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.

 

MAKE A DIFFERENCE

I stopped reading the newspaper long time back. With the news full of scams, murders, rapes and corruption, it makes all of us feel helpless and resigned. “Nothing can change this country” – we say and get on with our daily routines. This feeling of resignation makes us blind. It makes us somebody who is only ready to blame and not take any responsibility. It makes us blame the authorities, government, neighbours, schools, colleges and youngsters – basically everybody other than the people living under our own houses.

As a kid, I saw my father make a difference to a small community when he first started a waste management program. I saw him work hard, toil his days only in educating people about segregating waste. That step of his was a huge inspiration for me. Waste segregation not only made our colony cleaner but it helped those poor rag-pickers who got clean dry waste to be recycled. He changed a few lives and inspired many.

I grew up and came to Bangalore. I joined a few NGO’s. I soon found that here work was being done even at a bigger scale. Providing learning skills to underprivileged kids, teaching English and Computers to underprivileged kids, working on waste segregation at a much larger scale, basic sex education to kids and working against child sexual abuse – I have largely touched these areas while working with many people. I realised that world is full of passionate and enthusiastic people who are not resigned but all ready to make a difference at their own scale.

I belong to a sikh family and in Sikhism, we are taught to do “Seva” (service) to the mankind. There have been times in my childhood when I used to go with my parents and sister to a gurudwara (Sikh temple) just to do seva there. It could be anything – polishing shoes of the people who have come to visit, serving food to those who have to come to eat, clean and sweep the whole area, etc. As a kid, I used to enjoy it because there were other kids and my sister and we used to have loads of fun. As I grew older, I learnt more and more the importance of it. I was a school topper and a vice captain because of it there might have been a bit of arrogance in me. But as the Sunday arrived and I polished shoes of those strangers and served food to those who are not even fortunate to go to a private school – the experience brought me to the right level of humility.

This is what art of giving is all about. It about feeling humble and feeling human. I have gone to old age homes for volunteering and the feeling that I get after an old lady says that she wished her daughter was like me – is worth a million dollars. It touches you right through. It is the perfect way of forgetting all of your petty problems in life and believe that there are indeed a million people who need you. As part of a program, I have taught English to young college kids (from lesser privileged backgrounds) with the intention to help them look for a job for themselves. Even today when I get a call from one of my students telling me that she got placed in another company as an accountant – I feel special.

I read somewhere – the right time to do service is just anytime but the best time to do service is when you are at the highest point in your life. Just when you got that promotion or you got a 40% hike or you bought that villa you always wanted to buy or you bought that super expensive sports car – that is the time when you should sign up for a program and volunteer to help those who are in a need. Donating money is also service but not an effective service, because you can never keep track of your money. And by donating money you will never get a feeling of giving. You must give your TIME. And when you spend time in service while being at your highest highs – you will be brought back to ground and humility. You will know in reality of what kind of sufferings people go through and that happiness is not that promotion, villa or car. Happiness is being in touch with the real souls.

It is easy to sit at home and blame the government or the authorities for not doing what you expect. It is very difficult to take it up in your hands and do the bit of your contribution. I loved what Aamir Khan said in Satyamev Jayate, he said that there are a billion burning issues in this country called India… child labour, infanticides, waste hazards, child sexual abuses, etc. Just take up one issue that is close to your heart and try to make a difference to it. If you are really passionate about it, you will go to just any level to get that issue eradicated from our society. And the best part is that in the process you will inspire many more to join you and take your mission forward with you. You will realise just how many people are willing to work on it – they are just waiting for the right leaders. You don’t have to be politician or a policy maker to make a difference. Just get out of your comfortable homes and start working on that one issue that is close to your heart. In a country of 1 billion people, even if 10% of us take up a cause and a mission to bring about a change, corrupt politicians will be weakened.

There are a lot of people who are doing a lot for their society, who have made it a mission of their lives to make a difference to the people who are not even related to them. Some of them are known by a few people in their colonies, other in their states and some go on to win noble prizes for that. It depends what scale do you want to work on? Start small and get inspired!