Does English pay rich dividends?

Dear all, The British Council has arranged a Lecture Tour by Hywel Coleman on the topic “Do English language skills pay an economic and social dividend?” I would like to have your views on this, preferably with real-life examples. Best wishes, Dharmendra.

15 August 2011

Dear all, 15 August, 2011. For some it’s a day for celebration or picnicking, for some a time to meet friends and relatives, for some others to get rid of part of a mounting backlog. But for many, just another holiday. To me, all of the above, honestly. But, above all, it’s a time for retrospection and reflection. Every such day makes me think about what I have got from my motherland and what I have done for it. Have I done (or been doing) enough? Should I have done something more or different? Am I on the right path? Is my life and work helping others live better and fuller? Well, this time I have been invited to my old school (Tekrawala, previously known as New Era) to unfurl the national flag. I am not sure what I will say and whether the rain gods will be on our side. Anyway, I hope to say something worthwhiel, even if it’s for a few minutes. Thank you for reading this blog. And do please share your views. Best wishes, Dharmendra.

Words…words…words…

Dear all, Your command of words and success go hand in hand. The more words you know the better you can express what you have in your mind, be it feelings or facts. For the past decade or so, I have been learning about 30 new words every day from my personal reading, listening and talking with friends who are better users of English than me. When I look back, I wonder how I expressed my views in the past without the words that I have learnt in the last decade. I was a fluent speaker then too. That means that at that time I used to ‘impose’ meanings on the words that I knew, and expected people to guess at the meaning on the basis of the contexts. I sincerely apologise to those who had to struggle to understand my English. That doesn’t mean that now I have all the words and phrases that I need to express my views or describe what I see, smell, taste, touch, hear and feel. My vocabulary learning campaign is an ongoing process. In the recent past I have developed a fancy for idiomatic expressions. I am on cloud nine, i.e., I am …

Peace in Surat

Dear all, Suratis must congratulate each other today on evading about 20 live bombs and being safe despite a huge chunk of explosive material, enough to make about 50 bombs, plying within the city boundaries. It’s great to be alive today, indeed. We cannot move out today–a sort of self-imposed curfew. Educational institutes and public places are officially declared closed. Of course, one can go out, but who would dare and why? What is more important than being alive? Well, when indoors, one becomes philosophical. Or sometimes cynical. Or both, as in my case, at different times of the day and depending on the mood. Sometimes I felt a little uneasy to think how a person can plan such a savage attack–secretly planting bombs and running away from that place. It is a heinous crime. Such a well-planned and dastardly act cannot be the result of one man turning wild. There must be about a thousand people involved–some of them may be in our neighbourhood. How to spot them? I wonder. During the cynical phases, I wonder whether gruesome acts should be considered as terrorists’ success or our failure–failure of administration, police, society or education. It is childish to believe …

Happiness – Part I

Hi, Today I feel like writing about happiness. Why? Because I know I will be happy writing about it. Well, I know I can become happier day by day if I make at least one person happy by my deeds or words in a day. It’s so easy, isn’t it? But alas, most people do not understand such a simple fact of life. And, as you know, it’s so easy to find people around you who are unhappy: sometimes for a reason, but mostly for no reason–apparent or real. Perhaps they don’t know what happiness is. Let me share with you some secrets of happiness that have been known to people for centuries. I still call them secrets because most people, though they know, don’t believe in them. They cannot digest the fact that one can be happy in any situation, provided one is ready for it. If you are one of them, please read on. If you are not one of them, still read on so that you can help those who don’t know these secrets. Well, first of all, accept whole-heartedly that happiness is an inner state of mind, little dependent on the outside world. It is not …

Welcome to the world of writing.

Welcome to the world of writing. Hi! This blog is for me, and for you, if you like. Everyone has an inner desire to express. A blog provides a platform for it. You can practise your art and skill of writing, and have fun in the process, too. So start blogging! The best part of blogging is there is no need to get anyone’s approval, nobody to judge whether what you have written is good or bad. You just write following an impulse to write. Neither the topic nor the treatment matters. You just write what you like, conditions DO NOT apply. Why do I write? Well, I write because I have to. I need to shake off the weight of the day, and dust my brain. I need to reassure myself that I have beaten the monotonous routine, and I am deadly alive. The more I write the more I will perfect the techniques of writing. Till then, till creative juices start oozing out, you will have to bear with me! Good bye. Best wishes, Dharmendra.

How to overcome ‘writer’s block’.

How to overcome ‘writer’s block’. Hi!, Whether you are a novice or a seasoned writer, you will experience ‘writer’s block’. You can’t do away with it. However, there is good news. You can cheat that bug. Here are some tips. First of all, remember that ‘writer’s block’ is a problem more of attitude than skill and knowledge. You will perhaps agree with me that our brain is the laziest organ in our body. It can justify anything–good or bad. If you tilt a little, it will drag you down in that direction. So block the thought of ‘writer’s block’ in the brain itself–nip it in the bud. Once that happens, there is no alternative but to write. Secondly, don’t waste a lot of time thinking about the topic; just start writing. The theme will emerge and will become clearer in the course of time. Next time when you experience ‘writer’s block’, start writing about it. You may begin with the title ‘How to overcome writer’s block’. Thirdly, write in simple, conversational style. Don’t try to show off your knowledge and send your writing as a challenge to the reader. Try to use simple words. It’s great if you have a …

Introduction to ‘English for life’

Hi, there! Everything one does should lead one to happiness. I firmly believe in it. I often tell my students, who are non-native learners of English, that studying English is a part of our larger campaign in life: to become happy. A good command of English opens an entirely new world for you. You truly become a citizen of the world. You get a chance to peep into various cultures. You get to know what the best is in every field. You can know where you are in comparison with others. You come out of the complacent attitude like a frog in a well. In short, an ability to use and understand English will help you lead a qualitatively better life, no matter what your profession is. So, if you agree with me, or even if you don’t, just drop me a line. Best wishes, Dharmendra.