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”.

YOUR HEAVENLY ADORNMENTS

Beautifully designed are you,

Immaculately framed,

Exquisitely crafted,

And wonderfully gifted.

 

A glance at yourself,

And you may seem to find no giftedness whatsoever,

Swimming alongside the tide,

Perhaps the desire to be gifted has long before died.

 

Never an encouragement to explore,

Never the will to do more than the usual chore,

Never the thought to consider options galore,

Never imagined the talent you have in your inner store!

 

Wake up sleepy traveller,

Rise up from your slumber,

Gird your loins and pick up the axe,

To dig deeper within and discover.

 

A storehouse of myriad talents are you,

May not be similar to the folks around you,

A luxuriant growth of richness lies hidden within you,

Wait not! Dig on! The discovery will surprise you!

 

The creative Creator has amply filled inside you,

Gifts to be used for His glory,

Excavate and unearth them,

To bless you and those around.

 

There has never been a soul,

With no talents on the whole,

Covered from head to sole,

With a big leaking hole.

 

Uncover the hidden precious gems of yours,

Also help spot those in others,

In so doing you will find,

Abundant joy in your mind.

 

Look into the treasure trove,

Embellish your life by the jewels from up above,

Mask not those heavenly adornments,

Those talents would your beauty richly augment.

EXPLORE IT, POLISH IT & USE IT

“An ore is a type of rock that contains sufficient minerals with important elements including metals that can be economically extracted from the rock. The ores are extracted from the earth through mining; they are then refined to extract the valuable elements.”

Oops! Why am I talking about Ore suddenly in a week when we are discussing about Talents?

No! I didn’t make a mistake. Talents are like ores. They are hidden within us as the ores are within earth. When we discover our talents at some point of our life we find them in a very crude form. And when we keep refining it we as well as others find it to be very valuable and useful.

I remember I was such a timid boy considering my heath conditions. As I was studying in an Oriya medium school my English was not great. When I was in college I found it very difficult to say a sentence in English. So many times I was embarrassed in the midst of many. And I remember I dared to write a letter in English to my best friend Binod when he was in a different town. And you won’t believe the joy I had that day. But I had never ever imagined that I could speak in English and write articles. When I joined my present organisation I started speaking in English with one of my colleagues almost regularly. She used to help me and correct me every time.

But I would thank my cousin Khristina who really helped me to be confident in speaking English. She only taught me how to chat in yahoo messenger which immensely helped my vocabulary. And I wrote my first article in English for a webzine called Polvero.com which doesn’t exist now. A profile of my own on the web encouraged me a lot to write more. I read, wrote and read more, wrote more articles… The refining process went on… The ore that I discovered had come out as a valuable talent for me to realise it and use it for others. And while doing so I conceived and gave birth to Candles Online.

The talent which was hidden finally came to limelight. Apart from writing I also discovered I can compose music which was explored after my wife came into my life. I also explored that I have a gift of comforting, encouraging and counselling a broken hearted or a person in need of warmth. And the best part is I never keep them idle or unused. I always use them in my life because I believe God gave me that talent for a purpose and if I am not using it then it will be rusted and the purpose of my life on this earth won’t be fulfilled.

Let me tell you a story which is written in the Bible:

A man going on a trip, called his servants and turned his money over to them.  To one man he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, based on their ability. Then he went on his trip. The one who received five talents went out at once and invested them and earned five more. In the same way, the one who had two talents earned two more. But the one who received one talent[d]went off, dug a hole in the ground, and buried his master’s money. After a long time, the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. The one who had received five talents came up and brought five more talents. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you gave me five talents. See, I’ve earned five more talents.’ His master told him, ‘Well done, good and trustworthy servant! Since you’ve been trustworthy with a small amount, I’ll put you in charge of a large amount. Come and share your master’s joy!’ The one with two talents also came forward and said, ‘Master, you gave me two talents. See, I’ve earned two more talents. His master told him, ‘Well done, good and trustworthy servant! Since you’ve been trustworthy with a small amount, I’ll put you in charge of a large amount. Come and share your master’s joy!’ Then the one who had received one talent came forward and said, ‘Master, I knew that you were a hard man, harvesting where you haven’t planted and gathering where you haven’t scattered any seed. Since I was afraid, I went off and hid your talent in the ground. Here, take what’s yours!’ His master answered him, ‘You evil and lazy servant! So you knew that I harvested where I haven’t planted and gathered where I haven’t scattered any seed? Then you should’ve invested my money with the bankers. When I returned, I would’ve received my money back with interest.’  Then the master said, ‘Take the talent from him and give it to the man who has the ten talents.

My wife sings well and can really touch hearts with her voice. But she is very hesitant to sing as and when asked or required. I always remind her the above story saying, “If you don’t use your talent which God has given you to touch people then one day it will be rusted and will be taken away from you.”

Friends! Look deep within yourself. Explore the crude ore hidden inside you, polish it, refine it and use it for the best possible cause shown to you.

Stay Blessed!

SOME ARE JUST SO WELL HIDDEN THAT YOU CAN NEVER FIND THEM

It started when I was in Shanghai. My husband was deputed for an on-site project and we were there with our 1 year old baby. Thankfully, my son was that small that I had a lot of spare time for myself. I was searching the Google Baba about some online work from home options, when I found a site which was offering cash prize for some creative writing contest. I thought let me give it a try. I was an above average student, but somehow I used to score top marks in creative writings. Thanks to my English teacher, Madhu ma’am, who always used to encourage me to write in a prolific way.

“That was years back”, I thought, and so was sceptic to participate in the contest. “Participating is more important than winning”, my mind told me and so I decided to write.

The result was out and I was shocked to see my name as the winner. I was thrilled and so started participating in other competitions as well. Though I won many awards and prizes, I stopped writing once I was back to India.

After a couple of years, basically after the birth of my second boy, I was weaving the vicious net of depression in mind, when my childhood friend, my sister Prabhjot coaxed me to start contributing as a blogger. I was hesitant and my confidence level had drained out. But, she reminded me of my hidden talent- my writing! She made me recall the articles and poems I had written and bingo! I started writing again and continue to do so. Writing, which was my hidden talent, is not​ hidden anymore.

In the words of Susan Gale, “Everyone has a hidden talent, some are just so well hidden that you can never find them.”  I am glad I was able to find mine!

WHAT’S THERE IN A NAME

When I was about 10 years old, my parents and I happened to attend a wedding ceremony at my native place. Owing to the fact that we had visited our native after years, family friends and relatives – old and young were swarming from all directions to my parents. I had seen some of them when I was a kid and I could instantly recognize their face and recollect the names. The air buzzed with greetings and exchange of pleasantries like how it happens in a typical get-together. In the end, when the ceremony was over and it all fell quiet, my mom exclaimed, ‘my, you do remember people!’, at that very moment it dawned upon me that I really am gifted with this quirky but extremely useful talent, and that is remembering names of people around me.  

I catch the name of a person in the first meeting and almost never forget it. When I was in college, it took me less than a week to remember the names and faces of my fellow students in a class of 70. Now when I’ve tread into the real world, I’ve retained the names of my peers and seniors since the very first introduction. And not only that, I could think of countless instances when my friends have come to me asking the name of a senior in THEIR team which they had once mentioned to me but is now evading their mind palaces. I oblige every time.

Remembering people’s names might sound like a trivial feat prima facie, but it has greatly helped me in building my social skills. As the saying goes “A person’s name is to him or her the sweetest and most important sound in any language”. So, nothing warms someone up to you as much as when you address them with their name (with a smile on your face, of course!). It increases your likeability. It makes people feel valued, and this can a long way in building a harmonious relationship with them. Also, not to mention, it reduces awkward encounters by several times. For someone in a profession like journalism or a client-facing job like sales and marketing, this is the best skill to strive for.

I believe I’ve successfully proven that remembering names is a crucial skill. Just think of my elation when I realized that this is the hidden talent I possess!

THE ART OF SPEAKING

Speak of talents, and my mind goes on a scanning spree into the different compartments of my brain. There are quite a few things that I keep doing on a regular basis apart from my daily schedule (which can be categorized as talents), like – writing (poems, articles on select topics, lessons from life experiences and from my meditation of the verses of the Bible), drawing and counselling (apart from my job as a Counsellor).

Talent as we know, is natural. It is not learned. Anything that is learned becomes a skill – which is acquired. We are made to discover our talents by people around us, by circumstances that surround us or we just hit upon a talent out of nowhere. Whatever be the mode of discovery, the knowledge of the presence of a talent always boosts up the confidence. And if it is recognized by people around, nothing better than it!

When I was studying in the seventh grade, there was organized a Debate Competition in our school on the occasion of Independence Day. As I was good in English, I thought to participate. Not knowing what exactly to speak, I sought the help of my father. My father knew the nuances of English well and so he framed a beautifully worded write-up for me. I learnt it by heart and recited it several times by myself and before my mother.

On the day of the competition, I was confident that I would be praised for the content. The time of the competition came, my name was called out and I went forward to face the judges. I started well, but no sooner had I spoken the third sentence that I was stuck. I went blank as to what the next sentence was! I stood there and thought and thought with hardly anything coming to my mind. Somehow I managed to conclude with a line or two and went back to my seat.

I felt so embarrassed because my teachers had expected much from me.

I never showed any inclination for Debate Competitions or public speaking after that (though I often enacted lead roles in plays organised in school, college and church). I loved (and still do) writing, and that was it.

I love my job as a school Counsellor since it involves dealing with people one on one and helping them to see hope in seemingly hopeless situations. Three years back, the HOD of the English Department in the school where I work, asked me to speak at the staff orientation. I refused flatly. No way was I going to speak in front of a 100-odd staff, the Principal and the Management members – most of whom are very senior to me! But, she wouldn’t hear a ‘NO’. She just handed me the book from which the topic was to be taken and walked away.

Left with no choice, I prayed hard for God’s touch and guidance as I prepared for the talk.

The day for the staff orientation came. With trembling legs but with a confident smile, I went up on the stage. Before me, there were four speakers already. I was the fifth speaker and was expecting the patience of the audience to have worn out by then. (Generally, the staff feel that such orientations are routine affairs and don’t show much interest to follow the speaker – waiting impatiently when it would end.)

I started speaking using a Powerpoint Presentation and several video clippings on the topic (which none of the previous speakers had done). God granted me the eloquence to go on effortlessly and I even ended up exceeding the allotted time limit! When I concluded, there was a resonating applause from the audience (which was not given for any of the previous speakers). Thanking God for His help, I stepped down from the stage to the appreciative compliments from the audience. And then the MC applauded from the stage – ‘A Leader is Born’ (it was an orientation on ‘Leadership’). After the orientation was over, I was surrounded by people who said that they were so blessed by the fifth session and were wishing that it would never end.

I had not expected this at all. I had prayed hard that I should be able to speak well enough not to fumble or become blank. But, the response of people overwhelmed me.

This was the new beginning! I have spoken at many more orientations and conducted several workshops for staff, students and parents of students and been the MC at functions (at my  workplace and at other places).

It was a hidden talent indeed!

Something which had never been given enough attention to be nurtured, sprang up in due time.

And there is no turning back. Now, I neither feel embarrassed nor shy from public speaking (of course, with a bit of preparation).

I am grateful to God for using my workplace to help me discover this latent talent and resolve to use it for the sake of His glory.

It is never too late to uncover the talents that lie deep down you. If you are a person who hasn’t discovered your talent yet, get to the task right now. It’s never too late!

THE MAGICAL ART OF DECORATING PAPER WITH INK!

“Why do you write your notes with ink pen ? Don’t get used to the habit of writing with ink pen, if water spills or if book gets drenched in rain, you would loose your notes” – that was the suggestion of a concerned dad to a 9 year old…

In schooling, we are allowed to use pens to write our notes from 3rd grade. I didn’t like giving up writing with pencil, but had to, because it is mandatory to use pen. I often used to feel this rule is quite silly…

Once I’ve used my dad’s ink pen, and instantly fell in love with it. I have an obsession for ink pens. If I have to make notes, I would do so only with ink pen. My dad tried a few times to get me out of it, when he realized that’s almost impossible, he started gifting me ink pens. The flow of ink – it’s magical, control an ink pen gives –  it’s awesome. I have a huge collection of variety of ink pens…

Is writing with ink pen a talent ? Well, may be.. The journey to the discovery of thou art, how I nurtured it to become better is what I want to share today.

In most of the competitions I took part in school I would either be winner or runner-up, for which we are awarded a certificate of appreciation along with the trophy. I think it was in my 4th standard, while I was on the dais holding the certificate posing for a picture, my eyes fell on my name written so beautifully on the certificate.

I grew curious of how the name would have been etched ? What would have been used? It was written in old English style, I didn’t quite like the style. My handwriting style is italic. I wanted to do something matching my italic style of writing with this. I was going sleepless not knowing how to learn it.

Our school corridor used to have benches at designated places, and I had my favorite one which faces a hill. I would sit there everyday with my certificate, a white paper and pencil. I started learning it with pencil because I didn’t know how it was actually written. Using the tip of the pencil and the side of it, I tried replicating it. A lot of trials, yet it was not looking as beautiful as it is on the certificate, at least not to my satisfaction.

On one evening, one of my teacher gave me a box that is gift wrapped. I insisted that I won’t take it. After sometime, I gave up the argument with him to accept the gift. Can you guess what the gift was ?? – An ink pen with 5 different types of nibs !!

“These are the nibs used for calligraphy”, said he, I asked him in return, “What is calligraphy ?” He smiled at my innocence, said “The madness with which you are trying to replicate whats on the certificate, that art of writing is called Calligraphy… You have an apt handwriting, skill and patience, let me help you out”

He is the one who wrote those certificates. He taught me basics of calligraphy, nib lines, italic writing, the stokes up and down, spacing, rules to follow, free hand calligraphy. Due to his guidance, I learnt calligraphy in a very short time. Once I am back from school, I would fill my beloved pens with different colors of ink and start writing … Calligraphy in general can be done with pencil, water colors, paints or ink …

Writing as such is very good for brain. Sometimes I don’t want to use my phone, laptop, keyboard but plain pen and paper. My hands get itchy at regular intervals making me crazy to write, literally write… My ink pen only can bring the orgasmic feeling to my fingers …

Some talents within us are not known to us, when we get exposed to certain elements we feel it. It interests us, sweeps us of our feet, nothing else in the world seems important to us than doing that, never let go of such craziness, try it …

I have attempted painting, sketching, singing, crochet, sewing and many more.. While I am proficient at none, I have never stopped doing what interests me. I observe, I reverse engineer, youtube articles, means doesn’t matter, I have to learn it someway. I would not let the talent I have go vain, I make handmade gifts which would have personal touch.. 

 

calligraphy2