The Girl Who Takes A Challenge - By Miss Jasmine Panda

The girl who takes a challenge - by miss Jasmine Panda - the picture shows a determined girl

When Sunanda sits beside her bedroom window looking at the evening sky, thoughts come jumping one after the other and thrills her mind. She suddenly feels that to die is much easier than to live. The struggle to live has made her life worse. She feels surrounded by sadness, depression and her mind becomes heavy with all that has happened to her.


She gets reminded of her challenge, which she had thrown to Alok and his family when they denied for the marriage and she stood up from the moment her father was insulted. The very day of her marriage which becomes the day of her challenge flashes before her. Sunanda could not tolerate that her father, beg apology touching the feet of Alok’s father for extending the time for the remaining amount of a Maruti car. As per the discussion, an advance of one lakh fifty thousand rupees was already given, and for the rest amount, her father had applied for a loan. But, they demanded the rest of the amount to be paid on the same day. Truly, the day of marriage becomes the day of challenge before her.
Sunanda stood up and strongly refused for the marriage.

Her father screamed, “What are you doing Sunanda? It is not easy on our part to get a proposal like a Bank PO. I shall make them understand.”

She said, “Papa, I am doing the thing which I should have done the very day of engagement. The people who do not know how to respect my parents, how can I spent my whole life with them?”
Alok’s father shouted, “You are not doing anything right. It’s ok, do whatever you want. Many proposals for my son Alok are still in my hand. But listen with all your senses, you will never get married. You can’t succeed in life. You can do nothing girl instead of just sitting at home.” Sunanda said politely, “Uncle, marriage is not for money, not for a Maruti car. Marriage is a sacred relationship forever. I accept your challenge, and one day I will prove it, bless me. I will stand up in my own feet and show you all as established women in the society.”

The ringing of bells of the nearby temple breaks the silence and brings Sunanda back from her imaginary world to the world of reality. She gets reminded of the many household works that she had to do, as her mother is suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. Really, it becomes very difficult and challenging for a girl to struggle for getting a job and manage household works at the same time.
When Sunanda goes to give medicines to her retired father, who is already a heart patient and probably, more mentally shocked after the incident, she gets tears in her eyes, but at the same time determined to accept the challenge, overcome all difficulties and succeed in life.

As usual every morning, she steps out of her house touching the feet of her parents, whose tears never stops. The dream that they had seen for their daughter remained a dream only. They were unable to control their tears when they see their daughter going every day to find a job. On one side, all the hopes of her parents were shattered, but on the other side, Sunanda was firm in her decision never to look back. Round the clock she sees failure very near to her eyes, but her determination was not just like a simple pebble that could be kicked away by other’s legs, rather it was like a huge rock which if thousands try, can’t move.

Sunanda tried her level best to get a job. The little amount of monthly pension was not enough for her mother’s treatment and day to day expenses. A Graduate in Commerce and Computer knowledge was her weapon. But how long could she survive with this weapon in today’s competitive world? It was really, very difficult on the part of a girl to struggle for a job and take care of her bedridden mother. Some employers and even relatives have tried to take benefit from the situation. But, Sunanda very cunningly tackles the situation and avoids the offers which were ill motivated.

Suddenly, telephone rang. Sunanda became conscious. She received the phone call.
Sunanda: Hello S.M. Securities…Sunanda speaking…
Client: Hello Ma’am, Market price of Floral India Please?
Sunanda: It is now trading at Rs. 390.55 & Rs. 390.80.
Client: When it will reach 430? I have taken 100 shares in price 430. Six months have been passed. Do something for me Ma’am.
Sunanda: It may go up, Bonus date is ahead, and have patience…. O.K.
Client: Thank you.. Madam. .

The clients are always greedy, Sunanda spoke to herself. They are losing money in the market but fight for brokerage rate and want to double their money overnight. We cannot change the market price. By the by, market is in a corrective mood taking into the global financial crisis.

Sunanda looked around her chamber sitting in her revolving chair and deeply thanked her Sir, deep in her heart, without whose support, she couldn’t have sat in such a big position like this. She feels contented with her life and gets reminded of her past when her legs moved forward and forward each day in search of a job. There was not even a single day which could bring a smile on her face. Feeling as if surrounded by failures and only failures, one day while coming back to home, she sat under the shade of a huge banyan tree and opened her bottle to drink water. She went to her imaginary world and all the drama that had happened that day flashed before her. She said to herself, “How selfish these people are! They never think of anyone’s life. They simply love money not people. But I will prove my challenge of becoming successful in my life.” This again ignited a sense of determination in her and she managed to drink little water from her bottle.

Suddenly she saw two legs before her and when she looked up shockingly, it was her Commerce Professor Narayan Mishra Sir, whom she has shown respect throughout her life.
Prof. Mishra asked, “Sunanda, how is it that you are here, sitting under a tree! Looking so tired and depressed, what happened? Sorry, I couldn’t come to your marriage as I was out of station that time. But I can’t believe my eyes to see you here like this!”

Sunanda got up and touched Sir’s feet and narrated him everything that had happened with her on the day of her marriage. She added, “I had challenged them Sir to be successful in my life. But in reality, every day I am tired of going from one office to other, searching for a job. My father as you know Sir, a heart patient, has broken down because of this incident. Tears roll down from my parent’s eyes and I have to find a job at the earliest.”

After listening the detailed story of her past, Prof. Mishra, became sad and consoled her realizing the challenges before his obedient student. Sometimes, sorrows open new avenues in life. He advised her to start a financial advisory business in the local town.

He said, “People are now doing their financial planning, more conscious about their life, property, family, future and getting Life & Non-Life Insurance products. Side by side, the craze for Mutual Fund investment & Share market are getting better option day by day. After the chit fund scam and lowering of interest’s rate in small savings, financial planning is gaining momentum. By the by, people need help for Income Tax Return Preparation. So, being a commerce graduate and having done PGDCA, Sunanda, in my opinion, you should start a Financial Advisory Business.”

That was the summary of one hour break less speech of Prof. Mishra. Sunanda felt encouraged by the words of her most respected Sir, who came as Narayan, the God and show her a ray of light in her life full of darkness. Truly, God helps those who help themselves. With the help of Prof. Mishra and the local Bank Manager, she was able to open a branch and get a franchise for Financial Products, named Sunanda Mohapatra Securities (S.M. Securities) Pvt. Ltd. on the opening day…

When Rita, her companion in the office, who went for a lunch came back and patted Sunanda’s back, and asked her, “Again went to your world of imagination?”, Sunanda comes back to reality and Rita tells her to go and take lunch. Sunanda said O.K. silently and took her lunch box, sat again thinking about the things that always revolutionized her. Dr. Surendra Mohapatra, my elder brother, Mother calls him, Babu.
Babu Bhaina was a very good student. After completion of +2 Science, he got a Medical seat in his first attempt. He did his M.B.B.S. Degree from MKCG Medical College, Berhampur and after that, completed P.G. In Medicine from SCB Medical College, Cuttack. For his study, my father spent lakhs of rupees. Bank loan was arranged.   An irrigated land of our village was sold for his study.  My father always feels proud for him. “Once he get a Job, our problem will be over, loan will be repaid,” that was the hope of my father. After completion of P.G in Medicine, Babu Bhaina, got a job in Government Hospital. Initially, he was sending some money regularly to us.

But after marriage, his Father-in-law, did not want to spoil his carrier in India and on his advice, Babu Bhaina went to America for pursuing D.M. In Medicine with Asha Bhabi, who is also a Gynecologist. The rest of the Bank loan was settled down with the gratuity money, the last assets of my father. The money that he was giving us monthly was promoted to six months, and then sometimes in a year and finally was completely stopped. Babu Bhaina, not only stopped sending money, but also stopped the telephonic conversation, pleading that he has no time and busy with his research work. Ma, was waiting for his phone calls, till midnight every day. His activities were limited within mailing prescription for mother and sometimes sending medicines for her. Ma, believes that, Babu will come to see her one day and worship all Gods & Goddesses seeking blessings for their welfare. The last message was, they are going to settle there and they are also blessed by a daughter. But I think my parents were fortunate enough to give birth to a son like my brother, who didn’t even came when Papa took his last breath...

Sunanda’s mind was feeling heavy thinking about all these things. Yet, she was a girl of strong determination. So, instead of being sad, she always feels the presence of her father beside her and promises him silently to succeed in her life.
She always feels that her father, up above in the heaven becomes happy to see his daughter’s success. Yes, going through a long phase of struggle, this success meant much to Sunanda and always tastes sweet to her.

When Rita’s fingers swiped up her tears, Sunanda came back to reality.
Rita asked, “Didn’t you finish your lunch yet? What are you doing?” Rita opened the lunch box which was still lying on the table from that time and tried to feed her something. Sunanda couldn’t control and told her everything that she had been thinking day in and day out. And all that has happened in her life till today and the obstacles she has overcome challengingly and finally succeeded in life.
When speaking about Alok, not a single drop of tear rolled down her eyes, because she thinks she has taken the right decision at the right moment. She said, “Only his name is Alok, but he doesn’t know how to spread the light of happiness all around, he can only fill anyone’s life with darkness.”
Rita was listening silently all her words and at last said, “Sunanda, success is not how high you have climbed, but how you make a positive difference to the world.” When Sunanda gained little more confidence, Rita added, “An attitude of positive expectation is the mark of superior personality. And yes Sunanda you have proved the saying that, It’s only after you have stepped outside your comfort zone that you begin to change, grow and transform.”

“Yes”, said Sunanda, “No matter what happens or how bad it seems today, life does go
on and it will be better tomorrow, because our greatest glory is not in never failing but in rising every time we fall.”

Rita said, “Yes dear, success isn’t measured by what you achieve, it’s measured by the obstacles you overcome.” Sunanda stood up remembering again the day of her marriage and the challenge that she had taken, said , “There is no denying that there is evil in this world but the light will always conquer the darkness. You know Rita, what the educated fellow, that Alok had said me! He had said, “Sunanda, you can never prosper, never ever succeed in your life.” But I have proved to stand in the whole crowd of people in this world who think that a girl is only born to go into in law’s house and do household activities.

Rita added, “Past is past. We have to move forward, face the new challenges and keep our promises. Don’t drop tears. The girl of determination should not act like this. You had told me, woman is not created to play in the hands of man like toys. Woman is a gift of God. She serves the society as a Mother, as a Sister and as a best counselor of her husband. We all should stand in our own feet with dignity and self-respect. Why don’t you forget the past events, like an accident? Come on, my friend, you have settled me with your courageous word; otherwise I would have lost my life. Do not feel alone, your friend is always with you.”

Sunanda said , “Yes, it was difficult for me, taking care of my bedridden mother, doing all the household works, trying hard to forget that I have a brother also! And the major incident that could have driven me back was the loss of my father in a heart stroke. But I w
as not pushed aback, because I realized that the past has no power over the present moment.”

The next morning, Sunanda and Rita sat to discuss a very important matter. Sunanda has climbed another step in her ladder of success. She has opened up another branch and for that they need someone to manage everything, so they decided to conduct an interview for the post. They advertised for the same and on one fine day, they conducted the interview in their office.

Mr. Subhakant was ranked first in the interview and got appointed by the recommendation of the Expert Committee. After that, he was sent to Delhi for Six Months Training Programme as per SEBI guidelines. Mr. Subhakant joined as the head of the second branch of S.M. Securities. He proved to be a hardworking person, a person who can be relied upon. He showed great punctuality. He was a man of full action. Rita always tells that Subhakant is talented, dedicated, a hard worker and has proved very successful for their business. 

Sunanda was amazed to see that Subhakant uplifted their business to greater heights. All total, a gentleman like Subhakant was rare in today’s competitive world, where everyone works only for their salary. But a dedicated man like Subhakant was really really rare. For the first time, Sunanda, got impressed by a man and the ice of hatred for male dominant society, now started melting with the heat of Subhakant’s personality.

One fine evening, when Sunanda and Rita were packing back home, Rita said, “Sunanda, I want to tell you something, something that I had always wanted to tell you from the very beginning. I have built up the courage to say you today. Sunanda, Subhakant is the right person for you.”
“What the hell are you speaking Rita?”, shouted Sunanda. Rita patted her on her back and said calmly, “Sunanda, go home and think silently about what I have told. I have seen a very good human being in Subhakant. You can’t find a person like him. You remember saying me that, past has no power over the present moment.  Forget what has happened.  You have made a successful career. You now have a name and fame in the society. Now, you can think of marriage. Just close your eyes now. What do you see? Of course, your mother, who is so very sad every now and then for you in spite of your tremendous success in your career. You better know what she wants. In fact, every mother wants their daughter to get married and live happily.

It’s time to understand Sunanda. Bye.” Sunanda kept quiet and listened each and every word spoken by Rita. Late in the night, Rita’s words kept echoing in her ears and every moment she gets reminded of the day of her marriage, which was the day of her challenge. Everything flashed before her eyes. Tears roll down her eyes and she couldn’t control herself. Her silence was much more than the night’s silence. She clasped her sick mother very tightly, covering both of them with a blanket and tried hard to sleep peacefully. But Rita’s words kept on echoing in her ears and she was unable to sleep properly. Something was there in Subhakant which attracted her from the first day itself, but she was unable to tell anyone or even to herself. The whole night went in the same silence.

The sun, the next day, rose with all new hopes and aspirations, marking a positive start for every children of God. When Sunanda wanted to go to office, keeping aside her thoughts and feelings in the house, they crept into the office with her, as if they were not willing to leave Sunanda. Rita exclaimed, “Hello Sunanda, what happened, you look so tensed!” Sunanda kept quiet and moved into her chamber holding all the pending files. But her thoughts and feelings also went with her files. They were so naughty that even after Sunanda throwing them out of her mind, they jumped into it to disturb her.  She opened a file, but couldn’t close it as her mind was struggling with all her thoughts and feelings and making up to take the right decision.

Rita could understand everything and went into her chamber without permission and tried to console her. She said, “Come on Sunanda, don’t be childish. You have a great decision making power, but why are you failing when it comes to this topic. Every man is not like Alok. You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean, if few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean doesn’t become dirty.”
“Yes, it’s true but…..”

 Rita questioned, “What but dear? Don’t be pushed around by the fears in your mind; be led by the dreams in your heart. This is the correct time. You remember your challenge! What had they told? You can never get married. You can do nothing instead of just sitting at home.
You can prove it now Sunanda and show them. It’s also a part of your challenge. After a successful career, you can portray yourself with a good career and a life partner like Subhakant. Just think of everything and I know you can take the correct decision.”

Sunanda asked, “ Rita, does Subhakant also have the same feeling for me?”
Rita answered, “Have you not seen Subhakant working dedicatedly day and night? You better know, in spite of getting many attractive offers from various companies, he has not yet left our company. Don’t you understand anything, Sunanda? Moreover, he has also left you home after office in some of the rainy days. Come on Sunanda, Subhakant has a soft corner for you….”

The telephone rang.  Rita holds the phone.
Rita:  Hello… S.M.Securities.. Rita speaking….
Client: What is the Market price of Pencap Industry?
Rita: One second ..hold 0n…
Client: Yes Madam..
Rita: Pencap is trading at Rs.92.50 & Rs.92.80.
Client: Sell 50 shares at market price & feed 50 shares for minus at Rs.98. Rita: O.K...
Anything else.
Client: No. Thanks. Telephone call ends.
Sunanda was again lost in her wonderland. She was moved by Rita’s words. In fact from the first day itself, she had felt something when she had seen Subhakant but was unable to convince herself. Many a times her mother also had advised her to marry but she had always denied. Prof. Narayan Mishra also had told her to think upon her marriage, but she had always changed the topic. But deep in her heart, she had developed a liking for Subhakant from the very day when their eyes met.  She says to herself silently, “The most powerful warriors are patience and time. Time has changed everything. The challenge that I had thrown to Alok and his family is successfully completed. I have shown them, how a girl in spite of all the difficulties and obstacles can come up and shine, if she has self-confidence, will-power and most importantly, blessings of her parents and the almighty.” She loves Subhakant, that’s all, and she knew it.

At the same time, Subhakant also has the same feelings for Sunanda. He had liked her because he is often surprised to see her efficiently managing both the branches and resolving all issues with customers tactfully. He loves Sunanda, that’s all, and he knew it.
With each passing day, their love grew deeper and deeper in both the hearts. Everything happened silently and each time their eyes met, they conveyed messages silently, which only they can understand.

One fine sunny morning, Subhakant on his way to office met his classmate, his friend, Alok, walking on the footpath. He stopped his car immediately and came out to hug Alok, as they met after so many years. Alok was also the same excited to meet Subhakant, the genius, the topper of their batch.
Alok exclaimed, “Hi Genius, how are you! What are you doing now? You must be in some high position by now…”

Subhakant said, “Hey Alok, I’m fine and you? I heard from Rahul that you have cracked the Banking entrance and now a SBI PO! Congrats…Alok. But then why are you walking on footpath?. ...”
Alok stopped him and said, “Actually, my driver has taken my car for servicing and after that will leave it in Sodi’s garage, as some parts have to be repaired. So for today, I have to walk and go to bank. Ok, leave that, tell about yourself.”

Subhakant said, “Shall we talk everything on the footpath itself? Come inside, I will leave you in my car and on the way, we will refresh our memories of our good old days.” Both of them sat inside the car and Subhakant started driving.
Alok asked, “Hey genius, tell na, where do you work now? After graduation, we all got separated, busy in making our career…and I lost your contact no. also. You know, Ramesh is till now preparing for banking and that Suresh, still struggling with his back papers…! Well, how nice were those days…”
“Really they were fantastic!” exclaimed Subhakant and said, “Hey, have you got married Alok?” Alok was moved by this question. He never expected such a sudden question from Subhakant. He didn’t want to reveal anything that had happened on the day of his marriage with Sunanda, although Subhakant was his close friend.

After a while, Alok said, “Oh no, not yet. What about you? Any proposals?” Subhakant replied, “No, not yet, but… I am in love with a girl…" Alok exclaimed, “Really! Who is the choice of my genius friend, Subhakant? Who is the luckiest girl to have you...let me know? Come on tell me her name! Subhakant…”
Subhakant smiled. Talking and sharing memories, they had come to Subhakant’s destination. He parked his car before his office and both of them came out. Alok looked up to see the board and said, “S.M. SECURITIES, Where have you brought me Subhakant?”
Subhakant said, “Yes, Alok, I work in S.M. Securities as a Manager but not in this branch. My office is a little ahead.”

Alok exclaimed, “Hey genius, that’s wonderful. But why have you stopped here...? 
Subhakant said, “You wanted to know about the luckiest girl na,…rather I must tell you, I will be lucky to have her. Come Alok, I shall take you to her chamber...”
Seeing the nameplate, Alok said silently to himself, “ MISS SUNANDA MOHAPATRA, the owner of S.M. SECURITIES, the most leading company and a life partner like genius Subhakant…!

About the Author: Miss Jasmine Panda

Miss Jasmine Panda is presently pursuing Ph.D. Chemistry from Ravenshaw University, Odisha, India. She is a Gold Medalist and University Topper in both her B.Sc. and M.Sc. from Berhampur University and has been awarded from Odisha Chemical Society for her excellent performance. She was also the M.Sc. Entrance Topper in BU. She has successfully completed an internship CSIR-SRTP in IICT Hyderabad. She holds the post of Senate Member of Berhampur University for the session 2019-20 in Academic Pursuits. She is a Governor Awardee for Youth Red Cross. She has received All-Rounder Award in her 12th standard for excellence in extracurricular activities along with studies. She is a Topper throughout her career. She has been a Literary and Cultural Champion in her school, college and university days. She has also cracked a campus in Vedanta. She has hosted in numerous events

including International events and has been appreciated as an anchor. Besides PGDCA, she has also completed Masters in Fine Arts (MFA) from Aurobindo Kala Bhawan under Bangeeya Sangeet Parishad, Apart from being a versatile orator and debator, she has been a part of 500+ anthologies till date and loves to pen down her feelings! Some of her co-authored books have achieved the title of "OMG Book Of Records" and "Forever Star Book Of World Records”. She looks forward for compilation and publication of anthologies. She has been a winner in numerous National and International events and conferred with the priviledge of many titles. Many of the reputed organizations such as Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), Chhatra Sandesh (Odisha), Rashtriya Kala Manch (India), many National and International Rotaract Organisations, The Inked Perceptions, Hum Foundation, etc. have acknowledged

her talent. She has been honoured with 1100+ certificates by God's grace. She is an amiable person interested in both Science and Literature, having a wide variety of interests like painting, sketching, crafting, interior designing, acting, anchoring, debating, rangoli making, taking part in extempore, clocution and many more...Publishing her own book someday is something which she deeply aspires.

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