I AM IN THE SPOTLIGHT – Prerna

First of all, I would like to say, this idea of answering the questionnaire was quite unexpected. For me, it came as a surprise. When I came to know about this idea, I was like let’s see whose questionnaire comes into my account. So, I got Kalpana’s questionnaire. However, none of us knew whose questionnaire we will have and who’s going to have ours. But I am really happy with what I got.

1. Is there another side to you, whom we can only dream to know?

Well all of us have our private life. This private life is not shared with anybody. To world I am an outspoken, intimidating and bold person. My image is of a straightforward and I get to hear so many times that my attitude is harsh.

But only a few know how empathic and emotional I am. It really disturbs me to see any human or any animal in pain. I feel as if I am going through the pain. Every time I see people or animals in pain, the only question to the Almighty is, “Why can’t you take away their miseries?”

I like keeping this side of mine hidden. Only few can know but now I have answered this question and so it is no longer hidden.

2. The proudest moment of your life?

Actually, I am still waiting for it, I guess. There were some moments when I was proud. Recently, it was when I came to know, a guy started to write after getting inspired by my writings. And this really means a lot to me. 

3. Have you ever regretted helping someone, I mean anyone whom you realized later isn’t worthy of your time?

Yes, I did. Not once but several times. As I said, I am empathic and so I help those who are in need of help in every possible way. But it’s not necessary others will be like us. Initially, I do whatever I can do for the person who needs help. Eventually, I get to know the one whom I helped wasn’t worth it. It makes me sad at first but then I realize, not everyone is intended to stay in our life. 

4. If not present profession you are in, then what you would have been?

This question is really interesting. And I like it the most. During our childhood, all of us thought about being whatever seemed exciting and interesting to us. Well, I genuinely wanted to pursue law as my career but due to some circumstances, I couldn’t. Although I am fine with what I have now but I wanted to be a lawyer. 

Interestingly, when I was in my teenage, I wanted to be a student at Hogwarts- The school of witchcraft and wizardry (according to the famous Harry Potter series). Even now, when I am a grown-up, I still wish for the same. I know it’s fictional but I wish it was true. 

5. Your greatest weapon/trick up your sleeve that never fails you, whatever you do?

I think it’s my confidence and my fearlessness. These two behaviours of mine have always helped me in achieving what I truly wish for. Whenever I feel, I have no choice but to give my best, then my confidence and fearlessness never lets me down. 

6. If you are given a chance to change one thing about yourself, what it would be?

Actually, 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 but yes if there really is a chance, I would like to change my impulsive attitude. I would change it into a very calm and serene attitude. 

7. Your Inspiration to write?

The credit for my inspiration to write goes to my urge to express my thoughts. I can never walk to a person and speak my heart. This is because I am a reserved person when it comes to expressing feelings. Only few can know and those few may or may not be always with me. Therefore I thought the best way to express is to write what I feel. Moreover, I loved reading, so it also counts to the inspiration. 

8. Intelligence (smartness) or honesty that could land you in soup- what’s your pick?

I would go for intelligence. An intelligent person is the one who can win over any situation. Intelligence always attracts me and I consider it to be the most prized possession. 

9. What is your biggest regret in life?

I think everybody has some regrets in their life. So do me. The biggest regret that I have is not one but two. The first regret that I have is: I had a pet named Bruno. Bruno was a small and an adorable puppy. To me, he was like a bundle of joy. The first time I saw him, I couldn’t stop myself from holding that little being into my arms. I used to cuddle him and together we would muffle in my blanket. One day, after feeding him I went on to the washroom without knowing that the door was open. Bruno went out and met with an accident. The poor being was slowly and excruciatingly moving towards death. All I could do was cry bitterly and pray for his painless and easy death. Had I been a bit cautious, my pet would have been with me. 

The second one is: It was the time when I was moving to a hostel for the first time. I hugged my parents and my brother before going. My grandmother was also there. She handed me a little bag full of some fruits and the snacks that she made for me. I touched her feet and took her blessing. I wanted to hug her but I don’t know why I didn’t. This was the last time I saw her alive. She died 22 days later due to cancer. This shook me and till today I feel sorry for not hugging her one last time. I could have told her, how much I love her and what does she means to me. But I didn’t. 

10. Which lane of time you want to visit and stay there forever?

Life is all about moving along with the time. It is not wise to hold on to our past no matter how beautiful it was. There were many beautiful phases in my life to which I am really very thankful, as well as there are many more to come. Also, we should look forward to what’s next. Therefore, instead of wishing to visit a lane of time and staying there forever, I would choose to wait for upcoming moments. However, sometimes I imagine how good it would it be to look at my writings and relive these days.

Thanks, Kalpana, your questions were really brain-storming. Though unintentionally but you succeeded in knowing my secrets. During answering these questions, I really felt like being in an interview. This was so nice.

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I AM IN THE SPOTLIGHT – Kalpana

Avinash’s Questionnaire

1. What does life mean to you?

I don’t want to sound too preachy by quoting lines like “life is a book, read it”; “life is a journey, finish it” blah blah blah ( a secret: I used these lines while learning MS Office for practising fonts 😁).  To put it straightforward life can never be defined by a set of words, at least by me. It is only meant to live and register your experiences at every step.

2. What matters the most in life for you?

Happiness, as it makes life worthy of living.  I strongly believe in the concept of “sarvejana sukhino bhavantu” which means “everyone should be happy“.  Everyone includes my immediate family, my neighbours, fellow countrymen and so on. For we are social animals and can’t lead a peaceful life in solitude when others around us are unhappy, period!

3. How to discover the destiny of our life?

Let life take its own course! The only way to discover the destiny of your life is to make the next move and see how it unfolds.  One should constantly do his / her duty (Karma).  See, at this point I don’t know where I would be standing 5-10 years down the lane though I might be having few plans running but uncertainty hovers all along.  So shall I hold back myself from doing my part as I am oblivious about the future/ destiny/ the outcome? NO. Destiny is for a journey and no journey can be finished if you are stationary.

4. How do you shape your life to reach the goals of your life?

You should have asked this question to an achiever 😁 but nevertheless, I have a simple theory for this:

  • Identifying your weakness (mine is lethargy of higher order 😉) and acceptance is the key.
  • Be ready to accept/assimilate knowledge from everywhere. Learning should be a never-ending process.

5. How do you retreat your regret?

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. 😁

6. Why do I need God when I have everything?

Let “Everything” you have, formulate air and water for you to survive, then you surely won’t need God.  Do get back to me with your answer.

“God is the way of life”.

7. Is pleasure the ultimate meaning of life for you? 

Definition of pleasure differs from person to person.  For me, pleasure (Ananda) is a state of mind where materialistic gain or loss doesn’t impact you.  It’s a point of indifference towards worldly matters and a constant pursuit of the light guiding us. If you ask me then I won’t hesitate to say “Yes”, Yes pleasure is the ultimate meaning of life.

8. Is Godliness possible to maintain in earthly life or it is illusionary?

It’s important to define what’s my understanding of Godliness – wish good for others, do good in your capacity, so I believe it’s definitely possible on this earth in this abode.

9. Can integrity be compromised?

Absolutely Not. Let me give you a simple example… My father used to say that he came across people in his life who proposed to give money to him to know the status of their case files or to give a push to the same (though a handful) but he refused as politely as he could.  He believed money earned in scrupulous ways could buy you fortunes but the serenity of soul and peace of mind goes in smoke.  You can’t sleep without the fear of being caught, guilt makes its way for sure into your heart which is unhealthy.  Then why trend that way?

Hope you got the answer! Integrity is a MUST.  Had integrity not been an integral part of our life then there would be no difference between how we see Dr. Abdul Kalaam and Vijay Malya, the scam master, isn’t it?

10. What can I carry after my death?

I surely can’t carry anything but only leave. A name to be remembered – with love or hatred depends upon the course of my journey. I surely want to leave many parables to be talked about.

Avinash! I can bet my life that this is the most difficult questionnaire I have ever answered.  It reflects your zest for life. Kudos to you.

I AM IN THE SPOTLIGHT – Avinash

Saakshi’s Questionnaire:

  1. If you could completely eliminate one vice and one virtue from the world, what would you choose?

Ans: I thank you for being gracious and keeping “IF” at the beginning of your question. The current population of our world is 7.2 billion and I am just the one!

Jokes apart, I don’t think I would ever like to eliminate any Virtue as such. If I will eliminate a virtue then what will be the replacement for it? A VICE again?

But yes, “If I could” eliminate a vice, then that would be “the Ignorance in human heart regarding the sovereignty of God”. Initially, a man does wrong in the ignorance of his heart and when he is aware of his wrong deed he never repeats it as we all want to be right in every sphere of our life. To be in the right place we need the help of the one who is always right but we are always ignorant of this truth and I want to remove that ignorance from the hearts of people.   

  1. What is the easiest way to win your heart?

Ans: Oh… I have to reveal the secret! Hmm… I love honest and caring people. Because people are always available either to appreciate you or to criticize you but rarely we find those honest and caring hearts who shows you your mistakes and offers a caring hand to lead you to the right path.  

  1. How important is the concept of Marriage to you?

Ans: My dear friend, why are you so hurry to dig the grave of your bachelor friend as some of my family members are also in the reader’s group!

Anyway, on a serious note, I would say, Marriage is the most essential and the most sacred institution of every human life. Both the words Woman/Female is incomplete without the word Man/Male and again looking at the chronological side, the creation of Man/Male is incomplete without a Woman/Female. Marriage not only meets the physical need of a Man or Woman rather it also meets the emotional, mental and spiritual needs of each other. In the marital life of our parents, we have seen the fulfilment of this truth. Though my Dad is a very strong hearted person yet whenever he feels low it is my Mom who has understood his emotional ramification and has given the most honest, trustworthy and diligent support. A human’s emotional brokenness always results in his physical and mental outlook and at that point, it is only a spouse who offers a caring hand sacrificing everything. My Mother has always given a backseat to everything/everyone when it is caring for my Father. Last but the foremost is about meeting the Spiritual need, God is never pleased with the utterance of sacred words or the works in our worship, it is only the deepest cry of our heart with total submission and undivided attention in seeking His help that pleases Him. Only a SPOUSE who can pray such a prayer for his/her life partner.

Bible says, “The biggest need God saw in Man after creating him is WOMAN. So God created Woman taking a rib of man and the man said to God, this is now the bone of my bones and the flesh of my flesh. She shall be called ‘woman’ for she was taken out of man’”.

Marriage as a whole is our Total Commitment – Utmost Holiness in Relationship – Honesty in Behaviour – Humility of Heart – Trustworthiness in Dependence on our Spouses. And the LOVE holds it all.

  1. If you were allowed to go back and change one thing from your past, what would you pick and why?

Ans: I know the time machine only exists on our stupid box screen such as the biggest fantasy series of 20’s on Indian Television screen ‘Shaktiman’! So I would like to answer you this way that, the regret of my life is wasted years of my late teens and early twenties when I just took my life casually and lived it on my own terms. I wish my life won’t have ever become the piles of a stumbling block to anyone. Because everyone’s life is too precious and we should never be the reason of the mess of their life rather we should live our life on Godly standards and impact people to live their life on Godly standards as well.

  1. What are your prime strength and your main weakness?

Ans: Ma’am, do you know someone once said “Girls are too wise in questioning” and you hold a bonus – the mind like Einstein, “Question Everything”!

My Prime Strength Undoubtedly is God because without Him I have no strength to carry out anything. Apart from that, I am creative, very honest and caring. I can adjust in any situation.  

And my weaknessTo be honest, my gadgets (Laptop and especially my phone). Now, I am trying to work on it because being too much attached to them is not good.  

  1. Is there any one person in the world with whom you would like to change your life with?

Ans: If you are asking about exchanging my life with some great noble characters like Mother Teresa, Abdul Kalam, Abraham Lincon or Adoniram Judson, then I would say, it would be unfair to change our lives with them. Rather we need to understand the “Purpose of our life” and live for it with total commitment because that’s what they have also done in their life. Which means, instead of exchanging my life I would love to learn from them. What do you say!

  1. We all have one perfect memory in our life, what was your perfect moment in life?

Ans: I have already shared it in a couple of my articles. Now in nutshell, it is “14th March 2011, 7 PM”. I would say that was the perfect moment of my life and I can never forget each second of that day ever. If I would be able to draw a picture of my own life then that would be the day of “U-turn” in my life.    

  1. What are three materialistic things you can’t live without?

Ans: Yes, I can say, it will be quite uncomfortable for me to live for more than a couple of days without my morning Tea, my Smartphone and my Hair Cream and Body spray.  

  1. Have you ever stolen something? If yes, then what?

Ans: Trust me Saakshi, I’m not a Chor (Thief)! There is no F.I.R in my name. Till date, I am a good Indian citizen. Why do you want to seize my citizenship?

Yes, throughout my childhood I was noted for stealing sweets in my family. My mom used to wonder why all our guests used to bring half empty packets of sweets to our home. 

  1. If you could replace one body part with a super bionic replacement what body part and what features would the new bionic replacement have?

Ans: I am satisfied with what I am. But I am really interested in your brain surgery just to see what causes you to ask such horrible questions.

At the end just to add something of value which comes to my mind right now that, human life is filled with questions and confusions which is good! It reveals our finite knowledge and the need for dependency on the infinite and eternal first cause – GOD!

The Bible says,

“For the LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.”

God bless you my dear friend Saakshi!

I AM IN THE SPOTLIGHT – Aastha

When the task came-up, I was not really into it. I thought our Charlie (Chiradeep) would choose whose questions I would be answering and vice versa. No, he brought his mark into the activity, by asking us to choose a number not knowing to whom that number belongs to and accordingly I get the questionnaire. When he asked me to choose a number, I was heartfully wishing to get Rajnandini’s questionnaire to answer. Woah!! I got hers.

Firstly, thank you Rajnandini. I loved your questions. They are quite thoughtful. Now, I think it’s time for me to start penning down my answers.

Rajnandini’s Questionnaire:

  • Apart from brushing your teeth, what is that one other thing which is a ‘must-do-without-fail’ for you every day?

OMG, is brushing must?? Oh-no, am I missing something important that I should be doing every day? Just kidding. Well, this was an easy question to answer. The entire world can flip upside down but I would never stay without talking to my father. Only network connectivity can come in between our communication. It could be only a few seconds in a day, but that gives me ultimate satisfaction.

  • What is the most valuable treasure in your life?

I believe that the most valuable treasures are within us (human beings). No one can steal them or destroy them. Memories, those are what I treasure the most. Memories make me feel hopeful and alive. It is those memories that really help me feel good about my life today and every day…

  • What is the purpose of your life? Ever given it a thought?

I don’t know if there is some enlightenment that happens to some people so that they know what that purpose is. I have no idea what mine might be …

  • How do you respond to criticism and ridicule?

Honestly, it depends on the critic :-). If the critic is knowledgeable enough then I consider it quite seriously, otherwise I take it on the lighter side. It infuriates me when idiots criticize. I usually think over what might have made them say/feel so, those might be my weak points. Hence, I work on getting better.

  • How do you unwind/de-stress yourself?

Work-related stress isn’t a problem at all, but if there is stress on the personal front, I feel very unsettling. I go on a walk to the nearest park, listen to good music or watch some sci-fi movies… If it takes more than these to feel better, I cry. It does help me get over it.

  • Given an opportunity to meet a great personality of your choice, whom would you like to meet? And, what would you tell him/her?

I would love to meet Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu, our very own Mother Teresa. I may actually be speechless after I see her. I would love to spend a day with her only to observe and learn… I know she is no more, can I time travel ??

  • Relationships world over are getting brittle by the day. What in your opinion could be the problem at large (apart from specifics)?

The answer is something we all know. 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.

  • There are different belief systems and different philosophies as to what happens after death. What do you want to happen to you after you die?

Death is the ultimate truth. It could come through the door one day to knock us out of our life without prior notice. My thought stops at death, beyond death whatever happens or can happen is of no value to me.

  • Science teaches us the theory of evolution. I’m sure you would have studied it in school and maybe even in college. However, evolution and creation are complete contrasts. Leaving academics aside, what do you personally believe in – evolution or creation and why?

I believe in nature and so evolution… I don’t think human beings can match the universe’s creativity no matter how hard we try. We do not even know about it completely.

  • What is the one thing you desire to do during your lifetime?

There is a strong craving in me to be loved and be understood at a deeper level. It would take another person who really wants to look into me, which is not in my hands. So, meanwhile what is that I can do??? One day, I aspire to be a torchbearer for a change, a positive change that would make this world a better place. I am working on it.

I AM IN THE SPOTLIGHT – Chiradeep

1. Rajnandini: In the little more than four decades of your life, do you have any regrets? If so, what are they? If not, why?

Ans: Rajnandini, I know you hit the button which literally got me stuck and still at a point where I have to think well about what to and how to answer this question. 

Regrets are many, truly, but sharing them all might be fatal because we rarely know the end result of everything. Being human our decisions and responses are always premature ones so I won’t call them regrets though sometimes I regret about a few things. 

Now to answer your question I can say, I hate the time that I wasted away for unproductive and addictive actions and works undertaken by me to satiate my earthly needs. I have deep regrets for all those times that I had lost and will never get back ever again. However, regretting those actions are not fatal. 

2. Aditi Ranade: What is the toughest lesson life has taught you?

Ans: Tough lessons are many but one that I struggled with the most was allowing too many distractions and interruptions in my most vital relationships. I learnt instead of giving attention to many relationships/friendships it is better to groom the fewer ones. Thanks a lot for this question dost, Aditi.

3. Deepa Kartik: Do you like to be in the spotlight?

Ans: Yo yo Deepa, Bingo. Yeah, I love being in the Spotlight, love attention and being the centre of attraction. But truly speaking, it never drives me or controls me or motivates me to stay tuned or be focussed to what I love to do always – ‘listen & talk to people’.

4. Prerna Aditi: What does ‘a day spent well’ means to you?

Ans: I loved this question. I would say it is a very intelligent and interesting question, Prerna. 

A day spent well for me will be when I get to listen and talk to people those who need it desperately. Knowing and understanding a heart, a mind is my greatest hobby and passion. And I simply love and enjoy doing it. So when I get to do that and feel that someone is benefitted from and in my presence I feel very satisfied.

5. Prabhjot: How long do you think you can survive without your smart
phone and laptop???

Ans: Hahaha! If you can survive, then I can… forever. But if people around me have those extra chunks in their mouths then can I be with an empty mouth?

Now, ‘refraining from my smart things‘, if that’s what you are asking then I would say, I can survive only two days maximum. 

6. Geetmalini: When was the last time you tried something new?

Ans: Decades ago, Geet. I have become extremely dull and boring. Yeah, finding new writers and bringing them to us almost every month, but something new has not happened in my life for a long time. 

It is a very thought-provoking question and it makes me ponder about trying out something fresh. 

7. Saakshi: What three desires would you fulfil if you have infinite wealth at your disposal?

Ans: “Infinite wealth” is a flawed thought. Wealth itself is earthly and thus finite. 

Anyway, let me answer your question…

First, I would have bought the best house in the world for me and my loved ones. 

Secondly, I would have travelled all over the world.

Thirdly, I would have set up the best counselling centre of the world where the people in need would have come, enjoyed the stay, played, prayed together, interacted, got counselled by the best of counsellors and would have gone home healed and comforted. 

8. Kalpana: What do you do for recreation, for relaxing, for calming down yourself, apart from praying that I know well?

Ans: I knew you might ask that, Kalpana. For recreation and relaxing I watch T.V. or surf interesting websites for ideas. And for calming myself down I prefer to Talk to my favourite people, Divert my focus from ME to OTHERS and sleep.

9. Preeta: What’s the best thing you cherished from your childhood?

Ans: A cosy family, adorable siblings and cousins and a host of angelic friends at every stage of my life. 

Yeah, Crowd . . . People are what I cherished and cherishing from my childhood till now, Preeta.

10. Aastha: What is your definition of happiness?

Ans: Why does my sister always ask me difficult questions??? I can only try what I know and feel.

Amid all kinds of pain, suffering, problems and sorrows it is very difficult to say that I am happy or I am capable of defining happiness… As it is not just an English word but a condition of a human.

Yet, I would say I still managed to be happy most of the time despite my ailments, my problems and my sorrows… Because I stay content with what I have, I love and believe in the act of giving than receiving, I don’t compare myself with others and most importantly I depend on and trust in God for everything. 

So answering the question I would define happiness as “a state of being contented without comparing or living with self-pity but leading a generous life, trusting in the God Almighty in every situation“.   

Hope, I have answered all the questions satisfactorily. I would love to hear from all of my examiners and know how much I scored in the exam. 😛

Thanks to all of you who asked me these beautiful questions. I thoroughly enjoyed answering them.

Stay blessed!

LAUNCHING OF ‘FACE 2 FACE WITH CHIRADEEP’

I have a longing to understand human heart. I love people. I love human emotions and the way it reflects somebody’s inner self. Knowing or understanding a fellow human heart to heart is the most fascinating thing in the entire universe according to me.

I had a desire that I would interview people from different walks of life. And Candles Online is the best thing that happened in my life on which I thought of launching it in this web platform.

So finally, Candles Online launched a new column called, “Face 2 Face” as a new page yesterday. By clicking on that page, you will find the current interview on the top, and a list of interviews at the bottom of that page. There will be pages of different interviews under the main page “Face 2 Face”.

I chose my childhood friend Smruti who is a mother of two and a great homemaker as our first guest to be interviewed. She was amazingly honest, truthful and humorous while replying all my queries. Read her interview to understand and learn very important lessons regarding marriage, parenting and family by clicking HERE.

In coming days, I would be interviewing many more interesting personalities from all over the world including my co-authors of Candles Online.

If you have something very special to share with the whole world then you can approach me and I would love to see if I can interview you as well.

Don’t forget to click on the page: Face 2 Face… 😉

Stay Blessed!