The day a child is born, it faces challenges of life in bits and pieces. When it is a small baby its challenges are negligible in regards to the challenges that it faces later in its life. And as the days progress the challenges keep increasing.

But those who have faced those challenges head on, they have actually succeeded in whatever avenues they got into. Challenges in life build our characters. As someone said, “God allows suffering to make us, not break us”. He allows challenges for us to confront and be the winner.

Do words have any value until they were culminated in actions?

Let me enlighten you with a challenge in my life which I dreaded the most but was desperate to overcome it…

I studied in an Oriya medium school in Cuttack. I was a good student yet apart from English all other subjects were in Oriya language. When I joined college after my tenth, I felt I was in the middle of the ocean when everything was in English.

Guess what!!!

I scored just 58%, second class without extra optional subjects. These extra optional subjects kept my izzat (my image) that year and in the certificate “First Class” was written. I had big problem getting a seat for B. Com, in the same college, Ravenshaw College (now it’s a university). But thank God, in graduation I managed to score better than before. Yet, I failed to learn speaking and even writing good English.

I remember, one time, I wrote a letter in English to my best friend, Binod Sharma who went for further studies after our college. I had to write in English as he could not have read in Oriya and I could not have written it in Hindi. I was so happy after I finished writing in the Inland letter. I read it 10 times before posting it.

When I started working in Cuttack, I started to writing poems in English though they were not so good but I tried. I was happy that I could able to at least write something in English.

When I came to Kolkata in 2001, I picked up Bengali within six months’ time but even when I was in an office set up and in one of the metro cities of India, I was struggling to speak English properly. My cousins and their Mom helped me a lot to rectify my pronunciation and grammatical errors while I started to converse with them in Or-Ben-Lish.

Khristina taught me how to chat on Yahoo messenger. There was not any Facebook, forget about Whatsapp. She created an email for me and taught. And my personal entertainment started as I was all alone for next three years till, I got married in 2004.

You may be thinking, why am I sharing my secrets with you all? It is because, Chit-Chatting on random people on Yahoo Messenger helped me to speak correct English. And slowly, I picked up after coming across foreigners and different official guests etc.

In 2006, I started Candles (not Online) and there was no looking back. I kept on learning and learning… I am still learning to speak and write good English even if I lead a team of wonderful writers.

When I look back, I wonder how amazing was my journey while I overcame this difficult challenge of learning English so that I can express myself to the whole world.

The second challenge that I overcome was riding a motor bike. My grand father and my father were carrying the stigma of not riding even a bicycle in their whole life. And I didn’t want to carry the same. But I had the biggest drawback – my health condition. I was restricted to ride a bicycle and a bike was simply out of question.

When I completed my post-graduation, I started a grocery shop at my home alongside my father as he was retrenched from his company. And I aspired to buy one scooter, at least second hand so that I can learn it and ride it.

But how will do that?

How can I balance it?

Why bike has two wheels only?

Just one more wheel will make my learning easier…

These thoughts popped up in my mind when a neighbor started helping me to learn. I never fell from the bike while learning because I was too cautious. I took time as I had never learnt or ridden a bicycle in my life. After 10 days I lost patience and told that brother who was helping me to stop. He did encourage me but didn’t force me considering my health. After couple of days, I again felt like learning it and I remember the feeling when I raised both my legs and saw the bike rolling without getting imbalanced.

Deepak Bhai, I can balance now… I didn’t put my legs down even a single time.” I shouted back looking at him who was standing at a distance watching me riding it with my spread-eagled legs in the air (not arms thought). He smiled looking at me and encouraged to keep doing that.

(Image Credit: Google Inc.)

I learnt riding a bike on the historical sea shore at Cuttack where the historical Baaliyatra Festival takes place every year before winter.

After someday, I hit the road with my green coloured Secondhand LML Trendy. Fortunately, I found a picture of it on Google as I wasn’t expecting a picture of an obsolete product. I enjoyed it for a whole year or so till I joined work at Kolkata.

I didn’t really ride bikes much afterwards as I didn’t have any scope for it but the joy of overcoming this challenge in life was in leaps and bounds.

In closing, I just wanted to quote a Bible verse that has always strengthened me whenever I faced any challenge:

For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, “Do not fear; I will help you”.

I haven’t mastered anything, but I wasn’t much behind anyone and anything. I give all the glory to my Lord God for letting me overcome these challenges in my life.

How about you?

As we keep writing on the challenges that we have overcome in our lives, you stay safe at your home and keep reading them…

Stay Blessed!


Fear is very unpleasant to all who experience it. It makes oneself very vulnerable to the world, and no one likes the same. This week, we are discussing the different kinds of Fears and Phobias, and today I am going to share one of them. I would like to talk about a fear called “Claustrophobia”, which is an extreme and irrational fear of confined spaces. The person experiencing this, when stuck in a confined space, experiences dizziness, blackouts and severe panic.

I, myself have never experienced the phobia but I am going to share the experience of my husband. Recently, we were going to a friends place for a visit. While going to the elevator, the watchman came running and told us that, at times the elevator does get stuck in the middle and you have to push some button to make it move again. We stood there for some time thinking if we could just climb the stairs. But to the top floor!!! It wasn’t really a good idea as we had our baby with us. We took the lift, and I was subconsciously asking God to take us directly to the top floor. And just then the lights went off! And we stood there. We weren’t even halfway through. I told my husband to call our friend and I just looked at him. He was in shock! All frozen, sweaty and he couldn’t even pull his phone out of his pocket. Before I could tell him anything, the current came back and the lift started moving. Only after we reached, did he take his sigh of relief. 

It’s not only lifts that makes these people feel so uneasy. It can be a simple bedsheet covering the head or getting locked inside your very own room feeling stuck. Even the mosquitoes nets, a long tight hug, no windows in a room, or an MRI machine, etc. Its all in his head and he loves to keep it. Well, it is his fear! Similarly, for me, I am scared of accidents and it is called “Dystychiphobia”. I am in a panic every time the vehicle touches a speed of 60 and above. I do try to control this fear but many a time I surrender to the panic.

I personally feel that sometimes surrendering to the panic and going with the flow always soothes us, and later it calms us as well. If we do not do anything about it, it might haunt us that we could have fought back. It is in a way, we fighting with our own self to be less vulnerable to others in keeping the sane mind intact. It is when we try too much and fail to control those emotions, that we expose the most intricate and raw self of ours.

Many people are strong enough to control their emotions and fears, and give life a chance. Many aren’t that strong. But God always helps us find our peace of mind and also help us find ways to avoid situations. Facing fears and running from it are the choices life gives us. But only God can help us choose what is good for that situation. It is what the great leader Nelson Mandela once said, “May your choices reflect your hopes and not your fears.”


“I can’t sleep alone in my room mumma” said Saksham my 6.5 year old whom we are trying to sleep train alone in his room, “monsters trouble me, so I can’t sleep alone”. “Face your fear son and you will feel strong, that’s the only way to accomplish things in life”. He did understand whatever 30-40 minutes chat we had and he did sleep in his room. He had a broad smile on his face the next day morning – “I did it mumma, I faced my fear”. Next we went to Adventure Park, Saksham was not allowed on one of the roller coaster because of his height, and I was too scared to even give it a try, “I can’t do it Saksham, mumma is really scared of rides”, Saksham took my hand in his and looked me into my eyes and said “Face your fear mumma, you can do it!”, and I did it and me and Saksham celebrated the overcoming of fear with a smoothie. It was such a great feeling of accomplishment.

That’s when I realized how important it is to face your fears. Sometimes life throws situations at us that we are just not ready to face, but we have to overcome the fear and face the situations in order to walk ahead in life. There are many fears that we have – as a toddler we have fear to fall but we learn to walk only when we overcome that fear. We get hurt in the process, bruised at times but then we accomplish it and walk ahead with head held high.

There would have been someone who would have had fear to fall from the sky, yet they invented airplane, someone would have had the fear to sink, yet they would have achieved depths inside the ocean, someone would have been afraid to climb the mountains, yet they faced the storms and reached the peak.

To sum it all up, sky is limit for any of us- just face your fear and March ahead in life with head held high and leaving footprints behind and creating wonderful memories through the journey!!!


“Hey! You missed the U-turn!” Startled, I told Anuj. It was one of those pleasure bike rides which Anuj and I used to take whenever we had loads to talk about or on the days when there was simply nothing to chat about. We used to head towards the Rajpur Road in Dehradun and take a u-turn when the road diverged. The straight road headed to Mussoorie , a hill station and so was a hilly terrain.  Anuj knew I was scared of the zig-zag bends and that too on a bike was just off limits for me.

But today, Anuj was heading straight and it seemed my voice was falling on deaf ears. “Since you are afraid of hilly terrain on bike, I am going to remove that fear in you today”, he said finally. I sat, stunned and thought it’s going to be the last day of my life! My heart would sink on every blind turn that we took. We had crossed the halfway to the hill station and I thought this mad guy is going to take me to Mussoorie. But, to be honest, I gradually had started enjoying this adventurous ride. The cool breeze and the picturesque view faded away my fears. When I told him that I am not afraid anymore, he stopped the bike to return back.

Years later, when we came together in the wedlock, we had to take a flight. Yes, that was my another  fear- fear of flying! I dreaded vomiting and nausea feeling. But, even during the turbulent weather, I was perfectly fine (though I didn’t leave Anuj’s hand and kept chanting my prayer)!

One thing that my life partner has taught me is to overcome a fear by facing it.  You are afraid of your fear because you don’t know what it is like. The moment you experience it, you overcome it.

You will laugh if I tell you that I was afraid of getting pregnant because of vomiting throughout and the labor pains at the time of delivery. Yet, I managed to overcome these fears and had 2 normal deliveries!

There’s a brilliant bollywood movie- Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara which inspires you to overcome your fears by dealing with them. It tells us that we have, but one life, so don’t be afraid, just let it go…