GOD GIVEN VISION AND OUR PASSION LED US HERE

God is not human, that he should lie,
    not a human being, that he should change his mind.
Does he speak and then not act?
    Does he promise and not fulfill?

Wow! Candles Online completed 3 years today.

This journey actually started long back in the year 2006 which you can find in the ABOUT page. And the journey came to a standstill in 2014. 2014 was a year when I saw my child ‘Candles’ succumbing to death because of many different constraints that had been troubling me from all around. It was a very disturbing year in regards to my passion and vision. But 2015 was a year when God prompted in my heart to revive my dead child in a newer way. And I praise God, that I could revive my child with the help of 6 valiant warriors who joined hands with me in the same. These 6 valiant warriors were Anupam, Sulagna, Avishikta, Khristina, Rajnandini and Prabhjot.

11th July 2015 my child ‘Candles’ was reborn as ‘Candles Online’ on a Web Platform. My joy was by leap and bounds and was uncontrollable. And we seven were excited and were happy about what we were doing. We discussed, shared our ideas, helped each other and  wrote numerous articles together. I wrote a lot of articles then as we were very less in number and my team members were a bit busier than me. But we did give a kick start to this initiative in a very good way.

After few months when Avinash, Aastha and Kalpana joined, I became greedy. 😛 I started searching for more writers and I did get some awesome writers. Prabhjot fired the bullets at Kuljeet & Preeta her sisters, keeping the gun on my shoulder and they joined as well. Pradita came in and Candles Online became very heavy and well decorated with multi-talented writers.

This journey was not an easy one. Those who were with me from the beginning, like Rajnandini and Prabhjot were aware of those struggles to some extent. Sometimes I was scolded for this initiation. I was told it’s a wrong vision. I was mocked at. Some could not commit time for it, some rejected it, some were arrogant about it, some were rude with me, some left it.

Yet, those who grasped it, wrote for it though I understand some of my team members are  extremely busy with their professional life but they had never disown me or Candles Online. Some of their passion for Candles encourage me so much. Few days ago someone almost screamed at me for not paying proper attention to Candles Online and I am proud of that person. Couple of days ago we came up with 18 old and new topics together. And I was enthralled by the passion of my team members. Because for that passion to change and to be a change agent we stepped into this boat called Candles Online.

(Image Source: Pixabay.com)

I praise God for His faithfulness envisioning me and helping us to carry this mantel to lit the fire in everyone’s heart and bring the true joy and transformation in their lives through His divine intervention.

On this auspicious occasion few of my family members have shared their hearts as well.

They say…

Saakshi: A lone candle lit  was enough to vanquish the darkness from our hearts and now it’s been three incredible years and the light just gets brighter, stronger, mightier.

Sriram: It’s a platform where we express ourselves and our thoughts and we let our own lights shine, in best hope, that our experiences or views will be a shining beacon to those who read and can relate or learn.

Rajnandini: From multifarious topics addressed on paperprints years before, to completing three remarkable years in the web world, CANDLESONLINE has come a long way in reaching far and wide in realising it’s vision and mission to touch lives and rekindle the spirits of people.

Kuljeet: Candles Online is 3 years old.. Many many congratulations.. Under the able guidance of Chiradeep we have published at least one article every day.. No mean feat.. I joined this creative journey one year ago and loved every moment of it… Kudos to the creative, hardworking and beautiful family of Candles Online…

Ashrita: Congratulations to all the team who help the community learn new things each day for the last 3 years!

Peter: A great team of people who bring hope and encouragement to others through their honest and sincere experiences shared in their well-crafted, thoughtful articles, always leaving behind a nugget of wisdom.

Prabhjot: In last 3 years, this platform has helped me build an amazing relationship with my readers and co-writers and in this journey, I have grown multiple folds. Thanks to this community.

And at the end Preeta nailed it by saying: Keep burning and enlighten everyone. Cheers! May we grow, grow and grow.

WISH YOU ALL A HAPPY 3 YEARS ANNIVERSARY!

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FRAGILE – HANDLE WITH CARE – XI

Sanika dialed the numbers and disconnected the call almost within a second. Her throat was dry, she was nervous, she thought, “how will I start? What to ask or tell him? Will Atul approve this idea? How will he react? Is discussion with Atul, an option?” She thought she should call Atul before calling Pranay. Before she could finish her thinking, her phone rang. It was Atul! She picked up his call saying, “Hi! I was just thinking about you and was wondering what you might be doing now? Have you had dinner? How are the kids? Have they taken their dinner? Are they in bed yet?

Slow down honey!“, Atul replied, “Yes, dinner done and kids are in bed now. They were sleepy and have gone to sleep.” Sanika asked, “So, what about you?” 

Me! Nothing, was finishing my chores and was getting ready to sleep,” replied Atul.

Sanika could feel that Atul was disturbed. She asked him, “Do you have something to tell me or ask me dear? Because I can feel that something is bothering you.

Atul replied getting little frustrated, “You! You and your ex-boyfriend are bothering me. And this botheration has led me to call his house too. I know this is mad, but I am desperate here. I have no idea what is going on there. I have no clue about both of your feelings. I feel lost. Why now? Why he?” Atul gasped for breath and without even giving a chance to Sanika to speak, he continued. He heaved and said, “This is the first time you left me and went so far and somehow you met him. You tell me, how secure will I feel? You talk about me being supportive and caring, but when you are with me, near me or within my reach and I know you will be fine, then I can control things. Even my emotions have gone out of hand. Moreover you are so far away. And accidentally Pranay is there and then he… Listen! Hello…

Sanika was shocked, dumbfounded and couldn’t even speak. For the first time, she saw Atul desperate and hyperactive. She never knew he was so emotional, when it comes to her. She said painfully, “Yes, yes, I am listening! But…!

(Image Source: Google Inc.)


Atul continued, “One thing I am very clear about is, I love you and if I lose you I might give up everything I love. I hope no other love stands stronger than ours. Somehow, because, somehow I think, I am.. NO. I can’t bear the fact that, he has come back into our lives. Constructively or destructively, I have no idea. But, but it is killing me. Even a simple imagination of you both standing in one place gives me chills. This time, baby, I am unable to hold it together. I just want you to come back to me now. I want you here now. Please. I don’t want to see you with someone else, who has hold an important place in your past.

Sanika was sobbing uncontrollably but silently by now. Atul’s words had flooded her emotions, so much that breathing wasn’t even possible. Too much suffocation, too much tension and too much to think. She then tried to calm herself first. She then replied, “Atul, please… please don’t be so hyper, don’t break as you alone are my strength. Everything I have done, do or will do is because my power comes from your trust and love. Trust me when I say, – I am blessed to have got you as my husband, my partner for life. I not only love you but respect you much. Our kids and our family is all that matters now to me Atul. No other person be it a stranger, friend or a popped up past, it will never affect our life adversely. You have been my support in this matter since you have known about it. It’s now my turn to remove this matter completely out of our lives. Maybe, to remove it, I would have to talk to him for one last time.

What…What more do you have to talk? Didn’t you shout at him?? Isn’t your anger over yet? Isn’t it enough to end it??” Asked Atul.

It’s not about that Atul, it’s about not-being-affected by him anym….” Sanika could say this much when Atul interrupted and asked 
desperately, “Can I see you right now? I want to see you right now… wait I am calling you…” 

FRAGILE – HANDLE WITH CARE – X

Sanika was sipping coffee at the breakfast table, alone. She felt much better after talking to the kids. Just the sight of Anika and Anshul revived her wholeheartedly. She felt so complete and relaxed now. Just thinking back about the idea of getting drunk the way she did looked really stupid to her now. Only if she would have just taken her mind off Pranay and spoken to her kids and husband – maybe she wouldn’t have been in such a mess today.

She was much calmer and felt much wiser now. Thoughts of Pranay kept appearing in her mind all throughout the day while she was at work – but she could keep the thoughts away and focus on her work completely.

In the evening, while returning back to her hotel, one question kept popping up in her head – “Why now? Why did fate get me face to face with him now? I got over him. I found a wonderful husband and have beautiful children, why would God do this to me?” She is a strong believer and always knows that things never happen out of nowhere, they always have a reason (a good reason). Life is always throwing challenges at us, always teaching us something new.

“What is life trying to teach me by making me confront my past? I cannot not see any good reason behind all this. Everything is so chaotic. I feel miserable and Pranay is acting like a weirdo. And in all this poor Atul is suffering immensely.”

She opened her hotel room and sat on the armchair in her balcony.

“Pranay must also be having a similar life. I know he got married to girl named Tanu. She was one of his father’s friend’s daughter. Oh yaa, one of those typical business cum arranged marriages. Maybe they have kids together. Maybe he is happy with his family. Or maybe he is not!”

“What is life trying to tell me? What part of this Pranay episode incomplete for me?”

Suddenly she just stopped still. It was as if she saw something transformational. Yes, it was indeed transformational. “When Pranay rejected me so painfully, I was hurt. I did all that is possible to get him back. And some time later I realized that the biggest cost I am paying for all this is losing my self-respect. I gave up. I stopped hoping that he will ever come back. And when I met Atul, life became easier. The only thing that was not complete in all this is the Closure. I never got the closure with Pranay. That is the reason I was panicky when I saw him. I don’t have any feelings for him anymore. But I need a closure with him.”

With these thoughts she got reminded of her satirical remarks towards Pranay the earlier day. “Good that I spit my anger on him, it made me feel better. But now it is also a time to give myself some space and talk to Pranay. It is high time that I get over him completely – my love for him has just turn into hatred. But I want him to be just another person in my life – no love, no hatred, no anger just nothing for him. That is when I will get closure.”

“But talking to him could mean a lot of other things. I will need to make it clear to him that we just talk it out. I need to know why he did what he did. I will forgive him and move on with my life. I cannot carry this baggage of painful past on my marriage anymore. Then maybe I need to admit it all to Atul as well and then the past would be rightfully in the past.”

“What about Pranay’s life? What about his marriage? Does he really love his wife?”

(Image Credit: Google Inc.)

With these thoughts Sanika too opened up Facebook. She typed in Pranay Kapoor and hit the search button. There he is. Ok, so he is quite active in updating his DP’s. She browsed over his albums looking for his pics with his family. But none! There were no pictures of his wife. She quickly went and checked his relationship status – Empty. “Why would somebody who is so active on FB and is happily married put his relationship status as nothing? Or was he happily married or even married now?”

Sanika’s head again started going all around. “Oh no no no, if he is single – then maybe it is not a good idea to get in touch with him at all. What if, he talks me into his emotions? C’mon, I cannot be that weak. I just thought so clearly about forgiving him and getting the freedom from this forever. Why am I worried? Do I really have any feelings for him? What difference does it make if he is single, it doesn’t matter. I will call him and meet him tomorrow.”

With these thoughts she took the number of the guy who called the hospital doctor last Saturday. Her hands on the phone were trembling now.

FRAGILE – HANDLE WITH CARE – IX

Atul went inside and saw his children were talking to their mom through video call, using laptop. He hesitated to step inside their room and preferred to be at the door entrance, eavesdropping . He felt foolish, but didn’t want to talk to Sani at this moment. 

Mumma loves you both and will come soon. I will try to get all the things that you have told me. Just be good and don’t trouble your dad much.” Sani spoke to the kids.

We love you mumma. Bye.”  The kids shouted in unison. 

Atul moved away to his room. Lost in thoughts, he sat down to read the newspaper. One of the headings caught his eye:

 “Most men wish to rekindle romance with old flame

One in five people and as many as a quarter of all men pine to get back together with their first love, a new survey has revealed. Some 21 per cent have said that they are secretly planning a reunion with their first lover.

(Image Source: Google Inc.)

He slammed down the newspaper. He loved Sani and trusted her, but he also knew that she was emotionally weak and would believe anyone easily.  He believed whatever his mom had said.

Picking up his mobile phone, he opened the search engine and typed Pranay Kapoor. It was easy to find him. His latest photo as guest speaker in Switzerland for Sanika’s company was flashing on the screen. Atul quickly searched his official contact details and called up at his office.

Hello! ABC Associates”, a lady said.

Ya, Hi! This is Sam, Pranay’s ex- colleague. Actually I am trying to contact him on his mobile, but he’s not reachable. I know he’s in Switzerland, but I have an urgent work with him. Can I have his alternate number?” Atul asked.

Umm, sorry sir, but I don’t have his alternate number either.” The voice replied.

Oh man! This is really urgent. Can I have his residence number?” He sounded desperate.

Sure sir, just a moment.” The lady gave his residence number to Atul.

This isn’t right”, the voice inside him said. But, Atul ignored the voice of his conscience and dialled Pranay’s residence number.

Hallo”, a male voice came.

Hello, may I speak to Pranay please?” Atul asked.

Pranay baba isn’t here. Who are you?” The voice demanded, sounded like a caretaker.

I am his school friend and wanted to meet him. I am trying to call him on his mobile, but can’t get through” Atul said.

He’s gone to Ssswitzland, will come after 2 days.

Oh,” Atul  sounded surprised. “So, Bhabhiji has also gone or is she at home only?

Arrey beta, don’t you know?” 

Ya, ya, I know, but still asking.” Atul was feeling bewildered. 

Yes beta, we can only hope, but they are not going to come together. Now the date of court hearing has also come.” The caretaker said.

Oh!” Atul was in deep shock. “Ok, thank you so much. I will try to call him on his mobile again.

Arrey Beta, what’s your name?

Atul disconnected the call without answering him.

The picture of Sani and Pranay together was flashing in his head and he felt his head throbbing hardly.

FRAGILE – HANDLE WITH CARE – VIII

(Image Credit: Google Inc.)

Atul’s state of mind wasn’t right. He needed to clear his head. Telling their housekeeper he needed to step out for a while, he left the house and began to walk.

He had no particular destination in mind so when he found himself in front of his mother’s home, he was surprised. Seeing the time he knew she would be having tea. Knocking on the door the house boy confirmed his mother was in her usual spot.

She immediately set down her cup and beckoned him closer. He sat next to her, kissing her cheek.

Something is wrong isn’t it? Tell me what has happened.”  He was reluctant at first but she knew to wait patiently. Finally he told her all that had happened thus far. When he was done she shook her head.

Sanika loves you Atul. Just because her old flame has popped up doesn’t mean she has feelings for him even now. She is angry and hurt for how he left things. She thought he loved her enough to defy all odds to be with her. But he gave into his parents’ demands showing that he didn’t love her enough. That kind of rejection leaves a scar and makes a young girl wonder if she is worthy of any man.

He stared at his mother in shock. How could she know this? He had grown up seeing the love and adoration his parents had for each other. She smiled softly at him, brushing his hair back from his forehead.

She made a mistake in getting drunk and the fact she stormed away from that man tells me she is trying her best to deal with the situation. Trust her. If she calls again, do not scold her as you did before. She was hoping for your comfort and love, not you yelling at her. She may have REALLY thought she had dealt with her past. Can you only imagine how she felt when she saw him again and all that had happened came back and hit her like a hammer?” She watched him for a moment as he thought that over. Taking his hand, she smiled gently. “Try to see things from her perspective son.

He nodded slowly. He really hadn’t listened to her when she tried to tell him what she was feeling. Instead he let his own feelings overcome him and had probably hurt her more than what she already was.

Thank you mother. I will head home now and see if I can get a hold of her again.” He rose to his feet, kissing his mother goodbye and headed home.

Reaching home, he let himself in and went to look for his phone. He finally found it on the kitchen table and checked his messages. Of course there were none from Sanika after her call with the children.  Should he call her or wait till later? Sighing, he put his phone in his pocket and went in search of his children.

FRAGILE – HANDLE WITH CARE – VII

Sanika was not in a very good mood. She was anyway feeling very sick because of the bad hangover she was going through and above it Pranay’s very sight disturbed her completely. It was all because of him she went on to gulp so much of alcohol last night and there she was stumbling upon him again and again till now. And to her utter dismay she heard Pranay again at her door.

What are you doing here again? Why are you not just disappearing from my sight?”, Sanika was frustrated and angry.

I understand your state of mind Sanika but you are crossing your limits now. Your husband called and I picked up by mistake thinking it as mine but it was your phone which you left it. I just came to give it back to you. Talk to your husband.” Pranay retorted as his male ego was hurt. He handed over the phone to her and walked away from that place.

What? This man spoke to Atul again? Oh God!”, Sanika thought as she held her head with both her hands.

(Image Credit: Google Inc.)

She quickly dialled Atul’s number waiting for his response. She knew how particular Atul was and how he didn’t like things out of the place. She was ready for a mouthful from him and she was okay with it. She loved it when Atul corrected her because she knew that he did it out of his sheer love and concern for her.

Hello… who’s it now? Pranay or Sanika?” Sanika was really taken aback when Atul asked this in a very grave voice.

Why are you asking like that Atul? You know I was not well and that man interfered and spoke to you…why are you so rude to me?”, Sanika was instantly hurt deeply. She was already very broken because of the very sight of her past life. Her emotions were surging out. She was vulnerable and needed much care and affection from a person who had been so understanding and caring for last 9 years. But now he asked something so rudely that she was unable to take it.

Because till now I am unable to understand what is going on there in that bloody Switzerland?” Atul again shot a bullet that pierced Sanika’s heart.   

Atul, you are hurting me darling instead of gathering my broken pieces in your palms as you always do”, Sanika started sobbing as she said that.

Now, that’s the best weapon which you all females have… WEEPING… Huh… Now will you stop shedding your tears and explain what is going on with you from beginning till now. Do you even remember about your kids? Do you remember their names? You didn’t ask about them for last two days…” Atul continued his attacks on Sanika which she could not take anymore.

She wept as she continued speaking with broken words…“Listen then you insensitive man…” She paused and started again wiping her tears.

I saw Pranay two days ago in the market. It took some time to click who the familiar-seeming face was. As it dawned on me that it was him, I walked away from that place immediately cursing my fate to have met him again in my life. And guess what?” She paused again.

What?” Atul asked eagerly.

I saw him speaking again on the podium in our office conference as a guest speaker. Can you believe that? Every time I avoided his sight he kept on looking at me making me uncomfortable I excused myself and went away from that place. But I could not take it. Everything… yeah… simply everything flashed in front of my eyes and I broke down…. To get myself straight on my feet I drank in the bar… And you know the rest. That man told you the truth. I shouted at him this morning when he again tried to show his so-called concern for me. That’s all…”  Sanika stopped as she kept weeping quietly without letting herself to be heard on the phone. But Atul could make out what that she crying.

I am sorry Sani for being so rude… I think you should take rest, but before that just talk to a bit to your kids.” Atul handed over the phone and the voice came, “Mamma, how are you? I am missing you a lot.” It was Anika and her soft voice tore Sanika’s heart. She sobbed bitterly as she spoke to her but before she could talk more there was another voice over lapped on Anika’s. It was Anshul. “Mom, I am grown up now and so I sure understand that you are crying and missing us so much. Don’t cry Mom and come back soon.”  She spoke to them for some time and asked them to give the phone to Atul again but Atul was not around strangely.  

 She remembered when she initially shared all her heart with Atul after their engagement he had said one thing that time: “The moment you make sure that the past is not hurting you anymore, that moment you will realise that your heart is empty to accommodate another person. But the moment you feel hurt because of your past you will know that you still have kept that old person in your heart.”  

She screamed at the top of her voice to take out her angst but there was no one to hear her agony in that sophisticated hotel room.

FRAGILE – HANDLE WITH CARE – VI

Silence suffocated them both before Atul excused himself citing a meeting with client, “Got to go, I have an important meeting lined up today.  Take care, bye“.

Hmm, you too” this is all Sanika could say before hanging up the call.

Both of them were on the same page today – very disturbed.

Sanika got up with her head heavily reeling, alcohol or the plethora of emotions churning in, what is effecting her so much, she is unable go decide. She freshened up and dragged herself to the breakfast area of the hotel, hoping sniff and sip of freshly brewed coffee could help her deal the worst hangover of her life.

She was at table holding her cup with both hands as if she didn’t want it to slip, was it coffee or was it life she was clinging on, to prevent the spill. As she was lost in her own thoughts a feeble voice demanded her attention.

H H Hello Sanika, Hi“.

When she turned in the direction of the voice, it was Pranay. He was concerned of Sanika so he thought visiting her in the morning to ask about her. There was restlessness on his face and guilt was quite evident in his eyes. He was quite unsettled.

How are you now?” before he could say more he was interrupted by a stern question, Excuse me, do I know You? Have we met before?” Sanika fixed her eyes on his face with this question.

I don’t blame You, I understand it completely. I am am am so sorry for what has happened” Pranay was fumbling with his words while he drew a chair opposite to Sanika.

Sanika sighed taking a long breath “I am sorry… what are you talking about. What has happened? If you are talking about what has transpired between us ages ago, then please don’t be sorry. Instead I must thank you for helping me take a right decision and reaching my destination, Atul is the name.  I can’t imagine my life with a person who can’t stand his ground and think on his feet when it mattered the most.  I simply can’t imagine my life otherwise, you see!” There was a tinge of satire in her words and she continued

And if it’s about the last night then you should be SORRY. You have no right to interfere in my life in any, ANY manner. You have no idea… well leave it…” She paused a bit to the flow of her emotions lest she would break down and the continued again, “As far as I am concerned you are a stranger to me and I shall not be discussing anything pertaining to my life” by this time anger and grief were competing with each other, trying to overpower each other in her eyes.

Pranay in an attempt to cool her down said, “But how could I have left you there in that situation?” there was anxiety in his tone.

Now the colour on Sanika’s face settled to red as she uttered “Just the way you have left me THEN…” She rose to her feet and left the place hastily leaving Pranay speechless.

(Image Credit: Google Inc.)

As her image was diminishing with every step she was taking away from him Pranay couldn’t take his eyes off from that direction and the phone rang which he unmindfully answered. In fraction of seconds he realised that’s Sanika’s phone which she forgot on the table.  Their ringtones being the default tones of the handsets he answered it without even looking at the screen and the person at the other end was Atul, again!