BOREDOM PROMPTED ME TO EXPLORE

Bearing a tag – ‘Fragile: Handle with Care‘, I lived my whole life till I stepped on the soil of the City of Joy – Kolkata in the year 2001. Till then I had lived my life amidst close relatives and family in a very cozy and warm atmosphere. I had never done anything on my own or went outside alone. But in Kolkata, the challenges were new and difficult for me to face. After office time I had nothing to do but to read books, write something or study Bible. There was no one to speak with, no one to play anything or nothing to do that would entertain me, or nowhere to go as I had no idea about this new city and I was all alone. Soon, I was dragged into a depressive shell called Boredom.

In those initial days at Kolkata, weekdays were manageable as I kept myself busy at the office during the day time till 6 PM and somehow managed the evenings till bedtime. Sundays were also okay as there were church services till afternoon which kept me engaged. But Saturdays were worst. There were no office or church services on Saturdays except my lonely world called, Boredom.

Every time I woke up on a Saturday morning, I had one worry, ‘How to finish this day as soon as possible?’ But every time, I ended up dwelling in that uncomfortable shell called, Boredom without stepping out of my comfort zone.

But one Saturday, I decided otherwise. I wanted to break free by breaking the shell of Fear and Boredom within which I had been dwelling for a long time. I decided to take that first step in my life by stepping out of my dwelling place called Boredom which actually prompted me to go out and explore; explore something new and challenging for me at that moment of my life, something I had never done before on my own.

I remember, I told my mom, “I am going out to roam and around the city as I am feeling so bored”. My mom was aware of the plight of a 25-year-old man who had been spending all his life with a lot of restrictions and obstructions which had actually cringed him in a dungeon called, Boredom.

I took a rickshaw and went till the main road and took a taxi from there. When the taxi driver asked me where to go, I replied, “I don’t know. Take me wherever you think best for me to feel elated and happy but within Rs. 200, I should be here at this place, safe and sound.” Rs. 200 was like Rs.2000 for me at that particular moment and I had that much only with me to pay, attempting to kill Fear and Boredom in one go.

The taxi driver was a compassionate man. He understood my heart and responded well, “You must have already known and seen Howrah bridge, so I will take you to another bridge which is a new one and called, Vidyasagar Setu”. I nodded without saying a word as my heart responded to him loudly, “Thank you! But know that, I am at your mercy“.

He took me there, on that bridge which was way beautiful than any other bridge that I had ever seen till that time. When he brought me back to my place, I remember, I paid him Rs.170.00 but we both were extremely happy which were priceless. I was happy for taking the first step to come out of my Boredom and explore the city all alone for the first time, and he was happy for being that change agent in my life.

Captured by me: The road leading to Vidyasagar Setu

Many years later, when I had the opportunity to capture the beautiful Vidyasagar Setu, I remembered how I explored it in 2001, all by myself.

Captured by me: A glimpse of Vidyasagar Setu

I had been to Vidyasagar Setu a number of times in the last 20 years of my life in Kolkata but that first trip to Vidyasagar Setu will always be my favourite one till the end.

Captured by me: Crossing over the beautiful Vidyasagar Setu

Every boredom prompts something to explore. If your boredom doesn’t prompt you to explore then remember you are not bored but actually enjoying where you are.

Today, due to my health condition, I don’t go out much but I found other avenues or have explored something else to get out of my boredom. But all these mini or big explorations have always made me happy and kept me joyful instead of dwelling in depression and boredom. And I will quote that same Bible verse again which has always encouraged and prompted me to explore – “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might, for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going.” We can not make use of our ideas, intellect when we are dead. We can utilise them only when we are alive and our God wants us to be happy and joyous in life, kicking off a life of grumbling and complaints. With this thought in my mind, I had initiated and gave birth to my child – Candles in 2006 and I am so happy to write this article today, which is the 2000th post published on Candles Online.

So friends! Never dwell in depression or boredom but be prompt to take the first step and come out of that shell called, Fear and Boredom to lead a joyful and cheerful life.

Stay blessed!

FIRST STEPS ARE NOT ALWAYS CAKEWALKS!

Escapades from the din and humdrum of routine life are fun, exciting, adventurous, a tad scary at times and offer elements of surprise that one would cherish or banish from memory forever. A first step taken either literally or symbolically in any avenue is more often than not, a step to remember – especially if you had been scared to take that step.

To kickstart this week’s topic – ‘Taking that first step . . . when you were afraid’, let me share one such fun episode from more than a decade before.

I was in the University pursuing my Post Graduation. The famous apparel chain Pantaloons had just opened their first outlet in Bhubaneswar. My University being just a few kilometers away, my friends and I decided to pay a visit after classes got over one day. We were excited, especially because there weren’t too many big brand outlets and malls in the city that time.

We weren’t disappointed! The stock of apparels and accessories pleased our eyes, though being students still, we didn’t have much money at our disposal to splurge. Once we were done with the ground floor, it was time to move up to explore what the other two floors had in store. There came the catch! Having been designed as a mini-mall of sorts sans food court, there were escalators to ferry customers to and from each floor. No staircase. No lift.

My first exposure to an escalator and the accompanying hesitation to take the first step! One by one all my friends stepped on the escalator and reached the first floor while I was still stuck in the ground floor. Somehow, I couldn’t muster enough courage to take that first step. My friends soon realised that I wasn’t with them and called out to me, to which I simply gave the excuse that I had to explore a few more collections in the ground floor.

After some time when I still didn’t reach up to the first floor, one of my friends understood the reason. It was very sweet on her part to come down to the ground floor, hold my hand and take me to the escalator – all the way assuring that she would be going up with me holding my hand. And, that is just what she did!

Lo! We reached the first floor hand in hand and joined the others in exploring the stuff there. The same friend held my hand while descending from the first floor to the ground floor as well. The others who had by that time known what had kept me downstairs, went down and and encouraged me to do so. But, this friend stayed back, held my hand, stepped on the escalator with me and gave me the courage to move downstairs.

It has been more than a decade to that first exposure to an escalator. Surely, I don’t spare a second before stepping onto escalators now! But, the memory of that first step sure makes me chuckle 🙂

As I stepped out of Pantaloons that evening thanking my friend endlessly for lending her hand to help me overcome my fear, I learnt a very important life lesson – first steps aren’t always cakewalks!

Across life’s pathways, being sensitive to others’ first steps helps makes the journey pleasant for them. At times encouragement from a distance helps. But at a few other times, what is needed is to extend the hand to hold on to and take the step together. It helps address the inner fear and the accompanying hesitation along with providing the confidence and the courage for an independent step in the future.

Coming to escalators, now that I don’t bat an eyelid before using escalators, I always look out for people who might be in the same place that I was years before and extend them a hand with a few words of courage. I am grateful to God for teaching me such a vital lesson from the experience that day and also for reminding me how He holds my hand across life’s myriad pathways with His promises – “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you . . .”

So yes, a fun outing turned into a vital learning that day. To be sensitive and respond to someone’s inner fear of the first step does more than you can think of in many ways. It helps keep your conscience alive and responsive (that’s to your benefit) and helps the other person reach a new level of confidence along with accomplishing the immediate goal at hand.

 And if you are a person hesitant or afraid to take a first step in any area of your life – literally or otherwise, I would like to encourage you that a helping hand would soon come by. Don’t stop . . . move on!

LIFE IS LIKE AN EXAM – THEN WHY MANY FAIL?

Let us first understand – why life is an exam?

Is it really an Exam?

Who is judging you?

Do you have any say on this?

It is true that life is challenging, but we all have different challenges to deal with. I might not be dealing with what you have, neither you will be dealing with what I have to. We all have varying hurdles to live through our daily routine.

We all tend to overlook into others lives, and make our life much more challenging by complaining about what we lack, ignoring what we already possess.

So why do we fail in the exam called life? Ever thought on the same?

There are several reasons, why we fail in life :

  1. We all are scared of failing.
  2. We listen more to others than our innermost desires.
  3. We compare ourselves with the better, assuming that we are just nothing.
  4. We just want to be a copy of others, than being different.

Being Scared of Failing 

If we try, then only we can decide, whether it is fun or not. Without even trying, assuming things to be difficult is the first step of failure. Take life as a challenge that is when you will cherish every moment of it. Wade off the fear of failing and prepare yourself to experience a new you.

Have you ever seen a baby stopping to try to walk, upon falling several times?

It is simply because, the baby is not scared to walk, even when it might fall a couple of times. Success is not an easy thing to achieve.  Growing up, most of us have lost that inquisitiveness in life.

Turning Deaf to the innermost feelings

Taking advice from the wrong is going to lead you into much more trouble. We all tend to take advice from people who do not have a single knowledge of what we do. And finally, even when our heart desires a lot, we just break away from those innermost feelings.

Don’t you think that is the worst part of being in a challenge? 

If you want to make life challenging, challenge the people around you who are stuck in monotony and show them how life can be happier with a choice that glows your heart.

Comparison- The slow poison on life

Even though we all know that we have varied things, aims, desires, dreams, passion, lifestyle everything including habits, we still tend to compare.

Yes, Comparison kills the joy of life.

One may have, a luxurious life but may not be completely happy. At the same time, a poor one may not have the luxury but has a peaceful life. It is all about how you take things. Identifying what you actually need and what makes you sufficient is important.

The moment you realise that you are different from others and you chose to be different, then it is a grand success.

We all even must have encountered several instances wherein parents compare children with other children and forget that their own child possesses something unique. In such cases, the child loses its self-confidence and even fails at many things. Little do they realise that comparing the child to another one, is killing the joy in their life.

Let them be what they want.

We all are Copycats 

We all just try to be a copy of the one near us or known to us. We never try to even change a little bit, because we assume that , something that is being called perfect among us is an epitome to be followed.

Being different is a challenge.

Life throws different challenges to all, and we all try to copy, forgetting that we all have different question papers to solve.

As I was saying, 

Life is an interesting challenge to endure. Making every moment challenging is even much more fun.  The moment we push ourselves outside the glass wall of others’ expectations, we are going to make life interesting.

At least at one point of life,  choose to take up a challenge. It might change your perspective of life.

 

 

DEAR FUTURE, AM READY

Every dawn is a beginning

Every nightfall is the break

nothing is an end to anything

Every dream begins when 

we decide

Let every step you take 

lead you to the right path

A New Year !! A New Beginning !!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

For everyone, a New Year is a beginning,

A time

to realign their goals

work on their shortcomings

rework or at times start afresh.

All the past years, for me a New Year came and went as yet another normal day. There was never a celebration or a get-together. It was just a normal day to look forward to. As usual, I used to wake up and start my things. And yes, the only difference was that the inbox was filled with wishes, to give a feel of New Year.

A complete normal day for me. I wondered why everyone made up resolutions on that day. I could never even plan my day, hence never looked ahead for a year. I enjoyed living in the flow, a better way of unplanned life.

A new beginning for me was the time when I realized when I was becoming a mom. The moment a life began growing up inside me, I always looked ahead for the new day, a new change and a perfect beginning. Every day my kids brought me a new challenge to work on. As they grew up, the challenges and my tasks differed, yet I looked forward to a new day and ushered a better day for them to enjoy and create memories.

Even though every day brings me a new ray of hope, I work hard or at time experience a lazy day to make my day better and even better, to cherish my favorite life am blessed with. I wait for the moments that uncontrollably happen to create memories that I want to cherish.

As we are moving ahead, let us be optimistic and grab every opportunity that comes in our way.

Be happy, be polite, take up adventures and love your self.

Uncage all your positive thoughts and embrace your negativities. Learn from your mistakes, and inspire your self 

Mistakes are the reasons that you are working on and on. So make mistakes enjoy your learning.

Glance through your past, only take the best lessons from it.

Image result for take a note of mistakes

If you have not decided what to start on, then its time to think and decide. Let us make every moment a fresh start – a start to bring about a brand new ending.

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Do not over think about your yesterday, and spoil your Today.

Pray well, Embrace God’s will as it is the best to trust HIM.

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I wish you all A very Happy New Year.

Hope this year create fond memories in your life. Bring life to your dreams.

Walk towards your dreams, conquer them and be You always.

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GOOD TIDINGS FOR NEW BEGINNINGS

Ring out the old,

Ring in the new,

Swipe out that which is worn,

Usher in the new morn.

That which once started as new with warm wishes of happiness and prosperity filling the air, has become obsolete today. A few more hours and we would finally bid farewell to another calendar year and welcome a new year with its promises and challenges.

For many, ushering in a new year spells plans for festivities and celebrations. After all, we need to enter into the unseen with positive vibes and merriment around us! For some others however, there is not much reason for celebration. The year behind has shown them so much pain that they shudder to think what more the coming year would hold for them.

There are another category of people for whom each day is alike. Each day holds similar challenges – nothing new to anticipate, no merriment, no enjoyment. Think about the daily wagers around us. They may not even have enough money to buy a box of sweets to celebrate the incoming of another year. They hardly have a track of the days and months that pass by – depending upon the more fortunate to give them updates about the days, months, years and events.

No matter which of the above groups we belong to, all would agree that each day, each moment casts imprints that stay etched in our memories. Some episodes are such that we would not want to remember, while some events are such that we would not want to forget. However, who can ever claim a control over the power of the brain!

As we step out of this year and let it go out of our hand, let’s take some time to reflect on the events that have gone by. The way we started the first day of this year and the way we are about to bid it good bye – we have treaded so many steps, dreamt so many dreams and may be even got some of them fulfilled, seen many newborns, bid a teary-eyed farewell to many loved ones, struggled through sicknesses – our own and/or that of family and friends, tolerated difficult colleagues and friends, waded through financial struggles, endured certain criticisms and ridicule, basked in the glory of praise and appreciation, many regrets of things done and of those left undone, the delights of novelties experienced and so on.

Surely, the year that is about to pass by has had its highlights. And if you and I reflect on all things, we would agree without doubt that many of the occurrences were beyond our control. They just happened and we had the choice whether to accept them and move forward or lament over them and curse our fates.

However ways things have gone by, as we find ourselves at the threshold of another year, let’s take a few moments to thank God Almighty for His Sovereignty over our lives. Let’s also take some time to confess our wrongdoings before God, before our loved ones and before those whom we may have hurt by our words and actions. Let external celebrations not mask our internal shortcomings.

I want to wish you hope, joy, peace and love for the year that is to come. No matter how the last year has been, tomorrow springs newness. New dreams, new hope, new milestones, new happenings – all meant to strengthen us in this journey of life.

“. . . all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose.”

Wishing you all new beginnings with good tidings – a wonderful year ahead in which you choose to walk closely with God and experience His goodness in your life!

HOW MANY FRIENDS DO YOU REALLY HAVE?

Did you hear about the man who had 500 friends on FB, and 200+ followers on twitter and LinkedIn and so on? But when he met with an accident and was admitted in ICU only his wife, kids and a close friend were actually waiting outside worrying about him.

This, of course, is a fictional story I read somewhere but it brings me to a very real question.

How many friends do we actually have?

Do a small exercise. Go to your social networking account and check out how many friends do you have in your friend list. 100? 200? 300? Or maybe more?

Now go through that list of friends and tick off the acquaintances, the relatives and family. You may now be left with work friends, old school / college classmates or your society neighbours or maybe your classmates in yoga class and so on.

How many of them are actually your friends? The ones with whom you would like to pick up the phone and chat, the ones you can open up to or share your thoughts with. I am sure this number is hardly handful.

The number of likes on our vacation pic makes us so happy or the number of loves on our little ones fancy dress pic makes us feel so proud.

But seriously how many of them were actually interested in our life and how many just clicked on the ‘like’ button out of habit. We will never know.

Not only in our virtual life even in our real life this happens. We go through the journey of life meeting many people and making a lot of relations along the way. Some of these friendships stick with us for a long way and some are lost along the path.

But don’t get deceived with the number of people around you. Some maybe friends and some maybe masquerading as friends. I am saying this as a personal experience. I am a very social person and get along with people easily. Sometimes I think I open up very soon with people and it backfires on me. There have been cases where the person has been very sweet and lovable to me but behind my back the very same person has been talking very bitterly about me. This experience used to make me question myself, ‘What wrong have I done to this person that he / she harbours so much hatred or bitterness for me’. I used to spend endless hours going through our interactions to understand what went wrong. Nothing really made sense.

But this experience has taught me a valuable lesson. Firstly, don’t try to please everyone around you. It is an impossible task. And secondly, don’t get deceived by appearances and sweet talk. Everyone who is being nice to you is really not a friend. Choose your friends with great care. Don’t go about sharing your problems with all.

Remember only a few in our list of friends are really interested in our problems. Others are hearing us out and are secretly glad we have these problems.

 

 

THE MIRACLE OF MY BIRTH

Some time back, I had watched a programme on television – a story from a book being enacted. It showed a sick man lying on a cot with the doctor examining him. The man’s little son was looking expectantly at the doctor to hear something positive. The doctor removes his stethoscope, shakes his head and says, “Only a miracle can save your father.” The little boy who had already lost his mother is determined to save his father’s life. He empties his piggy bank, counts the money, puts it all in a pouch and sets off. Thinking that MIRACLE is the name of a medicine, he goes to all the chemist stores in his village offering all his money for a bottle of MIRACLE. All the chemists shake their heads saying that they have never heard of this medicine.

With tears of hopelessness running down his cheeks as he is returning homewards, an old man sees him and enquires his plight. On hearing the boy’s sad story, the wise old man smiles and says that he knows where MIRACLE can be got from. The boy’s face lights up and he offers the pouch of money and asks the man to get it for him immediately. Refusing to take the pouch of money, the old man points upwards and says, “it is only God who is capable of DOING MIRACLES.

Any seemingly difficult/impossible thing coming to pass – we label it as a miracle. The dictionary definition of miracle reads thus, “an extraordinary and welcome event that is not explicable by natural or scientific laws and is therefore attributed to a divine agency.” The things that we are able to do, may be with a lot of effort and help from others, are not called miracles, no matter how hard they may seem to be got done. But, those things which are out of our reach altogether and no human aid whatsoever can make it possible – when such things happen, they are miracles!

I call my birth a miracle and my parents testify it so. Expecting a baby for the first time is a novel and joyous experience for any woman. So was it for my mother. When my parents paid a visit to the gynaecologist at the end of my mother’s first trimester, they were in for a shock! The gynaecologist suggested my parents to get the pregnancy terminated as there was no growth and no shape of the foetus – just a mangled mass of flesh.

My parents were heart broken. My mother was inconsolable. As they reached home, they couldn’t gather the courage to decide to terminate the pregnancy. They just prayed that God would guide them as to what to do. Days passed by. Still they could not arrive at any decision. It was then that my father suggested that they go in for a second reference before arriving at a final decision. They went to another gynaecologist for a check-up without sharing with her the previous reports.

The fresh reports came as my parents were waiting with their hearts in their mouths. To their amazement, the gynaecologist went through the reports and said that the foetus is developing well, only that my mother was weak and needed a lot of rest! On hearing that, they shot a volley of queries to the gynaecologist and were satisfied by what she said. They would have had such a relief that evening – I cannot imagine!!

As a living evidence of that miracle, here I am – alive and penning these lines today! Had my parents decided instantly to terminate the pregnancy and had God not led them to seek a second reference, I wouldn’t have seen the light of this world. Whenever I think of this or hear my parents narrate this incident, I remember the Psalmist’s words in the Bible –

“For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;

    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;

    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.

I wonder how intricately the Master Designer would have given form, shape and breath to that mangled lump of flesh so as to make it whole. It defies human understanding! And in case it was all about just a faulty diagnosis, how wonderfully the Divine Director stopped my parents from taking a hasty decision and in course of time, led them to a second referral. Again, it goes beyond logical comprehension!

Miracles do happen! And it is only God who can work them out – when we rely on Him. When we choose to rely on ourselves and people around, we don’t give God scope to show His magnificence. But, when we turn to God with faith for those impossibilities of our lives, He shows His divine power.

Are you among those who has never experienced a miracle in your life? It’s time you tasted it! Look around you and within you for the most impossible thing in your life. It may be some area in which you are desperate to have a breakthrough, but all doors seem to be locked. Give it into the hands of the Almighty God for whom nothing is impossible – “For with God nothing shall be impossible.” And wait with faith. Do not doubt. “But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.”

Miracles cannot be bought with money or with righteous deeds. Wait on God with faith and you will see the impossibilities of your life turning into possibilities. You will see those tall mountains that cage you from all sides, crumble into heaps of dust thus making the way for beams of exhilarating light to engulf you.

Gear up for a new experience!