Vinod Gambtoo’s IELTS Speaking Conjecture, Part 10

  1. Describe a time when you received good news.
  • What this news was
  • When and where you heard it
  • Why you think it was good news
  • Our cellphones are filled with countless messages, and this digital junk has no value on most occasions unless they are of need
  • I would like to share with you one of the important messages that I received around six months ago
  • My cousin, Siffat, lives in Auckland, New Zealand. She did her master’s degree and decided to stay back in New Zealand
  • She had been hunting for a better job for a long time but in vain
  • Because of her consistent failure to obtain the desired job, she remained dejected (= disheartened, discouraged) and upset
  • Everybody in the family was worried about her struggle. She is a very talented girl and deserves a beautiful life
  • She persevered for her job hunt, and finally, she made progress in her career and got the job that she wanted
  • So, it went like this. I wake up and check my phone. I read a notification of a new message, reading ‘Siffat Sis’. Generally, she sends messages via Whatsapp, but this was a regular text message, so it was bizarre (=strange)
  • The message read, “Woohoo! Hey, couch potato (= idler, lazy person). I made it. I’ve got a job respecting my credentials in the Finance Dept. at AIG.” And, there was a stanza of a Hindi song reading, “Aaj me upar, aasman niche.”
  • It was such encouraging and good news for everyone in the family
  • I was happy for her success because we share a strong bond
  • We both did school together up to higher secondary and always helped each other during all good and bad times
  • What do you think of news on social media?

Social media is famous for its authentic and fake news. My personal experience suggests that it has drawn the attention mostly for fake news these days. By saying this, I don’t want to discredit this platform, but it’s people who fill this media with toxicity (=poisonous). Yes, sometimes it makes sense, and the other time, it wreaks havoc (=to do a great damage) when the fake news is spread. There have been occasions that we have seen unwanted and unnecessary hue and cry (=strong public protest about something) in society. Hence, it’s used more for propaganda than what ideally it was designed for.

  • How do people in your country get news?

There are several ways people get acquainted with the latest news and updates. Some people prefer a traditional way of knowing about what’s happening around them. They use newspapers or get updated on TV. People like me neither read newspapers nor do watch TV for updates. They read news online through apps installed on the phone. Some people visit Twitter as well because anything controversial happens in your country, a relevant hashtag is created by the community, and people’s views start clouding (=confuse) your judgment. 

  • What kinds of news do people in your country usually watch or read?

I guess it all depends upon what kind of person you are and your age. For example, the youth loves to know more about their idols, sportspeople, celebrities, or maybe something about the latest technology or gadgets. In the mid-range, people may prefer to learn more about the labor market conditions, stock market, businesses, politics, and cars, among others. The older people gravitate to topics of health, faith, and community welfare. So, it all depends upon who you are, what mindset you have, where you come from, your background, your financial needs, and whatnot.

  • How do people like to share the good news?

In the past, when any good news broke, people used to call each other and shared the piece of news. The same goes for any bitter news. Nowadays, people forward web links of the news via WhatsApp. But this WhatsApp has become a nuisance in my country. You know, some people may like some piece of news, and that’s quite understandable, too. But it may not be useful for others. Plus, some people want to flaunt (=advertise, brandish, proclaim) as they are intellectual and keep abreast of all the happening around the world. So, what they do is they pass on such pieces of news on WhatsApp just to gain non-existent and superficial praise for them.

  • Why do some people like to share news on social media?

I guess they get pleasure by doing that. Furthermore, some people pour out their hearts to (=to tell somebody all your problems, feelings, etc.) others, and it’s just a tendency. At times, they are concerned about their friends and family, and some news pieces may affect them somehow. Hence, they want to give them a heads-up (=a piece of information given in advance of something or as advice), while others have no clue why they are doing so. I mean, in some cases, there is no logic behind certain acts, and on most occasions, you will come across such people doing it unwittingly. They just get pleasure without any reason. For example, some people have a habit of honking (=beep, blare) while driving. And when you investigate why they blow the horn, there won’t be any specific reason, but they enjoy doing so.

  • How do companies tell everyone their news?

Most companies have paid promotions on social media. They use this platform extensively to promote their products or share any new updates concerning their products. So, they run an advert campaign for their products. For example, Flipkart and Amazon organize flash sales every year, and they invest heavily in promotional activities using social media, such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Google search optimization, Twitter, and traditional newspapers to attract buyers. 

  • Why do local people like to read local news?

Because it’s connected to them. I mean, I would be more interested to learn about traffic snarls while I’m driving and least bothered about the traffic of Mumbai or Bangalore at that moment. The local issues draw my attention because they could affect my or others’ day-to-day life. Yes, I would be interested in enlightenment (=knowledge) of what’s happening around my country and the world and would give more prominence (=the state of being important) to things that are happening in my city.

  • When do people share the good news?

Whenever they feel that some extraordinary event or thing has happened to them for which they have been yearning or waiting for some time. Their hearts swell with happiness. Some good news could be a life-changing event for them, and they cannot wait but share it instantly with the world. Humans are social animals and love to share things, emotional triggers, rumors, learning, frustrations, and whatnot.

  • How does technology affect the delivery of news?

Well, technology has greatly impacted the delivery of news. In the absence of technology, we had to wait for the newspaper to arrive the next day to get updates or wait for the news bulletin on TV or radio. With the Internet, we get up-to-the-minute pieces of news. A timely-delivery of news could be beneficial to some people and may help them avert (=avoid, deter, foil) any danger, also. For example, the stock market reacts to any good or bad news instantly, so if you want to stay ahead of others in making a profit, you must use technology for instant updates.

  • Is it easier to pass information now than in the past?

Without a doubt, it is. You just need to click the button, and the message is sent. I remember my father saying that his mom used to wait for a hand-written letter from her nanny or brother when he was a kid. Can we think that it could happen now? ‘Nay.’ So, my point is technology has brought the world closer than ever before. And you have multiple ways to connect with the world instantly. Some of them are social media or digital apps such as Zoom, JioMeet, Microsoft Team, WhatsApp calling, Google Duo, and many other apps, and technology platforms make our lives better and easier. This privilege was non-existent in the past. In a way, our generation is lucky to have the boon (=blessing, godsend, windfall) of technology, which our parents or grandparents did not have.  

2. Describe a book you read that you found useful.

  • What the book is, and what it is about
  • Why you read it
  • When you read it
  • Why you think it is useful
  • I generally read articles or books online these days. It’s been a while that I’ve read a paper book
  • Let me pull out something from my reading history. Yes, I read a popular book named ‘The Alchemist’ last year
  • This book has an amazing story to inspire and look inward at what we are and what we want from our life. Plus, how we measure our life in the end
  • Paulo Coelho is the author of this wonderful novel. It’s a very old book, but yet it makes sense in our present times
  • The story speaks about an inspiring journey towards self-discovery. There’s no doubt that wisdom and mysticism (=the belief that knowledge of God or real truth can be found through prayer and meditation rather than through reason and the senses) combine in this classic novel that has sold millions of copies of it worldwide
  • The story depicts the journey of a young shepherd boy who wishes to travel the world in search of treasure. But he ends up discovering an entirely different type of riches, which he never imagined in the beginning
  • The story teaches us to listen to our hearts, which many a time we ignore it. And evaluate and recognize our unique opportunities in life and chase the dream and passion
  • I would recommend this book to people of all ages because there’s something for everyone to learn and understand from this fantastic story. The youth will enjoy reading it and might find some connection to their desires and restlessness in this story
  • What is the difference between paper books and ebooks?

As far as the content and delivery of the message is concerned, both have similar values. However, more and more people are getting used to ebooks because they don’t need to carry all books while traveling and switch from one book to another at will and take advantage of technology. Additionally, people are more conscious about the environment these days, so they prefer ebooks. It’s because ebooks are not contributors to the cutting of trees. That said, yet I like to read paper books. Maybe because I’ve grown up reading paper books, and I love the smell of the paper also. But as I said the environmental concerns, I’ve switched to ebooks now. It was a hard decision to make, but I’m more worried about Mother Nature than my personal wish.

  • What is the difference between the reading habits of young people and old people?

I guess the preference of reading topics changes as you get older in most cases. For example, when I was a kid, I loved reading comic books, and those stories of Phantom, He-Man, Joker, Batman, and their images always captivated and took me to a wonderful paradise of imaginations. Then, I grew up reading schoolbooks and all other related to my academic curriculum and then entered the world of reading novels. These days, I read books on tourism, fictional stories, motivation, politics, sports, investing, and whatnot. This is my rough assumption that people might have such a preference. If not all, something similar must be there. And as we know that when people enter their fifties, they prefer to read books on faith, humanity, and topics encompassing (=covering) helping and understanding the world and its pains and sweet endings. 

  • Some people say that it is easier for children who start reading at a young age to succeed. Do you agree?

My answer is ‘yes’ and ‘no’ both. Reading unlocks the world of information as long as you are interested in developing yourself pertaining to any topic or subject. It certainly makes you articulate and composed. A little bit of extra information always gives a head start (=an advantage that someone has over other people in something such as a competition or race) once you’re set on starting a new journey on any topic or research. However, whatever you learn throughout your academics has no value until you utilize and execute your learning practically. You may have seen students having straight ‘A’s during their studies but fail miserably in their careers also. It’s because they were outperformers during their studies but unsuccessful in implementing their learning in the labor market. Hence, my eyes won’t ever dazzle at the habit of reading at all. I will always monitor the execution.

  • Are libraries important nowadays?

Yes, they are, and they will always be. But the question here is how many people and students go to libraries nowadays. I guess ‘very few,’ and that’s the matter of concern. Additionally, people prefer ebooks, so they have several books installed on their devices. Therefore, libraries are under threat.  

  • What books do children like to read?

Children enjoy watching cartoons and reading comic books in most cases. They are entertaining and suit their preference. But as they grow, books on academic content become a priority for them, especially in India. The reason behind this imposed habit is the educational ecosystem grinds students badly. They have to perform and perform exceptionally well in order to appease the wish of parents or society. That said, some students buck the trend (=to resist or oppose something) and yet find some time to read books on various topics, such as sports, music, fashion, and entertainment. I’ve also seen students reading novels, too. And yes, it is truly an impressive habit for sure.

  • Do you think paper books will disappear?

It’s hard to say that they will disappear. Looking at the current trend, it seems, though, because most students are switching to ebooks. But, maybe I think this could be a passing fad. But again, I could be wrong also in my assumption. I say this because recently, students have been made to study online during the coronavirus pandemic, and most of them are really not enjoying online studies or anything to read online much. They hop back to paper books on most occasions, citing stress on eyes.

  • Do people read more nowadays?

I think so. In the past, we had magazines, newspapers, and other books to read, and we had to spare some time and find the place to read the books of interest. But, now it has changed dramatically because everyone carries a smartphone loaded with several apps. These apps keep sending notifications of the up-to-the-minute update, and because of the convenience factor, people tend to read many things on the run. For example, when I take a mini-break of say 5 to 10 minutes, I complete any article of my choice. So, I guess the reading habit of the people has changed and significantly increased.

  • Do you read before going to bed?

Not much, to be honest with you. In the past, yes, I used to read before I went to bed, but these days, I more often watch something on ‘YouTube’ than read a book. In a way, it’s one and the same thing for me. Whatever type of enlightenment that I yearn for, I get it from ‘YouTube’ videos. Yes, I cannot have some options, such as novels and comic books that I read when I was very young. In a nutshell, my reading has reduced, and at times, this fact also annoys me.

  • How will ebooks affect paper books?

It’s believed that they will replace paper books in the years to come. I don’t know whether it will happen or not. But one thing is sure that it has impacted the sale of paper books extraordinarily because most environmentally-conscious people are switching to ebooks. Let’s see what unfolds in the future. To date, I would say that ebooks have run over their counterparts

  • What is the difference between films and books?

Well, we cannot compare them both. It’s like comparing an orange with an apple. Both have unique offerings and a set of enjoyment. Films entertain or acquaint you with what’s happening in the world with fictional or true stories. Within a couple of hours, you enter a world of fantasy. They are as dearly as books, while books need a different type of mindset. I mean, everyone will not be interested in reading books, but most people will be interested in watching movies of their preferences.

3. Describe a good decision you made recently.

  • What the decision was, and how you made it
  • When you made it
  • Why it was a good decision
  • How you felt about it
  • The best decision that I’ve made in my life to date is to study for a master’s degree in Canada
  • This decision was on the cards (=likely to happen) while I was doing my bachelors’ degree in India. However, there were times when I got confused about this decision a little bit. It’s mainly the cost factor that made me review my decision
  • If I study in India, it will cost me no greater than ₹1 million (₹10 Lacs), whereas it costs me nearly ₹3 million (₹30 Lacs) when I study in Canada. Because of the cost only, I was puzzled for some time, but my dad counseled and encouraged me to go ahead with my decision to study overseas
  • It’s a hard decision to make for me as my family is not wealthy. This decision could throw away their hard-earned money. But my father has farsightedness and explained to me the rationale (=hypothesis, justification, explanation) behind his approval. In the end, we were on the same page (=in agreement)
  • So, while I was completing my last year of the undergrad degree, I decided it firmly and started preparation for the same
  • I guess this decision will be considered as a milestone in my career. I’m studying software designing along with mobile app development. Generally, technologists have either of them in specialization, whereas I possess both skills
  • North America is a hub for new technologies, and it’s considered a powerhouse of the tech world. Obviously, my skill is in demand in India as well, but the only problem that I see while staying back in my homeland is it doesn’t offer good remuneration and benefits for skills. If I study and work there, what I can make in the next ten years will not be possible to do so in my country’s next 20 years. So, that’s the biggest difference and the main factor for me to go abroad for higher studies and stay back there
  • I foresee that I will be in a purple patch (=a period of success or good luck) after completing of my studies. Just that feeling of being successful in the future makes me feel proud of my decision
  • What is the difference between decisions that children and adults make?

First of all, we can never compare decisions made by children and adults. Adults have experience of years in the field that they are involved in. Plus, with professional experience, they’ve attained a number of essential life skills, which guide them further to be wiser. They have seen more days and nights than children and have navigated through several challenges. That makes them pragmatic, calm, reasonable, considerate, and efficient. Hence, when they make decisions, generally, there is some rationale for making such a decision.

In contrast, children are impulsive (=rash), impatient, less experienced of many challenges, and at times, reckless. I don’t want to discredit them, but the naked reality of life is people get matured with time and experiencing challenges. Therefore, I would suggest children to consult with their seniors at home before making any big decision. Having said that, children should be allowed to make decisions that are not consequential (=important) and don’t impact their careers or lives. For example, when they decide to buy a bike of their choice, they should be allowed to purchase the bike they’ve their heart is set on.

  • Does a change of the decision mean that what you did previously failed?

Failures teach us for good. Even if somebody has made an ugly decision, he has an opportunity to correct it. “To err is human” – that’s what the maxim (=adage) says. Plus, nobody can make all the right decisions ever. Every wrong decision leaves a lesson to learn from it. At times, under certain circumstances, people also need to tweak their choices.

  • Is it good for children to make decisions when they are young?

As long as small decisions are concerned, yes, they should be offered leeway (=latitude, space) to make such decisions. Such latitude will prepare them for adulthood and success. But if any decision involves farsightedness, a lot of money, career-making, risk-taking, or any other important element, I would advise them to consult their family members. Because sometimes a wrong decision could cost unimaginable pain and hardship. For example, a child under 18 might insist on driving the car, and if he is allowed, he might endanger his life and others. In a nutshell, children should be prohibited from making certain types of decisions, but not all. It’s a delicate balance that parents must maintain for the betterment of their children.

  • Why do people make decisions?

Because sometimes they have to, according to the situation.

  • At what age can children make decisions on their own?

I guess the right age for children to make decisions is 18. Undoubtedly, at the age of 18, they are relatively young to make decisions, but we gotta offer some leeway so that they can stand on their feet gradually.

  • What decisions do people make every day?

If we talk about decisions made every day, they are related to our day-to-day life, which may not be of great importance. However, things change when you’re employed or run a business. In a business or job, you may need to make crucial decisions every day. Right decisions made every day reap desired fruition in the long run. For example, an attempt to satisfy your clients every day help your business grow exponentially when we analyze it year on year basis.

  • How can people improve their decision-making skills?

Life is a journey, not the destination. Each right or wrong decision leaves some sort of learning. Sometimes it could be bitter and the other time a feeling of pride. When the wrong decisions in businesses are made, we see everything slow to a grind. The opposite is also true. Your personal and professional life improves by leaps and bounds (=very quickly) with the right decisions. In a nutshell, constant decision-making has a steep learning curve. 

  • What skills are necessary when making decisions?

I think, first of all, people must exercise patience and have an analytical attitude while making any decision. Good people analyze statistics, research opportunities and threats, seek advice from the experts, and use their common sense. These qualities in the combination help you reach the right decision in all the probabilities. In some cases, even though we go through such steps, we may make the wrong decisions.

  • What do you think are the qualities of a good leader or a good decision-maker?

I guess they’re reasonable in their expectations in the first place. They run through all the scenarios, such as what will happen if things go wrong. For example, they have three possible results: Optimistic scenario, Reasonable scenario, and Pessimistic scenario. When they go through such steps, they’re all prepared for emergent situations to tweak their plans. This is how they win while making decisions. They think critically and analytically and leave no room for decisions made by impulsive behavior or driven by gut instinct.

  • When do people change their decisions?

Sometimes halfway in the journey, we realize our follies (=mistake). Some people, especially those who possess a negative mindset, paint too much of a doomsday (=the last day of the world) picture and allow the situation to slip out of hands. But some are resilient (=buoyant, strong, tough) by nature and force; they correct the course of their journeys and try to minimize the impact of the wrong decision. You’ve got to take corrective measures to make things better in some cases. 

4. Describe the first time when you used a foreign language to communicate.

  • Where it happened
  • When it happened
  • Who you talked to
  • How you felt about the conversation
  • The language provides us a primary method of communication. It’s hard to learn any foreign language; no matter how hard we try to improve it, we cannot be as good as a native speaker for sure
  • In India, most people study in the school where the medium of instruction is the English language. I can proudly say that we are far better than other nationals in speaking and writing the English language. But there’s also a caveat (=warning). Can we speak like native speakers? In most cases, the answer is ‘no’
  • It’s a continuous process of getting better in the language. I remember my linguistic skill in the English language was tested when I started my freshman year in the USA
  • Until then, our teachers and others spoke in the English language, but we always mixed our vernacular language, and in most cases, it was an Indian English instead. I mean, a pure translation from the mother tongue into the foreign language. And it looks funny on many occasions
  • After completing of my first course, I had to do a presentation before an audience of around 400 people in the auditorium. They were students, professors, and other people from the industry. Most of them were born Americans whose first language was English
  • This is the first time where I felt less confident while speaking in English. I feared that I was judged on my language. Obviously, my pronunciation delivery, intonation, and stress were not akin to those of native speakers
  • And somehow, I completed my presentation with low confidence, impacting my marks also
  • But that was a steep learning curve for me. My classmate, who is a born American and native speaker, calmed my nerve and counselled me about where I was wrong. Ever since that experience, I’ve never looked back and improved on pronunciation delivery, intonation, stress, and colloquial language
  • Will minority languages disappear?

I guess they will gradually vanish for many reasons. Evolution is a natural process. Humankind adopts and disowns many things with time. For example, I’m a Sindhi, I know how to speak it and understand various dialects also. But I don’t know how to read or write it. Now, here is the concern! Perhaps, our next generations may even struggle to speak and understand it. There are several languages that are on the brink of extinction. And that’s why many governments are trying to revive vernacular languages by including them in academic courses at the school level. Languages disappear owing to the natural process of migration, and in some cases, they are destroyed by force. For example, ‘Saraiki Language’ in Pakistan is on the verge of disappearance because the state has imposed ‘Urdu’ as a national language on all citizens without sympathy for many people.

  • Is learning a language since childhood good for the child?

My answer is ‘yes’ and ‘no’ both. I would say ‘yes’ because children retain the learning well when they’re very young, and as they grow, their retention skill gets debilitated (=weaken) because they’re surrounded by unimaginable external and internal concerns.

However, when we force or create an environment for children to learn another language at a young age, they may lose their command over native languages. So, all in all, you get something and lose something. And, it’s arbitrary (=subjective).

  • Is spoken language more important than written language?

I don’t think so. Maybe we speak more and write less in our day-to-day life. But it all depends upon your own circumstances. Suppose your job entails back-end processing where you need to write too much and speak less; there, the importance of writing supersedes spoken language. So, it’s all about your situations, but I believe both skills are equally significant in our lives.

  • Do you think learning a foreign language is important?

Again, my answer is ‘yes’ and ‘no’ both. Some people enjoy learning other languages because they see intrinsic value in them. Some people have to learn a foreign language because the ecosystem has been created such. For example, we Indians yearn for speaking the English language fluently as most international trades and domestic transactions take place in English, and therefore, it’s a requirement to climb the ladder of success. In India, there’s another group of people who feels pride in the English language proficiency for some unknown reasons. They feel associated with the language and like to be called ‘Angrez.’ Hence, it comes down to what you want to achieve by learning the foreign language.

  • Do you think English will be the mainstream language of the world in the future?

No. I don’t think so. Native languages will be dominant in the years to come, and they won’t be replaced ever. Yes, some minority languages will be at a loss and may disappear in the future.

  • Can people learn English and not learn another language?

If it’s decided, anybody can learn any language in the world. No mission is impossible against the will of the doer. You just need a purpose for doing anything. Motivation always ensues (=come up, arise, emanate).

  • When learning a foreign language, which part is easier – Speaking or Writing?

I think speaking is easier than writing in any language. Because speaking doesn’t involve a complex grammar structure, and your expressions and gestures speak unspoken things, so it’s handy for speakers.

  • Some people travel to learn a foreign language. What do you think about this preference?

I support this notion. You tend to learn any language better when you are surrounded by native speakers. You learn significant elements of the language by interacting with native speakers formally or informally. And, it’s like building blocks every day.

  • Do you think grammar is important?

Yes, it’s without any equivocation (=without any doubt). Or the meaning and context will be distorted. I know some people say that grammar isn’t something to concentrate on. But they forget that people lose their professional integrity by using erroneous language. If I talk about myself, I won’t dare to read any material if the first couple of lines don’t make sense and grammatically incorrect. I will throw it away.

  • Is it popular to learn English in your country?

Yes, very much. English is a very much popular language in India. In fact, I would say that every Indian desires to speak in English fluently. They feel a status symbol if they are proficient in this language.

  • Why do some people learn languages so quickly?

I guess there are two reasons for this. One, some people are good at grasping any learning, and it’s a God gift. Some people memorize swiftly, which may not be possible for everyone. Two, some people have an interest in learning languages. Again, it’s a choice or a dream, I could say. For example, I have seen people working hard to improve their French or English proficiency in India. Not because they want to go overseas, but they feel confident and content to have command over other languages.

  • What are the difficulties of learning a new language?

There could be many for sure. Non-native speakers don’t have an environment where the other language is widely used. And therefore, they make a lot of mistakes because there’s no one to correct their mistakes. Everyone is just involved in a trial and error process, so they stay away from the language’s purity. Additionally, some people start learning a new language with great zest in the beginning, but that strong desire to learn a new language fades away after some time as every skill takes your dedication, time, patience, and die-hard efforts. Everyone is not born to possess such qualities.

5. Describe an area of science that interests you.

  • What science it is
  • How you got interested in it
  • How you learn this science
  • Why this science is interesting to you
  • The science course never interested me when I was in school. I studied it for the sake of studying and chose the concentration of engineering for my career
  • But after many years, I found a renewed interest in one of the branches of Science, which is Astronomy
  • I guess most children grow up watching ‘Discovery’ or ‘NatGeo’ TV stations that host some informative documentaries, including space probes
  • Their findings and commentaries are always captivating, and you feel knowing more about outer space. This interest fortified further when my idol, Elon Musk, decided to commercialize space travel
  • Additionally, I remember my father always telling me the contribution of Ancient India as the original home of mathematics, astronomy, and medicine. He talked about the connection between ‘Kumbh Mela’ and ‘the Indian Calendar, Vikram Samvat,’ and their relationship with the observation of the stars, moon, sun, and planets that formed the basis of navigation and timekeeping
  • What NASA observed in the last 20 years was the part of our rich Indian culture centuries back
  • Learning more about Astrophysics was never an intent of academic passion as my interest in exploring new things of outer space and how the cosmos influences are meaningful in our lives was merely casual
  • Hence, I started to collate (=gather) details of it casually by reading books, watching documentaries, and listening to people around me
  • There are countless things that are unanswered, and I think I will learn them as time passes
  • I also think that Astronomy is connected with our day-to-day life, and we will know of its significance sooner
  • Today, modern observations are made in all parts of the spectrum. It’s not limited only to radio frequencies or X-rays
  • Do you think science is important?

Science is one of the precious assets of humankind. It defines us. Without science, we wouldn’t have made progress in many worthwhile areas. Just imagine what we were some ten to twenty centuries ago. We all humans knew only three things: food, sleep, and sex. We didn’t do anything good to save humanity.

Science is a systematic study of many concentrations backed by evidence, data, observation, and hypothesis. Synthesis and analysis of all these statistics keep us evolving and get better. Without science, we will only be like other animals who know only three things that I stated.

  • How does science influence our life?

It’s of great assistance in many ways. The systematic studies of various branches gave birth to (figurative) several useful innovations and inventions, which are directly linked to our day-to-day lives. For example, life expectancy was around 30 years some three hundred years ago, which has improved to 60+ these days. This has become possible only because of the untiring efforts of our scientists in medical science. This is just one example, and there are many other branches where we take advantage of in-depth studies of science. It offers the potential for long-term benefits to all.

  • Should children learn science?

Yes, they must, at least, up to a higher secondary level. Children must study the combination of courses, including science, for the overall development of theirs. Science course teaches them to synthesize information, analyze outcomes, hypothesize situations, brainstorm challenges, and many other things. This develops their minds to think critically, backed by evidence. Plus, what’s been happening around us over the centuries is a subject of curiosity and relevance. The more they learn about these, the better prepared they will be. Maybe they could be potential innovators or inventors!

  • Do you think science can change our society?

Yes, definitely. We have already been reaping its benefits in all areas that have touched human life. I mean, we’ve been using medical devices, renewable energies, advanced technologies in agriculture, health-enhancing treatments, outer space explorations, radio frequencies, and whatnot. The contribution of scientists has made our life comfortable, safe, and secure. Without science, we would have traveled on horses, elephants, and ponies and covered our bodies with leaves and sung ‘Jingalaalaa’ in the jungle.

  • How can museums help (children) learn science?

In a great way! Museums familiarize children with a wide range of information on several topics. It all depends on the students’ interests and areas of study. It’s a great collection of things and information specific to a particular subject. They can get acquainted with what happened in the past in related studies and incorporate it with their studies or increase awareness of the specific field. For example, we’ve anthropology, archeology, and ethnographic museums. Here children can learn about the collection of antiquities, the conservation and restoration of historic sites, human remains, archeological thefts, intellectual properties, and so on. This is just one example. You have museums in many areas where children can improve their understanding of their interests.

  • Which area of science is the most important in the last one hundred years?

There could be many, but my answer is medical science. We’ve seen a tremendous improvement in medical science. Most countries have invested billions of dollars to better human life. I think each decade belongs to some sort of medical breakthrough from which we have been significantly benefitted. For example, penicillin’s discovery might not hold a reputation today, but it was one of the greatest achievements to better humans’ health. Today, lives are saved by blood transfusions and heart transplants, and the lives of the handicapped have been made easy by the use of prosthetics (=artificial parts of the body). Today, amputees (=a person whose arm or leg amputated) can live a respectable life with these artificial body parts. The latest one is the study of DNA that carries genetic information. So, the list is endless.

  • Which do you think is more important, science or social studies?

I guess both are equally significant without a doubt. Science helps us live better and healthy, whereas social study sheds light on how our society has evolved, and our cultural ties play a role in humankind. It encompasses the basic understanding of equality and justice, which are the basis of society’s foundation.

Vinod Gambtoo’s IELTS Speaking Conjecture, Part 9

  1. Describe a family (not your own) that you like.
  • Whose family this is
  • Where they live
  • Who are the family members
  • Why you like this family
  • Well, there are many families in my acquaintance (=contact) that are worth discussing, but it’s hard to pick one of them
  • Anyway, if I’ve to choose the perfect family, I will give number one to the family of my friend, Tina
  • I’ve known this family for the last 15 years. Tina and I have been studying and growing up together over these years. Hence, it’s the usual thing that we keep visiting each other’s family. In fact, I can say that it’s my extended family in a way, considering the amount of love and affection that I receive from her parents. Sometimes they also counsel me about my study and career plans
  • They live in a luxurious villa in the same vicinity where I live. I love her house very much because it’s set within landscaped grounds. Plus, it has an absolute green backdrop because it’s surrounded by a number of mature forest trees
  • Tina has a younger brother who is in year 12 right now. They are four in the family
  • Words will fall short of praising the qualities of the Bhatia family
  • Tina’s mom has a congenial (=affable, jovial, cordial) personality, and she’s a super successful businesswoman also. In business, she maintains order by sheer force of personality, and I guess she’s one of the adorable persons in the workplace, too.
  • About her father, uncle Bhatia is an innovative kind of person. When you sit with him casually, he always comes up with some bright ideas on many things. He always discusses the solutions of any matter rather than cribbing (=complain) about problems like others. As a youth, I tend to learn a lot many things, which I might not learn from books. When he speaks, it’s always ‘pearls of wisdom’
  • Not only these, but they are also full of life all the way. They create moments of happiness and live in the present. You can see their loving memories all over on Facebook and Instagram. They also travel a lot. Every year, they go to some exotic places in the world and bring back sweet memories and learning of the other culture and share with us
  • To me, they are the happiest family on this earth, and they make every moment count. Uncle Bhatia always says, “You get only one life. Make it count!”
  • One thing is sure that when I acquire my family, I will certainly emulate (=copy) what they do
  • How do grandparents educate their grandchildren in your country?

I guess it’s hard to answer this question because it all depends on the grandparents’ personality and temperament. All humans don’t have the same qualities: some are full of wisdom, and others are full of negative mindsets.

Anyway, if I take the gist (=summary, tenor) of this question and generalize it, the first thing that grandparents teach children is the importance of several life skills in life. Children get all the book knowledge from the school, but life skills prepare them for adulthood and success. For example, my grandparents taught me many invaluable life skills, such as being punctual at work, doing my laundry, managing time, having good manners, being a good helper and team player, among others. I can go on and on. And, frankly speaking, you won’t believe how useful these life skills are in my life. I think the wisdom of grandparents plays a vital role in our success in the long run. And, there’s no doubt that grandparents are as knowledgeable as our professors and teachers who shape our lives positively.

  • Who is the head of the family in your culture?

Both my parents jointly make all significant decisions in my family. But if I talk about the Indian culture, it has been an elderly male candidate who is the family head in most cases. However, things are changing for the good. You could see women are also coming forward and participating in all family decisions, especially in urban areas.

  • Are grandparents important in your family?

Yes, they are. Our both sets of doting (=adoring, loving) grandparents are the pillars in the family. They’re always there to help children or grandchildren untiringly and incessantly (=constantly), no matter what nonsense or crime they have ever committed. Such selfless love and pampering are precious, and I say that they’re a guardian angel of all sorts for sure.

  • In a typical family in your country, who plays the leading role?

I believe both moms and dads play equally an important role in raising children and looking after other family concerns. It will be unwise, or I would say discrediting, if I become selective on picking up either of them as far as dedication and sacrifice is concerned. Ideally, the father takes the expense of raising children, whereas the mother counsels children for career building and being a responsible citizen. However, things are also changing currently, majorly in urban areas, where you see both parents are the working ones, and they have shared responsibilities to guard their families against all sorts of challenges.

  • For parents, what is important when bringing up their child?

I guess there could be several things we can discuss, but let me narrow down my response. Most parents are worried that children may go astray (=to go in the wrong direction) as they grow, and that’s the only colossal (=gigantic, very big) concern that they have. Then, they try to ensure that their children don’t become a liability to them. In other words, they want their children to embrace their responsibilities as they grow, and when they acquire their own families.

I don’t think that parents are concerned other than these fundamental expectations. But I think that’s not enough. Parents should also inculcate (=impart, indoctrinate, instill) the right values in their children. For example, they certainly advise children not to tell lies, but they themselves do that day in, day out (=everyday), so it’s a self-defeating training.

  • What makes a good parent?

I think I would respect those parents who make their children responsible and give them wings to fly. They should offer a positive environment to children from which they get motivated and do something uncommon for themselves and society at large. Mediocre (=ordinary, dull) living is contagious, and parents must help children to come out of a mediocre life and think beyond imagination with the good values. When I say good values, it means they must be compassionate, sensitive, helping, and strong enough to take the world head-on.

  • Do you think both parents should take equal responsibility for taking care of their children?

Yes, absolutely. Be it a family or a job; nothing great can be achieved without teamwork. So it is the right thing in the family! Their equal concentration on children ensures that they stay on the right course as they go. Plus, every person is unique with so many unimaginable things, and mature people learn from each other. The same applies to parents. For example, my dad is good at taking care of all the external concerns, whereas my mom teaches me to become a good person in life. Such a positive combination shapes the lives of children.

2. Describe a prize that you want to win.

  • What the prize is
  • What you need to do to get it
  • How you know about it
  • Why you want it
  • What a coincidence? You know why I’m taking this test right now, it’s because I want to win the prize of £3,000 from the British Council as well as to study abroad
  • British Council offers 10 prizes worth £3,000 to those students whose academic credentials are brilliant and a high score in the IELTS test, along with an essay of 500 words that should convince them why a particular student deserves this prize
  • It’s a tough competition, though. Tens of thousands of students apply for this prize from India, and I’ll have to stand out (=emerge, stick out) of them to hit the jackpot
  • Hence, not only do I need to score better in the IELTS test, but also I’ve to learn how to write a persuasive (=impressive, cogent, compelling) essay. The persuasive essay is not as easy as it looks. You need to develop critical thinking and have command over the English language to be in consideration
  • The task ahead is full of challenges, and you don’t have trainers who specialize in this job, so it becomes rather complicated
  • Luckily, someone suggested the name of a trainer in Canada who himself went through such processes. His name is Vinod Gambtoo. I shared my concern with him, and he agreed with me to train for this special skill
  • I’m just about to submit all my papers along with the IELTS mark card in the next 15 days
  • I’m thankful to two persons for this job. The first one is Mr. Gambtoo, and the other is my friend, Gurpreetkaur Khalsa
  • I never knew about this prize, but she had all the details for this exciting scholarship and was preparing for the same. She’s a generous (=thoughtful, good, considerate) girl. Everyone wants to compete with a small number of rivals, and generally, they withhold (=conceal, hide) such vital information, which could strike down (=annul, disallow, nullify) their chances to win such prizes if there are too many contestants. But she doesn’t subscribe to such a narrow mindset for sure
  • This prize is significant in two ways. First of all, it will reduce a little bit of the financial burden of my parents. And the second is it’s a certificate of achievement. Such prizes and scholarships increase your chances to be hired when you enter the labor market after your studies. The prize money doesn’t matter. Whether you win $100 or $100,000, it’s the recognition of your achievement that sets you apart (=to make somebody/something different from others or better than others) from others
  • What rewards can children get from school?

It’s said that recognizing a student’s efforts is more valuable than money. All schools also have an instinct (=inclination, aptitude) to compete with other schools within the state or country. Therefore, students who are enrolled with them are the ones who will help them (to) achieve this target. Schools motivate students by giving various types of awards, such as a certificate of achievement, a certificate for good behavior, a certificate for recognizing students’ skills, i.e., innovative thrust, teamwork, leadership, academic excellence, and others. There are many ways to keep students in business. For example, when I was awarded scholarships by my school, I always felt connected with my school and its reputation. Such awards keep students thinking out of the box all the time. At times, schools take all the expenses of coaching and provide playing equipment to students interested in sports or who have performed well in the competitions.

  • Is it good for children to compete for prizes at school?

Yes, of course. Through competitions only, children can prove their worth or excel in academics or sports. Let’s see what exactly the meaning of any trophy or prize is? It gives students a sense of accomplishment, an increased level of self-confidence, respect among the peer group, and, more importantly, a pride for three parties: himself, school, and family. Students carry forward such a feeling of accomplishment throughout their lives, which can help them to succeed in their occupations in the long run. So, it’s not all about prize or money, but it could inspire them to think innovatively or work hard for themselves and society as a whole.

  • What reward can companies offer to outstanding employees?

I guess only a few companies have developed an atmosphere for employees who want to remain associated with them in the world, or in fact, stay there for a longer time. Large corporations have a mixed bag of motivational tools for their employees. Some corporations offer hard cash to motivate top performers, whereas some companies have ways to boost company morale by giving them from new gadgets to dinners out to trips to some exotic places in the world. It all depends on how corporations evaluate the drivers for employee performance, and more importantly, it rests on the policy, philosophy, and vision of any company.

  • What rewards do children want to get?

I think, first of all, they want the recognition of whatever good they have done while studying. A simple phone call from teachers to their parents on positive feedback also sends them into the orbit. Children love to receive trophies or badges of honor for their volunteer jobs or on the excellence of any extracurricular activities. Scholarships drive them to do better in studies and offer a feeling of accomplishment on which they feel proud while discussing it on any public forum. Apart from these monetary or non-monetary tools, they also appreciate their teachers’ verbal hugs when they fail in any mission. We cannot be winners all the time, but how to deal with failures gracefully is something that they learn from their mentors, coaches, and teachers. Therefore, this part of encouragement is as significant as other things for students that I discussed.

  • Is it a good idea to reward children for doing homework or housework?

Yes, it is without any doubt. In fact, incentivizing students to complete their homework or household chores is a positive development. Children are always like clay, and school, along with parents, must mold them into the right shape and encourage them to be responsible citizens so that when they grow, a lot many things get streamlined for their good. Plus, every small thing in life teaches them good or bitter lessons. Only academics don’t determine the success of students in their careers, but how to deal with other concerns makes them composed and articulate all the ways.

  • Should parents push their children to get prizes?

My answer is yes, but they should not push them overly to the point where they get frustrated if they fail. Their job is to offer a conducive environment to children whereby they feel motivated but not under any fear of losing and repercussions (=backlash, fallout, chain reaction) from parents. With the right amount of encouragement, children develop virtues, such as commitment, perseverance (=dedication, determination), tenacity (=courage, guts, chutzpah), grit (=the courage and strength of mind), camaraderie (=companionship, togetherness), and resilience (=bounce back). These qualities will invariably take them to their goals of becoming outperformers gradually.

3. Describe a short-term job you would like to do in a foreign country.

  • What type of work you would like to do there
  • What country you would like to work in
  • Why you would like to work in this country
  • Finding the right kind of job that hits all the right marks, such as satisfaction, money, and work-life balance is hard to achieve these days
  • Most people ask, “What’s your passion?”  And then you present or contemplate (=think about) your various interests in life. So, one of my interests is to work for animal betterment in my life
  • I want to have a state-of-the-art veterinarian hospital in my town. Therefore, I would like to gain some hands-on experience working for a not-for-profit organization for animal betterment in Canada
  • I’ve gone through plenty of openings as an animal care administrator online, and it seems that this cause is certainly underserved (=not getting enough help, services, or products) and underrepresented (=marginalized, belittled, diminished) all over the world
  • I’ve done some research on this occupation and found that the government of Canada and several not-for-profit organizations spend millions of dollars to better the lives of animals. They spend billions of dollars in research to alleviate (=mitigate, allay, assuage, ease) the sufferings of animals day in, day out (=every day for a long period of time)
  • I’ve also visited a few organizations, which take care of stray animals. While talking and gathering pieces of information, I found they’ve the expertise to deal with both the medical and psyche of animals, and that’s what gravitates me to this job and place
  • Suppose I’ve experience of some years with such organizations and a little bit of know-how about how vets treat diseased and injured animals and ask about new advances that might help animals live longer and better. In that case, it will be handy for me to start a charitable organization dedicated to this cause in India later on
  • What are the difficulties that people might face while working abroad?

I guess there could be many. First of all, I think language is a big barrier for immigrants or international workers working in other countries where the English language is the first language. No matter how proficient you are, but you can’t be as good as native speakers while communicating. Then, foreigners must adapt to or integrate into the host culture in order to be in sync with (=in agreement with somebody/something) the culture. Otherwise, it’s hard to make progress. You’ve gotta blend yourself with them in every aspect to be marketable. And the last is the weather. I come from India, which has almost hot weather round the year, and if I’ve to work or live in North America, the weather out there is utterly the opposite.

  • What is the biggest challenge of working in a foreign country?

Along with the factors presented in my previous answer, there are yet other things that put immigrants into trouble. For example, corporations out there don’t have any idea about the school’s quality from where you have graduated. And therefore, they think twice to consider your academic achievement at par with their education system. The same trouble applies to your work experience. Imagine how we work in India and how they work there. It’s a day-and-night difference in reality. For example, clients in India have a strong urge to call for every small matter, whereas people there prefer all the communications recorded via emails. Therefore, it’s a 360-degree change, and you need to adapt to all new settings.

  • How would you benefit from working at a multicultural company?

Of late, professional diversity is the centerpiece of all the corporate discussions. A vast number of corporations have a distribution channel globally, so they try to assimilate (=grasp, incorporate, understand) with the local culture. For employees, they will have an idea of how things work in other countries, and such an experience is like gold on your resume.

  • Will it be beneficial for young people to work for an international company?

Absolutely, and there’s no doubt about it. The more you know about the world at a young age, the more chances you have to grow in the long run for sure. I guess global understanding in the line of business you are in will make you composed and articulate. And their benefits will be seen gradually with time.

  • How do people get to know about international jobs?

It’s not hard at all. In the past, until the advent of new technology, we hardly had any knowledge about openings in the international market. But there are several recruitment websites that list jobs regularly now, and some of them operate globally.

  • Is it difficult for people to get a job at an international company?

Yes, I think so. Most companies prefer to hire locals for several reasons. It’s a matter of convenience for both parties. Corporations have to spend time and money both while hiring candidates from other countries. Plus, they’re always skeptical (=doubtful, unconvinced) about the quality of their academic achievement and work experience. However, there are exceptions, too. For example, we Indians are known for our IT skills excellence, and this fact is wide open to the world. Hence, North American and European companies see worth in the Indian workforce in the tech world.

  • Is it good that now people have an opportunity to live and work abroad?

I think it’s a positive development for both immigrants and host countries. Both parties need each other for their success. It’s like mortise and tenon (figurative, coined by Vinod Gambtoo). Immigrants get a better lifestyle living abroad, whereas host countries need population and their participation in economic activities.

4. Describe an event you experienced in which you did not like the music.

  • Where it was
  • What the event was
  • What the music was like
  • Why you didn’t like the music
  • Last year, I attended the wedding of my cousin at Hyatt Regency in Ludhiana
  • Certainly, it was a joyous moment for everyone, but I was really annoyed at my cousin’s decision to organize a live DJ band at the reception ceremony
  • Apart from this DJ band inclusion, the venue was cool. Obviously, I can’t fault Hyatt for his bad decision, and the entire decoration of the ceremony was simply stupendous (=fabulous, fantastic)
  • I had also visited this place before and had a tremendous experience as far as their background music choice is concerned. They generally have the background music of softly lapping water, and, in fact, it’s soothing to your ears
  • I guess we often choose to listen to music that suits our activities and moods. It soothes our nerves and calms our minds
  • But the live DJ band at the wedding reception is something torture. I don’t know who dared to start this gaudy (=showy, gross) music culture in my country
  • You can’t hear anything, and the heavy sound of drums and guitar simply puts you off
  • I mean, it’s OK to have the background music of softly lapping water on such occasions because I consider it a charming piece of music
  • During the entire event, I had to yell in order to be heard over in the deafening noise. I was wondering what my cousin and his wife would have been going through
  • My head started to ache, and I really wanted to leave the place, but I couldn’t do so as it was our family’s celebration
  • Somehow, I managed my time and was faking my smile all the time
  • After a few days, my newly-wed cousin also shared the same experience. He’s a sarcastic (=satirical, caustic, saucy) guy, and what he said made me burst out of laughing
  • He said, “Because of this DJ band, I was also distracted by the splintering noises thundering in my ears. Thankfully, it didn’t disturb my first night”
  • What kinds of music do you like to listen to?

Well, it all depends upon the occasion. I grew up listening to Rock and Pop music, and then gradually became fascinated by other genres also. I love to listen to Bryan Adams, Freddy Mercury, Bono, Roxette, Bon Jovi, Madonna, Sean Paul, Eric Clapton, Mark Knopfler, Bob Dylan, Elvis, and many others. So, if you see the range, it has all types of genres.

  • What kinds of music are most popular in your country?

In my country, people listen to a wide variety of music genres. I’ve seen people humming a tune of classical music, dancing on folk music in the countryside, the youth reveling on house music, baby boomers (=a person born during a baby boom, especially after the second world war) reliving their lives listening to rock and jazz music, and so on. There’s an endless list. Overall, Indians prefer those songs that have catchy lyrics and full of melodies. The music industry is worth billions of dollars in India. It means music is a part of our lives.

  • Is it necessary for the government to require all children to learn music?

I don’t think so. The government cannot impose its decisions on people on any matter. Additionally, I don’t think that every kid loves music; some love to listen to it or some love to sing as well, but we cannot be sure that everyone desires to learn music as a subject. There’s sufficient support and environment for whoever wants to make a career in music or just want to learn it, but putting all the children through for the same will be over the top.

  • Do you think music lessons are important?

I guess that makes sense. Music has been part of humankind over the centuries. And I think people feel connected with music if they are trained at the basic level. For example, musical training helps children master the skill of memorization.

  • Why do many young people spend a lot of money on music concerts?

Music sound excites emotions and interest. People feel connected when they listen to music they like the most. One of the primary reasons for the youth attending music concerts is (that) it gives them an opportunity to meet and greet their favorite band or the singer in person. It unwinds them because they’re the idols from whom they take inspiration. The entire atmosphere is reverberating (=resound, echo) when you see boys and girls clap, dance, or sway to the beats. I guess such music concerts boost their happiness.

  • There is a lot of pirated music. Do you agree that we should support official music?

Absolutely! You know it’s a crime to buy pirated stuff. Sometimes I wonder why people are so insensitive towards artists. They spend their life and blood to produce a charming piece of music to survive or make some money. But people don’t respect their skills in society. They just try to save some money at the cost of robbing someone’s livelihood. In my country, pirated music and photocopied books or other literature are a norm. Most people grow up using pirated stuff and photocopied books and brazenly (=blatantly, unashamedly) call themselves as saints.

  • There is a saying: ‘Music is like Math.’ Do you agree?

Well, frankly speaking, I’ve heard this adage first time ever in my life. But I do see some connection between these two. I guess both of them follow the combinations, patterns, relationships, interdependence, and structures to produce a great result and idea. Maybe I’m wrong because I never took any interest in developing my skills in music. Neither did I have any formal education in music. This is the best I can postulate (=hypothesize, posit, presuppose) in my argument for this saying.

  • Do you think music concerts are suitable for older people to attend?

I’ve generally not seen older people attending music concerts. And I also don’t see any reason to do so because people stand for hours clapping, dancing, and swaying to the beats. It’s an amazingly electrifying experience, but I don’t think that older people like such a setting to enjoy themselves. They prefer relatively calm events, maybe a town hall where limited seats are available for the audience, and they can sit and enjoy music.

  • Why do shopping malls often have background music?

Shopping malls are filled with unimaginable crowds. Just imagine that all these shoppers and visitors talk to each other, making the entire environment noisy and loud. When you have soft background music, people experience some comfort and don’t get irritated.

  1. Do you think older people like the same music as younger people?

Yes, that’s possible in some cases but not all. I think older people give importance to good lyrics and melody with the combination of music, which matches the mood and theme of the story. However, one thing is sure that both these age groups will not accept all types of contemporary music. There will be some likings, and there won’t be. That’s because music is defined individually, and more importantly, it represents your time and life. For example, you would’ve heard the popular song of Freddie Mercury (Queen Band) – ‘Radio Ga Ga.’ Now, this song and its melody and lyrics may not have relevance in the present, so possibly the youth may not enjoy it. But when I listen to it, it reminds me of my school, old friends and gives me a smile on my face. 

5. Describe a dinner that you enjoyed

  • Who organized this meal and where you had it
  • What you talked about during the meal
  • What you ate and drank
  • Why you enjoyed it
  • I love tasty food, especially love trying different cuisines
  • I can’t say I’m a gourmet, but one thing is sure that I wouldn’t eat anything that’s served on the plate
  • I remember the dinner that we had last month. My boyfriend surprised me utterly by inviting me to the CN Tower on our first anniversary of dating
  • I never thought that my boyfriend would give me a treat at one of Canada’s most expensive restaurants. As expected, it cost us more than $250, but it was all worth it
  • Thankfully, it wasn’t the weekend, so there were relatively small numbers of people relishing the food
  • Initially, I was thinking of saving my boyfriend’s money, so I was unable to decide what to order, but I guess he read my mind and encouraged me to order whatever I liked the most
  • We both love Lasagna with wine and other French dishes. Everything was delightfully tasty, and more than the taste, it had a perfect setting to be with someone and share moments along with a meal
  • This was really a gastronomic delight
  • While having the meal, we talked about how we met and how far we have come in our lives, all those moments where we had our finest moments and also those dark moments where we hated each other for a while. We also talked about our immediate plans in our life and all other stuff
  • I think that the main reason for liking and remembering this meal is because I was felt special and loved. On top of it, the food was awesome, and the experience was such that I thought I’d died and gone to heaven
  • Will you choose a café or a restaurant when you meet others?

Well, it all depends upon the occasion. If friends decide to meet casually, the café will always be the right place because you may sit longer and eat less. Cafes serve bakery stuff, such as cookies, cakes, and light snacks, along with hot and cold beverages, such as coffee, tea, and energy drinks. We’ve too many cafes in our city, and trust me, all of them are unique in their offerings. The ambiance (=atmosphere, environs) of some cafes are cool and inviting.

If I’m really hungry or have a formal meet with my clients, then I would definitely choose restaurants over cafes. But, overall, the café will be my preferred choice.

  • What are the differences between a café and a restaurant?

I think you wouldn’t note much difference between cafes and restaurants generally except the size, price, and ambiance. Cafes are meant to be a place for conversation, informal meetings, or a cup of coffee and sit in for a while on the run, whereas restaurants offer a perfect setting for having a meal with friends and family. They are expensive, and each restaurant is unique in ambiance with a pricey menu.

  • Is it important to have a meal together with your family?

Definitely, yes. Having a meal together with your family has only advantages. You could enjoy the meal while discussing your day-to-day life and other issues. Such a conversation gives us some sort of mental relaxation, and you could deal with your work stress. Some parents do it on purpose to promote more sensible eating habits with their children. Children happen to learn all that profound (=deep, intelligent) wisdom of what’s good and what’s not in their eating habits from their parents. It also gives an opportunity to sit together and have fun while eating.

  • Is it expensive to eat out in your country?

I don’t think so, but again it depends upon your income. India is not an expensive country for anything, but if you live from hand-to-mouth, then everything that you see is costly. For example, the McDonald’s burger cost me ₹150 in India and $5.50 in Canada. In the end, how much you save and purchasing power decides your spending power.

  • More and more people are unwilling to cook. Why is this happening?

‘Time is money,’ that’s what’s said. With time, pressure on working people has grown manifold, and it’s hard for them to cope with (X=not, cope up with) their personal and professional life. This could be the chief reason why people are unwilling to cook a meal for themselves. Another factor responsible for this phenomenon is the tremendous availability of fast food at a lower cost. People feel saving a lot of time by buying tasty fast food on the run. And, because of this propensity (=disposition, tendency) of consumer behavior, you see there have been countless fast-food joints that have come into existence everywhere in the world.

  • Do you like to try new food?

Yes, I love trying new foods but may not like all. I’ve tried Lebanese food, Canadian food, and various cuisines of Indian food. I guess all cuisines have mouth-watering smells.

  • What kinds of foreign food are popular in your country?

In my country, you see Chinese food everywhere. Sometimes I wonder that more than Chinese people, we consume their delicacies. In fact, I would say it’s not Chinese food but Indian-Chinese food as it is prepared according to the taste of India. Apart from Chinese, some European and Mexican delicacies are also popular.

  • Do you like to cook at home?

Yes, I love to cook at home as long as time permits me. I believe home-cooked food is healthy. We are already going through worse of the food industry, such as increased hormones in the meat and the use of pesticides in vegetables, so fast food is junk for our body. Therefore, home-made food makes sense.

  • What is the difference between having meals at home and a restaurant?

Both have their advantages. Meals at home are all about sitting with your family members and enjoying the healthy food, which is made of the right condiment, unadulterated oil, and fresh vegetables or meat. I personally love home-made food much, and I believe it’s tastier than that of made in restaurants. However, some people believe that meals at a restaurant are tastier than what’s cooked at home. Plus, you have an ambiance where you do nothing but order the food of your choice. That luxury is not there at home.

  • How often do people in your country like to eat out?

I’m not sure how often they go out for a meal, but I guess they go once a week at least, especially during the weekend.

  • Is it possible that everyone will eat at restaurants instead of at home in the future?

I don’t think so. With time, people are getting matured with many things. I mean, you learn so many hidden or perilous (=hazardous, very dangerous) pieces of information of everything. The food industry has commercialized at the cost of unhealthy adulteration of chemicals and other things, which affects us heavily. Eating out is not a healthy habit, and I guess people are returning to the cooking of late.

  • What are the advantages of eating at restaurants?

Two things come to my mind: one, it is super tasty, and two, it saves your precious time. Apart from these two advantages, I don’t see other benefits.

Vinod Gambtoo’s IELTS Speaking Conjecture, Part 8

  1. Describe a friend/person who is a good leader.
  • Who this person is
  • How you know this person
  • What he does
  • Why you think he is a good leader
  • It’s not a hard question, but let me think who is the best leader in my opinion
  • Aha, I would pick our Prime Minister Modi for this topic because he’s given a ray of hope for the better future for all Indians
  • I guess everyone knows him very well. He is all over the places every day and gets the maximum media attention
  • Ever since he has become Prime Minster of India, you see there’s a division among people. I mean, you will see people love him, and you will also see people hate him for some reason
  • Anyway, I would like to talk about why I adore (=admire, revere) our PM as a leader
  • In his first term, he focused on uplifting the poor. And what he did was well taken in the world. He encouraged poor people to open their bank accounts under the ‘Jan Dhan Yojana Scheme’.
  • Initially, his critics laughed and taunted him, but this has been the most prominent financial inclusion on earth to date. Under this scheme, more than 400 million (40 crores) people have opened their bank accounts, and all the government benefits now are directly transferred to beneficiaries (=recipient)
  • In the past, people at the bottom of the pyramid struggled to get benefits introduced by the government due to the bureaucracy’s large-scale corruption
  • Now, there’s no contact of any officer or politician while receiving the government subsidy or benefit
  • Because of only this reason, our PM strikes a chord with people (=to say or do something that makes people feel enthusiastic or sympathy), and the opposition is left with perplexed (=puzzled, bewildered)
  • This was one example. Apart from this, he knows well how to stay in touch with people. Hence, people feel that there’s someone at the top who thinks and cares about them. The love for him clearly reflected in the second term, and people, greater in numbers than before, voted him to be our prime minister once again

Follow-up questions:

  • Who is the head of the family in your culture?

Both my parents jointly make significant decisions in my family. But if I talk about the Indian culture, it has been an elderly male candidate who is the family head in most cases. However, things are changing for the good. You could see women are also coming forward and participating in all family decisions, especially in urban areas.

  • Are men better at decision making in a family?

I disagree with this statement, and, in fact, endorsing such a notion should be considered sexism. There’s no doubt that there’s a cliché (=adage, saying) in our society that men are better than women when it comes to making any decision. In fact, it’s also an ingrained (=fixed, implanted, inherent, inbred) attitude of men in our society, which is unwanted. I guess the habit of making the right decisions comes from the experience, and whoever is enriched with experiences can make the right decision. It has nothing to do with gender.   

  • Do you think that in the future there will be more women leaders?

Yes, I think so. I could see several women coming forward and displaying grit (=boldness, adventurousness), courage, and skills in the world. That monopoly of the man being the top leader has successfully been challenged in recent years. Yet I believe there’s a long way to go for them. But I’m an optimist as change is inevitable in life.

  • Should a leader discuss with team members when making a decision?

Companies grow only when their teams are meticulously (=assiduously, comprehensively, completely, efficiently) coordinated and intertwined (=associate, connected) with other departments. Hence, taking diverse views while working could make a massive difference in the desired outcome. Every person is born with some specialty, and a good manager knows how to take advantage of others’ skills and specialties to make progress in any area. So, it’s a mega ‘Yes.’  

2. Describe your favorite clothes.

  • What it is like
  • Who gave it to you or from where you bought it
  • How often you wear it
  • Explain how you feel about it or why you enjoy wearing it
  • I’m always fascinated by Bond’s suit in my life. He puts on marvelous suits, tuxedos (=a black or white jacket and trousers, worn with a bow tie at formal occasions in the evening), or three-piece suits in the movie. Generally, Bond wears the Tom Ford brand, but I like Ralph Lauren more than that for some reason
  • I remember having bought a suit for my final presentation of the last course while doing an MBA
  • It was a momentous (=crucial, consequential) day for me because, after that, we all were to start our life, and it was an end to my school life also
  • It’s a two-button suit, which is crafted in Italy. It is made of Glen plaid fabric with rolled lapels and hand-sewn natural shoulders. And it’s paired with flat-front trousers. It has two front pockets with flaps and four buttons at the cuff.
  • I love this suit because it fits well and looks good on me. Whenever I’ve an important client meeting, I choose this suit to be expressive. I pay a lot of attention to my clothing sense because it makes you apart from the crowd. Well-dressed people whether men or women grab the maximum attention wherever they go
  • I feel confident when I put on this suit. You know some clothes give you an edge over (=a slight advantage of something/somebody) others in the presentation. My experience also suggests that many people have not developed the clothing sense throughout their life, and they look awkward on some occasions
  • For example, I’ve seen people putting on a pair of jeans and a T-shirt while attending a wedding. That’s outrageously off. Or sometimes people wear sneakers at the workplace. That’s over the top (=excessive, exaggerated)

Follow-up questions:

  • What is the difference between the dressing style of young people and that of older people?

In India, you will see a remarkable blend of western and traditional outfits for both genders, especially for girls. Girls love putting on skirts, salwar suits, jackets, kurtis, blazers, blouses, shirts, saris, and among others. Boys’ outfits are divided simply into two parts: formal and casual. About older people, they’ve also both combinations as of the youth. It all comes down to your lifestyle and preference. For example, my father always wore either suits or safari suits.

  • Do people living in the north part of your country wear different clothes compared to people living in the north?

My country is full of diversity in all the ways, be it religion, language, weather, or clothing sense. I believe you will see a different taste of food and choice of clothes in every 100-kilometer distance in any direction of India. So, forget north or south, it changes dramatically within the state also. That said, preference for the outfits changes with distance.  For example, people in the south are seen wearing ‘lungi’, which is generally not the north’s style.

  • What kinds of clothes do people wear after work?

Boys wear round-neck T-shirts with shorts or pajamas. And I think girls wear leggings with T-shirts. Some girls also wear shorts after work. Older people wear pajamas and shirts or kameez in most cases

  • What kinds of clothes should people wear at work?

I personally believe in the dress code in the workplace. It looks good and attractive when you have a dress code. Strictly, people should wear formal outfits in the workplace. I wonder when I see people wear colorful shirts paired with jeans and sports shoes. That looks hilarious and tacky (=gaudy, dingy, messy).

  • Do you think students need to wear a school uniform?

Wearing a school uniform is a symbol of identification and pride, and it also makes a school’s personality. It’s the imperative piece of being a school student. It also teaches students to take pride in their appearance. Wearing a uniform is all about being in the organization or school together. Hence, it should be mandatory, no matter what people argue against it.

  • Where do Indian people buy clothes?

We’ve all types of buying options available. You have high-street shops and malls where you can go for shopping. Some people also love to buy clothes online as it saves time for them. At times, we have attractive deals online, so everyone wants to take advantage of the right deal. However, I personally like to go to a mall where you have multi-brand outlets to choose from several options. 

  • Does personality affect how people choose what to wear?

To some extent, it does, but not absolutely. Again, it is more of a psychological factor, I guess. For example, my paunch (=tummy, abdomen) is visible, so I prefer to put on tuxedo on several occasions. You’re talking to yourself constantly, and it controls or redeems you on many matters.

  • When should people wear formal clothes?

At the workplace, it should be mandatory. And ‘yes’ when you attend anybody’s wedding for sure.

  • Do people wear formal clothes more often than before?

Probably, yes, because most corporations pay attention to what you wear at the workplace. In the past, maybe they were not much strict.

3. Describe a difficult challenge that you completed/met.

  • What the challenge was
  • When and where you completed/met it
  • Why it was difficult
  • How you felt about it
  • You know life is a roller coaster. And, you’ve got two choices only: either you enjoy the ride and embrace it joyfully, learning from experiences along with it, or you keep resenting (=grudge, dislike)  about what’s happening to you
  • As I’m a positive guy, so I chose the former way to overcome my challenges
  • Here’s the story of my challenge! My girlfriend and I parted ways (=leave somebody; to end a relationship with somebody) last year because we lost that sweetness in the relationship and kept fighting each other
  • In anger, we both decided to call it off (=cancel something). But it was a great setback for me in life, and it was hard for me to move on for some time. I don’t know how she felt about our breakup, but it certainly was unwelcoming for me
  • I couldn’t concentrate on my job for a couple of months, and it was an incredibly ugly time of my life
  • Regardless (=anyhow, by any means, paying no attention, even if the situation is bad or there are difficulties) of how it happened, it gave me an opportunity to reflect on what’s truly important for me to overcome this incident
  • I reexamined my values and beliefs against what I lost in my life. I had a clear understanding gradually and talked to myself about this failure. My mind said one thing, “you must fail to grow”
  • I experienced certain things outside of my control, but those experiences now have become part of my life
  • Apart from a failed romance, I left it all to chance for some time, and I saw a brighter day sooner
  • From the breakup, I took a lesson from all the positives and made them my strength. I didn’t curse (=blame, bad-mouth, verbal attack, castigate) her for the failed relationship but appreciated what she taught me to become a better person
  • I feel now improved and confident. It’s because I don’t dwell (=hole up, inhabit, exist) on the past but look ahead

Follow-up questions:

  • Do you think parents should give challenges to children?

Yes, of course. Challenges define and prepare you for unforeseen (=abrupt, startling, sudden) circumstances. Or you don’t get better in your academics, career, or personal life. It’s a kind of exercise that you choose for your children to prepare them for the future. However, I also believe that challenges like goals must be realistic to some extent. Some children are born to excel, but others are not. Hence, parents, at times, need to rationalize their expectations from children.

  • What is the most challenging thing for kids?

Unlearn the bad things! Yes, children tend to emulate (=imitate, mimic, mirror, follow suit) their peers, parents, friends, and others. The most formidable job not only for children but also for adults, is to unlearn the distorted (=wry, perverted) learning. It’s really challenging for parents and teachers to reset the minds of children for better learning. For example, when a child sees his father peeing in a public place, that image stays on his mind forever, and he is, inadvertently (=by chance, unintentionally), encouraged to follow suit (=imitate, mimic, mirror, emulate) later.

  • Can parents reduce the challenges kids have? How?

Yes, they could be handy to their children. But if they aren’t heavily burdened with challenges, they must not intervene (=interfere, arbitrate). I mean, children should face as many different challenges as possible to get better, and we must allow this culture to grow for their good. Having said that, if children are overwhelmed (=devastated, affected, moved) with these tasks, we should calm their nervesand show them some good ways to complete those tasks rather than helping them to complete the said challenges. 

  • What challenges do you think children might have to face?

There could be countless challenges waiting for children for testing. When they are young and restless, inculcation (=the practice of making somebody learn and remember ideas, moral principles, etc., especially by repeating them often) of values, morality, manners, discipline, and others is focused. As they grow, their performance of academics, sports, and other co-curricular activities replace the basics. After school, they have to face the brutal world and learn how to navigate challenges, depravity (=wickedness, degradation), workplace politics, ugly habits, and other things. So, on every step, they have two things: Positive and negative. We must train them how successfully and joyfully they could cruise their journey.

4. Describe a leisure activity that you do with your family.

  • What the activity it is
  • When you do it
  • Who(m) you do it with
  • Do you enjoy doing it?
  • We’ve several leisure activities to enjoy with family members, but time is a big constraint (=discouragement, deterrent, obstacle) in today’s fast-paced life
  • Generally, Sunday is a super bright day for all the leisure activities, especially at noon
  • I want to recount a funny game with you that we sometimes play after our stomachs have settled
  • It’s a super wholesome (=together) family time, in fact. We play one of the coolest games called ‘Ping Pong Ball Challenge’ with family members
  • What we do is we place a line of cups at the end of the room on a table for one team. We split the family members into a team
  • At the other end of the room, we place the ping pong balls. The rule is the team has to move three ping pong balls from one side of the room to the other side by placing it between the chin and neck. Whichever team completes this challenge first is the winner, and that team will give a party at any place in the evening
  • This game is full of fun. It looks easier than done. But the moment you try to hold the ping pong ball between your neck and chin, it more often slips, and you’ve got to restart it
  • While playing this game, there is an electrifying (=amazing, energizing) atmosphere at home. Both the teams try to win and buck up (=bolster, cheer) the team member. You could hear the sound of clapping and yelling from the other room, and it’s worth watching it
  • I enjoy playing this game much. It also offers a sense of camaraderie (=companionship, togetherness) within the family members

Follow-up questions:

  • What are leisure activities popular in your country?

I guess it depends upon the size of your family and friends and the place you come from. There’s a whole lot of activities varying from place to place. In most cases, I’ve seen people playing cards or Ludo King in a team on the phone these days. Some people also play the game of Chess, and as usual, other family members or friends offer free advice on the movement of pieces. 

  • What leisure activities do young people like?

I exactly don’t know what kids do during leisure time nowadays, but we had some options while I was young. We would go someplace on bicycles and enjoy the short trips. At times, our friends would watch any good movie that we had planned to watch together. Again, playing cards and the game of Chess was also an option at hand, and we did so. If nothing from these, we would sit and gossip for hours – a no-brainer (=cakewalk, an easy thing).

  • Do leisure activities have to be educational?

Not necessary. We must need some time to unwind (=relax) ourselves. The best strategy to unwind yourself is to act and think like a child, away from the world doing something inconsequential (=insignificant, trivial, unimportant). Hence, I don’t think that everything should be linked to an educational activity.

  • Do men and women like different leisure activities?

I’ve no idea about it, in fact, never thought of it. Maybe men are from Mars, and women are from Venus, so there could be some difference! I’m just kidding, not being sarcastic (=disrespectful, disparaging, arrogant). Yes, I remember the account of my family. I grew up seeing my mom knitting a sweater and dad watching a movie during leisure time. So, probably there should be some difference while having any leisure activity between men and women.

5. Describe a picture or photograph in your home/room that you like.

  • What it is about
  • Where it is placed in your home
  • How you got it
  • Why you like it
  • I want to talk about a great photo of my mom being awarded for her Master’s degree at King’s College, London
  • She looks stunning in her navy blue graduation gown and cap. It’s the photograph of ‘70s
  • We had this photo framed and hung in our drawing-room. We see this photo every day over the years. I love to see my mom smiling in this photo, and probably it’s the best photograph of her life
  • My mom preserved this photo as if it were a goldmine for her. After her marriage, she packed this photograph carefully to bring it to our home. She says, “This photograph will inspire my generation to study at the best school in the world, and that’s why she considers this photo as a historic moment”
  • I agree with my mom on her thoughts because of this photograph, my sister and I always considered education on high priority. Her unique way to inspire us to be a better person paid off eventually
  • My sister did her undergrad studies from the University of British Columbia, whereas I joined Stanford
  • Just imagine how one photograph could impact your life so positively, and this is the classic example

Follow-up questions:

  • Do Indians like to take photos of themselves?

I guess most people like to be taken their photos. However, some people stay off the camera for some reason. I personally believe that we should keep our photos of all ages so that we can look back and see our journey and how our facial features change with time.

  • What kinds of devices do people like to use for taking photos these days?

Well, it’s a simple affair these days. Everyone has a smartphone, and it means that everyone has a camera in his hand 24 hours. Some people might be highly interested in professional photography, and they buy DSLR cameras that offer multiple options in photography.

  • Why do some people delete photos?

I think there could be three reasons. One, no one likes to keep the ugly photos of himself. People select stunning pictures and treasure them but always delete the ugly ones. Two, sometimes the storage of your phone or camera reaches its capacity, and therefore, you have to make a harsh decision of deleting photos. Lastly, some photos are confidential, and people don’t want to risk them being circulated at any cost. That’s why they delete them.

  • Why do some people keep photos?

To me, it’s a treasure, and people cherish their photos. They give a reason to smile and remember something extraordinary, which means a lot to you. Pictures are great memories of life.

  • Has the way people take photos changed?

Yes, I think so, especially in this modern digital world. As I said to you that everyone has a camera on the smartphone. So, practically, everyone is a photographer, maybe an amateur (=aspirant, beginner) one. In the past, you had to book a professional photographer to book an event for photography, but it’s not the case now. They are called only when there is a significant event; otherwise, your camera does all the job.

  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of taking photos with a smartphone?

I don’t see any disadvantage of taking photos by the phone at all. You’ve only advantages, I guess. You’ve all the moments captured, and they go to your album, maybe on Facebook or Instagram. Plus, you can also capture all the undesirable events to warn the government or any agency and stand up for (=support or defend something/somebody) the truth. You would have seen several viral videos and photos, and sometimes they have merits also.

  • Do you think photographers are artists?

Yes, absolutely, they are great artists because they can make an ugly-looking person a handsome one. Unfortunately, their career is under threat nowadays because of amateur photographers like us.

  • What are the benefits of learning painting for children?

It supports creativity. Children could use their learning experiences in creating impeccable (=immaculate, unblemished, exquisite, faultless)   designs in other industries, such as architectural, 3D animation, gaming, and others at the later stage. Therefore, I consider this skill crucial for all children.

  • Can anyone become a famous artist through hard work?

Yes, one can, but it has a bumpy ride. The world of arts is extraordinarily unpredictable. Some deserving artists starve, at times, and some morons (=idiot) hog (=to use or keep most of something yourself and stop others from using or having it) the limelight, leaving others crying for attention. And, there are also some rogue (=crook, rascal, villain, swindler) artists such as M.F. Hussain who attacks the religious sentiments to gain unwanted popularity. Such artists should be penalized for life imprisonment.

Vinod Gambtoo’s IELTS Speaking Conjecture, Part 7

  1. A job you would not like to do in the future.
  • What the job is
  • When you don’t want to do it
  • How you feel about the job
  • That’s a good question and takes me back to a time where I felt down all the time in my previous job
  • Two years back, I lost my job and was almost broke (=bankrupt, penniless) then. I applied for my desired position to several corporations, but either I wasn’t called for an interview or I was declined for the position after my interview session
  • I did my bachelor’s degree in commerce and am quite well versed in accounting and finance. I’m an assistant accountant currently, and that was my chosen job and comfort zone forever
  • My company went into liquidation (=process of closing a company, selling what it owns and paying its debt) some two and a half year ago, and I had no way but to hunt a new job then
  • After successive failures to find the job that I wanted, I compromised with my career path and decided to take up a job in other areas, too
  • Finally, I was chosen as a sales cum operations officer with a brokerage firm, which dealt with the stock market, trading on behalf of regular and high-net-worth clients
  • I encountered a host of challenging times while working with this company, and some of them were beyond my imaginations
  • It was a family-run organization, so practically I had to report to three bosses and needed to align with three bosses on many occasions
  • That was the first account of  huge dissatisfaction in my job
  • Furthermore, I never experienced that my job was ever rewarding and fun. I always felt underpaid against my untiring (=continued, dedicated) efforts to maximize the growth of my company
  • After one and a half year, I felt stagnant (=dormant, idle, inactive) in my job role and bored
  • I faced everything with a grin (=beam, smirk), but in the end, I gave in (=abandon, give up, back down, cease) when I felt unappreciated at work
  • One of the significant elements of the workplace is the need for recognition. I got unhappy when I realized that it went unappeased. My boss never proclaimed (=affirm, indicate, announce) gladly what best I had done. On the contrary, he placed his frustration on me on a couple of occasions. This was the last trigger for me to quit the job for another
  • Luckily, I found the job that I wanted, and now I’m quite relaxed and happy with my current work profile

Follow-up questions:

  • What kinds of jobs young people prefer?

Well, it’s subjective. It all depends upon what kind of personality you are. Ambitious young people have a huge arena of choices from IT to engineering to management administration to the medical field. India is known for IT solutions, so I guess we manufacture tens of thousands of students who are interested in working with tech companies. At the same time, India is also known for giving unimaginable numbers of engineers every year. I think these are the main careers.

  • Some people may lose their jobs due to technology, how to deal with it?

I agree with you on this statement. I foresee many jobs will be automated, and robots will be replacing human talents in the years to come. The best solution is to keep your skills updated with changing time, or you become unwanted (=redundant) for sure. We won’t and can’t go back in the past. Nor do we desire to have medieval time to live our lives. The second solution that comes to my mind is population control. This suggestion might sound out of the way concerning this question, but it’s not. Population explosion will have dire (=critical, drastic, acute) consequences, and it takes away opportunities because the world businesses may not be able to match up with the rise in population as far as job opportunities are concerned.

  • Will you settle in another country?

Yes, I will settle abroad, and that’s why I’m taking the IELTS test.

  • How young people today decide their careers?

There are multiple ways and considerations that the youth makes up their minds (=to decide something) to choose a career. Some youngsters have their own passion to follow in life, and they’re adamant to compromise for anything lesser than what they have dreamed. Well, it’s not bad propensity (=disposition, leaning, tendency) because some people never settle for less, and they’re truly deserving, also. Some youngsters follow others without thinking deeply, and at times, they get happy or unhappy after some years. There is a section of the youth which idolizes others or look upon their parents. They have a clear path of their careers and go after them diligently and sincerely.

  • What do young people prefer – boring jobs with high pay or interesting jobs with low pay?

It’s hard to answer how people see their dream jobs. If we look at this point pragmatically (=practically, in a sensible manner), people should go for interesting jobs, no matter how much they fetch (=earn) from them. However, when I see people around me, they prefer only those jobs that offer a high remuneration. They think of accumulating wealth first and then chase their passion. Again, I’m drawing assumptions, and people may have a host of factors while choosing any job.

  • What do you prefer – physical work or work involving thinking?

If my passion offers me physical activity along with creativity, there can’t be a better option than this. But it doesn’t go hand in hand (=two things are closely connected and one thing causes the other) in most cases. Jobs that involve critical thinking generally don’t entail (=involve) physical activities, barring a few ones. Physical activities in the job keep employees fit while working.

  • Do you think today we have less physical labor than we did in the past?

Yes, I think so. Technology has taken over many physical jobs. Plus, technology has made our life comfortable. For example, in the past, people used to commute to work on bicycles, but we can’t think of taking our bikes to go to the workplace due to the distance and sometimes harsh weather.

2. Describe an old person you know and respect.

  • Who the person is
  • How you know this person
  • What he or she is like
  • And explain why you respect him or her
  • I am in touch with several elderly people in my community, and I guess all of them deserve a lot of respect
  • I tend to receive an abundance (=plenty, plethora) of wisdom from them more often
  • Today, I would like to talk about a lady who is in her 70’s. Her name is Kavita Paryani. She’s a retired banker
  • She has a bright smiling face and is full of life with the pearls of wisdom for all the youth. She always wears an absolutely positive attitude
  • I got acquainted with this marvelous lady in the park where I go for jogging every morning
  • She actively pursues happiness every day; I mean she seizes every day in all the possible ways
  • Whenever I’m upset or kind of that, she advises, “follow your passion and let go of expectations and everything in between.” Initially, I think I was too young to understand where she came from. But now I understand the value of her advice in my life these days
  • She is a firm believer in the power of community, and you will see her everywhere doing something or helping others. She helps people in our temple, organizes food bank for underprivileged people, fundraises for animal shelters, teaches disadvantaged children so that they can dream big, coaches a sports team at times, and among others
  • In a nutshell, she’s a great volunteer and a noted person within the greater fabric of our society
  • I hold a lot of respect for this lady on account of her benevolent (=philanthropic, caring, compassionate) jobs. And sometimes I wonder how she garners (=amass, gather, reap) so much power and strength to do so many activities at a time

Follow-up questions:

  • What qualities does a person need to have to take care of old people?

I’ve two adjectives for that: patience and compassion. These two qualities are the center stage when somebody decides to take care of old people in society. Elderly people are just like kids, and they see the world differently. They value relationships because they’ve seen more life. Because of this, they tend to be more sensitive. Some of them express their sensitive views, whereas others swallow (=absorb, eat, gobble) the pain and suffocate (=smother, stifle, asphyxiate) well within.

  • Do you think old people should be taken care of at home?

Well, in our country, that’s the way it is. In some countries, they move to senior homes and enjoy their lives with others. Both ways lead to happiness as long as we see underlying benefits in such a setting. I personally believe to have my elder people at home because they might have slogged (=to work hard and steadily at something) for us over the years, and it’s our payback (=compensation, reimbursement) time. They got us all the possible world and sacrificed everything they could for us. Leaving them behind may not be a good idea. At least, that’s what the culture of Bharat is.

  • How can people in the neighborhood help the elderly during an epidemic?

If you really want to see the best community volunteering, go to the countryside. You will see people connected with each other in all the sorrows and good times there. The culture of helping and giving is getting obsolete (=out-of-date, archaic, antiquated) in this fast-paced world, especially in big cities. Having said that, I must also say that we see exceptions, too. For example, during the coronavirus pandemic, people in big cities also took care of their neighbors by talking or inquiring about their health. In my neighborhood, people ensured elderly people did not move out of their houses for their essential needs. Volunteers got them everything at home. Elderly people, generally, need no money. They just need a verbal hug during a crisis. That friendly gesture pumps them up with confidence, and they feel protected and loved all the time.  

  • Do you see this kind of help occurring in your neighborhood?

Yes, I can see it clearly. Digital media has played a big role in creating awareness in people about community volunteering. People have realized that their small world needs to take care of neighborhood and social causes to make this world a better place to live.

3. Describe a place you visited that has been affected by pollution.

  • Where it is
  • When you visited this place
  • What kind of pollution you saw there
  • And explain how this place was affected
  • Pollution is an issue that runs rampant (=excessive, growing, uncontrollable) throughout my country. It doesn’t make me feel proud of what I’m going to narrate, but I’ve to…
  • If it’s not rectified sooner, I foresee it will take the shape of a monster in the years to come
  • I’ve visited countless tourist places, but today I would like to remember my visit which is as late as the last week in my city, Ahmedabad
  • I had a meeting with someone, and it got canceled for some reason all of a sudden. I had some time to kill, so I decided to visit Riverfront
  • I live in the west of Ahmedabad. To have a different experience, I went to the other side of the city to view the spectacular view of Riverfront near Khanpur
  • I was shocked to see the state of the riverbank and felt angry at people. It was pretty diabolic (=terrible, extremely annoying)
  • People had no manners, spitting anywhere, plastic bottles of beverages were strewn (=scatter, sprinkle) and thrown in the river swimming, and boys were doing bike stunts on the sidewalk of the road. The place was full of unimaginable litters
  • I was disappointed to see this view. People didn’t bother about taking care of the public property. On the contrary, I felt as if they had taken a pledge to dirty it on purpose
  • I don’t know why some people get a perverse pleasure in making things worse. Such people are a huge liability on the nation, and they’ve no respect for fellow citizens
  • I didn’t have any device to measure the noise pollution, but it was surely concerning and unbearably loud
  • After this experience, I decided not to visit this place ever again. Maybe the same way, other people might have been thinking, too. It’s a kind of surrender to  worthless people, and that’s more appalling (=alarming, awful, dire, disheartening) to me because such uncivilized people dictate our lives in some ways or the other these days

Follow-up questions:

  • What kinds of pollution are serious in your country?

Ironically, we’re facing all types of pollution that have threatened our quality of life. In the past, people were only worried about air pollution, but there are many others, too. We go through noise pollution, light pollution, air pollution, waterways are blocked, food adulteration, and I can go on and on. We’ve polluting industries that produce greenhouse gas emissions, and they contaminate groundwater. People blow horn incessantly, and I think I’ve become almost deaf to experience any sound all day.

  • What can individuals do to protect our environment?

Discipline. It comes down to your morality in all the civic responsibilities. Most people never think deeply about their responsibility towards the nation and Mother Nature. On most occasions, they fight to the death for their rights – sometimes they are the unwanted ones. We must be compassionate about our Mother Nature. Human beings are, in fact, not being human to our earth. We must understand the value of trees, animals, and water, and learn how to co-exist with them, not by killing or destroying them for our short term benefits.

  • Do you think individuals should be responsible for pollution?

Yes, in most cases, individuals are the cause of all types of pollution. Wherever you see humans on this earth, you will see filth and dirt around them. In fact, I say that the human race itself is a plague on this earth. We are ripping off (=abuse, defraud, exploit) all the natural resources day in, day out (=every day for a long period of time), and talk about humanity. Hypocrisy at its best! And surprisingly, when we discuss this matter in society, people laugh at you, make fun of you, or don’t take you seriously. This is the brazen (=audacious, blatant) attitude, we’ve developed over the decades.

  • Why is there a need to involve the government in environmental protection?

Without the fear of penalty, society becomes lawless. Even though there are laws to protect the environment in the first place, yet some people care about nothing and flout (=defy, disregard, repudiate) the rules. There’s a devil inside us, and it can only be controlled either by law enforcement or by the religion.

4. A time when you did not tell the truth to someone.

  • When it was
  • To who(m) you did not tell the truth
  • Why you did not tell the truth
  • And what the truth was
  • The long-standing and moral principles say that lying is a wrongful conduct
  • Yet our society is filled with people who often tell lies. Sometimes they do it brazenly, too
  • I also live in the same society, and I regrettably assert that I also lied to people in the past. When I recount a few incidents, I feel ashamed of what I did in the past. But, anyway, every mistake that you make leaves a valuable lesson to learn from it
  • I had to face the ire (=displeasure, annoyance, exasperation) of my boss last month for (=because) what I did was unacceptable for the company
  • My boss assigned me the job of sending promotional materials to our clients. They were promotional images with the content, and I had to send them at regular intervals
  • I didn’t do that job rightly, and my boss detected it in the last month
  • My boss was right because I was lazy at doing my jobs and took it for granted and thought that it wouldn’t be detected ever
  • I must admit that I was negligent, and because of that, our business went down in the last quarter
  • I don’t know what kind of perverse pleasure I got by doing that. I faced the music (=to accept and deal with criticism or punishment for something you have done) and lost my credibility at the workplace for which I feel sorry about it
  • Thankfully, this question has relieved me a little bit from my misconduct at the workplace

Follow-up questions:

  • How can people check whether a piece of information is correct or not?

There are ways wherein you could check the authenticity (=correctness, accuracy, credibility) of the information. If any matter relates to any policy, law, or usual information, people can visit relevant websites to double-check the information. What is written or printed at the source should be taken into consideration. In some cases, you could also talk to your seniors who hold rich experience in your line of business. Their wisdom proves to be handy on many occasions. In some cases, everything is not black and white, so you also need to develop the skill of reading between the lines (=to look for or discover a meaning in something that is not openly stated)

  • What is the difference between giving information by phone and email?

People may forget the discussion held over the phone, and it might create confusion in some cases. Therefore, emailing is the best way to communicate with people, so that they’ve a record of what they said and what was told. In the business, emailing is the best tool for exchanging information, but all people aren’t accustomed to this professional habit.

  • What kinds of professions are related to giving information to others?

I guess every line of business includes exchanging information; be it product information, counseling, sales pitch, consultation, and among others. Some service-oriented professions rely heavily on supplying information to their clients. For example, my educational consultant has explained to me about so many invaluable things before I made the decision to study abroad. Without her counseling, I might not have decided to study overseas.

  • Do people trust the information shared online?

No, I don’t think so. But credulous (=gullible, simple, accepting) people, who have no habit of checking citations or confirming with fact files, believe any information easily whether it’s available online or by any other medium. Therefore, it’s quite an easy task for scammers to trick them. For example, people trust blindly Wikipedia, but I don’t do so. I always double-check the online content because sometimes it could highly be opinionated or biased, which is far from reality.

5. Describe a program or app on your computer or phone.

  • Which the app/program is
  • When and how you found it about
  • How you use it
  • And how you feel about it
  • There are thousands of apps available on your smartphones nowadays. Some of them die before they’re born
  • My phone has also many apps stored, and some of them are really useful to track multiple things
  • I’m working for a small corporation, but I remain overly busy and need to do paperwork, and sometimes I’ve to see wanted or unwanted people in business
  • Because of the hectic schedule, my personal life, at times, is demolished and put a lot of pressure on me mentally. I shared my concern with my colleagues two years back, and he suggested me to spare some time for myself. He also recommended me one app, which I’ve been using it since then. It’s a marvelous app
  • The name of the app is ‘Strides’
  • This app allows me to track all my goals and ensures the tasks to be completed timely. It’s a truly multifaceted app
  • It has a nicely designed dashboard that allows you to see everything at a glance. It has four trackers: target, habit, average, and milestone
  • I use this app to fulfill my daily habits. This app reminds me of my goal fulfillment, and I love it
  • The best part of this app is that it allows you to track your goals and tasks by the day, week, month, or the year. I guess without this app, it’s hard for me to keep myself organized. You can also customize it to your needs, and that’s one of the best features I could say

Follow-up questions:

  • Which phone app is the most popular in your country?

In India, WhatsApp is an extraordinarily popular app these days. This app is owned by Facebook. Surprisingly, this app was not much known and popular in the world in the beginning, but Indians loved it too much. Apart from these, there are many apps that are famous among youngsters and other age groups. The youth post their creativity on Instagram. Instagram is one of the favorite apps among the youth in the world currently.

  • Do you think that parents should limit the time for their children to spend on the phone?

It varies from case to case. If children are seen wasting too much time on the phone, then ‘yes’, parents must swing into action. Phone addiction is a new disease right now. You will see most people are busy wasting their time in gossiping, texting messages, calling, or watching videos using different apps. Such a nasty habit distracts them from their goals. In a nutshell, parents must act before it’s too late.

  • Do you think people depend on phone apps too much?

Yes, I think so. And it’s worrisome, too. Over-reliance on phone apps for getting things done could adversely impact your natural skills. For example, we use the phone calculator even for small calculations. Or God’s sake, your app reminds you of your important goal. It’s convenience for sure, but, at the same time, it’s a crutch (=cane, bolster) also.

  • Do you think some apps will help people to study?

Yes, there are some apps that are doing a remarkable job, especially after the pandemic of coronavirus. These apps have proven their utmost utility to enlighten and assist students to complete their studies. For example, ‘White Hat Junior’ coaches young children on how to code in computer courses. Children as young as ten years old have been learning to code and develop apps. I wish we could have had such apps during our time.

  • What kinds of apps do you have on your phone?

I’ve a host of apps that deal with productivity, social networking, and games. I’ve ‘Strides’ and ‘Moneycontrol’ that deal with my goal setting, milestones, and stock market respectively. I’ve downloaded ‘WhatsApp’ for chatting and ‘Instagram’ and ‘Facebook’ for posting updates, messages, fun content, and stories. When I’ve some extra time for doing nothing, I play Candy Crush and Ludo.

  • What are the drawbacks of having too many apps on your phone?

I guess, first of all, it slows down your phone, and there’s no point in having too many apps on your phone. Additionally, some apps keep sending notifications that distract you from doing the right job at times.

  • How much time do you spend on these apps?

It all depends upon the utility of the specific app. For example, I’ve also downloaded BBC English to improve my English proficiency. Sometimes I keep listening to their audios continuously as I enjoy learning something new from this app. I guess I spend around 2 hours a day. I’ve not calculated time ever but this could be the estimate.

  • Do you like to look for new apps or just keep using the old ones?

I don’t search for new apps unless it’s recommended by someone or it has to be a popular one which offers some useful features for me.

  • Do you use free apps or the ones that you need to pay for?

Until now, I have been using all the free apps; never paid for any app yet.

Vinod Gambtoo’s IELTS Speaking Conjecture, Part 6

  1. Describe a time when the weather changed your plan.
  • When this happened
  • Where you were
  • What kind of weather it was
  • Explain why you could not finish the thing
  • What you did in the end
  • Well, I remember awful weather prevented me to attend my class last year
  • I’m studying in Bangalore, and my mom came over to see me for a few days
  • I thought to accompany her on return and to have a couple of days with my whole family in Mumbai
  • Therefore, she and I planned our itinerary in a way that we would be flying on Friday evening, and I would be returning on Sunday night so that I could attend my school on Monday morning
  • Everything went ahead as planned, but it started pouring on Sunday morning
  • Mumbai, at times, receives unprecedented rainfall, but this time it was beyond my imagination
  • The city received over 400mm rain in just 10 hours, and it was like, the entire city was submerged in water. I wanted to brave the weather but then decided against it as I could see from my balcony that many cars were swimming on the road
  • I remember waiting for the sun to break through the clouds and water to recede (=abate, decrease) but in vain
  • Eventually, I had no chance but to cancel my plan to go back to Bangalore. In any case, flights were canceled on that day, so even if I wanted to fly, I couldn’t
  • It was frustrating because I had an important class to attend that day and missed it
  • As soon as the weather let up (=abate, lessen, decrease), I flew back on the following day

Follow-up questions:

  • Where can people get weather reports?

There are several sources from where you can always get the weather updates. People regularly listen to weather forecasts on radio and television. But this habit seems to be getting obsolete as smartphones also give you instant weather forecasts these days.

  • How do weather reports affect people’s life?

It does a great job, in fact. Perhaps in India, it may not be very much useful because it doesn’t snow here. But I think people in Europe and North America cannot do without it. The weather in those parts of the world is extremely unpredictable. In my country, more than flurries, we are concerned about fog in winter, especially in North India. Some cities and states in North India get covered in a thick blanket of fog. And, it’s really scary when you drive while clearing those patches of fog.

  • What do people do on rainy days and sunny days?

It rests on what kind of personality you are. If I’ve to deal with rains, I will be blooming like a peacock. I love getting drenched in the rain. But some people hate it. I love sunny days in winter because India has warm weather throughout the year. And, at times, the sunshine is harsh on you. If you see my arms, they are tanned because of the harsh summer. In a nutshell, the bright weather with some sun during winter is always welcomed.

  • Has climate change affected your country?

Yes, I think so because I can witness extremes of the weather for the last some years. Sometimes it rains heavily and the other time, it hardly rains. And the same goes for the winter season. It feels chillier than what it was some ten years ago. In short, we have been experiencing both the worst worlds of the weather.

  • Does the weather affect your mood?

Yes, it does greatly. I think this applies to all humans. Anything extreme puts you down. I mean too cold or too hot, both are undesirable. As far as I’m concerned, I can’t stand with the hot weather and feel like killing myself during the hot summer. It kills my productivity and creativity also, whereas pleasant weather pumps you up, and you feel going out and explore the world or hang out with friends. In extreme weather, you feel being at home or office and decide not to brave the weather.

2. What would you like to change at the place where you live?

  • How you can do it
  • What obstacle you could face
  • Why you want to make this change
  • There are many things that I want to see them changed where I live. But I think I cannot cover all of them today in this speaking session
  • Let me pick the one issue for this question. We’ve a large garden nearby, and it’s one of the most visited parks in our vicinity (=neighborhood, proximity)
  • However, whenever I visit this park, I always feel that the municipality could make this garden much better than what it looks now, but it never happens on its own
  • Therefore, one day I decided to gather some people and collectively approach the authority and pressure them to beautify this park. You know what? The municipality receives an abundance of funds every year to maintain and beautify this park, but these corrupt and unconscionable (=unethical, preposterous) people take away our hard-earned money for their personal use
  • First, I started to visit this park every morning and evening and made friends. I mean I talked to everyone for a few days, and gradually I convinced them to unite for this cause. In three-month time, I managed to gather more than 150 park-goers and collectively we jotted down improvements that we want to see in the park
  • We voiced our disagreements and appealed to the municipality to spend money on beautification and installation of some amusement rides for children
  • In the beginning, nobody bothered our request and were unmoved. Such thick-skinned people they are!
  • But we kept on building pressure on them by writing emails, posting dirty spots of the park and broken amusement rides on Facebook, posting pictures on Twitter, and whatnot
  • Eventually, they realized that this movement was getting bigger and swung into action under pressure. We got whatever improvements done that we wanted then after
  • Now, you can see well-maintained jogging and walking track, the lake got the life, all new amusement rides for children installed, gazebos were repaired and refurbished, more new trees were planted for the future, and toilets get cleaned properly and attentively twice a day
  • After everything was done, I was proud of myself because it was something benevolent (=caring, benign) job for society. It’s our hard-earned money in the form of tax collection for the government, and these bureaucrats were enjoying their lives on our money. Plus, people of all ages deserve all the facilities in this park, and they were ignored for a long time

Follow-up questions:

  • What is the best place to communicate with people?

I guess all the places are good enough to communicate with people, but we’ve got to see that some places need to be noise-free. For example, we need to restrain our loud voice in religious places or libraries, or else people will be disturbed and annoyed. We’ve no right to harass people by promoting a noisy environment. Some people lack this basic discipline and behave as if they had always owned this world.

  • Why is it important to communicate with people?

We cannot live in isolation. You would have seen some people are courteous but aloof (=unresponsive, detached). We all are social animals and need interactions more often or you feel being jailed for no reason. Loneliness takes me on a drive, and I always need somebody around me. If there’s no one, pets fill that vacuum because, for many people, pets are their family members. I’m one of them.

  • Does technology impact the way people communicate? In what way?

Technology has changed our lives immensely, and it’s both positively and negatively. I’ll talk about its positives. Today, I can video chat with anyone in any part of the world at almost no cost. It’s cool. My girlfriend does video chat whenever she feels talking to me, and that’s the great innovation for connecting people. You’ve many popular texting apps on which you can share photos, hilarious snippets and forwards, and leave important messages if somebody is not available. Businessmen also use specific apps that are designed to address their needs. Overall, we can’t do without technology and communicating gadgets.

3. Describe the happiest day you had.

  • Where you were
  • Who were you with?
  • What you did
  • And explain why you think it was the happiest day
  • I guess it’s a difficult question to answer because there are countless moments we’ve in life when we feel the happiest on earth
  • But the good news is I’ve picked one from so many
  • I love pets, whereas my father doesn’t like to have a pet at home. Therefore, I had been convincing him to get me a dog for a long time, but he didn’t heed at my request
  • I don’t know what happened to my daddy all of a sudden. He surprised me by presenting a pup to me last year. It was just unbelievable, and I was taken aback (=bewildered, confused) to see my daddy carrying a puppy in his arms for me
  • I pinched myself to ensure that I wasn’t dreaming. But ‘no’, I wasn’t, and it was happening
  • I was also confused over the decision of my daddy that he didn’t buy any popular breed of the dog. Instead, he brought the stray puppy from somewhere. So, I thought of knowing his rationale (=explanation, reason) about it. He said, “He’s an orphan, and he was weeping by the road. The moment I heard him crying, I couldn’t help but fall in love with him”
  • This was amazingly a 360 degree U-turn of my daddy. He fell in love with a dog that was simply incredible. But, anyway, I love all dogs whether they are stray or not
  • The moment my daddy handed over the puppy in my hands, I was speechless and didn’t have words to thank my daddy for this remarkable gift
  • Apart from my daddy, everyone in the family was on the same boat. I mean they favored the decision of having a dog at home
  • I love dogs and cats very much
  • Anyway, so there was all cheering from my mommy, sister, and grandfather
  • We were fighting for naming him. Everyone has his choice of name, but in the end, everyone accepted the name that I chose for him. I named him ‘Piper’
  • Truly, I believed that unexpected things happen in life, and some surprises are simply superb and joyful
  • I felt like running around and dancing the whole day. And even when I’m describing this moment right now, I feel as if it had happened this momentous incident yesterday
  • I can say proudly that this was one of the happiest days in my life

Follow-up questions:

  • Do Indian people spend a lot of money on birthday presents?

Yes. It’s a new culture these days. Party inflation is a matter of discussion and arguments, and you could see this as one of the most debated topics. It wasn’t such in the past, but people not only give gifts to others on birthdays but they also get gifted in the name of a ‘return gift’. The money they spend in celebration of the birthday and gifting is overly dizzying.

  • What do Indian people do on New Year?

It all depends upon what kind of personality you are. The youth stays up late night and wait for the New Year, and at the tick of 12, they set off firecrackers and dance with friends. Boys and girls roam around the city yelling and enjoying. Some people don’t like to go out and enjoy, and they stay home and celebrate and welcome the New Year. In my family, we’ve dinner together with relatives, and every year the host changes. I mean if it were celebrated this year at my place, the next year would be at somebody’s place. So, roughly our turn comes once in ten years. 

  • Do you think we are happier than the people in the 19th century?

I’m not sure about it because happiness is a very subjective topic. For example, billionaires may have sleepless nights, whereas people without a roof over their heads have sound sleep. Therefore, it has nothing to do with the present and past. People with lesser means also know how to remain happy and are motivated in any condition. In a nutshell, I don’t believe in this statement.

  • Why childhood is the best time for most people?

It’s simple because you don’t have internal and external worries. Nor do we have lofty ambitions and ego! The more mature you become, the deeper you think about difficulties and critical times. At times, it’s unwarranted, but human behavior is such, and we can’t help it.

  • Do you think money can bring happiness in life?

Not all times, but to a great extent. It’s easier said than done, but money makes life comfortable. I would rather love to cry in a Lamborghini Gallardo than to cry in an open public place.

  • What do you think is important in bringing happiness?

The most important part starts with ‘US’. Some people face all critical situations with a grin and make it inconsequential (=insignificant, negligible). At the same time, some people have a habit of grudging every tiny thing, which may impact our lives. Such tormenting and complaining behavior put us away from happiness. Happiness is a state of the mind broadly. You’ve got to learn how to navigate through turbulent times of your life.

4. Describe a film you watched.

  • When and where you watched it
  • What the movie was about
  • Why you chose to watch it
  • How you felt about it
  • Watching movies is very much a part of our lives, and there’s no question about it
  • Fortunately, we’ve options for watching movies in cinemas and at home these days. This was not the case in the past
  • I remember watching one of my favorite movies named ‘Skyfall’ with my friend in Toronto last month. It’s an old movie, which first released in 2012. But I like this movie very much, so my friend and I decided to watch it again
  • It’s a movie about a fictional MI6 agent, James Bond. James Bond character is popular all over the world, and I’m sure everybody must have grown up watching this character
  • ‘Agent down’: You hardly hear this word in the Bond movies, but in this movie you see the first Bond being shot and almost died and resurrected
  • It’s a pure thrilling movie. An ex-MI6 agent steals a computer hard drive with top secrets and carries out a vendetta on Bond’s boss ‘M’. ‘M’ is ‘Moneypenny’, who is a usual character as a boss of the agent in Bond movies
  • Then, you see the whole series of attacks on the headquarters of the British Spy Office, and their deep assets get killed by the order of the villain – ex-MI6, Javier Bardem
  • As usual, Bond goes after him to neutralize, and in the end, he wins but ‘M’ dies and many other undercover agents, too
  • I like most James Bond movies for some reason. They are packed with flyaway entertainment, cars with the latest technology, new gadgets, and those beautifully designed suits of James Bond
  • I also love the way Bond introduces himself and background music. What he says, “Bond, James Bond”
  • This latest Bond, Daniel Craig is superb compared to his predecessors (=former, ancestor) for many reasons. In old Bond movies, you would never see him bleeding, and they were slightly superficial on certain action scenes, whereas in the latest Bond movies they try to make it real. I mean Bond gets hurt, bleed, and writhe (=recoil, wince, suffer) in pain
  • I can binge-watch all Bond movies more often, and now I’m waiting for his new movie, “No Time to Die”

Follow-up questions:

  • What kinds of films are popular in India?

I guess it depends upon the characteristics of people who have certain preferences toward a specific genre (=category, kind, style – check pronunciation). Kids love cartoons and youngsters may love to watch movies that include romance or fantasy. So we’ve all types of movies, but these days, movies that deal with thrill, suspense, and action generally make the top. In the past, love stories were popular but now not anymore.

  • Do different age groups like the same kinds of films?

I doubt it. You know it’s a journey of life. I mean when we’re kids, we love movie genres, such as cartoons, mindless actions, and maybe fantasies. As we grow, we lean towards thrillers, comedy, and romantic movies. And during the 30’s and 40’s, again a bit of mixture that we prefer, and as we age further, we choose to watch different kinds of movies.

Yet I’m not sure about what I want to say because it’s hard to know the human preference with changing times. What you like now, you may hate it later, so it’s difficult to say that all people of different ages like the same kinds of movies.

  • What kinds of films do young people particularly like?

I guess they love movies which are on romance, comedy, fantasy, action, horror, and spy thriller. I’ve also seen people in their late 20’s taking interest in documentary movies. The youth, these days, prefer to keep abreast of (=to make sure you know all the most recent facts about a subject) what happened to certain stories, political nonsense, and episodes which were epoch (=era, time, a particular period in the past) incidents in the country’s history.

  • Do fewer people choose to watch movies in cinemas than people did in the past?

I will answer this question by coining a new terminology. It’s pre and post coronavirus time. Before the coronavirus struck in the world, people loved going to cinemas to watch their favorite movies. The big and widescreen makes sense when you really want to enjoy the movie. I personally love to go to watch a movie in the auditorium. But things changed after the outbreak of coronavirus in the world. People yet are scared to go to theatres, citing they might contract coronavirus. Therefore, it’s fair to say that it has changed a lot, and people no longer want to risk their health by visiting theaters. I guess cinema halls will be back to their glory once the fear of coronavirus is gone or vaccine is available. The other part of your question talks about yesteryears. I don’t agree with it. People in the past and present enjoy watching movies in the theaters.

  • What are other ways to watch movies now?

The OTT platform is in vogue these days. You can watch movies on Netflix and Amazon and also your TV setup box. You pay a yearly subscription fee on Netflix and Amazon and could watch movies of your choice at home. A similar facility is available with your setup box. Some people are members of recreational clubs, and they have an opportunity to watch movies on amphitheaters. We’ve an amphitheater in our society and watch a movie every weekend. It is cool.

  • What is the difference between American movies and movies from your country?

American movies are made with a view to reaching out to the world. You can see Hollywood movies showing in every part of the world, and there’s no doubt that they’ve a strong fan following, too. Hence, some of their movies are based on international stories, also. For example, they will spend billions of dollars to make a movie like ‘Troy’, which has nothing to do with the American culture, but it reaches everywhere. While it’s clear that most Indian movies are based on the theme of our country. Things are changing now, and I feel proud that the Indian directors are putting their efforts to make movies that could woo (=solicit, charm, caress) the global audience.

  • What do you think of violent films?

Well, all violent movies may not be as bad as we think. Sometimes we need to face the harsh reality of life. And it’s said that movies are a reflection of your society. I agree with this notion. For example, you see ruthless killing in a movie like ‘Uri’, but it’s based on true events. We must not forget that violence is also a part of our society. We don’t approve it, but we can’t sweep it under the carpet (=to try to stop people from finding out something wrong, illegal, embarrassing, etc. that has happened or that you have done). In this episode, we just need to see that children may not wrongly be impacted by watching such violence. Therefore, we need to enlighten (=educate) them with facts and rationale (=explanation, reason) after watching such movies.

  • Why do you think movies need computer techniques?

Can we imagine movies such as, ‘The Lord of the Rings’, ‘Bahubali’, ‘The Lion King’ and many more be possible without the use of computer techniques? I guess not. The best-animated movies and movies with special effects and cinematography cannot be completed without the intervention of modern computer technology. For example, the movie such as ‘Finding Nemo’ is an animated movie and one of the most popular, hilarious, and loveliest animated films of all time in the world. Children and parents loved it not only for its content and story but also for advanced technology that was put in use.

  • Do you think cinema will disappear in the future?

No, I don’t think so. It’s an integral part of our society for entertainment and unwinding.

  • Do you think (watching) films have educational benefits?

Yes, to some extent. Some movies are enlightening in different ways, especially the documentary movies. They offer a wide range of information for students and all. They also offer insight into how and where the world is heading in the years to come. For example, there was a movie called ‘I Robot’ that depicted how technology in the form of robots would intervene in our day-to-day life. People felt it humbug (=babble, balderdash, empty talk) then, but it looks that we are not far away from this technological evolution to happen sooner.

  • Do men and women like to watch the same kinds of films?

Hard to say that because all people are unique personalities with unique behavior. This statement could be right for some but not for all for sure.

  • In what ways are documentary films and films only for entertainment different?

Documentary movies offer realities that had happened, whereas ordinary movies are commercialized in nature to make money out of the fictional content and story. Therefore, there is a huge difference in both as far as the intent is concerned. I guess the audience knows this distinction before they choose to watch either type of movie.

  • Why do you think documentary films are not so popular?

Simply, it doesn’t cater to fictional content that viewers like to watch for entertainment. It’s more of a reality check with educational values. For example, I remember that we were made to watch a movie called ‘Too Big to Fail’ while I was studying the finance course during my MBA degree. The theme was based on the financial meltdown which took place in 2008. This particular movie was helpful for us while completing this course, but it’s not popular yet.

5. Describe an article on health that you read from a magazine or online.

  • What the article was
  • When and where you read it
  • What you learned from the article
  • Explain why you think it is a good or bad article
  • I remember having read a useful article on mental health while flying to Toronto from Charlottetown nearly one year ago in Canada
  • This article talked about mental illness that Americans went through in general and what remedies were available to stay healthy mentally
  • While reading this article, I came across some appalling facts and figures about mental illness that people went through not only in America but also elsewhere
  • It says that research shows that one in five Americans currently experience mental illness. That’s huge. It is nearly 44 million people we talk about, and if we extrapolate (=hypothesize, deduce) the same number around the world, it comes in over one billion people
  • This article was full of sensible facts, pieces of advice, helping avenues and whatnot
  • I liked this article because of some remarkable pieces of advice
  • In society, people who suffer from mental illness are stigmatized and shamed. Because of this hostile behavior towards these patients in our society, it affects their ability to cope with, solve problems, and adapt. It also affects them to be happy, well adjusted, and productive
  • They deserve a better life and peace of mind. It’s possible only when we support them and make them understand that their limiting thoughts only hold them back
  • Mental health is as important as physical health

Follow-up questions:

  • Why do different people like to read different magazines?

Every human is different and the way he thinks. Some people are interested to learn more about the people who they idolize, whereas others only mind their own business and concentrate their career. It’s simple. People come from different backgrounds, social strata, regions, countries, religions, castes, and creeds. Because of such diversity, preference, and taste for so many things including which magazine to choose will always vary.

  • What kinds of magazines do teenagers like to read?

Teenagers are more inclined toward reading magazines that talk about scientific research, innovations, music, entertainment, and popular personalities of the world. All children have their own heroes. Some idolize Steve Jobs or some may like to become a successful businessman like Mukesh Ambani. Hence, any piece of news about their lives is worth following for them.

  • What is the difference between the news on TV and news in magazines?

First of all, the news on TV is up-to-date, while news in the magazines could be stale. Magazines are focused on different genres, and in most cases, they confine to their theme and area of expertise. This is not the case on TV. They broadcast all type of news that takes place in our life every day.

  • Do people like to read news from the Internet?

This is the trend to dominate in the years to come. Spreadsheet newspapers nowadays look outdated. I guess nobody likes it but elderly people as they’re used to with them. Again, news on the Internet is not only updated but also up-to-the-minute. Plus, most people have smartphones these days, and they’ve instant updates and news on their palms. This remarkable feature of the Internet will crush other forms of news broadcasters and newspapers. More importantly, in most cases, it is free of cost. And we must not forget that our society is price sensitive.

  • Do people still buy magazines in your country?

I don’t think so. Most magazine houses are on the verge of collapsing, and many of them have shut their operations now. The Internet gave birth to many new industries, and at the same time, it killed so many, too.

  • Do you think people today are healthier than those in the past?

It’s arbitrary (=subjective), I guess. I assume that in the past, hardly people went to gyms to stay fit but their lifestyle was laborious with fewer comforts. This was an added advantage. For example, people used public transportation to commute in the past and that made them walk long, whereas most people own their cars and hardly walk now. In the present time, you will see the influx of gyms at every corner of the street, and people are more concerned about their health and diet but their lifestyle is sedentary (=inactive, idle). Overall, it is one and the same thing.

  • Why do magazines have health-related articles?

There is a section of people who is interested in learning about health-related articles. As I said that people nowadays are more interested to remain fit, and they love to maintain their fitness regime at any cost. Magazines have readers from all classes and ages with different preferences, so it makes them saleable with a pure commercialized motive.

  • How do people keep a healthy diet?

Countless apps are available these days to profess you about healthy diets. Some gadgets that offer valuable tips on health and your health analytics. These apps and gadgets are available as primary sources. They guide you on what to eat and whatnot. This is how people stay in touch with technology for their customized health-related needs. Apart from this, it’s a usual thing in our society to discuss topics on a healthy diet. Everyone has his say on the diet.

  • What kinds of foods are considered as unhealthy?

I think fast food is extremely unhealthy for everyone. Some people consider other foods that contain excessive sugar, salt, and oil. But fast food is a kind of poison and the irony is people relish it the most.

  1. Do people in India usually exercise?

Yes, I think so. People are more conscious about their health. To inspire them to be health freak, I guess there’s enough motivation in the environment. You have people talking about health and healthy food all the time, the bombardment of gym adverts and health supplements, plenty of diet plans are available on the Internet, and so many other things. More than making people healthy, it has become a big industry, so you see that impact on the minds of everyone.

Vinod Gambtoo’s IELTS Speaking Conjecture, Part 5

  1. Describe a time when a family member asked for your help.
  • When it was
  • Who asked you for help
  • How you helped him/her
  • How you felt about it
  • Family means a lot; it means putting your arms around each other and being there forever
  • Whether you call it a clan, call it a network, call it a family, call it a mini world of yours or call it a tribe, whoever you are, you need one, and that’s what is the meaning of family
  • Today, I would like to talk about one incident where my niece rushed to seek my assistance around a year ago
  • She’s studying at the University of Toronto and was about to finish her undergrad degree in the Finance concentration
  • She had to complete her thesis to graduate and was stuck in the middle while writing her thesis paper
  • As I also did my master degree in business administration with the Finance concentration, she thought that I could  be the right person to seek some academic assistance, and hence, she called me up for the same
  • Initially, as usual, our Indian way, she wanted me to help extensively on her paper because, you know, sometimes we take academic integrity for granted and generally, in most cases, we don’t find it wrong in taking assistance in writing university assignments
  • I learned her subject and went through her paper; I mean whatever she had completed then
  • First, she wanted me to write, synthesize, and edit her some parts of the paper for which I blatantly (=openly) refused because it was academic dishonesty
  • But I lent my helping hand to her in a different manner. I guided her about what to be included, what to be researched, what all citations could be helping to her and whatnot
  • On the contrary, I suggested her not to be the one who steals information or indulges in plagiarism (=piracy, falsification) or wants someone to write her paper. Instead, I offered her academic guidance to complete her paper
  • She soon realized where I came from and agreed with my point
  • I felt jubilant (=elated, glad) when she called me after some time about her final grades
  • She got 88% in her final thesis paper
  • She called to thank me for my guidance. And I said, “You yet to have your finest hour.” There could not be a better moment in our lives than to help family members and see them doing the best. That was special news for everyone in our family

Follow-up questions:

  • What can children help their parents with?

I think this could be a big ask from children. Generally, they’re very young to know what parents feel like or what they want. I guess if they remain straight in their academic careers or maybe in their extracurricular activities, parents will be pleased with that discipline. Mostly, parents don’t expect children to return whatever they’ve have given to them, such as time, care, or money. But they really want that their efforts must not go in vain. If children simply understand this ask and align them with this philosophy, parents won’t ask anything more. And why not? Parents make them feel like they can fly (metaphorical expression).

  • What are the benefits of children helping their parents?

It shows a sense of responsibility and respect for elders. Children hardly know the fact that how much pain is taken by their parents day and night over the years. Most responsible parents keep worrying about their future and in all their prayers, they’re put on the high priority. And when children reciprocate (=repay, barter, retaliate) with their responsible attitude, it’s like a dream come true for them. They breathe a sigh of relief, and all their worries, all of a sudden, disappear. It makes their life comfortable, which they deserve for all good reasons. 

  • Should parents reward their children when they help others?

Yes, absolutely. I personally believe that every good act must be incentivized (= encourage, motivate) in different ways. When parents endorse their good deeds such as helping others, they are further motivated to repeat the same over and over again. This process inculcates (=impart, instill, indoctrinate) good values and respect for other humans. That’s needed because when they grow, their success depends upon various factors, and one of them is to help others selflessly.

  • Do parents help their children because they need their help when they are old?

I don’t think so. In most cases, I have seen parents are selfless, and they don’t do good things for their children expecting any reciprocity (=exchange, cooperation, mutuality). They just help them out of pure love and affection. This is the life, in fact, I say. At least, I’ve not seen any such parents who raise their children for any benefit. It’s their blood, after all. I’m sure such selfless love of parents will always exist as long as we survive on this earth. That’s infinite love.

2. Describe one of your family members you spend the most time with.

  • Who she/he is
  • What usually you do together
  • What kind of a person she/he is?
  • Why you spend most of the time with her/him
  • Family means a lot; it means putting your arms around each other and being there forever
  • We love spending time with friends and family in general, and it depends upon the occasion or the mood of the person. Today, I would like to talk about someone who is very special to me in life. It’s none else but my 6-year old daughter, Natasha
  • The moment you see her, she is full of life. She’s sunlight. Words will fall short to describe her because she’s a marvelous kid
  • My whole day goes by working hard like a donkey at the office. So, when I arrive home, I’m dead tired, and hardly have any energy left for me to talk or do any other activity
  • But this little angel comes to me, giggling, yapping, dancing, and, all of sudden, that work fatigue disappears instantaneously
  • She’s a sweet talker and inquisitive (=analytical, nosy) by nature. At times, she’s full of remarkable and bizarre (=strange) questions for me
  • Some of her questions bring me back to my childhood. She is such a sweet child of mine!
  • I’ve inculcated a reading habit in her because kids hardly have a reading habit in our country, and it’s hard for kids to form a habit, which is not in vogue. It’s like you’re moving against the wind. So, I ensure to bring at least 3 new books on different subjects for her in two weeks. They are from stories to fictional novels to sci-fi books
  • Both of us read books together; I mean I read my favorite book while she is by me reading her own book
  • At times, I read books aloud on purpose so that she follows the suite. And when she does, I’ve an opportunity to correct her pronunciation if she makes a mistake. I ensure that she delivers the right pronunciation with appropriate stress and intonation
  • It’s important for children when they grow up. They have to deliver different types of speeches in their academics and career. Or, maybe, sometimes they need to do a presentation during their assignments at the school. This skill instills confidence in our children. Therefore, I leave no stone unturned to train her at her early stage of life. Because once she’s grown up, it will be hard for her to develop this essential skill
  • While having quality time with her, I see my shades in her. It reminds me of my childhood memories where everything was as fresh as the bright blue sky

Follow-up questions:

  • How many generations usually live together in India?

In the past, it was usual to see at least a couple of generations live together in my country. But things have changed now. People are no longer interested to live in a joint family, and they rather prefer a nuclear family for many reasons. I don’t see it as a negative development because people didn’t pay a lot of attention to the significant aspect of life, which is privacy. In a nutshell, what was the custom is no more in practice.

  • Is it important to visit family members?

Yes, it is. It’s the small world that we own. Plus, it makes sense to check on every family member now and then. Together with the family, it develops everlasting bonding, and it works wondrously during your bad time. For example, people realized the value of family members during the lockdown that was imposed during the coronavirus pandemic. Everyone realized that nothing else mattered than the love of family.

  • What are the values of family in your country?

Bharat is a land of joyful giving. Our civilization teaches us to be peaceful, tolerant, and respectful of elders, Mother Nature, and all animals. This overall package of kindness runs through the veins of all Indians. You will find people who would be concerned about feeding even ants. I haven’t seen such a kind and giving culture anywhere in the world. This sums it all, and it comes in the DNA of every Indian. However, we must not forget the fact that some people in my country deviate from these values for short-term benefits, and that’s a plague (=curse, ravage) for society.

  • Why is family bonding necessary for happiness in life?

Well, family bonding offers you strength during any type of crisis. How can we live on this earth without family bonding? We will become a stone without love and care. Material things could certainly give us some pleasure for a while, but in the long run, it’s the family that stands by in our good and bad times. With the support and love of the family, several colossal (=enormous, gigantic, huge) difficulties become tiny, and that passes easily.  

  • Do you think the support from a friend is different from the support of a family member?

It’s arbitrary (=subjective), I guess. In many cases, we have witnessed that friends have come forward to help people than their family members. The opposite is also true. Hence, I can’t tell for sure what works and whatnot.

  • Who should be more responsible for educating children in a family?

I believe it’s the responsibility of the parents. Unfortunately, in my country, we’ve seen that only mothers are burdened to raise children and look after their school workload. It’s unacceptable. Both men and women have a different temperament and a learning curve, so the blending of both could be rather helpful for children. But the societal asking or modern-day settings deprive of the attention of either of the parents. I totally abhor (=despise, detest, hate) this culture, but I can only wail (=grieve, sob, weep) and do nothing about it.

  • Do you think there are differences between how men and women care for children?

Well, honestly speaking, I’ve no idea about it. Maybe I’m not that mature to understand the nuance of these critical skills. But let me guess. Yeah, I think there must be some difference. I can tell you from my own experience. My mother is soft-spoken and overly loves me, so even if I do something wrong, she is always there to cover my mistakes. She pampers me a lot. However, sometimes this pampering could land me into trouble. While my father is steadfast (=true, staunch, dedicated) disciplined and straight, and he doesn’t give me much room to play with my mistakes. He teaches me to face any challenge with a grin. Maybe, he faces the real challenges of the world, whereas my mommy is a housewife, so she has a different experience of life.

3. Describe a place where you are able to relax.

  • Where it is
  • What it is like
  • How often you go there
  • How you feel about this place
  • Being a millennial, to me, relaxation must include some parts of adventures, sound sleep, amazing scenery, and a great place to roam around
  • There could be no better place than Canada for all purposes, whether it is enjoying leisure time, or taking some time off to rejuvenate yourself, or going to mesmerizing (=fascinate, enthrall, stupefy) places with friends, or simply skiing
  • If I have to choose my beloved place for relaxation, it is always Lake O’Hara Lodge in the Canadian Rockies of British Columbia near Alberta
  • I’ve several reasons to visit this marvelous beauty over and over again and never get tired of it
  • It may not be the fanciest back county accommodation, but it is overly friendly, laidback with a spectacular setting
  • This place is so much popular that regulars like me return year after year for hiking the trails or skiing. It’s located near Lake Louise
  • I savor the outdoor grandeur. Playing in or on the lake with friends or family members is real fun
  • I visit this place at least once a year. I don’t need a reason to travel there, but I make sure to visit this place during summer as it offers lots of things along with better deals of accommodation over a hearty breakfast
  • When you visit this place, you feel bliss, serenity, God’s own abode, beautiful birds and their chirping, and the purest water of the lake. It makes you feel as if you are in paradise, and it redeems you from your stress
  • It gives you an opportunity to re-energize yourself

Follow-up questions:

  • How do students relax?

Unlike elderly people who believe in a complete rest as the form of relaxation, students have altogether a different way to relax. For us, it’s simple. The thing that we like to do is a kind of relaxation. For example, I would love to lie in bed for hours and play games on the laptop is also a form of relaxation. Or going to some places with friends to have unlimited fun with delicious food and drink offers me the best relaxation because the happiness that I get by doing the things that I like is important.

  • What activities do employers organize to help employees relax?

Employers, these days, arrange an excursion near their workplace; I mean not very far from their place so that they can return comfortably without having to travel long. They book a resort that includes water splash, restaurant, gaming zone, and a countryside-felt accommodation where they can play games and have fun, and at the same time, they can feel relaxed and motivated after such a vacation.

  • Do people now have more ways to relax than in the past?

I agree with this statement precisely. With time, the significance of well-being, frolic activities, and other such facilities to please the mood of people has improved a lot over the decades. Businessmen try hard to come up with new ideas of entertainment and hospitality. It is a big industry worth billions of dollars, and every year, people take out their time from the busy schedule to enjoy. They don’t mind traveling far enough to experience something extraordinary. For example, you have resorts that are placed right in the middle of the forest or a sanctuary to see live animals. In the past, we did not have such entertaining places and even if we had them, only the rich could afford it, whereas it’s now become a commodity. I mean people with the average earnings can also think of going to such places with friends and family and enjoy. In the past, it was just a dream for them.

  • Do you think natural sceneries are more helpful than indoor activities?

I guess natural sceneries calm your nerve and offer absolute soothing feelings. It gives a sense of exotic and unforgettable experience, which indoor activities can’t… Just imagine that you are sitting on the deck of a century-old home in coastal Nova Scotia with a glass of Screech rum with 500-year-old iceberg rocks in hand. Or maybe you are sitting right in the middle of the forest of Mahabaleshwar in India and the place is surrounded by large and tall trees. Such an experience is incredible, and if we’ve decided to stay home, probably we will miss a grand opportunity to feel the earth. 

  • Do you like to visit movie theaters?

Yes, I love to watch movies in the auditorium. In fact, it’s the only place for you to enjoy the movie. These days, we have an OTT platform on which we can watch any new or old movie. But honestly speaking, watching a movie in the theater offers the maximum joy because of its setup. That dark room surrounded by a Dolby sound system with the cozy seat and never-ending widescreen gives you an opportunity to immerse yourself in the plot of the movie. There’s no comparison.

  • Where do Indian people like to go on weekends?

I can’t say exactly about all the Indians how they enjoy their weekends. But, certainly, I can tell what people do around me. Some people pack up their things and go skiing or rafting nearby. Others go to resorts located either in the countryside or in the forest where they get scrumptious food and enjoy playing games and dancing. People like us who are in their twenties love to hand out at the local pubs and clubs, have some drinks, and dance with friends. Possibly, some people might not go anywhere and just relax at home.

  • What do old people do to relax?

I think they don’t go far enough and stay home and enjoy it. They strive to enjoy a perfect retirement. They’ve the food of their choice, and it triggers the emotions and gives them the feeling of a free-flying bird. But it may not apply to all the elderly people. Some enjoy outing more than staying home, no matter how old they are and they are as good as children in terms of their ways of enjoyment.

  • What is the importance of relaxation?

It soothes your feelings and re-energizes you. Otherwise, people will go crazy and maybe buried under the stress of their career or in money-making.

  • What are the ways people relax?

There’s a list of activities depending upon the age, natural inclination, availability of resources, and many more things. It could be from hanging out at the pubs to going places located in the countryside to going with friends and family to entertaining resorts to skiing and going places, where all different kinds of playing facilities are placed.

  • What do you do to relax yourself?

It’s typical the boy stuff. I go with my friends to the pub or sometimes go to the multiplex for a newly-released movie. Or maybe if I’m too tired or stressed out at times, I may not go out and stay home and read my novels. It all depends upon the mood, time, schedule of friends, and the money in the pocket.

  • Do you think we should take a day off from our work?

It’s a good idea, in fact, I work five days a week. I’ve seen people working for six days a week or the whole week and I feel empathy for them. A 5-day working is the best mode of working so that you can balance your personal and professional life. So those who work for six days or the whole week, I would advise them to take a day off from their work in a week.

  • Do you think people can actually relax by doing relaxation exercises?

I’m not sure but maybe. Everybody has his own way to relax. And some people might think that this way is appropriate for them.

  • Some people do nothing to relax. Do you think it is a good idea? Or do you think relaxation should include some activities or doing nothing is enough?

I believe relaxation along with the activities that you like the most makes sense. And, that’s the way it should be. You can stay in bed for twenty-four hours and activities that you enjoy the most give you a sense of relaxation and happiness.

4. Describe a goal that you achieved, which was set by yourself.

  • What it is
  • When you set it
  • How you achieved it
  • Explain how it influenced your life
  • Well, there are several goals that I had set till date; some of them have been fulfilled and others are yet to realize in the years to come gradually
  • Today, I would like to share with you one of the goals that make me feel proud of me all the time, and I guess I’ll never forget also
  • It was Grade 9, and I always struggled in Math courses. For some reason, it always discomforted me, and it was too heavy pain for me to carry
  • Somehow I managed to pass this course but almost failed in this course. It was a sad thing on my part because I became an object of mockery in my classroom. But, more than that, I was worried about how my father would react to this piece of news
  • When I came home in the evening and showed my mark card, I was expecting to face his ire
  • But he didn’t lose his temper and said, “My doll, I wanted to see you as a commercial pilot in your career but looking at your math performance, I think you better become a businesswoman in the future”
  • First, I heaved a sigh of relief as if I had dodged the bullet {idiomatic expression (=to have a narrow escape; to avoid injury, disaster, or something undesirable situation)}, but later on, I realized that I broke the dream of my beloved dad. And the best thing that I learnt was how he adjusted his dream for me. Therefore, after a few days, this sacrifice of my dad was eating me from inside day in, day out
  • So, one day I decided not to surrender to my Achilles heel (=weakness, weak link) and fought back
  • I started to learn Math course from scratch and studied as if I were going to complete my Ph.D. degree in this course
  • Guess what? In year 10, I managed to get 94% in mathematics and a topper in my classroom
  • I remember that smile and proud feeling on the face of my dad when I showed my mark card to him. I was waiting for him to say something on this feat of success
  • You know what he said, “My sunshine, with this grade, now you can fly Rafale jet fighter for our motherland.” My dad is such a darling, and he knows how to motivate me for the best. His expressions and encouragement were priceless for me
  • From this incident, I realized that nothing can stop you from chasing your goal provided you keep on persevering it passionately. You just need to decide it firmly and go after it, no matter how hard it is.

Follow-up questions:

  • Do people need to write down goals or simply memorize them?

I guess once you have decided on anything, it is always there on your mind. It stays on your mind always. So, I don’t think people who are self-motivated will be writing down their goals. This is my assumption. I’ve no idea whether people write down their goals or not but it ain’t make any sense.

  • Do Indian people usually set goals?

Well, it has nothing to do with the nationality of a person about setting goals. We’re 8 billion people on this earth, but not all are born to become leaders. Inspiration can come from any part of the world. Therefore, maybe some Indians set their goals and maybe others not.

  • Should parents set goals for their children?

My answer is ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ both. Let’s start with my affirmative answer. What do you expect from a kid who is just 17 years old? Can we expect any maturity or seriousness toward career building? The answer is mega ‘No’. Yes, we can probably give them the best of the environment and encouragement to be someone. But what parents can foresee and envision the career of children, kids can’t do that. Therefore, we need their guidance for some years. Maybe at least up to 24 years or so.

Now, my negative part of the answer is some parents expect their kids to fulfill the unfinished goals that they couldn’t achieve during their life. This is over the top. Just from my personal example, if I didn’t want to be a general practitioner, I won’t think of it. My mom wanted to become a doctor, so she wanted me to be a doctor. That’s an unreasonable expectation from children.

  • When do young people start setting goals for themselves?

Again, it’s arbitrary (=subjective). I’ve seen some people who have no dreams or goals even if they are married and well in their thirties. At the same time, I’ve seen people who set their goals early in their life and go after them passionately. But the right age is between 17 and 19 because whatever you want to do in your life, it must be backed by your theoretical learning. I mean your education. Otherwise, it’s hard to come back to what you had planned for yourself.

In some cases, for example, if someone wants to become a tennis player, he has to be given all types of motivation, facilities, time, and other things as early as at the age of 9 or 10.

  • What are the kinds of goals that are unrealistic?

It’s a good question. Smart goals are realistic, and all other goals are just dreams which are not going to be fulfilled ever. For example, if someone at the age of 21 decides to beat the great tennis player like Roger Federer, it might be a far-fetched dream and almost impossible task to achieve it because as I said before if I had wanted to become a tennis legend, I had to start at the age of 10 or so.

  • Do young people and old people have different kinds of goals? If yes, what are they?

Certainly! As human grows old, he gets matured with every good or bitter experience. Goals change as we age. For example, a kid may want to become a football player, and somebody who is 65 years old wants to run as fast as he could. So, both put their efforts to fulfill their dreams of what they want to achieve. Both may have different approaches to reach their goals.

  • What is more fulfilling working towards a goal or achieving it?

I would say it’s a journey, and both have to be enjoyed. While moving toward our goal, we’ve some unforgettable experiences. Sometimes you win, and sometimes you also fail. Yes, there couldn’t be a better joy when we reach our destination; I mean our goal. Because when we turn back and see what it had taken to achieve our goals, it’s a marvelous journey that we have walked on. Sometimes in the process, we tend to lose our best time of enjoyment, sleep, money, friends, excitement, and among others. But everything is worth it, in the end. 

  • Do you think it is important to have realistic goals?

It does by any means or you end up disgruntled forever. Unrealistic goals put unnecessary pressure on people, and at times, it is unbearable and torture. It leaves scarred memories. That’s why it’s highly advised to set those goals which are in our boundaries. At the same time, the goal-setting must test our boundaries, otherwise, they cannot be termed as goals, too.

5. Describe a time when you missed an appointment.

  • When and where it happened
  • What the appointment was for
  • What happened when you missed it
  • And explain how you felt about the appointment
  • Oh, my dear! Sometimes missing an appointment could be as bad as missing an opportunity. It happens more often in our life, so there must be discipline to be punctual on appointments
  • I won’t go far back to refresh my memory about when I missed an appointment. In fact, it happened just last week
  • I have been preparing for the IELTS test for the last month. And I had a few doubts on my Writing Section, so I wanted Mr. Gambtoo to help me on my write-up
  • He doesn’t train these days, but somehow I convinced his secretary to arrange my appointment to help me with my Writing section
  • I was allotted 12 minutes for this appointment, and I arrived at his office slightly late by 5 minutes
  • We discussed on my queries exactly for 7 minutes, and then he let me go
  • I was first shocked at this punctuality and time management and sulked my face with disappointment because I wanted him to give me some more time, and it wasn’t enough
  • He replied, “You had your opportunity, and I’ve gotta an inventory of several jobs lined up. If I extend my time further for you, I may not justify other jobs”
  • I never thought that my procrastination (=delaying) could cost me so badly because I had to go with certain queries unanswered
  • And at the time of the exam, I struggled where I was weak, and hence I would never forget this incident in my life
  • Initially, I cursed him because 7 minutes of his time could have saved me, and I could have taken my IELTS test more confidently. I was really angry at him and shared my concern with my dad
  • My dad simply said this, “You procrastinated, so you are at fault not him. Why make a fuss on something for which you yourself are responsible”
  • Then after, I realized my mistake. Yes, it was my fault because he did try to help me but he can’t keep waiting for me only. I should have honored the appointment time, and I missed it big time

Follow-up questions:

  • Which events in your country do most people forget?

It depends upon the memory of the person. Most people forget birthdays and anniversaries of others. At times, due to this, the relationship gets impacted also. I can share with you my personal experience on this point. I forgot about the birthday of my girlfriend. And you know what? She broke up the relationship saying that I no longer loved her. So, sometimes this small thing could cost you heavily.

  • Do you think it is a good idea to use electronic devices for putting reminders?

Yes, it does help. We, humans, can forget things but not the technology. In fact, I personally believe that we must use technology as much as possible for everything because it brings you back to your destination if you’ve deviated. Technological assistance must be welcomed always.

  • Do you use them?

Yes, I use my iPhone appointment calendar, and at the workplace, we use Google calendar so that it keeps you reminding of appointments, and you miss none.

  • How memory can help you to learn a new skill?

I believe having a strong memory is an added skill itself. Most people ain’t blessed with a sharp memory, and it’s a natural process. You can’t master it by doing a course or by any other means.

With superior memory, a person can learn multiple skills. He could be good at studying, doing business, or dealing with people also.

  • How can modern technology help you keep good memories?

It doesn’t allow you to forget important events. For example, I don’t remember birthdays of anyone, but every morning, Facebook reminds me of birthdays of others. A simple little message on somebody’s achievements or on important events brings you closer to the relationship. It’s cool and caring, and that pays the dividend in the long term. I can give you an example of another remarkable technological boon. I have set a warning message for my car if it over speeds. The moment I cross the limit of 75 mph, a girl like Siri reminds me of my crazy act.

  • Is human memory important nowadays?

‘Yes’ and ‘No’ both. If it has to relate with your professional duties, there are several software and apps which keep you reminding of your pending jobs. So, in this case, average human memory can do. But apart from this, we meet people, and in business, sometimes we negotiate certain terms by flouting (=disregard, defy) our own set criteria, and we don’t write them down on some occasions. There strong human memory comes handy because you must remember what you’ve promised or ensured that somebody does not take advantage of yours if it’s not evidenced.

  • Can electronic devices such as smartphones replace human memory?

I don’t think so. We have created them, not they have created us. But, yes, they could be handy to our memory and life. They make things easier for us, and without them, it’s hard to think of life these days.

  • How often do you make appointments?

I guess, at least a couple of them in a day. But the worst part in my country is no matter how disciplined you are, people, at times, manage your time. Sometimes we have unwanted visitors and guests, and they visit us without making appointments. They don’t value the time of others, and it’s big torture that we go through almost every other day.

  • Is it important to be punctual in your country?

It is crucial in every country. However, in my country, it is a joke. Most people don’t think about others, but they think about their own conveniences only. In my country, when somebody says ‘5 minutes’, you should assume that he would do his job or return no sooner than 15 minutes for sure. It’s sad to say, but people in my country are not punctual. Exceptions are always there.

  • Is it easy to make an appointment in India?

It depends upon the person who (m) you want to meet. It comes down to how much he is busy.

Vinod Gambtoo’s IELTS Speaking Conjecture, Part 4

  1. Describe an unpleasant job you did.
  • What the job was
  • When you did it
  • Why you found it unpleasant
  • How you felt about it
  • Well, describing my unpleasant job now is a confession of what I did in my previous job. In fact, it was hard for me to carry this burden for some time.
  • But this is the right opportunity for me to relieve somewhat from my misdeeds
  • Last year, I joined a small-sized corporation, which had the strength of only 25 employees. I joined as a software designer. My job paid me well also
  • I happened to be a part of workplace toxicity. I was one of the contributors of all the mess, which I had realized that I shouldn’t have done that after quitting the job
  • Here the story goes! Our boss rebuked our team leader on one project in which the company had not only incurred the loss but also faced the humiliation of being late in completing the project. The follow-on deal of the company got terminated based on the previous project work progression
  • Obviously, the front line, I mean our team leader, had to face the ire of the boss, but this simple thing I didn’t understand that it was a part of professional life
  • Our team leader took it to himself personally and turned a saboteur (= collaborator of the enemy). A couple of other coworkers including myself joined this toxic force without any reason
  • We either delayed other projects or delivered a low quality on other projects on purpose. Again, the company had to bear the loss, and they fired our team leader
  • In friendship, we also quit the job and joined others
  • However, after a few months later, I realized it was absolutely unacceptable and unethical on my part
  • I asked a question to myself, “What would I have done if I were a boss.” I had my answer and started cursing for such a crime that I did
  • There was no way I could atone my misdeeds, but I felt disclosing all those unscrupulous (= corrupt, deceitful) activities and thoughts with my boss.  I apologized for my acts and took an oath of not sabotaging anybody’s reputation ever in my life

Follow-up questions:

  • How do modern technologies influence people?

Modern technologies have greatly influenced people from all walks of life. Technology has made complex ways of working easier, and it’s a great boon to humankind, I would say. In our personal lives, it has brought the world closer than ever before. Today, we can chat with our friends and relatives who are miles away from us through various apps instantly. In our work life, there are several apps and software that have streamlined our job duties. We can track the productivity of every team member by which we can help our company to grow swiftly. Overall, words will fall short to describe and admire the presence of technology in our life.

  • Do people now work lesser than in the past because of technological advancement?

I don’t think so. In fact, I think otherwise. For example, let’s talk about lazy workers at the workplace. In the absence of technology, they had their ways to underperform but would prove themselves as if they had been outperformers. But technology doesn’t lie, and it catches every piece of inertia. For performers, it keeps on reminding your task. The moment you are away from your objectives and goals, it brings you back to the source. Constant reminders and tracking never allow you to sit idle. So, all in all, I would say technological advancement has increased the burden of duties by multifold, but, undoubtedly, it has streamlined our jobs and organized our work schedules smartly for maximizing growth.  

  • Will people work less in the future?

I don’t think so. On the contrary, they will be besieged with innumerable challenges that we might not be facing currently. The world is getting competitive in all aspects, so you’ve gotta put your all things at stake to stay ahead in the race. Additionally, in the near future, we will be competing with humanoids, robots, smart corporations that have inducted artificial intelligence and automation to produce merchandise and drive future sales through economies of scale. Hence, for hard workers, whether they are with or without technology, they will be slogging hard for sure. And those who are incompetent or lazy, they work less now, and the same tradition will continue for them in the future.    

  • What does it make people successful?

The one-word answer is discipline. You’ve gotta be disciplined in what you do. Most people take things for granted and fail to understand the significance of opportunity that they have gotten. Successful people create opportunities for themselves and others, and they keep on striving to challenge their own creations/ideas time after time. Most successful people don’t shy away from accepting their failures. Rather, they believe them as a learning lesson for another creation/job. Dynamics and challenges keep changing with time, and they test your experience now and then. Some people get blinded with their success, and sometimes they end up being a one-trick pony (= a person with only one feature, talent, or area of expertise), whereas successful people keep learning and adapting to new challenges. They leave no stone unturned to develop and update skills.

  • Do successful people have different abilities?

Some have different abilities but not to all. Yet they mark their success in the long term. Successful people learn how to get things done. That’s their specialty. They never bog down to threats and challenges, rather they convert them to lifelong opportunities. They have resolute conviction in what they do. For example, the world laughed at Steve Jobs in the beginning when he talked about the touchpad screen on the mobile phone. Detractors (= critic, defamer) riled (= annoy, exasperate) him profusely and tagged him as a wacko man. But, deep inside his heart and mind, he knew that the Querty pad will be obsolete one day. And, here we are! He challenged the status quo in the smartphone industry, and he brought everyone to his vision: Touchpad Phones.

  • Are the genetics of successful people different?

I don’t think so. Some people are born successful, whereas others learn from their mistakes and improvise from the hindsight (= experience, recollection, knowledge). There’s another section of people who get inspired by the surroundings. Therefore, I don’t think that it has to do anything with genetics. I can tell you countless examples wherein children of successful people are super-duper failures in all their ventures. For example, the son of the great test match batsman, Sunil Gavaskar, did not taste any success in the world of cricket. Hardly, people know his name. So, the bottom line is a success isn’t a monopoly of any person, caste, creed, religion, or anything else.

  • How does innovation influence global progress?

Innovation is the mother of breakthrough technologies. Without innovations, today, we would have been riding on camels or horses for commuting. It’s a constant process, and we, humankind, must thank all the innovators for whatever they have created because it has eased our lives.

Innovation makes things easier for all countries to do trade. For example, the internet has brought the world closer than ever before. Today, by emailing and exchanging information and valuable papers with one another anywhere in the world has propelled (= drive, shoot, push) business growth. Just imagine how businessmen did trade in the absences of air cargos and ships. We can think of having anything at our doorstep due to the many innovations made by outliers.

2. Describe an important piece of news that you received via a text message.

  • Who shared the message with you
  • What the news was about
  • How it was written
  • Explain why the news was important
  • Our cellphones are filled with countless messages, and this digital junk has no value on most occasions unless they are of need
  • I would like to share with you one of the important messages that I received around six months ago
  • My cousin, Siffat, lives in Auckland, New Zealand. She did her master’s degree and decided to stay back in New Zealand
  • She had been hunting for a better job for a long time but in vain
  • Because of her consistent failure to obtain the desired job, she remained dejected (= disheartened, discouraged) and upset
  • Everybody in the family was worried about her struggle. She is a very talented girl and deserves a beautiful life
  • She persevered for her job hunt, and finally, she made progress in her career and got the job that she wanted
  • So, it went like this. I wake up and check my phone. I read a notification of a new message, reading ‘Siffat Sis’. Generally, she sends messages via Whatsapp, but this was a regular text message, so it was bizarre
  • The message read, “Woohoo! Hey, couch potato (= idler, lazy person). I made it. I’ve got a job respecting my credentials in the Finance Dept. at AIG.” And, there was a stanza of a Hindi song reading, “Aaj me upar, aasman niche.”
  • It was such encouraging and good news for everyone in the family
  • I was happy for her success because we share a strong bond
  • We both did school together up to higher secondary and always helped each other during all good and bad times

Follow-up questions:

  • Why do some people dislike sending text messages?

Well, as long as a short message is sent or received, I don’t think people would hate it. But, certainly, most people hate writing a long message including me. It takes a lot of time and effort to compose a long message. It’s just boring! This is my take. But we don’t know how people think about this messaging service. Some people rather believing in talking to someone over the phone than texting a message. To them, it’s a waste of time. At the same time, some people get annoyed at receiving calls, and they rather prefer to be contacted by text messages only.

  • What is the information that cannot be communicated via text message?

There could be many pieces of information that are believed not to be sent through messages. Some information contains vital or classified items. If they get viral or get into the wrong hands, it could damage someone’s reputation, or somebody’s money or peace of mind could be robbed of. For example, phishing is a usual way to siphon the money off your account. Sometimes we receive messages asking us for our personal details, such as PAN card, credit card number, one-time password, Aadhar card, and others. If you share these details by mistake with someone, you could surely be in trouble. Hence, people must exercise restrain while sharing such information.

  • How do people in India deliver important information?

We’ve ways to transmit vital information to our friends, family, or clients. The best medium that’s believed to be in vogue (= practice, fad, popular) is through email. It’s quick and cheap. Some people in the business also share business details or requirements through WhatsApp. I personally don’t like this mode of communication in the business, but it’s quite popular in my country. Where original papers are needed to be sent, people yet rely on the traditional method of courier via DTDC, Blue Dart, Express Post, or DHL.

  • What do you think of traditional paper mails?

The significance of paper mails has diminished a great deal these days. However, it has not become obsolete (= archaic, antiquated) yet because there are tens of thousands of people across the globe who believe in verifying, receiving, or sending original papers to the opposite party. Plus, we cannot expect all the people to be well versed with technology. Some people may not have access to technology, and they use traditional methods of communication. I foresee a further downward on the traditional paper mails. However, when it happens is a matter of a question.

  • Do you think it is still a good way to deliver information using traditional mails?

To me, it has some merits depending upon what you are sending or receiving. For example, valuable papers such as passports, property documents, I20s, legal papers, and business agreements among others carry substantial weight and relevant authorities may not accept them in other formats such as photocopy, pdf version, or through electronic mail. Apart from these papers, I think we should use advanced technologies of communication to save time and money both.

  • Have our ways to communicate with each other changed in recent years?

Yes, in fact, it has changed a great deal. It’s just like the evolution of humans. In the past, we had a telegram to send urgent messages. Then, we were promoted to trunk calls. People had to book a trunk call with the telecom authority, and they would connect you with the other party in other states. Then after, we had paid STD, ISD, and PCO for making calls and sending messages. Pagers came in life, but they were short-lived. I would say that they died before they were born. In the late nineties, we saw the world of communication changed dramatically. Cellphones made their ways with resounding success, and now they have been replaced by smartphones. I don’t know what lies ahead in the future. It’s quite a transformation, especially in the last thirty years. Technological advancements are challenging all the traditional ways of doing business, communicating, studying, and way of thinking.

  • What are the advantages of sending messages via social apps?

The one-word answer is ‘Fun’. Social apps have made the digital platform alive, unlike in the past, which was banal. You have emojis to attach to your message that signifies your mood while sending a message. Otherwise, people might take your message in a bad taste because at the end of the day, it is technology, and it does not deal with emotions and other expressions. Therefore, this feature of social apps has had tremendous success in the present. After the lockdowns of coronavirus in the world, things have changed further. People love connecting to each other via Facetime, Google Duo, Zoom, Jiomeet, and other platforms. People rather pick up the phone and connect to others using such kinds of popular apps. So, the writing and reading part is almost gone. Again, I would say, “quite a transformation.”

3. Describe a volunteering experience you have had.

  • What it was
  • Where it was
  • Why you volunteered
  • How you felt about it
  • This topic reminds me of my school time because it was mandatory for us from Grade 9 to Grade 12 to participate in community welfare jobs targeted on various causes
  • But today, I would like to recount a volunteering experience which I had more recently, not far back
  • The entire world has faced a novel calamity named ‘Coronavirus pandemic’. Coronavirus originated in China and spread throughout the world like wildfire in no time
  • Ever since it came, the world is a different place now
  • This pandemic is not over yet, and every nation is struggling to contain the spread of it
  • During this testing time, we saw many people came forward to do a bit, and so did I.
  • You would have seen or heard that many people or not-for-profit organizations came to rescue migrant workers, feed underprivileged (= disadvantaged, destitute, needy) people, assist health workers or police officers and whatnot
  • The whole country saw a complete lockdown for almost two months. It was like, “Life has stopped all of sudden, and it was frightening for sure”
  • I wanted to do my part during this medical crisis and assessed the situation. I realized that there were almost none who worried about stray animals and birds. Who would feed them? Because most of the time, people like us feed them or they scavenge (= search for or collect (anything usable) from discarded waste) from our leftovers (= extra, unused, residual, surplus).
  • So, I started feeding stray dogs and birds every day. I would pack up food for birds and animals and travel to several places to feed them
  • I felt myself as if I were a Superman for these mute creatures, and this job offered me solace, especially when I looked into the eyes of dogs. They were kind of thanking me every day. Their love and thanking look gave me the motive to do more for them
  • I’m also thankful to police officers on duty. Sometimes they stopped me because the public movement was prohibited, but the moment they learnt my motive of traveling, they let me go and appreciated my job
  • I felt that this was part of humanity. You couldn’t get better than seeing hungry birds and animals eat or waiting for you as if you were their family members. I guess the compassion (= empathy, humanity, kindness) inside me activated further. It was dormant for the years, and now it has given me a purpose to help these beautiful creatures. It’s really cool

Follow-up questions:

  • What qualities are required for being a volunteer?

There could be several qualities required to be a good volunteer. I think that the volunteer should be altruistic (= charitable, philanthropic, humanitarian) because without this quality, probably he cannot perform his duty diligently. In other words, he won’t be able to justify his job. Volunteering is not a commercial business where you think of making money. But it’s a selfless act, and I believe very few people on earth have such selflessness. Moreover, I believe that the volunteer must be driven naturally to fulfill his desire to address the cause. For example, I’m an animal lover, I don’t need any reason to serve them under whichever capacity I do my acts. The motive drives you to do something for which you may not be applauded or recognized. So, the bottom line is you talk to yourself and you satisfy yourself by doing these noble acts.

  •  What type of personality does a volunteer have?

I guess genuine volunteers are magnanimous, kind, and altruistic people. They are full of compassion for various causes. Some are driven to help humans and others are there to make the world a better place to live. The quality of serving for the community welfare comes from the heart, without thinking of quantifying gains or publicity. Some people believe in giving back to society because they feel that’s the noblest job they could do in their life. For example, Ratan Tata is considered as the greatest philanthropist in India because he is always there to assist downtrodden (= needy, exploited, destitute) people or when the country needs him the most. Such people leave aside their priorities and rush to help the needy in any difficulty.

  • How can companies engage in volunteering help in our society?

It has been around two decades or so wherein large corporations have realized the value of giving back to society. Therefore, it’s a common sight when you visit their websites, they will have a button of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives. Under the CSR initiatives, these corporations mobilize people and resources on targeted causes. For example, the wife of the Indian billionaire, Mukesh Ambani, Nita does a lot of charity. Her not-for-profit organization feeds people, take hospital expenses of patients who are unable to afford the cost, invest in new ideas wherein the youth are unable to raise the capital for their ventures, and others. All these translate into financial help to people and the country at large. By these benevolent (= benign, generous, philanthropic) acts, she is able to help people to stand on their feet or dream whatever they want.

  • Do you think people nowadays should participate more in volunteering?

Yes, I think so. Just imagine how the human race was like some centuries back. Brutal, or not thinking of anything such as resources, animals, Mother Nature, and among others. Now, things have changed because people have access to the world of information, so they know what’s going on wrong and what’s needed to fix any problem. Humankind has realized the importance of helping each other, and we’ve seen on many occasions that they come forward and volunteer for the right cause. We have calamities whether it’s natural or manmade, but thousands of people flock together and assign themselves to do a benevolent job when needed. They set the right tone and example for the future generation. Volunteering is a symbol of humanity or investing in humanity to uplift society.

  • How do modern technologies assist volunteers and volunteering experience?

Well, I don’t have much idea about it, but I know of sure that technologies make our life easy and assume that it must be doing the same for volunteers. I remember how technology helped one of our animal betterment organizations. They did not have an X-ray machine for animals. So, people raised funds and bought an X-ray machine for making the job easier. Today, any animal which is hit in the road accident, they are immediately diagnosed, treated, and x-rayed in house. In the past, we had to take injured animals to the hospital for getting an x-ray done. This is one example, but there could be many other things by which, I believe, the life of volunteers has become comfortable to deliver their jobs. Or I would say their passion.

4. Describe something difficult you would like to succeed in doing.

  • What it is
  • Why it is difficult
  • How you would like to prepare for it
  • Explain why you would like to be successful in doing it
  • That’s a good question. In fact, it relates to my current situation. I have been trying to get 7.5 band score in the IELTS test for the last three months but in vain
  • I will become eligible for a PR status only when I achieve 8,7,7,7 score in the IELTS test
  • Therefore, I’m putting all my efforts to achieve this target, but I don’t know why I have been failing slightly from the last two tests. In one module, I end up scoring at 6.5 band score, and then I’ve to retake the test all again. That’s frustrating for sure
  • I don’t know what’s wrong with my efforts and preparation. I easily manage to get over 7.5 band score in Listening, Reading, and Speaking, but Writing is my Achilles heel (= damaging weakness, failing, defect)
  • After successive failures, I decided to take the classes of Vinod Gambtoo for my Speaking and Writing this time. Now, I have learnt what mistakes I was making in the past, and hopefully, I’ve corrected them this time and will achieve the required band score
  • I have started to take note of each hardship that I had experienced in my Writing section
  • I realized how important Grammar, Vocabulary, and other parameters if someone desires to get a higher band score. I started paying attention to my mistakes and had all my doubts cleared step by step
  • This time, I have justified my opening and concluding paragraph of my write-up. Plus, I have improvised my performance by addressing the vocabulary part like the right word for the right situation where I was making mistakes in the past. Additionally, I used to overdo my write-up. I mean I had a popular misconception of writing at length, using very heavy words, and writing off the topic. Hence, my write-up was dense and quite haphazard (= random, erratic, casual, careless) when it came to finesse (= competence, skill, savvy, sophistication). These all mistakes dragged my score downward
  • This time, I guess I’ve fine-tuned my preparation and taken care of all those goof-ups (= silly mistake) of the past
  • My trainer has taught me a framework of a good write-up, on which I have practiced hard. Moreover, I started to read the right academic material from which I could take some lesson and improve my performance

5. Describe a time you got lost in a place you did not know about.

  • When it happened
  • Who was with you?
  • What you did
  • How you felt about it
  • Aha! Well, I generally don’t get lost when I travel to places
  • But I remember one occasion where I got lost and found myself nowhere in the middle
  • It was around two years back when my girlfriend and I decided to visit Niagara Falls
  • She had never been to this mesmerizing (= fascinating, enthralling) beauty in her life, whereas I had visited it on several occasions. So, there was confidence, as everyone has when they travel to some places over and over again, that I knew this place better. In fact, no one else knew better than me about this place.
  • As it’s always said that overconfidence is evil. And the same happened to me
  • Around Niagara Falls, there are many interior roads – some of them lead to the US jurisdiction, too – that I took her to show the places around
  • I forgot how to go downtown then. I tried a few ways to arrive at my destination, but that was of no use
  • However, it wasn’t bad though because while I was searching for my destination, she enjoyed the ride with me and was witnessing this marvelous place. In fact, she was having more fun at the cost of my desperation to reach my destination
  • This place is generally not crowded, so you hardly see anyone on the road
  • While I was driving, there came a store, which sold maple syrups, sauces, and other stuff. I pulled over my car there, and we went inside. The owner was in her sixties, and she was really a good lady
  • When I shared my trouble, she guided me the way. Not only this assistance, but she also offered us coffee and talked to us gently. She was all ready to come with us to drop us where we wanted to go, but I rather thought of not troubling her
  • After her road guidance, we arrived at our destination
  • It wasn’t a bad experience because my girlfriend enjoyed the whole ride, and in the end, we happened to meet a noble lady who offered us the best hospitality that she could have offered to anyone

Follow-up questions:

  • Do you often get lost?

In most cases, I generally don’t get lost, especially we have a Google map installed on our phone these days. Plus, I guess I’m good at remembering roads wherever I go in the world. However, the incident that I talked about was one of the rarest ones in my life.

  • Is map-reading skill important?

Certainly, it is. Or you get lost somewhere, and it wastes your time and gasoline. In North America, we cannot think of going to a new place without map-reading because once you have driven the wrong way, it takes miles to return to correct your driving course. Sometimes I wonder how people managed to drive places without ‘Google Map’ in the past. I remember my uncles used to have a book that showed the written navigation, pictures, and maps in it. But, now it’s gone and technology has made our life easy and comfortable to a great extent.

  • Are some people good at map-reading than others?

Well, it’s not rocket science, I guess. Anybody can be good at this basic skill. I don’t think people should be struggling to develop this basic skill. So, my answer is ‘yes’, and most people are good at it.

  • Why do some people like travelling to other places?

I think it all depends on your disposition. I sometimes feel that I’m a born traveler. I always love exploring new places and meeting people around the globe. In one life, if you’ve not traveled to magnificent places, your life is boring. It’s not cool at all. At the same time, some people hate traveling, and they are happy with their routines. They get annoyed at disturbing their routines. Well, I can’t comment on anybody’s way of living as it’s their life. We’re just born with different choices. Moreover, our upbringing and friends around us influence our choices, too. When I was very young, I had friends who always loved to go to different places. Maybe that could be a reason that I’m such. So, it varies from person to person.

  • Should they find information about the place before going there?

It will be handy if you have collated all the information about the place where you are going. Because it saves time and allows you to have more time to enjoy the place. Otherwise, your precious time will be wasted away. In other words, there is something that can surprise you in this crazy helter-skelter (= chaotic, haphazard, hurried) world.

Vinod Gambtoo’s IELTS Speaking Conjecture, Part 3

  1. Describe a time when you traveled by public transportation.
  • When you traveled
  • Where you traveled
  • What the purpose was of your travel
  • How you felt about it
  • I hardly use public transportation in my life because I drive wherever I want to go
  • However, when I have to go somewhere in distance, I mean in the other city or state, I use public transportation. Maybe a train or an air-conditioned cozy bus
  • I did my undergraduate degree from Baroda, which is around 100 kilometers from my home
  • I am from Ahmedabad but studied there, so I’ve many of my friends in this city
  • Sometimes we friends decide to meet each other, and either they come to my place or I travel to Baroda
  • I can always drive to Baroda, but I feel using public transportation is rather convenient, and we’ve an inter-state bus service run by the government. This facility, I guess, is the best in India as you get a super comfortable coach of Volvo Buses
  • In fact, I traveled to Baroda last weekend as one of my friends who works for Wipro came home to have a mini-vacation of four days
  • He called me up to check on my and others’ availability to catch up. Initially, I refused to join as I had a family engagement for a social cause
  • However, that engagement got canceled for some reason, and then I called him up to express my desire to join at night
  • Cool! The plan was made along with other friends, and I traveled
  • Traveling by bus from Ahmedabad to Baroda is always a pleasant ride. We’ve an expressway, so within 45 minutes you arrive at Baroda once the bus hits the expressway from Ahmedabad
  • Luckily, this time I enjoyed more because I happened to make a new friend who was sitting by me
  • This guy is working for a large corporation in the finance department. I did my degree in finance concentration, and I also work in the accounts and finance department for my company
  • We began a casually chitchat only to switch it to the financial world later. This fella has tremendous know-how about the financial world, so there was something to add to my enlightenment (=knowledge) from him
  • As said it before,  the trip to Baroda is short with a comfy ride, so time went by quickly, and we both cursed to the shortest time for our discussion
  • In the end, along with the ride, I happened to make a good new friend

2. Describe a foreign country (culture) you want to know more about it.

  • Which country it is or which culture
  • Where it is
  • How you know about it
  • Why you want to know more about it
  • I am always keen on learning new cultures and exploring countries
  • It is fun and exciting to experience something different and eccentric (=strange, outlandish, bizarre) from our own culture or country
  • While I was young, I formed a habit of watching Discover TV station, and, in fact, from there I got inspired to learn about new countries
  • I personally like to explore more on the North American culture, and Canada as a country as I’m planning to migrate there. It makes sense if I know a bit about their culture so that I could integrate into Canadian society smoothly
  • Apart from watching Discovery TV station, I grew up watching English movies, which reflected mainly British, American and European culture in most cases
  • We hardly know about Canadian or Eastern European culture through Hollywood movies, and that’s understandable, too because, in the last fifty years, Americans and Britons have dominated all walks of our life
  • My aunt has been living in Canada for the last 8 years, and she always speaks good about its natural landscape, magnanimous (=altruistic, charitable, selfless) people, cosmopolitan culture, values and ethics and what not
  • The Canadian society believes in egalitarian (=democratic, equitable), social equality, and peace. Canada is also known as one of the most peaceful countries on earth. You hardly hear any news of racial discrimination, violence, or vandalism (=mischief, ravaging)
  • Whenever I watch any video on a TV station or on YouTube, I get astonished to see the beautiful landscape and not forget their 11 natural wonders. They are simply breathtaking (Niagara Falls, Cabot Trail, Moraine Lake, Gross Morne National Park, Mingan Archipelago, Hopewell Rocks, Haida Gwaii, Dinosaur Provincial Park, Nahanni National Park Reserve, Crooked Trees, and Northern Lights)
  • I guess, liking for the North American culture and place of living enthused me to explore all the good about it. I have recently started to read about their magnificent visual arts and literature. Compared to Americans or Britons, Canadians are not much known for their movies or music, but they are very popular for Ice Hockey. It is just like Cricket in India. Canadians are diehard (=zealot, fanatic) fans of Ice Hockey. About cuisine, most Canadians come from Europe and indigenous people, so the most part of Canada offers a plethora of European cuisines dominated by French, Italian, Scottish, and English

Follow-up questions:

  • What do you think is the best way to learn foreign culture?

There are many ways to learn about the foreign culture in this digital world. In the past, we had tourism tabloids, books on tourism, regular books, or newspapers. They were the main source of our enlightenment (=knowledge). But this thing has changed in the last two decades. Now, we have digital media such as government websites directing to their different departments for viewers. YouTube has become the primary source of gathering information on any culture or country by viewing. I believe that more than reading when we visualize any video, we generally never forget. That said, the best way is to go and visit the country that you like. This way not only do we learn about their culture but also feel it. And, it’s like a treasure that you always cherish (=admire, adore, care for) in your life.

  • What do you think is the biggest problem to work in a foreign culture?

The biggest problem that people face is the language when they are in other countries while working. For example, if you’re in Germany, you do better if you’re proficient in the German language. People master their native language, and it’s a natural process. It takes years and massive efforts to get command over other languages. Those who do it are the ones who deserve a lot of admiration. Apart from this, sometimes it’s hard to integrate into the local culture due to varied beliefs, customs, and lifestyles. To substantiate (=affirm, confirm, corroborate) this point, I would like to draw another example. We, Indians, generally don’t eat beef. Now, when you are in Europe or North America, it’s their regular food. Because of this, sometimes we tend to link the habit of the host country to our customs. And, we find a total disconnect. It doesn’t mean that they are bad people, but we need to reconcile (=accommodate, harmonize, integrate) with this fact and move on.

  • Some people say that reading is the best way to learn about a culture. Do you agree? To most extent, I agree with this statement. Reading is a great source of enlightenment and to learn about alternative views in life. As I said to you before, in the past, we had only one source to know about new things was reading. Reading enjoyed a monopoly of disseminating (=advertise, publicize, propagate) information over the centuries, but it has been challenged by the digital world these days. I personally love reading books, and I would give thumbs up to this idea, but not all people may agree with me.

3. Talk about a toy you liked in your childhood.

  • Which the toy was
  • Who gifted/gave it to you
  • How often you played with it
  • You’ve brought me back to my childhood, which I always treasure
  • In my childhood, I was gifted and given too many toys as I grew up. I was really pampered and spoilt child of my parents who always brought me any toy that I had wished when I was little
  • In fact, I can go on talking about several toys with which I grew up
  • Today, I’m gonna talk about a toy with which I always felt connected and today also, I’m connected with it in another way
  • I was always fond of cars, so my parents, at times, brought me the collection of truck and car toys
  • I enjoyed moving them, hoping that one day I would be driving these cars, too
  • I remember my father bought me a diecast model car, which was a Porsche replica
  • It was remarkable. It was red in color; had three openable doors, tail with front and rear light, engine cover, and music embedded with the remote control for maneuvering my drive. Additionally, it also had a feature of realistic engine sound
  • It was beautifully designed and a pure counterfeit of Porsche, but a toy only
  • With the remote control, I could pull it backward and forward and stop at my will
  • I always felt as if I were driving this beautiful car and always boasted of this toy among friends. Plus, it was made of metal and slightly heavier than other toys
  • So, typically, it was boy stuff during my childhood
  • We weren’t allowed to bring any toy to school, but I would stash (=hide) in my schoolbag someday and took it to school because I always felt proud of having it. Additionally, my friends also insisted on bringing this little creature for their fun
  • I remember having played with this car almost every day

Follow-up questions:

  • What is the difference between girls’ and boys’ toys?

Well, it’s hard to differentiate what girls and boys like when they’re young. Take a model car as a toy, girls also liked it when I was in my school. I guess girls like more dolls, wind-up toys, puzzles, dollhouses, or perhaps cubs nesting, while boys love having construction toys, colored-pattern blocks, cars, and popular fictional characters with their weapons and sets of people and animals. It’s just a thought, and I don’t how far it’s true.

  • Do you think toys really help in children’s development?

Certainly, it’s true. A good toy can be used in more than one way. With toys, children can challenge their imagination, which is useful when they grow up. Children develop thinking skills. For example, they learn directionality by turning puzzle pieces so that they fit together. They also develop socially, emotionally, and physically. I can quote another example of physical aspect to make my point. Kids can practice visual skills by playing with a set of stacking rings. Now, such a visual skill could be handy for them if they aspire to become pilots or joining the Air Force for their country.

  • Does modern technology have an influence on children’s toys?

Yes, it does. Before modern technology was incorporated in toys, the toy industry like the fashion industry was always fast-moving. Popular and sought-after (=attractive, famous, beloved) toys get run over by new ones every year. With modern technology, now children have ample choices for the toys to choose from. But if we look at this point positively, today children have toys of better educational values that improve their several skills. Hence, I see it as a positive development, overall.

  • Have we lost our hand skills such as sewing?

I guess we’ve lost it for many reasons. People hardly have their clothes stitched these days. In the past, it’s a usual sight that our mothers sew something for their children, but gone are those days now. Additionally, I believe that people had a peaceful life in the past. I mean neither people had more job opportunities nor were they much ambitious. In this modern time, the world is connected to every good or bad news, and the digital world has influenced the minds of people greatly. So, you see everyone is in the race of catching up others. In this scenario, people give a lot of importance on ready-made stuff in order to save time. The countryside yet has some life left for such skills to harness, but people living in cities have seemed to have made these skills obsolete (=out-of-date, archaic).

  • What toys are popular with kids in India today?

I’ve really no idea about this because there’s no child in my family. But, let me guess which toy could be a darling to our children these days. I guess children love miniatures of popular fictional characters, such as Superman, Batman, and others. I am also pretty sure they must be liking electric cars, puzzles, block-building toys, construction toys, and educational toys.

  • Do children today have many toys in general?

Yes, I’m sure about it for many reasons again. Today, we’ve several toys available in the market. Thanks to consumerism. Plus, purchasing power has increased exponentially all over the world, especially in my country. Therefore, I assume children of today are luckier than we are.

  • Do you think playing with electronic toys has a good influence on kids?

I think so. Take electric cars, children drive it using the remote control, and they learn how to maneuver it. When they grow up, this childhood experience helps them learn to drive the car quickly. Some electronic toys are designed to educate children on varied matters. So, when they grow up, childhood learning leaves an ever-lasting image on their brains. In Japan, most children have a robot as a toy, so children tend to learn many good things from it. In my country, we’ve not seen such a culture but we’re not far away from it, and I foresee this to come in the years to come.

  • Do you think some toys are only suitable for girls and some that are only suitable for boys?

I don’t think about its suitability, but manufacturers have ways to target gender when it comes to selling things. It also happens with children as well as with adults. Some companies smart enough to design some toys, which become favorite in a particular gender. For example, the Barbie doll is the most popular in the world, and most girls have grown up having it. When they’re young, they love to talk to her, dress her, comb her and whatnot. In a similar vein, boys grow up having the miniature of soldiers and fictional characters, and they feel associated with them.

  • Which do you think is better for children, to play with toys alone or with other kids?

I think both have their merits for the development of children. With toys, they enjoy in a different world. I mean they feel as if they are living in a utopia (=paradise) world where everything is perfect and happy, whereas, with kids, they tend to learn what the relationship is all about, discipline, helping others, and get helped, too. Both good and bad experiences with other children are building blocks to their real-life later on.

  • Do you think parents should encourage their children to share their toys with other kids?

Yes, I greatly support this notion. Sharing toys with other kids at a young age inculcate (=impart, indoctrinate, instill) a sense of giving and sharing, which could be the most sought-after (=attractive, famous, beloved) quality in a relationship.

4. Describe an advertisement you remember well.

  • Which advertisement it is/was
  • When and where you saw it
  • What happened in it
  • Advert! I will certainly like to recount the creative adverts of Seagram’s Imperial Blue because they’re really very hilarious and have tickled many ribs over the years
  • ‘Men will be men’ campaign focuses on how men either try to impress a pretty girl or how they get overjoyed when their wives are away from them. It’s sometimes misogynist (=sexist) also, but it always gives a smile on your face when you see the expressions of men in the advert
  • I remember this advert well because it is incredible, and I happened to watch it the first time when I was having a party with my friends at someone’s place some years ago
  • This Seagram company keeps coming with new creative adverts time after time, and all of them are impressive
  • But I would like to say about the one advert, which featured two years ago
  • There’s a pretty lady waiting for her floor to come in the elevator (=lift)
  • She is talking to someone over the phone, and there are two guys tucking in their protruding (=bulgy) belly to impress this girl
  • And there’s a funny ‘Gazal’ is being played out in the background, and those expressions of that girl in the advert are worth millions of dollars
  • So, the moment that girl arrives at her floor and moves out of the elevator, the bellies of these two guys get back to their actual shagging shape
  • I mean it may not sound hilarious when I describe it, but when you watch it, I’m sure you will burst out laughing. Absolutely funny!

Follow-up questions:

  • Why do some people hate advertisements?

Well, there could be many reasons for it. First of all, I think you don’t enjoy every advert that comes on the TV or by any platform. Sometimes, they distract you from your watching pleasure or enlightenment process. For example, when I watch any video that makes me busy for some good reasons, and you’ve an unwanted advert, which disturbs you. Secondly, at times, these commercials hijack the prime time of your watching, and you don’t like to switch the station again and again. Lastly, I believe that we enjoy only those adverts which address our needs. I mean if I am up for buying jogging shoes for myself, I won’t be disturbed if there are commercials of selling shoes because I am in the middle of making my decision. Or I would enjoy the advert if it has some funny content or creative ideas. For example, the one I discussed with you about Seagram’s ‘Men will be men’ campaign won’t bother me but not all.

  • Do people usually buy stuff after watching advertisements?

I guess, yes. Commercials always influence the minds of consumers in general, and that’s why the advertising industry is huge and employs tens of thousands of people in the world. Some large corporations have a unique way to sell their products by attractive adverts by various means. For example, Nike patronizes the world athletes in his adverts. In India, they endorse popular cricketers such as Virat Kohli or MS Dhoni on their giant hoardings. We, Indians, love cricket and our heroes, so the moment we see these heroes in the advert, we start getting associated with them instantly. This is an amazing way to do business and to endorse the spirit of sports, as well

  • Is music useful in the advertisement?

To some extent, I guess it makes sense. I think there’s an overall package for any commercial to become popular in the digital arena. Everything plays a vital role, be it acting, actor, setup, background music, expressions, message, and so on. Anything that’s disconnect will send the advert in the trash.

  • What are the advantages of TV advertisements? How about internet advertisements?

There are plenty of advantages of adverts associated with the TV medium. Most Indians use TV as an entertainment or enlightenment medium. So, commercials on TV stations help all sizes of corporations to improve their top line and bottom line. They design adverts in such a manner that it prompts viewers to buy their stuff. However, this medium of adverts is being challenged these days by the internet and the over-the-top (OTT) media services.

We have experienced the rapid growth of the OTT media. YouTube, NetFlix, and Amazon Prime are the biggest beneficiaries of this technological revolution. Hence, many companies have diverted a huge amount of their marketing expenditure to this new platform. I’ve no data that which platform is ahead of the others; I mean TV watching or OTT usage. But I’m sure that there are people in great numbers who choose the OTT platform than TV. And, yes, internet adverts are also as effective and revenue-generating as others for companies.

  • Where do we usually see adverts?

Well, I would say everywhere. Whether it’s TV, or the OTT platform, hoarding, search engine, and all other traditional and non-traditional platform, you see we’re being bombarded with adverts. Marketers leave no space for promoting their businesses. At times, it’s frustrating, too. For example, hoardings cover attractive and beautiful spots in your city. And we don’t have an opportunity to witness the beauty of the city in some cases.

  • Are there any advertisements at school?

Yes, there’s no doubt. As I said, marketers leave no opportunity to influence the minds of consumers. So is true for schools! Here, they’ve a different approach to infiltrate on the minds of students owing to certain restrictions. For example, any education learning app will organize a free seminar to educate children and parents, and they will offer the subscription free of cost for some time, and you end up buying that product afterward. Because it targets the moldable innocent minds of students, and we know that parents generally surrender to their children’s wishes.

  •  Are there some inappropriate adverts, like that of a condom?

First thing first, I disagree with the terminology called ‘inappropriate adverts’. All adverts are appropriate as long as they don’t promote nudity, coarse language, or disturbing images. For some reason, people in my country consider the advert of condoms sleazy (=sordid, trashy), but it’s not because it’s the part of our life. It has more benefits to offer than disadvantages. However, my saying or way of thinking doesn’t matter because a large section of people believe that young children shouldn’t watch such commercials. So, the Broadcast Ministry has recently changed the rules for such companies to air their commercials. Now, you have adverts promoting condoms or such other stuff after 10 o’clock in the evening. In the same way, commercials promoting liquor is prohibited in our country. Candidly speaking, I never support any kind of prohibition. It’s like snatching a fundamental right of citizens.

  • Why does the government allow such adverts?

My answer to this question is linked to the previous answer of mine. I don’t see it questionable, so the government has prerogative (=immunity, choice) to allow such adverts. It’s not harming society by any means.

  • Do you think it is bad for children?

No, I don’t think so. There is a reason behind this. It’s our duty to inculcate (=impart, indoctrinate, instill) manners, etiquettes, values, and morality in children. But, at the same time, what’s needed for our children to learn and understand, we can’t shy away from it or in other sense, we cannot choose and pick our selective narratives. When children grow up, they will, invariably, be exposed to all good and bad things in their life. We need to train them to stay off bad things to brighten their careers. Betting, drinking, sexual explicitly, and all other things will remain in our life. So, why ignore it? Better train them for everything. Maybe, my way of thinking is unacceptable to many, but it’s their choice.

  • Do parents complain about it?

Yes, in most cases, they do so. Yet we’ve not developed a culture of accepting certain things in our life. For example, drinking is considered a bad habit. Yes, it’s bad when you drink exceedingly but not when you do it moderately and don’t shy away from your jobs and responsibilities and giving to society. People generally have a habit of painting everything with the same brush. There I have an objection.

5. Describe a person in the news that you want to meet.

  • Who he or she is
  • What this person showed up on TV for
  • How you knew what this person
  • Why you want to meet him
  • There are many celebrities that I follow in my life. They are from all segments such as news anchors, politicians, sportspersons, actors, singers, comedians, and among others
  • Today, I would like to talk about one of my favorite playback singers who is a kind of a household name in Indian society. His name is Arijit Singh
  • Arijit Singh has a shy nature, and hardly have we seen him on a TV show ever. But back in 2016, he appeared in one of the most popular chat and comedy shows: The Kapil Sharma Show
  • This fella is absolutely down-to-earth and one of those public images who doesn’t believe much in flaunting his skills. It was a rare thing to see him participate in a comedy show
  • He’s the most loved and young playback singer in India. He has a wonderful voice texture. Some experts describe his voice as raw and grainy, whereas I think he has a natural voice, and you experience depth in his voice
  • Therefore, this great singer requires no introduction, and I’m sure if you ask any youngster in India about this marvelous singer these days, everyone has some positive opinions for him
  • Truly, I get mesmerized when I happen to listen to any song of his. He caters to genres, such as pop, ghazal, Indian classical, electronic dance music (EDM), and filmy
  • Plus, he is good at playing harmonium, guitar, piano, vocals, and tabla
  • I always desire to meet this accomplished guy whenever I have any opportunity. However, it’s hard to meet him because he’s a big name in our music industry now
  • I’m keeping my fingers crossed and hope one day I’ll have an opportunity to see this gentleman for sure

Follow-up questions:

  • What types of people can be seen on TV? What are the kinds of people do the news usually reports about?

Well, we have dedicated TV stations for types of shows that we would like to watch. We’ve categories such as entertainment, international, infotainment, news, sports, music, and movies. So, it comes down to your choice, first of all. You’ve gotta a wide range of variety to your choice. Ahh, I love sports, music, movies, and sometimes like to stay in touch with domestic and international news, too.

We see all kinds of celebrities. Thankfully, things have changed in the last ten years dramatically and you happen to see the presence of movie actors also on TV. This was not a trend in the past, but things have changed for good. We see sportspersons, actors, news anchors, comedians, politicians, and others.  

  • Do you think there is too much news about celebrities? What is your take on the news reports in recent years?

Yes, I agree with this. It’s, at times, annoying, too. There’s too much limelight offered to celebrities, and people miss out to know other essential information or news. For example, some news reports discuss what Taimur did. This guy is the son of Saif Ali Khan, and he’s what? Just 2 years old. He’s not a significant personality to discuss. And what will people do with his daily itinerary? Nothing. So, it’s very much irritating to know that the quality of reports has stooped so low these days.

  • Do you think negative information in the news can have a negative influence?

Certainly, to some extent. Human behavior typically responds to what happens around him and what people say on any issue. Whether it is right or wrong, but people tend to get influenced in either direction: Positive or Negative. A negative piece of information on the media impacts the viewers greatly. For example, when the pandemic of coronavirus became a household name, everyone was so much scared to step out of the home. The situation needed to stay home, and there’s no doubt about it. But what will we do without our essential goods and services? So, anybody who went out of home was always scared because the moment he returns and watches TV, everything around him was depressing, and people were dying. It does influence heavily.

  • Why do people like negative news?

I don’t know the exact reason for this, but it’s true that people, in general, gravitate more to negative news than positive news. Maybe, human beings like excitement, climax, something that’s not usual, or maybe something else. Any bad news that features in any sphere of life, people love tracking and discussing it profusely. That’s the way it is!

  • What is usually in the news in India?

First of all, I don’t watch the news much on our television because it has more negative news than positive news. We’ve all types of pieces of news, which range from sports to celebrity news, to domestic and international issues, to some scientific updates, and others.

  • Is that information always true?

I doubt that all pieces of information in the news are true. We’ve seen that news is being manipulated everywhere in the world. In most cases, reporters are biased and promote that piece of news that suits their ideologies or agenda. For example, when you update yourself with any piece of news from CNN, it will be quite opposite to what is being broadcasted on RT News. CNN is an American News Station, while RT News is a Russian one. You can clearly see how stories are twisted to align with their propagandas. Sometimes, it’s hard to know who’s right and who’s wrong. Therefore, I personally believe that what you hear or watch on TV may be far from reality.

  • What is the difference between broadcasting news in the past and in the present?

Frankly speaking, I don’t have much of the information about how news was broadcasted in the past because I’ve never analyzed this matter. But, based on my assumption, I can say that news that is broadcasted today carries a lot of sensation. I mean sometimes news reporters prosecute some accused virtually before the verdict on that case comes out of the adjudicating body (court). This is worrisome and frightening. I can say that this is a digital prosecution or digital character assassination. I assume that News TV media in the past just described what happened in a plain language and didn’t have their opinions sprinkled on the story. Everyone today has become a self-proclaimed judge or saint on any matter. Specialists in different fields have become irrelevant in this deadening culture of news broadcasting.  Journalism is dying!

  • Do you believe everything said in the news?

No, I won’t believe anything blindly. To me, it’s very simple: ‘Trust but verify’. If you don’t have such an investigative attitude, you fall into a trap of fake news. What happens these days is people form their perception on the basis of fake news that they get from ‘WhatsApp University’ or ‘Twitter University’. That’s a dangerous precedent (=criterion) we’re setting in our society.

  • What kind of news is popular in India?

Indians love to track any news on their beloved celebrities, sportspersons, or any national issues and movie updates. Apart from these regular mentions, any news pertaining to national security, people take a tremendous interest in it. For example, China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) intruded our borders, which ensued bloody spat between soldiers from both the ends, resulting in many casualties and injuries. After this incident, people were interested in each and every update of it because when it comes to nationalism, we Indians always show solidarity for our army.

Out of all these updates, celebrities top the index in terms of popularity. Indians love watching movies and idolize their role models. So, this section always gets the maximum attention in the media.

  • Are the stories about celebrities in the news always true? Is the news on celebrities mostly positive?

Well, I can’t say that it’s always true but in most cases, they do so. Before any news hits the media, social media websites get active and people get updates, but social media is also a nuisance. In some cases, they are filled with rumors, and those rumors keep doing rounds in our society until the official piece of news or clarification is announced on TV.

I don’t agree that news on celebrities inspires people generally. They are meant for killing time. However, people love to learn more about what’s happening in their life. A very few celebrities leave a solid message on the minds of people, and they are worth knowing. For example, I would be more interested in the piece of news wherein the celebrity has bounced back from the dark time. Like what happened to Yuvraj Singh, one of the legendary Indian cricketers. He was struggling with life and death because of cancer. He fought back and came alive and was also picked up in our regular cricket team which played internationally. Such a piece of news has substance.

  • How do you think the celebs in the news can influence adolescents?

I believe that they have a big role in influencing and encouraging our youth. It’s not a choice for them but also an obligation. They’ve become stars because these youth have loved and supported them by watching their movies and idolizing them as their role models. Young children and other diehard fans love to emulate every action and style of them, whether it’s a good or bad habit.

Large corporations rope in celebrities to sell and market their products. Children and the youth when they see their role models doing or endorsing any product, the sales of the same skyrocket in the blink of the eye. Therefore, there’s a great influence of celebs on the youth as far as India is concerned where more than 50% of the population is young.

  • Are news reports on the TV in India divided into domestic and international ones?

Some TV stations do but not all. Most TV stations focus on the domestic news, and there are also regional TV stations, which specifically feature local news of the city or town.

Advisory for International Students wishing to Study in Canada

Dear Student,

Many students from India are confused about whether or not to apply for a study permit to Canada for the Fall 2020 intake (September) and Winter 2021 intake (January). Students choose courses from various lengths, such as a 1-year course, a 2-year course, or a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree. Those who choose any course which has a length of a two-year or above are relatively safe and may not need to worry with regard to their Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) rights. Before I put forward my point of view, let’s study the official announcement made by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC):

“Online courses won’t affect your PGWPP eligibility: If your in-class courses are being moved to an online-only format because of COVID-19, you’re still eligible for the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (PGWPP).

If you have a study permit, or been approved for a study permit for a program starting in the spring, summer or fall, but you can’t travel to Canada at this time due to travel restrictions, you’re also still eligible for the PGWPP.

If you’re in this situation, you may

  • Begin your classes while outside Canada, and
  • Complete up to 50% of your program while outside Canada, if you can’t travel to Canada sooner.

If you start your studies in fall 2020, you won’t have time deducted from the length of your post-graduation work permit for studies you complete while outside Canada between fall 2020 and December 31, 2020.” Source: IRCC, Government of Canada

At the onset, it is positive news for students wishing to study, and it clearly shows a positive intent of the Government of Canada (GoC) to accommodate international students during this medical crisis. However, if we look at this announcement closely, all students may not benefit from this announcement. My personal opinion is drawn on the assumption theory since we have no idea what will unfold in the near future due to the coronavirus pandemic.

What concerns me is the choice made by students for the one-year course commencing from Fall 2020 (September). The government directive clearly states that those who complete up to 50% of their degree online while outside Canada will be eligible for PGWP. Point taken!

Let’s see a hypothetical case now: Sandeep Patel applies for a one-year course starting Fall 2020 intake and gets the study permit, but his college has decided to run the course online only for the first semester, i.e., September 2020 until January 2021. He enrolls for the class and completes it successfully, too. In all likelihood, the GoC and the college allow him to attend the physical classroom in January 2021. Sandeep Patel is safe then because he meets the government directive. But what happens when the GoC and the college do not allow him to do so, presumably the coronavirus spread is out of control? He will have to complete his second cum last semester online and may become disqualified for the PGWP.

In the scenario mentioned above, nobody is at fault (GoC, College, Agent, Student), but the student may suffer because he will complete his course online without visiting his school ever. So, what is the option for him?

Here is my perspective:

  1. He applies for a Winter intake (January 2021) if he has chosen a one-year course. There are chances things might settle easily then (again an assumption)
  2. He changes his course from a one-year length to a two-year length course if he wishes to start his studies in Fall intake (September 2020) because it will offer him an extra window of time, i.e., two years of study and then to apply for a PGWP.

I hope that this clarification will clear all your doubts. If not, talk to me.

Sincerely yours,

Vinod Gambtoo

Disclaimer: This explanation is useful only for those students who are applying for a one-year course commencing from September 2020. Others don’t need to worry. Furthermore, it’s a point of view and may not be construed as an official guideline as it rests on several unknown factors. The opinion letter is made with a view to helping to understand the possible combinations of situations for all stakeholders in the industry.

Vinod Gambtoo’s IELTS Speaking Conjecture, Part 2

  1. Describe a time when you were cheated/when someone lied to you/someone did not tell you the complete truth
  • What the occasion/situation was
  • When this happened
  • Who the person was
  • What he hid about
  • Why you think the person did not tell you the whole truth

      Or they could ask to talk about a time when you lied to someone

  • About cheating or lying, I guess everyone faces this immorality (=dishonesty) on many occasions
  • It’s sad that it’s a part of our life, but we cannot help it
  • I would like to recount (=tell, narrate) one of the incidents that I’d gone through recently
  • I wanted to buy a belt, so I visited one of the premium shops in town
  • The sales officer, named Jenny, attended my purchase order
  • She showed me many belts from the display and went on pitching striking points/qualities of each belt. I settled with one of my choices and placed the order
  • I am an animal lover, and therefore, I abstain from using genuine leather products. I don’t want to be a part of animal killing or brutality
  • I shared this resolution with her and asked her to show me only those belts which were made of the artificial material that looked like genuine leather
  • She very well understood my point, but she went on withholding (=conceal, hide) information with respect to the belt material and presented false information
  • She confirmed proudly that the belt was made of artificial material only
  • Two days later, my father happened to see that belt, and he liked it. He wanted to try it on, and while doing so, he told me that it was made of genuine leather. He knows how much I love animals. He was surprised at my decision to buy the belt made of genuine leather
  • Jenny sold the product with lies and deception (=betrayal, disinformation). Therefore, I returned it after three days
  • It’s undesirable and unacceptable. I was upset with her lies and felt cheated
  • I don’t know why she had to lie to customers. Maybe she would get incentive on each order, and because of making extra bucks, she might have done it. But whatever it is, she shouldn’t have done this, especially when someone like me who is an animal lover would be much annoyed at such deception

Follow-up questions:

  • Do you think telling white lies is acceptable sometimes?

Surely (=admittedly), it must not be ever. I believe there must be a severe penalty for lying. Anybody who lies on any matter cannot be trusted ever. Whether it is once or frequently, I think we should take a serious note of all forms of lying. Unfortunately, in some cultures or countries, lying is not seen as a big (=significant) offense as other crimes, and people take it casually. I am afraid of this behavior and treatment for people who lie and deceive. This could lead to colossal (=enormous, huge) fraud or crimes at some stage. Therefore, I would say that we should nip the evil in the bud (=kill the evil at the start).

  • Do you think honesty is the only important (=outstanding) quality that should be in person?

It’s not the only quality that people should possess, but it’s, undoubtedly, essential to the core. Just imagine if a person is dishonest, he may set a false narrative in the relationship. In some cases, people are devious and take advantage of innocent people by peddling lies and dishonesty. They may rob of peace of someone with their harmful agenda. Hence, I give a lot of significance to honesty, but there are other qualities, too, which cannot be ignored at all.

  • Do you think children should be taught honesty at a young age?

It goes without saying. The foundation plays a vital role in good qualities, such as honesty, etiquette, discipline, compassion, and others. Once the child grows and becomes a teenager, it’s hard for parents and schools to mold him for these basic (=necessary) qualities. Because he becomes adamant and stubborn on a certain (=particular, specific) issue or might have built the foundation of non-cooperation. Initially, children may get mad at us for being the enforcer of consequences. But if we don’t do that now, they will be a huge (=massive) liability for everyone.

  • Do you think that being completely honest at all times can be not good?

It’s true that sometimes your steadfast honesty turns on to you. Regardless of its consequences, we must not bend our ethics. However, we must make one exception on this topic. We’ve seen many intellectuals are dishonest, and they engage themselves with depravity (=wickedness, degradation). You cannot defeat them straight, so you have to change your rules to beat them. For example, in Mahabharat, Duryodhana fought the war with Pandavas and justified it, but his justification was wrong in spirit.

  • Why do people lie sometimes?

Well, I’ve no idea why they do so. Maybe they get benefitted from a pack of lies, or perhaps they get the sadistic (=ruthless, brutal) pleasure of putting someone down. I guess there’s a remote possibility that some people are born for lying and manipulating. That comes from their lineage (=clan, origin, pedigree), or they learn from their parents.

  • How would you define white lies?

It is straight. Some people refuse to accept reality, no matter what happens. If you tell them that the earth is round, they will fight you with lies and make you feel that the earth is flat. Such manipulators or better I call them as intellectually dishonest people present ingeniously (=skillfully, aptly, deftly) pack of lies.

  • Some people say liars are those who have a good memory; what do you think?

I’m not sure about this thing. But I know of one thing sure that liars have to memorize a lot because they need to present the same lie over and over again.

  • What are the other ways to teach children about honesty, except having parents or teachers teach them?

I believe the school foundation plays a vital role in establishing certain habits and hacks (=strategy, technique) of life. Children should be rewarded for every small act of their honesty. At least once in a week, there must be a class that gives importance to ethics, morality, discipline, and other essential qualities in our life. Inspiring stories that centralize honesty as a virtue should be included in the school curriculum.

2. Describe your idea of a perfect home or dream house

  • Where this place would be (is)
  • What it would look like/what it looks like
  • When you would like to live there/when you want to live there
  • Explain why it is ideal for you
  • Currently, I live in a three-bedroom apartment in the city
  • It’s the location which offers comfortable access to all places of the city and well connected with public transportation
  • If I were to have my dream house, it would be a penthouse surrounded by trees and located in the suburbs for some reason
  • I think the house beautifully decorated from flooring to a state-of-the-art kitchen boasting a 14-feet ceiling makes sense
  • I would love to have an airy living room leading to the spacious terrace with the white oak flooring. Such a decorating setup makes the home lively and refreshing
  • Along with these, I would love to see French windows all around my home because it allows more natural light, and they look elegant
  • My home must include integrated lighting, irrigation, and audio. The open terrace will be like a garden with a private space created by using green climbers where you can sit and enjoy some private moments
  • Flowering plants of all size to give color and simple wooden benches with artistic chairs for sitting will be the part of my living
  • I guess to build my dream house is very expensive, and I don’t think that it will be done sooner; might take another ten years to accumulate that much of fund, so I guess it will be when I’m in my thirties (or you can say after ten years or so).
  • Such a house will give everything that I want
  • First of all, I’m a nature guy who loves trees, serenity, chirping of birds, and fresh air. When I’m home, the rich (=luxurious) wooden furniture will always give me a sense of living in a beautifully-designed home. And, when I go out to my terrace, flowering plants and green climbers will give (=provide me with) me a glimpse of the garden, and I can watch a bright blue sky with birds flying
  • This whole package makes my home perfect; in fact, more than perfect
  • I have been dreaming of such a place to live whenever I get an opportunity for long. Unfortunately, I can’t do that right now because, for this dream house, I need to make a lot of money, and I guess it will take some years to fulfill my dream
  • I see home is more than four walls because you live there, enjoy every moment of life, and there are emotions attached to it. There’s no place like your home in the world; no matter how busy you are or how far you travel for various activities, but the real pleasure we get only when we return to our home

Follow-up questions:

  • Do most Indians live in an apartment or a house?

My country is blasting with the population, and you see people everywhere. Unlike other countries, land per person is not enough because of a high density. And, that’s the reason prices of the land always go north every year. Most Indians don’t have the luxury of owning a house but live in an apartment.

  • Do young people in your country like to live with their parents or by themselves?

Well, the answer is Yes and No both. It all depends upon the disposition (=frame of mind, personality) of the person. Some young people believe in living in a joint family, whereas others see it as an infringement (=invasion, violation) in privacy. On the whole, our society is structured culturally in a manner wherein people enjoy living with parents, and they don’t like to separate them.

  • Do Indians like to rent a place to live?

Again, it rests on personal choice. But broadly, I believe that Indians love to own the place as they believe that taking a home loan and pay an EMI because you become a property owner (=landlord) after some years. But this logic doesn’t apply to those people who have a transferable job. I’ve personally met those people in my life, and they get really disappointed at losing on to an opportunity to buy a house or make a decision.

  • Would you live abroad in the future?

Maybe Yes, and that’s why I am taking this English test. I’m planning to study abroad for a few years, and then I may settle there as long as all the immigration rules go in my favor.

  • How is modern home design in your country different from that of the past?

There has been a lot of transition and transformation in home designing in my country over the years. I guess in the past, I mean I’m talking about some 50 years ago before my birth, people in India loved home design inspired by the living of our kings and rich history. But with time and an increasing population, people moved to small apartments as the land cost became expensive. Therefore, they couldn’t fit those heritage designs in modern apartments. These days, we’ve a neat and clean design, mainly in a straight-line pattern. The modern home design looks slick and attractive and doesn’t waste any space. For example, homes are getting smaller these days, so every inch in your home counts. I personally believe that both sorts of home designs look amazing, depending upon the size of your property. But I must admit that the modern design involves lesser efforts to design and leaves more space for use.

  • In your country, what types of homes do most people live?

India is a vast country with 1.35 billion people. We’ve people from all classes, rich and poor, settled both in rural and urban areas. Plus, the weather remains different depending upon the place from North to South and East to West. For example, if you go to hilly areas of Kashmir or Himachal Pradesh, you will see homes having the shape of hut and made of pure wood because they control the chilly weather during winter. But if we see homes in other regions, they’re made of cement and bricks. Rural India, at times, is opposite to big cities. You’ll see some homes right in the middle of the farm or nearby. Depending upon the spending budget, city, and region, people live in apartments, palaces, bungalows, penthouse, affordable flats, rowhouses, and also slum areas.

  • Do people prefer to live in modern homes or older-styled homes?

I reckon people love to live in modern homes owing to modern facilities that are available in modern homes. Older-styled homes look grandeur (=magnificence, opulence, majesty, greatness) and an epitome (=exemplar, embodiment, type) of royalty, but our lives have changed dramatically over the centuries, and we need homes that offer the best functionality. I guess modern homes address all the solutions to comfort our day-to-day life. Additionally, maintenance time and cost play a significant role in choosing the home. And those go in favor of modern houses.

  • How are modern homes different from older homes?

As I said to you, there is a massive difference in both styles. Older homes offer decent heights, natural light, and grandeur furniture to make you feel like a Maharaja. But modern homes have all the answers to our day-to-day life. People may not have time and money to maintain homes, and what they want is functional features such as spick and span (= neat, clean, and well looked after) premises, well-lit area, use of every corner of the home in this expensive world, the right type of electrification that supports several gadgets and white appliances (=goods) and others.

3. Talk about someone who encourages you to achieve goals or someone who encouraged you to achieve a goal

  • Who the person is
  • How he/she is related to you
  • How he/she encourages you
  • What this person encourage you to do
  • Something about that person which you like the most
  • Why this encouragement helped you to achieve this goal
  • It’s a golden question
  • In many battles of life, either we win or fail. But when we fail, we more often get emotionally negative for various reasons. And it’s hard to get unstuck on many occasions
  • Such events impact adversely on you, and at times, you do something unimaginable and hard on you further
  • So, the bottom line is we need to remain focused on our goal. However, it’s easier said than done. Therefore, you need someone who could lift your spirit and turn your negative thoughts into positive actions
  • In my life, I look up to my mommy as the best person who always takes me out of the swamp (=marshland, mud) when needed
  • If I’m out of sorts, or feeling overwhelmed with emotions owing to desperations of being left out to reach my goal, my mommy comes to rescue me to bring back normalcy
  • She always tells me, “Your chimp is the reason that puts you down, so control it.” You know we have a chimp inside us, not the real one, but the one who keeps talking to you always and steer your life.
  • She tells me that it’s me who has to guide my chimp to become either a monster or a victor. And, yes, she is right in that. Ever since I’ve tried to control my chimp (myself) from inside, things changed dramatically, and it turns a negative perspective to a positive one
  • The best thing I like about her is the way she tackles my frustration and guides me to get rid of it rapidly. She’s untiringly calm when it comes to addressing my issues. She is as cool as a cucumber, whereas I’m, at times, impatient. Therefore, this chemistry works wondrously in my case
  • Her wisdom helps me steer out of danger and brings me back to the point. In this extraordinarily competitive world, we want to be a winner professionally. Plus, as I said to you about the Chimp who thinks 100 times faster than you – whether it’s positive or negative. Hence, there’s a big deal of maintaining calm. For example, when you’re close to your target, you become overboard (=crazed, enthusiastic, zealous), and there we’ve got to control. At the same time, when things don’t go as you think, it takes you down, so we’ve to see that we’re not mired into a swamp

Follow-up questions:

  1. Why is it important for teenagers to set their goals?

If children aren’t (ain’t) inspired to make their careers at the right age, they probably are not able to become responsible citizens ever in life. They become a burden on parents and the state also. For example, I see many people who are in their twenties or thirties in my country, but they are not at all worried about their life and life of people around them. It pains many, and they not only ruin their lives but also of others. Therefore, it is ‘US’, I mean parents, society, teachers, and the surrounding, who have to ensure them of the right guidance and check (=stop) them from indulging into any sort of nuisance at large.

  • What will encourage children to learn more?

Well, there could be many things that encourage children to learn more. I guess the first thing is their own natural motivation. I mean, some people are born to learn new things, and they need no push at all. In some cases, parental guidance and stature of parents constantly influence them to push their limits. Some children grow hearing chitchat between parents about ambitions, challenges, innovative ideas, and other things that inspire them further. Lastly, I believe successful stories of winners motivate children. Humankind has an inclination to share and tell stories of those people who have made a difference in our life. Some children start idolizing those people and try to be them or better than them as well. This is how we’ve a positive environment, which works well for children.

  • Do parents and teachers punish children these days?

Yes, I think so, but maybe not in a harsh way the way it used to be in the past. In the past, children were controlled harshly in some cases, but gone those days now. It’s the need to discipline children before they go astray. Because when we’re very young, we’re restless and think as if we own the world. But the reality is quite the opposite of this fact. Therefore, teachers and parents need to check on them time after time for their good. The absence of supervision from these both parties could be detrimental to their careers.

  • Who do you think has a greater influence on the goal-setting of children? Teachers or parents?

I think both play a critical role in inspiring children to do something extraordinary. We cannot place the sole responsibility on parents or on teachers. If we do the math, children broadly spend their one-third of time at school and the same amount of time at home and the rest in sleep. So, what they learn at school must be supplemented and supported by parents equally, or the whole exercise gets defeated.

4. Describe a time when you first met someone

  • Who the person was
  • Where you met
  • When it was
  • How was your experience?
  • We meet several people in our life on many occasions
  • Some of them stay with us forever, and others just disappear with time
  • Those who leave a long-lasting positive impression on our minds either become friends or someone to deserve a special honor for their benevolent (=benign, caring, generous) acts
  • I’m the guy who generally doesn’t make friends quickly as I’m introverted by disposition (=tendency, personality)
  • But I do get gravitated to those people with who(m) my ideology gets aligned
  • I recount (=tell, narrate) one of the incidents which gave me a good friend, and I’m thankful to God for rendering (=give) such an opportunity
  • A few years back, I remember passing by Queen’s Street on Prince Edward Island and happened to see an injured cat paining and meowing
  • She hurt her leg and was in excruciating pain. The moment I saw her sorry plight, it tugged at my heartstrings (=to cause strong feelings of love or sympathy), and I rushed to rescue her
  • I had my limitation as I was not a vet (=veterinarian), so I wanted to help her get rid of pain and nurse her wound but helpless
  • Luckily, a girl named Georgina was passing by, and she saw us and immediately pulled over her car to check on us
  • She is as much animal lover as I am. Fortunately, she is a vet. Plus, she enjoys helping stray animals and dedicates her some time to go around the city and reach out to such patients
  • She and I took the injured cat to her dispensary, where this cat was carefully attended. She took me to a tour of a shelter house on her property that she had built for this cause. I was taken aback (=surprise) to see her efforts, dedication, and sympathy. She is a good Samaritan (=someone who gives help to people and others who need it)
  • From that incident, we became good friends because there was one thing in common in both of us was the animal love
  • We shared various stories of how we tried to assist stray animals in our ways and found a good reason to be friends forever
  • So, this injured cat who we named ‘Gucci’ connected us to become good friends, and both of us are thankful to ‘Gucci’. Gucci is doing good now and delivered three kittens in the following year before she was spayed (=remove the ovaries of a female animal)

 Follow-up questions:

  1. Do you think it is strange to make friends online?

Well, I believe it’s not advisable as we’ve no idea about the stranger’s background. Another thing is why to make friends online? We may have 1000 friends on Facebook, but with how many we hang out? That doesn’t make any sense. Traditionally, we make friends by going out and about. We travel, walk the dog, volunteer some specific causes, frequent cafes, or clubs, or attend evening classes. These have been ways to discover new people over the decades. Maybe, people in thirties or forties yet prefer these ways to make friends. Things may change with the youngster. They have entirely (=quite) new ways to come across others. These days, we’ve seen many mobile apps where you discover new friends, or sometimes you sit behind a computer and start blogging on the ‘WordPress’ platform, which enables you to find friends across the world easily. Online gaming is another tool wherein youth happens to meet new friends as well. But, overall, I believe meeting new people in person and knowing them rather than being all over virtually and never happen to see each other. Strangers, at times, put you in trouble as well, and we’ve heard many such negative stories, too.  

  • Why do some people have few friends?

Having many friends or not all depends upon our personality type. Some people are extroverted and vocal, whereas others are introverted, or they love being with few friends only. I guess some people want limited numbers of friends and believe in maintaining a healthy relationship throughout their life. There is no point in having hundreds of friends, because sometimes when you need them, they are nowhere in sight.

  • What is more important – a new friendship or an old one?

I reckon both types of friendships are equally important in our life. Yes, there is some difference, especially when you are connected to someone over the years. There’s a kind of exceptional bonding because relationship matures with time. Having said that, it also works against it as, in some cases, we carry forward a little animosity (=opposition, strong dislike, anger) if any that occurred years back to our present life as well. A new friendship is all about unlocking a new experience. For example, we get married, and our partner could also become a new friend, and s/he must be needed more than anyone else in the world. Additionally, our dynamics change, like moving from one school to another, one job to another, and one place to another. These all-new settings also impact our relationship. Distance and availability, to some extent, sweeten our relationship with friends.

  • How do companies welcome their employees?

Large corporations send an electronic greeting to new recruits and sometimes with the greeting card and welcoming ceremony within the department. I’ve no idea about small corporations because it’s managed by the boss or manager wholly. Therefore, it all depends on the disposition (=personality, tendency) of them. Some bosses are extraordinarily congenial (=harmonious, friendly), and they treat each employee as a family member, whereas other bosses distance themselves from day one, citing specific reasons for it.

5. Talk about a newly built public facility (such as parks, cinemas, etc.) that improves/influences local life quality in your city

  • Which the facility is
  • Where it is
  • How it improves life quality
  • How you feel about it
  • I would like to talk about a park which was built, I guess, one year ago in the vicinity near my home
  • The municipality has named it ‘Maharaja Ranjitsingh Park’
  • I guess it is in the remembrance of Maharaja Ranjitsingh who was one of the bravest kings that my country had produced centuries back
  • It’s located around one kilometer from my home, so I think it is well placed for me because whenever I desire to visit this park, I can walk to it, which offers me some warm-up before I arrive at the garden
  • Recreational clubs, playgrounds, and parks are essential parts of our life to refresh, especially in my country, which has a population of over 1.35 billion people. It’s the most densely country on this earth when we see the land area per head (person)
  • Parks offer us ‘me time’, and you could rewind yourself by sitting in a serene (=cool, comfortable) environment, on the lush green grass surrounded by various types of beautiful trees. On top of it, chirping of birds animate your inner feelings, and you have nothing but to fall in love with nature
  • I’ve seen people from all walks visit and enjoy life in this park. This park is something special compared to others as it houses a lake in the center. Sometimes, you happen to see flamingoes and tortoises (NB=check pronunciation) and small fishes, too
  • Personally, I like this park enormously for many reasons. It’s a huge garden and has everything for all aged people. I like its walking track the most because it is covered by tall trees on both ends. So, when you walk, it makes you feel that you are being welcomed by nature and protects you from the sunlight. Therefore, I’m able to conserve some more energy and stamina, which invariably helps me stretch my jogging rounds
  • Plus, as I said that there is a lake in the center. I believe that’s a well-thought plan by the urban designer. My city has no seashore, so, at times, we miss an opportunity to experience water frolic and a glimpse of it. This suffices

Follow-up questions:

  1. What measures should be taken to deal with damage to public facilities?

Public property damage is a nuisance everywhere in the world. People act recklessly and don’t feel ownership of anything until they pay from their wallets. Hence, whatever public properties are around us are taken for granted. Two things we can think of implementing to stop this menace (=nuisance). One, we need to educate people at the elementary level about civic sense and morality. Children grasp and apply whatever they learn at the school rapidly. Once they are grown up, it’s hard to discipline them because there are chances that they become rebellious. These children, when grow, become responsible citizens and value for everything – be it personal or public property. Second, all public places must be put under surveillance. Through CCTV cameras, we can catch anarchists and damagers.

  • What is the difference between the old facilities and new facilities?

It’s a slightly difficult question to answer. Anyway (X= not anyways), old facilities were built according to time and need, and today things and tastes of people have changed dramatically. So, maybe they are not much wanted. Additionally, most of them are worn out and lack of finesse and attractions. On the contrary, new facilities address all those issues. They are with time and taste both. What was something popular may not be the same in the current scenario. For example, when I go to my club to play tennis these days, the club administration has placed a device that dispenses sanitizer for members. This was not in need previously, but, after the coronavirus pandemic, such small facilities address the needs of today.

  • What facilities do young people and old people like in your country?

Well, I can’t typecast (=establish, estimate) the choice of the young and old people since it rests on personal inclination. But, broadly, I would say that old people love socializing people of their time, and they more often prefer parks, temples, and also recreational clubs where they sit and enjoy times. About the youth, they always love recreational clubs, playgrounds, or eateries, where they could hang out with friends.

  • What is the difference between facilities in the countryside and the ones in the cities?

I think the overall setup remains unchanged, whether it’s a rural or urban area in developed countries. But that may not be true in a country like mine because there is a massive difference between what’s offered in cities and the countryside. What I said just now would be available in cities, but in the countryside, you may not see such facilities. Having said that, it doesn’t mean that people in the countryside don’t enjoy their life. They have natural scenic places and lakes where they hang out with friends. They’ve plenty of land on which they build a deck and play actual drama to entertain people.