English Bites!

Our English teacher, Mr Verma was different though. He destroyed our fragile confidence with pleasure and lowered our self-esteem to levels where we couldn’t even face ourselves in the mirror. Over time and after a lot of effort, we got better. We finally mastered the art of combing our hair without stealing even a glance at the looking glass!


The above is a short excerpt from “English Bites!”, the book just recently got published. It is by an Indian author – Manish Gupta, who has shared his experience while studying English, developing vocabulary. And while reading the book I couldn’t control my meandering thoughts and think of my encounter with the language which probably will go in till my last day on this blue planet!


Either I never had an English teacher like Mr Verma or I was too shameless to take the remarks made by teacher seriously as Mr Manish did. Whatever may be the reason, but I never realized the importance of the language when I was in school. Also, thanks to the fake patriotism lessons, that I received from God knows whom, they imbibed in me the thought that I must speak and care only about my mother tongue (Marathi) and our National language (Hindi)!

It was only when I started preparing for competitive exams, I realized why English is so important and what was the reason my parents thought of admitting me in an English medium school. Till then, I thought of English as a subject that required least studying as the question paper itself had all the answers! At the same time I agree that I thoroughly enjoyed reading English textbooks as it had really good stories.

Although I believe I have read enough English books/novels to add “Reading” as my hobby in my resume, I never read them with a motive to develop my language skills or grab new words. I was only interested in the stories. I began with reading Harry Potter and that was when I was stupefied by the movie ‘Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban‘ and my cousin told me that the book is even better! Since then I am an HP fan!

HP’s first book itself has so many new words to learn but I was too busy in knowing to which house Harry will belong to, how he catches the snitch, who is the one who gives Hagrid the dragon… Had I bothered to know why each house is called what it is, what is the meaning of snitch and why dear Hagrid is named ‘Hagrid’, I would probably have had a more enriched vocabulary then what I had then!

Alas! Things gone are gone long back. I cannot do anything about what is already done. You can only think of things to be done in future.

As I read this book, “English Bites!” I realised that the authors pace of learning new words is quite higher than mine. He managed to learn so many words and so many things about the language in just 4 years of engineering. But on the better side, not all the words he has mentioned are new to me. Some, I know very well, some I have at least once or twice bothered to look in the dictionary, while some I just met but didn’t find interesting enough to remember ๐Ÿ˜› At least I have something to get away with my guilt.

I have tried many ways for improving my vocabulary, first by trying to mug up word lists, then reading books telling etymology of words, different origins, watching Hollywood movies, watching English TV serials and many others. I even began studying French as people say, and I believe so, that 50% of the words in English have French origin!

In course of time, I have learnt that to remember words for longer time, you have to meet them again and again. Its like meeting people and remembering them. If you meet someone after long time, it might be hard to remember them. I have decided, not to give up! To continue to try to learn the language at whatever speed I can. A wise man once told me – “It doesn’t matter from where you start, what matters is where you reach.” ๐Ÿ™‚ And now, I will also try some of the tricks given in the book. I am sure they will help. I hope it will reflect in my writing as well.

Keep reading, writing, learning!


One Comment to “English Bites!”

  1. Dear Diana,

    I thank you for reading and featuring my book English Bites! so prominently on your blog. I am also glad that you found the book entertaining and informative. Please do share your feedback and suggestions to make the book even more interesting and relevant to the readers. I have just begun writing the sequel to English Bites! and can use your inputs to make the sequel better than the original.

    Many thanks & best regards, Manish
    Email: mystruggleswithenglish@gmail.com
    Twitter: @English_Bites
    Facebook Account: http://www.facebook.com/manishdeepaligupta
    Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/EnglishBitesBook

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