am. I always have had pampered myself and loved all my flaws. I believe, my flaws are the most beautiful in me. Through my flaws, I get a feeling that I am strong and determined. So, I am not going to make any changes in my physique or appearance… – Prerna

Alone in space!! That would be scary! But if I am to think of such a time, well, first it would take a while to grasp the fact that I am all alone there. Then, I think I would wonder at the magnanimity of the celestial bodies that I would witness all around me and begin to praise the Creator who has created them. – Rajnandini

I question my abilities every day and there is this urge to give up on my dream. But this dream has grown on me and taken hold of me so forcefully that I have nurtured it in my heart like my blood and flesh child. I just can’t afford to give up on it. – Saakshi

I think I’d just sit and laugh. Laugh around people I love and make them laugh. Spend all my time with them and make sure they are happy in that very moment. I think seeing your loved ones happy is the most satisfying scene.Vidhi

In my opinion, no matter how hard we try, something or the other happiness slips away through our fingers. I have no regrets in my life. I believe God has blessed me more than I deserve.Geetmalini

I say no only if I am not able to do what’s been asked. Popularity is secondary for me.Preeta

Even salt looks like sugar. Unless verified, a blind trust can spoil a dish. I have faced difficulties because I easily trust anyone. Bitter experiences in the past have taught me to trust better people over time. – Deepa

I actually haven’t discovered my comfort zone yet. I surprise myself when I do something new. But haven’t really known the boundary of this.Shwetha

I am known to work and live with people who are not easy to work and live with. I can put up with any kind of people. It sometimes is difficult for me but I am very adjusting. I think that is one quality that overshadows my other weaknesses.Prabhjot

I am so overwhelmed by these statements of my beloved teammates that I can’t explain. As Prabhjot said: “I feel like a celebrity answering these interesting questions.” And I want to assure them all that they are not less than the celebrities in any manner. That is why I created a new scroll-down-tab on Candles Online named – “Discovering Self” where all of our answers were arranged as individual profile pages. Please check for the same on the Menu Bar on the top of the site.

To end with, I will quote Vidhi again when she was thanking me for organising this particular event on Candles Online: “It definitely made me think of what exactly I’d be doing in various situations and also helped me dig deeper into my own self.

It is always good to be under the scanner, be once in a spotlight – answering questions and spend time introspecting within our hearts to prove our credibility in front of the people as well as before God.

Stay Blessed!!!

I AM IN THE SPOTLIGHT – Shwetha

Thank you Vidhi for such probing questions. Thank goodness, Chiradeep told me that I have the option to skip 3 questions maximum. 🙂 

Let me answer then right away…

1) What makes you truly happy?

2) What is that one thing you’ll do anything to achieve it?

Ans: Well, I’m going to combine these two questions and try to answer them.

It’s very difficult to find even a ray of happiness amidst chaos. And finding something that makes me happy is next to impossible. 

But speaking of what makes my soul ‘truly happy’ then I would say my kids, my 2 beautiful boys. No matter where they are or what all they do to torture me (they are literally brats) or how much they adore me, they are the best things in my life. Seeing them giggle or laugh out loud or are insanely happy about the smallest things, makes me truly happy. I consider myself to be responsible for their lives and they, thus are responsible for my happiness. And for that, I would literally flip the world upside down.

3) Do you run away from situations or fight with it out?

It depends on the situation.

Mostly I fight with it, for it. I’m not the backing out kinda person. If I know I’m right, I stay put and fight with everything I’ve got. I hate to be held accountable for the wrongs which aren’t my fault. So I stand tall and face it with all my will. But…

Sometimes, such situations arise which are better left the way they are and just run as far away as possible from them because they will leave your soul marred for the rest of your life.

4) When you are sad, do you feel comfortable sharing things or do you keep everything to yourself?

Everyone in this world has their own set of problems. Some share and feel better.

I, for one, am the quiet type. I don’t like to share. I shut myself from the world and hide in my shell, like a tortoise. It’s difficult for the other person to understand what I am going through, and I don’t expect it either. So I prefer to keep mum.

5) Do you believe in the concept of self-love or self-sacrifice?

Ans: Silence is Golden… :p 

6) When was the last time you did something out of your comfort zone?

Ans: I actually haven’t discovered my comfort zone yet. I surprise myself when I do something new. But haven’t really known the boundary of this.

7) What’s that one thing you would do if nobody is judging you? 

Ans: Hahaha… that’s really interesting.

You do know that no matter what you do, people judge.

Anyway, if nobody is judging me, then I would be the real me – Bold, beautiful and audaciously insane.

8) Would you rather roam around clicking pictures or run around with a journal and a pen?

Ans: Ah! A tricky one!! I would say… I would click the picture that would inspire me to pen down the beauty of it.

9) Are you using your time efficiently?

Ans: I think, the responsibilities I have to carry out every day, I carry them out efficiently. Does that mean I use my time efficiently? 😉

10) What according to you is the purpose of your life?

Ans: To answer this… I’ll be taking the reference of questions 1 & 2…

I brought two beautiful souls into this world. Taking care of them in every possible way there is and making them feel proud to have a mother like me, is the sole purpose of my life. So right now, the purpose of my life is to be a good mother. 

In the end, I just want to mention one poem to encourage my readers along with my own self:

Don’t be like the mighty elephant
tied with a meek string.
Know your own strength and
all the wondrous marvels it can bring.

I AM IN THE SPOTLIGHT – Deepa

Discover to be Discovered…

Thank you, Chiradeep for discovering me amidst the million bloggers and giving me a chance to rediscover myself with some thought-provoking questions from none other but you. I am glad to have come out of my protected shell to share the honest me.

1. Do you work according to your emotions or your intelligence?

in a war of intelligence, my emotions always win!

Given a situation, I first become emotional and then I think of a way to handle it with intelligence. There are many instances where I had been emotional. When I had to quit my job to become a full-time homemaker, I became emotional as I had never thought about quitting my job even in dreams. Had I not given a thought of intelligence to keep aside my job for family, I may have missed seeing the smiles in them.

2. Why are you grateful to God in your life, assuming there’s something you are grateful for?

one man’s need is another man’s sacrifice!

I am always grateful to God for what I am now, for the beautiful family and harmony in my life. Some wellwisher’s prayers for my well being is making a huge impact on my everyday life in the form of events. I am always grateful to HIM for making me wake up to see a beautiful tomorrow.

3. What are those two favourite quotes that you relate well?

To gain something, you have to sacrifice something.
Only I can change my life. No one can do it for me. So choose your life and chase for it.

The first quote has been following me since my birth. In every important decision of my life, I have been through a sacrifice to gain something. To share my personal experience, I almost gave up on life when I had a miscarriage at 9 months a decade before. My baby was dying right in front of my eyes. I had a low placenta and the baby fell into the toilet breathing its last. The paramedics gave up hopes when I went breathless. Had I not been emotionally intelligent that day to fight the death, I will have been a framed picture now. I chose to live and chased the death by the grace of God.

4. How long does it take you to trust a stranger?

  all relationships revolve in the axis called trust.
a five letter word
easy to say and write
but with time t
trust also rusts

Even salt looks like sugar. Unless verified, a blind trust can spoil a dish. I have faced difficulties because I easily trust anyone. Bitter experiences in the past have taught me to trust better people over time.

5. How much you value patience in your life?

we clip our wings even before testing the wind

I am not an epitome of patience. To me, patience is “what I have when there are too many witnesses.”

6. Rewards or words – What energizes you more?

life is all about finding people who will notice those little things you do for them and appreciate it.

I love words. I love words of appreciation and so do I love to return them with rewarding words in return for their effort to make me happy.

7. Do you avoid conflicts or like confrontations?

conflict is a battle between you and your state of mind.

I am very flexible, delicate, sensitive, and equally emotional. Conflict is something contrasting to my character. I try to avoid any situation should there be any conflict involving in it knowing it is worthless for an argument.

8. What are those few things that really fill your heart with joy?

sing a song of joy
live a life of love
flashback to see
the child in me
coffee and me
makes me high
and
brings me joy

9. What do you keep under your pillow when you sleep?

they infect you
the more you are in love.
Tears are sacred, aren’t they?

I love my pillow. It has seen me at my vulnerable best and it has whipped my tears when no one else did.

10. What was the last time you cried and why?

our last goodbye was never said

This cold sweat always breaks out on my eye. I cried today morning waking up to see a dull weather, dirty floor, my bird’s poo, washed yet forgetful to line dry the laundry, craving for sweet food and a rumbling stomach. When I realized the reason for tears, I could not help myself but laugh out loud. I went on a hunger strike yesterday and which is why the reason I cried. An emotional person like me will always have a bucket of tears no matter for happy or sad moments.

Patience is indeed a virtue. Thank you for sparing a few minutes of your time to know me.