Candles Online

This time I took long to announce the winner but this time there were 25 entries and it was difficult for me to decide which one was the best. All entries were fabulous and I thank all of you to participate enthusiastically. There were few Biblical metaphors and a Bible verse which can’t be compared with other entries so they are not considered though they were absolutely fitting for the picture.

Following are the captions for the picture:

Ashrita Saran: “Arise and step out from where you are to where you need to be!”

Amiya Kumar: “Arise and awake…Be ready for struggle…But life is not an empty.” dream…make it sublime!

Kalpana Kameshwari Vogeti: “Your cocoon is no doubt comfortable but there’s more to life beyond that!”

Pratikshya Priyadarshini: “Break-through 

Smruti Rekha Patra: You will never know your real self unless you break through…

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Candles Online

I never knew that morning when I logged in to Yahoo, restless and in dire need of some interaction, some distraction, that it was my lucky day and it will bring me to someone who was going to become a pivotal indispensable part of my life.

I was going through the darkest of patches of my life, living every day as a mannequin goes through life. I ate without hunger, without taste. I slept with no sleep in my eyes, the medicines inducing sleep. I smiled a plastic smile with tears in my eyes for the sake of my mother. Chronic and Acute Depression had me it’s claws, and there was no way out of my misery. I had practically closed my heart to every kind of emotion, letting it turn to stone, so it feels nothing at all. I had lied enough times telling everyone ‘I am Fine’ that…

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Candles Online

Tanya sat down on her bed and took a writing paper and pen. She made a chart of sorts, a kinda walkthrough to figure out things. She wrote ‘Secret Admirer’ on one side and wrote ‘Sameer’ on its side. Then decided he is not the secret admirer and maybe not even the college peon. Then was he a decoy? If yes, then was he planted by someone or was just a stalker? She crossed out his name and wrote ‘Rishi’ on another side of the paper. Gazing at his name she thought everything about Rishi, piecing all the information to reach a concrete conclusion. Rishi was her nemesis as far as the class topper was concerned, but that doesn’t mean he can’t be the one writing those letters. So because Rishi is the admirer he cannot think to harm her and he can’t plant Sameer to meet her. If Aditi…

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Candles Online

“Sameer…..” Tanya gulped, “I mean Sam” She gave a forced smile and tried to relax her shoulders to sound more casual “How do you know me?” She saw offence crept into his eyes and she quickly rephrased her question “I mean before the letters, how do you know me?” Tanya asked him, trying to know more about the man sitting across her, eating a burger and french fries that he washed down with a Coke can while Tanya munched on the chips served along with a Club Sandwich. Her appetite was gone the moment her eyes fell on Sameer and with it was gone all the build-up she had made in her imagination, dreaming of a suave, handsome man in sophisticated attire who would pull the chair for her like a true gentleman while he talked about her, letting her feel special. But the odds were not in her favour…

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Candles Online

Dear Tongue you got 32 Guards

But still, you break the bars so Hard

Talking things that sound so Bawdy

You call it Trash, but I call it Gawdy

They say it is the thing of current Mass

How one becomes so downright Crass

Some say it is Macho and Masculine

I would say it’s insultingly Obscene

Culture, Class, Etiquettes and Manner

All have died under ‘F-WORD’ Banner

Patience is short, and tongues are Sharp

No one can play this out of Sync Harp

Polite words and soft Conversations

With Kids around just have Regulations

Some small mishap is not your Cue

To get loose mouthed and go all Blue

Nothing is gained by being nasty and Rude

All things sour with few words Crude

Communication gaps cannot be Bridged

Abusive words make profound this Ridge

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The one that died did not appear stubborn. But, the ones that did not look it were often the most stubborn.

It was a young woman. I did not wonder how she had died, nor did I care. Most assume that nearly all die when old, by their standards anyhow. That is not the case. But again, I do not care. It is not my place to care.

She dashed about, pleading and screaming, wanting people to see her, hear her, feel her. No one would. Except me.

We were in a busy street. We couldn’t have been that far from where she had died. She wouldn’t have been able to get that far before I felt the imbalance caused by a spirit roaming this world.

Finally, she seemed to notice me staring at her. “Can you- Can you see me?” she squeaked.

“Yes,” I said. “And you must come with me.”

She baulked. “Why can you see me?”

“Well, dear, you’re dead,” I replied with a small smile.

She sighed sadly. “Well, it explains a lot.” She cocked her head. “Are you dead too?”

I chuckled a bit, happy that she just accepted it. I so hated when they put up a fight. “No, love. I am Death.” I punctuated the statement with a small bow and a hand flourish, as I always did when I introduced myself.

I couldn’t read her face after the proclamation. But, to be fair, I had never been great with human emotions or behaviours.

“Death?” She shivered, a touch of awe and fear in her voice. “But… you’re a girl?”

“Yes, and no. I am Death, but I do like to be a girl.”

“You’re younger than me?” Now she was confused. Even I could tell that much.

I laughed darkly. “I highly doubt that. I watched from the corners of space and time as this realm was pieced and pulled together by powers even I do not dare to question.”

Her eyes grew so wide I became concerned they might pop out of her skull. “Will you not take them one day? I thought Death claimed all.”

“Oh, I shall. But that is not to say that until they are weak and darkness claims them, that they could not overpower me. Could you imagine if the world went on without me? Chaos. Pure, undivided chaos,” I explained.

“So you are not the most powerful…” She struggled for the right word. “Being?” She finally decided on.

“Perhaps not to the one who wants power now, who is not willing to wait, who is focused on such obscure things such as grandeur. But I am willing to wait for the slow passage of time to claim all. To watch the final chapter of this world, and all worlds to come,” I murmured.

“Do you like death? Do you want to watch the world fall? To be the only thing left in the whole of everything?” she questioned. Leave it to death to make one a philosopher.

“I do not care about ruling time; I do not care about being all that is left. I live for the stories. I want to watch everything, the tales that are spun into the fabric of existence. That is all I care about,” I answered.

She said nothing else, and I assumed that she was finished with her questions.

I beckoned for her to follow. “Come now. You must go with me.”

She stared at the cracked concrete for a few seconds.

I was growing impatient, but I decided the least I could do was let her think for a moment.

“Before I go, can I ask you a question?” she finally asked.

I pursed my lips. I hated questions. Why did I have to die? Where will I go now? Can I say goodbye? The first two, I did not have the answer to. Yes, strange. But it is not my job to know the answers to these questions. Only to ferry on the stubborn souls that do not go willingly. And the third… It was always no.

Once upon a time, it saddened me. The pleading souls, begging me to let them tell their children, wives, husbands, parents, friends goodbye, that they loved them, and not to mourn. But now, like many of things, I did not care. The cold progression of time had tarnished my soul, darkening it, stripping away what might have once been human.

But, I nodded my head. Let her ask. I would give her the same answers I gave everyone else.

“How many stories have you seen?” she whispered.

I clasped my cold hands behind my back, smirking a bit at the girl. So, so rarely had someone ever asked me a question along the lines of that one. Perhaps this girl was smarter than she looked. Perhaps she had a soul similar to my own, one that lived for the stories of the world.

So I sat her on a nearby bench, the soft wind blowing her hair into her eyes. She stared at me intently, no doubt wondering what was going to happen now.

I told her stories. She smiled and smiled, a beautiful thing. A thing I so rarely saw.

Soon I found myself smiling as well. Truly smiling.

So I spun together the stories of the world for her. I wove them from the forgotten past. I told until the day moulded into the night, and after that, until the stars dimmed, and the sun arose once more, shining life into the cold, empty street.

However, we could not stay there forever. So I told the girl the time had come and she must come. She did not fight; she did not plead, she did not cry. She came with resolve and dignity.

Right before I passed her along to wherever it was she would go, she smiled one more time. “Thank you.”

I smiled back. “You’re welcome.” And I knew that no matter where she went, good or bad, or even if it was nowhere, she would pass on the threads and words. The one thing that no one, not even me, could resist.

A story.




Candles Online

I heard someone tell me that when you have the guts to do something or say something then learn to say that “Yes, I did that.” In simple words ‘Own It’. But to accept one’s mistake and take its blame is not as easy as taking credit for all the good you did. Wanting others to see what you see and hear what you hear with your mindset is not an easy feat. This freedom to believe what you want is a matter of Free Will, and when we know we can’t tamper with other Free Will too, that’s where ‘Blame Shifting’ comes in.

Blame shifting is a phenomenon that is often linked with Narcissism. They tend to substitute their culpability to others. You see, it’s convenient. Shifting blame to victims is useful because it allows you to be free of any guilt and the cumbersome task of taking any…

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