IT COMMENCED WITH A COMMENT

https://world4womencom.wordpress.com/2016/04/15/should-learn-to-say-no/?preview=true

Above mentioned is a link to my first ever blog on WordPress platform dated 15th April 2016 “Should Learn To Say No“. My post followed many congratulatory comments on Facebook page and other social media which I am part of. But one comment that not only caught my attention but handed over me delight and made me ponder over the thought “how different you can think yet stay effectively relatable with masses”. Giving you all a glimpse of the comment that earmarked my journey on board with Candles Online.

The man you see there is the reason why I am writing this 😁, Mr.Chiradeep Patra, founder of Candles Online with a motive of igniting thoughtfulness thereby warding off the darkness of ignorance.

15 years and counting, a beautiful family virtually and emotionally connected and innumerable posts on various issues concerning the human psyche, behaviour, relationships, tendencies, their societal effects, social issues on micro and macro levels, questions hovering in our minds pertaining to the purpose of our existence, identity and how the almighty chose to answer them….. basically everything under the sun that matters A LOT. Apart from the serious issues it highlights there’s a fun facet too – humourous articles mostly real life experiences of the writers, short story challenges (shortest being 7 lines story), poetry weeks, story relays (don’t miss out on them), caption challenges, personal interviews and a lot more – just as a whip of fresh air when things are embroiling all around us with seriousness, negativity and gloom. Whatever the tone of the writer is or issue being spoken about is here at Candles one thing that is never taken for granted. It’s the “underlining message” that is being conveyed. Our writing should drive home a point, set the thinking wheels of the minds of the readers churning, communicate effectively.

So coming back to my journey with Candles family – it’s been fantastic to say the least. I remember my first post on Candles Online was “Reinventing – makeover of inner self” (link mentioned below). And it started with a bang!!! No it wasn’t that great but I made a goof up. Here in Candles we have a set time of publishing articles and they get published only after the administrator reads them, gives a nod to go ahead. In fact its him/her only who pushes the “publish” button if every criteria is met – language, tone, message. And novelty in writing is always welcomed. And I surpassed every such regulation by self publishing it. I still remember the fiasco it caused, how it was retrieved to be re-published. Then my co-writer , Aastha explained how it works on Candles. I must say – lesson learnt😁.

https://candlesonline.wordpress.com/2016/06/01/reinventing-makeover-of-inner-self/?preview=true

What I have learnt? Or let’s put it this way – What Candles taught me. Makes more sense, I guess. Since June 2016 I have been regularly (almost) writing for Candles. To be Frank with you all, I am procrastinator of highest order. That’s the reason after a good start on my personal blog I slowed down miserably. But my commitment to write once a week to Candles kept the writer in me alive. It not only furnished me with topics to ponder over and write about but pushed my thinking abilities, to present in a different manner about the things everyone already knew. “Thinking out of the box” I would say is Candles gift to me. At least I tried to think, and trials do succeed at some point of time, what say? Deadlines kept me on my toes which I would say is a good contribution to my life.

What excited me? We, the writers on Candles online have a WhatsApp group with the same name. Apart from the commotion of topic discussions we used to have poll results for “Best Article Of The Week” adjudged by the number of views and other criterion. That was really exciting for me. This in fact gave me the impetus to write better (excuse me for this little unapologetic competitive streak in me🙈😁).

Best Article So Far (going purely by views) : I am not sure how good it is but even after a couple of years this article has been posted I still see views coming everyday leaving me to chuckle and astonished at the same time – don’t know how 🤷‍♀️. Link mentioned below:

https://candlesonline.wordpress.com/2017/08/16/marriage-for-you-a-bond-or-bondage/?preview=true

About the Candles Family: Can you ever judge your family? I guess no, but I don’t have to. Co-writers by status, sweethearts by nature, family by bond – do I need to say more. @chiradeepnf @aastharao @aditirranade @avinashdas @kuljeetsaini @prabhjotvarsha @praditachandola @preetacreations @sakhibansal @sizzlybizzly @sonyr1 @sreepriyamenon – few names to mention that cheered me up, motivated me, been together in thicks and thins, making my journey with Candles a memorable one, one that I yearn for, one that I would continue in future too.

Last thing to say before I sign off: Thank you is a small word for what you have done for me Candles : made me realise “I am never Nothing”. I thank that moment when I accepted your proposal to join Candles Online @chiradeepnf. Hope this union nurtures further strong in future.

Stay blessed.

 

Music Or Chair – What’s Your Choice?

“The wheels on the bus go round and round, round and round, round and round; The wheels on the bus go round and round all through the town” and the music stops and kids fight their way to get a place on the insufficient number of chairs placed in a circular configuration.

And we call it “Musical Chairs”, a fun game we all have seen and been a part of. As the number of chairs decrease the competition gets intense. Some physical dribbles, some sulking faces, few sportive acceptances, few angry stomping – all for that coveted chair of winner 😁😁.

Well that’s all fun but have a close liaison with our life, just need a deeper look, let’s have a look then.

The fight for chairs isn’t just a game in the birthday parties but a reality of our desire driven lives. Comparison with fellow human being is constantly fueling the competitive streak (not always a good spirited one though) in us. Success, position, power – the Chairs we are fighting for and resorting to every tactic we could. These chairs are placed high and have a pyramidal structure beneath them, paving a way to reach them and have two directions for the summit – one a long one and the other obviously the antonym for the previous one.

If hard work, patience, strong will, perseverance, honesty, optimism are the stairs to climb and reach the “High Chair” then deceit & envy are the second direction we were talking about earlier that can place us in a jiffy in the place we are eyeing for (remember the dribble/push/pull in the musical chairs?).

The stairs we take to climb here are surprisingly the raw material for the “Chairs” we long for. While the previous list gives us a durable product with an added perk of Goodwill that aides reconstruction in case of an accident which is a norm of an uncertain life. Success, Position, Power – all might get wiped out but with a great character a human being is always up on his feet and starts head on.

On contrary if a person takes the other route then the termites of fear, ego, greed and arrogance enter the legs of the chair we rest on, corroding it to the core from deep within. When the chair crashes the hurt is deep and probably beyond repair.

A close encounter:  Talking about the choices we make, makes me remember a snack maker from my childhood in our neighbourhood.  When we moved to that particular neighbourhood it wasn’t a busy quarter. Provisions, services were scarcely developed there and slowly evolving. So a snack maker started a small business in that area. He used to make wonderful snacks that we loved to devour. He had a good market in the absence of a stringent competition.  He was comfortable in his “Chair”.  Since change is thy life, slowly other entrepreneurs started making their space in that area. In the wake of losing out market share to them this particular snack maker started the “business” deviating from the path he chose. His quality, quantity of food deteriorated, prices soared (which is still understandable in the wake of market changes and if had been the food was great). His greed to keep the position of a higher market share purported him to take the easy steps to attain the goal. Something close to the game of musical chairs we were discussing, isn’t it?

A recurring question: A strong belief that only losers preach or put it the other way round, preaching is only for the losers. I am no one to question or answer this – a candid confession! But the question that needs to be graced with deep introspection – Are Desires Completely Undesirable/ Unacceptable? Answer is NO. If desires of a person are acting as a fulcrum for his/her upliftment, if they pave a way for greater good and emancipation of many more then they are surely a necessary driving force. BUT ( noticed the emphasis?) if our desires are robbing us of sanity, peace of mind, values and inspire us to stoop to any level to reach the zenith (a mirage), then we better leave the game and enjoy the music instead.

There’s always another party and game to play and music is there anyways, so enjoy on a reclining chair with your hair down, what say 😁.

 

ARE YOU READY TO ROCK WITH YOUR SHOES ON?

I remember as a small boy when I hear my parents or elders announce a fun trip of my interest, I get ready within no time. And the usual comment I used to get from them was like, “Uhmm… Babu, Jota Ffotta Pindhiki ekdum ready (Aha! The boy is already dressed and ready with suit and boot). But I don’t used to get the same remark when I get ready for my school or was asked to visit a place that was not of my interest. They used to literally keep pushing me to make me get ready for the same. In fact, I used to hear shouts at my back, “Did you wear the shoe as yet or not?”

We always wear a shoe at the end after we get dressed fully before we start a journey leaving our comfort zone, our home. A shoe tied well around our feet implies that we are ready or prepared to set out.

So many times, in our life we must have been challenged to do something against our will or against our mental preparedness forcibly and eventually we fail to achieve or accomplish something that we were expected of. So, preparedness matters in everything we do, both mentally as well as physically.

In army fraternity, the discipline they follow from the day one, trains each one of them to stay prepared for an emergency situation inside or outside their country. That is why, when they are asked to leave their comfort zones, they do it at once, without hesitation, without asking any questions.

The Bible so appropriately says,

No one serving in the military gets mixed up in civilian matters, for his aim is to please his commanding officer.

That is called mental preparedness, stuffed with obedience and humility.

I am always reprimanded for my laid-back attitude. Being laid-back or sloppy is just the opposite preparedness. I know, I have suffered and struggled for being sloppy in my life, I truly regret it. But I am striving to stay read or prepared wearing my shoes around my feet well before the arrival of worst days.

Keeping aside the personal level of preparedness if I want to give an example of a larger scale then I would love to mention the preparedness of Odisha Govt. during different cyclones that the state faced in the past. I can proudly say, that the state of Odisha has always been prepared for any cyclone after it suffered a lot in the past.

There were reports, that before cyclone Phailin hit the coastal regions of Odisha, there was a record-breaking evacuation took place to safeguard human lives and the state Govt was highly praised for their preparedness. Even during cyclone Fani in 2019 the report says the same thing about the promptness of Odisha govt., unlike to the loss of human lives in 1999 super-cycle because of the unpreparedness.

This is just an example of state level preparedness but coming back to the individual level if we look around, we can find ample number of such examples that make us understand how preparedness can help us at difficult times.

In closing, I wonder, if I am prepared when I am needed to stand in the gap between a father and a son and be the agent of reconciliation! I wonder, if I am prepared to stoop down to the level of a poor and deprived and lift him up from down! I wonder, if I am ready to wear the shoes of someone else and understand the pain the other person is going through!

I wonder, if someone is still saying at my back, “Aha! The boy is already dressed and ready with his suit and boot”!

Stay Blessed!

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!

Quote of the day

Don’t measure the distance in miles covered or hindrances faced, rather take an account of what has been achieved and what yet to achieve. That would keep you moving.

Quote of the day

To cover miles, trend slowly.

WAS IT MEANT TO BE?

Was our story meant to end the way it did –

  Was it meant to begin, to begin with?

 

You once said you can walk miles with me by your side –

 Was the journey meant to end because the path was rough?

 

You once said let’s get closer –

Were the distances meant to be drawn because of distant destinations?

 

You said once that your eyes long to see me –

Was my heart meant to yearn for you forever?

 

You once said life is to live –

Were my feelings meant to be paralyzed because of your rejection?

 

You once said happiness is to see me smile –

Were my tears meant to go down unnoticed?

 

You once said our togetherness is meant to be cherished for a lifetime –

Are your memories meant to haunt me throughout my life?

 

I am still carrying the baggage of a broken relationship, nursing a broken heart and still asking myself – Was It Meant To Be?