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.

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