Vinod Gambtoo’s IELTS Speaking Conjecture, Part 11

  1. Describe an ambition you have had for a long time.
  • What the goal is
  • What you will do to achieve it
  • When you will achieve it
  • Why you want to achieve it
  • Goal-setting is one of the most challenging jobs, especially when we need to set an achievable goal in the long run. During the processing of reaching the goal, one may face multiple challenges, gratifications, reaffirmations while you’re down with some results, and so on
  • When you hear my ambition, you may laugh at it because a few of my friends have already discouraged me by saying, “Buddy, it’s too lofty a task to achieve.” Anyway, I don’t care what they say, or the world thinks about my plans
  • I want to establish an apparel factory and want to take on giants, such as Ralph Lauren, Zara, Gap, Armani, Nautica, and Abercrombie & Fitch
  • I am good at two things inherently: designing cars and choosing the right clothes. I chose the latter option because this business can be kick-started with low investment, and there’s an ecosystem that supports this business proposition better at this stage
  • After completion of my undergrad degree, I will start this business with my family members step by step. We will first manufacture only shirts so that we may not need to invest a lot in the beginning, and as we go, we will keep adding other categories, such as pants, T-shirts, shorts, and so on
  • I guess this entire project will take around one year or so because I’ll be completing my studies in the next two months, and then I’ll research the latest trends, market conditions, marketing strategies, manufacturing processes, and all other essential elements involving manufacturing
  • This is my dream project, and I’m sure I’ll do it successfully. I got motivated for this business line because it is scalable, and I can sell my products in every part of the world
  • When I see the leading brands that I just now mentioned, their prices are exorbitant (=enormous, pricey, outrageous),and with these prices, people buy their stuff and patronize proudly. Hence, I thought I could offer such things at a massive discount without compromising the quality and style. Plus, it’s always an honor to have your own brand buildup and sold globally
  • What kinds of ambitions do people usually have?

Well, it varies from person to person. Some people are highly ambitious, whereas others may satisfy with whatever they achieve. If I talk about Indians, most people have a dream of becoming ultra-rich by doing any job or business.  But if I narrow down my response to your questions, most Indians like to become businessmen, doctors, engineers, army personnel, bankers, and educators. This is the usual theme of professions. There could be many others who want to push themselves and want to become scientists, astronauts, leaders, and sportspersons, among others.

  • Who has a greater influence on the goal-setting of children, parents, or teachers?

I see both have a constructive role in motivating children in their career-making. Some children are born to have both parties to support their dreams, and others may not have the same privilege. It’ll be unwise to belittle (=deride, decry, criticize) anybody’s role in children’s goal-setting.

  • Should parents set goals for their children?

I don’t think that they should set goals for children, but certainly, they can inspire them to be someone by offering latitude (=freedom) and environment so that children can touch the height of success. The biggest concern I see is when parents impose their own dreams on children. That’s an unreasonable expectation. Some children defy their plans and happen to become what they’re. That said, the parents’ role in inspiring them is crucial, and we cannot ignore it.

  • Should parents interfere with their children’s ambitions?

When they feel that their ambitions go nowhere, they should intervene and explain future repercussions (=fallout, impact, effect, backlash). For example, your child could be excellent at drawing and may want to become an artist. He may have everything to qualify for a proficient artist, but the question lies here is, will he secure his livelihood after a few years? The answer may be ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ Therefore, parents must explain to them to secure their livelihood first, and then he can do whatever he wants to do. And if he succeeds in his passion, he can later switch to it. This ‘Three Idiots’ movie in India has confused both children and parents. It’s an absurd (=nonsense) movie, to me.

  • Should parents stop their children when they have unrealistic ambitions?

Well, first of all, I will ask who will decide whether ambition is realistic or not. There’s always a generation gap, and it will remain so in the years to come. For example, one of the most precious assets during the 70s was crude oil for tycoons, which now has been replaced by data collection. So, there will undoubtedly be a gap in understanding for parents, too. However, reasonable and competent parents surely intervene when they find their children choose too big a dream to realize. Such intervention will decide to bring the kid back to the track or stay the course.

  • When do young children start setting goals for themselves?

If any kid wants to become a specific sportsperson, he and his parents must swing into action when he is as young as 6 to 7 years old. Occupations other than involving physical fitness offer some time, and you can decide when they are in Year 10. However, I feel, up to the early twenties, children need some inspiration, support, environment, time, money, constant guidance, and other resources.

  • What kinds of goals are not realistic?

I think all goals are realistic as long as children display determination, perseverance, efforts, resilience (=flexibility, pliancy), and other essential skills. No goal is unachievable in life, but dreaming something out of imagination is a scary thing. For example, we cannot fly like a bird, but we invented commercial aircraft and jet fighters. So, somewhere we’ve to find common ground and tweak (=change, adjust) our plans.

  • Why do people set goals?

Man is born to push limits. Some people are inherently talented, and others choose to skill themselves as they go along.

  • Why is it important for teenagers to set goals?

If they don’t do so, they will be doomed (=make somebody/something certain to fail, suffer, die, etc.) in their lives. Parents will support them for a while, but they haven’t signed a lifetime agreement for their children. Their reckless decision could put them in trouble and also members of the family.

  • Why should parents encourage children to have ambitions?

Responsible parents consider this job pious and duty while raising kids. If they don’t do it now, their children will be a burden on them and society, and the country. For their good, they sacrifice everything that they have at their disposal.

2. Describe an interesting tradition in your country.

  • What the tradition is
  • When you celebrate it
  • How you celebrate it
  • Why it is interesting
  • I want to talk about the act of giving and helping the needy on one of the most important and celebrated festivals of India. It is Diwali. The meaning of Diwali is derived from the Sanskrit ‘Dipawali,’ which means “row of lights.” And, it’s also known as a festival of lights
  • I remember my grandfather would pack up the bags of groceries and clothes to distribute among the poor. He would tell me, “My father and his father did the same thing on this auspicious festival of Diwali”
  • Hence, it’s a ritual in my family, but it’s not confined to my family only. Most Indians believe in donating anything of their choice on this day across the country
  • Usually, this festival comes either in October or November of every year. This festival symbolizes the tradition of prayers, fireworks, family gatherings, feasts, and charitable giving
  • The five-day festival is widely observed among more than 1 billion Indians from different faiths in India and its diaspora
  • This festival is celebrated differently in parts of India. But, generally, on the first day of Diwali, people clean and decorate their homes, bake sweets, and pray to goddess Lakshmi. They also decorate their homes with lamps and rangolis. You will see unique designs made of colored sand, powder, rice, or flower petals on the floors. After these rituals, people wish each other, and some of them come outside of their homes and set off the firecrackers and have fun
  • This festival is interesting from a belief standpoint. Every region has a good story for this festival, but, in the end, it signifies the victory of good over evil
  • In Northern India, it commemorates (=celebrate, memorialize) Prince Ram’s triumphant return to Ayodhya after the exile of 14 years. In Southern India, it honors the victory of Lord Krishna over the demon king of Narakasura. Sikhs, Jains, and Buddhists have their own beliefs. For Sikhs, Diwali commemorates the release of Guru Hargobind Singhji after 12 years of imprisonment by Mughal invader, Jahangir. For Jains, Lord Mahavir reached Nirvana (=heaven, awakening). And for Buddhists, on this day, Ashoka the great converted to Buddhism after the war of Kalinga in the 6th century
  • But the crux (= the most important part) of the matter is this symbolic day has a meaning of joy, victory, prosperity, giving, and blessings for all
  • Is it important to celebrate traditional festivals?

Yes, without any equivocations (=doubt, qualm)! Traditional festivals are the embodiment of our roots. Their significance will never go away because, generations after generations, people observe these festivals. Parents tell the stories of significance to their children, so they proudly celebrate them when they grow up. Humankind feels connected with their ancestors, no matter what they did – right or wrong – and own their traditions and rituals with pride. For example, while celebrating Diwali, I could imagine what joy the people of Ayodhya had when they were welcoming Lord Ram, his wife, who was believed to be an incarnation of the goddess Lakshmi, and his brother, Lakshman.

  • Do you think it is important to maintain traditional festivals?

Absolutely, it’s a part of our rich history. Those who don’t respect their roots face an identity crisis. For example, most Pakistanis believed themselves to be Mughals’ lineage, and now they’ve shifted to Turks. That’s insane! They’re the classic example of the victims of an identity crisis. Now, let’s get back to our question once again. Roots connect you with forthcoming generations. And because of this pride and significance, it’s mandatory to celebrate traditional festivals every year, or your generation will have no idea about its background, heroics of their ancestors, roots, lineage, invaders, and enemies.

  • What is the difference between your traditional festivals and western festivals?

I think every festival has its own significance and story of it. It will be madness to compare one festival with the other – be it a traditional or western one. Diwali has significance for Indians. So has for Christians for Christmas! We may celebrate or observe a particular festival differently, depending on its significance, relevance, story, and what religious books preach to us.

  • Do people in your country like to celebrate foreign festivals?

Yes, we do it with full gusto. We Indians celebrate Christmas, Navroz, and Eid. We also love to know their significance and respect their faiths and enjoy like they are our family members. They are US.

  • Do you agree that the real meaning behind traditional festivals has been lost?

I don’t think so. With time, some changes do take place. For example, people didn’t let off firecrackers some centuries back, but now they do. But the meaning hasn’t been lost. The significance of it is yet intact. However, I’m slightly worried when the festival’s true spirit is hijacked by manipulating any religious teaching. That must be stopped to restore the value of festivals.

  • What is the most popular festival in your country?

In India, it’s Diwali. No matter who you are: rich or poor. It’s a new year for everyone. Forget India; it is now celebrated in the Middle East, North America, Europe, and also other parts of the world.

  • Why do more and more young people prefer to celebrate festivals with their friends rather than with their families?

The youth, on most occasions, feel connected well with their friends. They can freely talk and have fun, whereas they may not have the same liberty with family members. It’s a natural process, I would say. I can discuss certain things with my friends and may not feel comfortable with my parents and vice versa.

  • How do people value traditional festivals?

As I mentioned, every festival has some story and significance. According to them, people do their parts.

  • What is the difference between festivals now and in the past?

I don’t see any change at all; maybe the enjoying and observing methods might have changed a little bit, but it’s a natural process.

  • Do you think it is wrong for children not to celebrate traditional festivals?

Yes, it’s really wrong if we fail to make them feel the importance of traditional festivals. A lot of sense and things are attached to every festival in the world. Not encouraging children to celebrate traditional festivals means they’re deprived of acquainting with the past facts. I understand history is bygone, but we must not forget that history is also a precursor for progress. Those who disrespect history are doomed (=make somebody/something certain to fail, suffer, die, etc.) to fail on many occasions.

3. Describe an activity you enjoy doing occasionally or regularly that is a bit expensive.

  • What activity it is
  • When and where you do this
  • Who you do it with
  • Why you enjoy doing it
  • I describe myself as a health freak and cannot think of my life without being actively involved in workouts. I do a lot of cross-training with other aerobic and yoga activities on alternate days and go jogging the other days
  • But out of all types of workouts, I love going jogging or running as it’s my favorite exercise
  • We are a group of five friends to whom you can tag as health nuts. We adjust our schedules in the morning and meet at one point and start together
  • In the beginning, we went jogging on the running track in the garden, and then we started to run on the road. We’ve our fixed routes, and once a while, we also go for rural trips the moment we want to renew our sense of purpose or desire to push ourselves
  • Jogging is fun. Makes sense. It’s a great workout and fun for sure. You always feel energized and active for doing too many things during the day later on
  • Your face gleams, and the body looks toned to a great extent. Plus, bathing in the sweat gives a sense of achievement and improves the mental state of mine. I feel jubilant when I push myself, and for a moment, you feel above the earth when you hit your line/target
  • Apart from these physical and mental benefits, you take out some time from your busy schedule and meet with your friends every day; otherwise, it’s really hard for anyone these days to spare some time with friends. That’s a bonus in this rejuvenating exercise and brings back your childhood time and gives a reason to smile every morning
  •  Why are some sports expensive? Are they for everyone?

I think very few sports are expensive but not all. For example, if you want to become Formula 1 champion, yes, it is skyrocketing expensive for sure, but not all. If I talk about jogging, it’s not expensive, but you’ve gotta change your running shoes at least thrice a year. Plus, it would help if you’ve bought the right pair of running shoes made by companies, such as Asics, Nike, Adidas, or Puma. The right pair of running shoes has life for around 500 miles, and veteran and regular joggers run that much in two-to-three months comfortably. And, if you skimp on (=try to spend less money, time, etc., on something that’s really important) the running shoes at the regular interval, you risk your ankle or develop muscle pain or increase the risk of injury and lead to wasted money, too. And when we talk about the expense of shoes that offer structured cushioning, the pair cost nearly $150. Yes, it may be costly for many people in the world. But that’s what it’s.

  • Why do people buy fakes?

I guess there could be two types of people buying fakes – the one who can’t afford the authentic product but like to have a similar counterfeit. The second happens to be the victim of fraud. Some shopkeepers withstand the crucial information about products and sell them with deceit (=dishonesty, chicanery, deception).

  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of being rich?

I think there’s no disadvantage in being rich in life unless you are puffed up with unwanted pride or you become brutal in the arrogance of your money. But there are many advantages associated with wealth. First of all, your life becomes comfortable, and the intensity of any hardship may lessen if you’ve wealth resources by buying material things. Yes, it’s true that money cannot buy everything or happiness, but it certainly helps you keep smiling on most occasions. Plus, you are in a position to help others. For example, you can feed the poor, animals or donate for the right cause in society.

  • What kinds of expensive things do people like to buy?

There could be innumerable things people like to own, and it all depends upon what kind of person you are. Some people dream of buying expensive cars, magnetic jewelry, branded watches, real estate, and maybe a yacht or private jet also.  The aspiration for things may change from person to person or country to country. For example, I would like to have a grandeur villa with a yacht at sea in California. That’s my dream!

  • Do you think men and women have the same shopping habits?

I disagree with this statement, and in fact, I think otherwise. Men may like to buy expensive cars, and women may love to have expensive jewelry or perfumes or maybe stylish clothes. This is just an example, and it all depends upon the person. But both genders, on most occasions, think differently and want to own different things.

4. Describe a person who you think is helpful.

  • Who this person is
  • How you know this person
  • How this person helps you
  • Why you think this person is helpful
  • “Little rain must fall in every life”, that’s what uncle Tarasingh says when I approach him for any sort of assistance during my stressful times
  • He’s not my blood relative, but a gentleman with who I meet more often at the recreational club in the morning. He must be in his seventies. We sometimes play badminton together, and I sometimes feel jealous when I see his energy and playing skills. I often ask myself, “Will I be such a person as energetic and full of life as him when I enter the seventies?”
  • During Sundays, after our playing, we’ve breakfast and have an opportunity to talk at length. In fact, I put up any latest event of my choice for discussion or debate on purpose (=intentionally) with him just to know his perspective because it helps me understand the situation better and more
  •  He’s amazingly thoughtful, competent, intelligent, and full of wisdom. I guess many people in our group go to him for advice. He may not help you monetarily, but certainly, every piece of advice will be a gem for anyone
  • I remember a dreadful situation in which I was struggling awfully. My job was about to be axed during the coronavirus pandemic. I had assumed that I was on the layoff list. Therefore, I was worried about losing my livelihood for some time. I was down and dejected and also facing the ire of my boss during that trying (=arduous, demanding, irritating) time
  • I talked to him about this challenge over the phone. He advised me to research the financial scenario post any big event, such as this pandemic, war, financial meltdown, or the government going bankrupt. While doing so, I started to gain confidence because I learned what I didn’t know. Every dip in business activities due to any untoward situation gets sorted in some time
  • And then, I prepared a report on the likelihood of business scenarios after this medical crisis. My observations and analysis were applauded, and not only it helped me regain my confidence but also it calmed the nerve of my boss. After a couple of months, things were back on track, and I was out of this mess
  • I shared with him this episode. He said, “I knew everything, but I wanted you to read and research on such a crisis on the economy. He showed me his thesis paper, which dated back to the 80s. He researched this topic then and foresaw the situation. I was awestruck. In the end, he said, “Kid, I could’ve emailed you this report then, but I didn’t want to spoon-feed my research. You gotta develop your coping skills, or you die in business.” This was his last statement on this episode

  •  In what kinds of professions do people help others more?

I guess consulting with coworkers is a normative process in all the industries but in automated manufacturing units. In most corporations, it’s unlikely to have a team of all the brilliants because people come and go, and that process leaves a vacuum and disruption in all the departments. Hence, you will see regular training is organized so that steam and hunger for progress is not lost due to the unskilled workforce. That said, it’s a common practice of seeking advice from coworkers or colleagues in other departments. I think only in the automated manufacturing units, people work like robots because they’ve to perform only one specific job or skill.

  • Who should teach children to help others, parents, or teachers?

To me, both of them are equally responsible for this job. Formal and informal learning at home and school go hand in hand (=if two things go hand in hand, they’re closely connected, and one thing causes the other). In the absence of the right inculcation (=the practice of making somebody learn and remember ideas, moral principles, etc., especially by repeating them often) of teaching, training, values, ethics, manners, or etiquette, children become adamant and grow with unwanted brazen (=shameless, audacious, blatant) attitude, which could culminate (=end up) disasters in the long run.

  • Why are some people willing to help others?

Some people believe in humanity and giving back to society. They enjoy doing that job. Some people change after a specific disaster in their lives, and they understand the pain or concerns of others closely due to their own experience. The ugly incident in someone’s life, at times, acts as a catalyst (=motivation, stimulant, impetus) for change. For example, I felt compassion for all animals after losing my pet, Snowie, some years ago. Today, I feed stray dogs, cattle, and cats. That ugly experience of losing my pet awakened my dormant humanity for other animals.

  • Do you like to help others?

Yes, as long as my time and wallet permit. I mean, I would help someone up to a certain extent but not absolutely. For example, if I’ve to feed any poor or animal, I won’t think once also and do that job. But I may not be the same person for people with resources and freeloaders because I hate them and won’t help them at all.

  • Do you think people are less willing to help others these days compared to the past?

I can’t entirely agree with this statement, and in fact, I think otherwise. As time progressed, people have given the importance of giving. Such a culture was not there decades back. It’s obvious because of the evolution of the human brain. People have become more compassionate these days, and media are doing an excellent job in spreading awareness in society. If we talk about large corporations, you will see a button of ‘CSR’ (corporate social responsibility) on their websites, and they feel proud of helping others.

  • How do people in your community help each other?

In many ways, I say. Whenever any crisis occurs, we see people come forward and help others. Be it a flood, be it a pandemic, be it an earthquake, or anything, we see a tremendous positive movement of people willing to do their best to help their fellow citizens. Some run blood camp campaigns, some donate the poor and animals, and some feed hungry people and whatnot.

  • In your view, should children be taught to help others?

Yes, without any doubt. A child without human values and human decency has nothing to contribute to society in general. Therefore, it’s of great significance that we inculcate the habit of helping others. We need to explain to them that if they don’t do good for others, they will also be at the receiving end sometimes in the future. 

  • How can we encourage children to help others?

The one-word answer is ‘Story.’ We need to tell them positive stories of great people and their doing and giving. Stories move from one generation to another, and that chain must not be broken. It’s a part of our culture. We need to explain to them that giving back to society is a part of their responsibilities when they grow.

5. Describe an intelligent person that you know.

  • Who this person is, how you know this person
  • What this person knows about
  • Why you think this person is intelligent
  • What you learned from him/her
  • If I’ve to choose a person I respect much and rely on her wisdom, it’s definitely my grandma
  • She is educated, humorous, intelligent, and composed, and everyone in our family honors her for these qualities
  • Today, I’m a successful athlete who participates in international competitions. All credit goes to my grandma for my success because she disciplined me and infused a culture of fighting challenges and adversaries (=enemy, competitor, antagonist)
  • I remember having distanced myself from sports participation in school. I was never considered cool and made fun of  because I had never played any sports on any school team
  • Here, my grandma gave me a piece of advice. She said, “Kid, this is the right time for you to challenge your body and brain. People only remember outliers and winners and those who have unique and eccentric qualities. So, give your best and touch the sky”
  • She ensured that I had a healthy diet and sleep schedule while I was young. And those disciplinary actions worked wondrously
  • I consider her intelligent because she helped me reprogram my subconscious mind to reach my potentials. Otherwise, I had never known that I could touch the height of success. Every word of her was remarkable in shaping my athletic career
  • I remember an instance. While sprinting for the line during the practice, I stumbled and happened to sprain my ankle severely once. I could not run for two weeks and felt down and dejected. I had all negative thoughts prevailed on my mind and was terrified about my career
  • She came and rescued me from this despair and pumped up supreme confidence in me to get back to my career. That time was terrible, and she said, “This shall also pass.” And, yes, it did so
  • In fact, I learned several life skills and wisdom from her. But one thing that I like about her is her leadership quality. She knows how to motivate people and has answers to all difficulties. She is always smiling, full of life, and a good listener, too
  • Do you think smart people tend to be selfish?

Hmm, I’m afraid I’ve to disagree with this observation. I guess smart people don’t focus on trivial (=unimportant, small) matters in most cases. Some people have a habit of attention-seeking and want the world to help them during their rough times. Therefore, first of all, their expectations are unreasonable. Smart people know how to deal with people and their psychology, and their entire concentration is used in making their progress. They quickly distance someone when they realize that they need to contribute either time or money to them. I don’t think it’s wrong. Yes, I can say that they are less emotional to others and maybe insensitive to people’s problems. But they cannot be tagged selfish for being straight.

  • Who plays a more important role in a child’s development, teachers or parents?

I guess both have a significant role in molding children’s lives. Children spend two-third of the time at home and one-third of it at school. So, whatever learning and mannerism they learn from school must be supported at home and vice versa. Parents may be emotional for children and may condone (=forgive) their mistakes, whereas teachers believe in discipline and are strict. So, this combination prepares children for their adulthood and eventually for their success.

  • Do you think smart people are happy?

It’s hard to say that. Smartness is one thing, but how to deal with challenges and frustrations may require another set of behavioral disciplines. In fact, I believe it’s otherwise. Smart people may suffer from extreme frustrations because they sometimes overthink about problems. They’ve the better critical thinking, so they assume future difficulties beforehand in certain situations, which may spoil their present times. Hence, my answer is ‘yes’ and ‘no’ both.

  • Do you think the intelligence of a person is important?

In most cases, I would say, ‘yes.’ However, intelligence alone cannot help people overcome challenges. It must be coupled with other qualities, such as smartness, social skills, talents, experience, and so on. A man of great intelligence and broad knowledge may lessen the impact of any wrong decision or event and may help resolve the challenge on hand. Hence, it does help greatly.

  • Why are some children more intelligent than others?

I guess there could be three reasons for some children who are more intelligent than others. First, the right kind of upbringing and environment prepares children to be better than others. For example, the child of a doctor invariably learns about some medical science because his father keeps discussing a lot many things about it at home. So, he grows listening to those informal chats and discussions. Second, some children are born smart and intelligent. I haven’t come across any research shedding light on why this happens so, but I’m sure nobody may have an answer to this God-made universe. Lastly, some children don’t do better when they are young, but they learn through experiences and develop a steep learning curve as they grow.  

  • Are people born clever or need to learn to be clever?

Yes, some are born clever, and others get better with experiences and time. Some children have better receptive skills while learning, whereas others take some time. But in the end, if someone is wholeheartedly prepared to challenge something or learn something, nothing can stop him from reaching the destination.

  • Do you think there is anything that intelligent people find difficult to do?

Yes, there could be many, in fact. Intelligence ain’t define that a person can be a master in any subject or occupation. Intelligence means how well and fast you adopt new learning and execute it. There could be many things where you might see intelligent people will also struggle to decode the maze of intricacies (=complexity, difficulty). For example, Virat Kohli is an absolutely talented batsman, but he may not become a notable scientist at ISRO. I mean, you become proficient in one or two occupations but can’t be everywhere. That’s why it’s called “Jack of all trades, master of none.”

  • What ways do people use to judge someone’s intelligence?

First of all, I think this question is flawed (=erroneous). It’s hard to judge anyone’s intelligence. Even the judges of the Supreme Court fail to judge rightly in many cases. Yes, we can talk about reasonable ways. For example, you may designate someone for an assignment. And you can judge him how good, bad, or ugly he is at it. You will have to examine his job qualitatively. In another instance, I can say that how well someone has resolved any issue under pressure at the workplace. When we see in the car’s rear mirror, everything looks clear because it has passed but how you foresee and look forward to certain things that matter the most.

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