Do you have a small or large family?
My family is a very small one. I have my wife and daughter. My wife is a nurse and daughter is studying in high school.
In fact, I have a large family. Both my parents are alive. My father is engaged in agriculture. My mother is a housewife. I have two elder brothers, who are working. The eldest one is married and stays with my family. The younger one is working in Bangalore as a software engineer. I also have a younger brother, who is studying in school.
How much time do you spend with your family?
Whenever I am at home, I try to spend a few hours with my family. Since I have a lot to study these days, they let me alone most of the time. I usually have food together with my family. We spend some time watching television together, especially in the evenings. We also pray together.
Since I stay away from home, it is only during holidays that I can be with my family. Whenever I am at home I make it a point, to be with the members of my family. We sometimes go for a trip or eat out often. I really love being with them. I always cherish the memories of childhood, when I was always at home.
What things do you do together?
There are a lot of things that we do together. One of the important things that we do as a group is to cook, especially during the weekends, when I have a lot of free time. We also do our gardening together, watering, manuring and weeding the plants. Another important activity that we do is to pray in the evenings. Apart from that, we shop together and go to the movie together.
Let us talk about learning English.
How long have you been learning English?
Where did you learn?
What is easy / difficult?
Is English important in your job?
I have been learning English ever since I was about 10 years old, when I was studying in my fifth grade. I learned the alphabets and basic words at that time. I studies in a vernacular medium school, but English was a subject throughout my school years. I did not take English very seriously during my school days, and I scored comparatively poor marks for it. Well, English was the hardest subject for me; and to be frank, I hated this subject at that time. One of the reasons that I did not like English was that we did not have any good teachers.
It was after I joined college, I started studying English seriously. I had a wonderful English teacher who laid a sound foundation in English grammar. Since then, I started loving this subject and started reading books in English. Now I am in my forties and the more I study English the better I love it.
Since I am an English teacher, I need to improve my English all the time, learning new vocabulary and reading more and more books. I make sure that I update my knowledge of English all the time.
A gift that you presented
What the gift was
What the occasion was
Whom you gave it to
Why this gift was very special
My youngest brother was getting married and I wanted to give him a special gift. A couple of days before the marriage my wife and I went to Ernakulam for some shopping. As we were about to return we just went to my favourite store, ‘Wills Life Store’. In fact, this particular shop has the trendiest and the most fashionable clothes for both men and women. I had the gift in my mind when I went into the shop. After spending a few minutes in the store I spotted an off-white linen casual shirt. It was a designer wear and I put it on, to see how it looked. My wife said, it was one of the best shirt that I had ever bought. I was very happy. It was an expensive shirt but it gave me a great sense of satisfaction.
On the eve of the wedding we had a party and my brother put this shirt on. Everybody was very appreciative of the shirt and my brother was very happy about it.
This gift was very special to me because I really liked the colour, material and the design of the shirt. Apart from that, it was first gift that I ever presented to my youngest brother. I was extremely happy that he really liked the shirt. It was the right occasion that I gave him this present.
Would you like to receive the same kind of gift yourself?
I definitely would like to receive the same kind of a gift. The reason is that I love good clothes, especially linen shirts. For example, two of my brothers work abroad and when they come to India, they present me shirts. I always look forward to it.
What are the positive/negative aspects of giving and receiving gifts?
Giving and receiving gifts have both advantages and disadvantages. On the one hand, it is an expression of one’s love or appreciation for someone. It can strengthen relationships. It can also create a good feeling in the minds of people.
On the other hand, giving and receiving today has become a commercial activity. Sometimes we are forced give and receive gifts. A lot of time and money is involved in buying gifts. For example, if someone calls you for a birthday, you are compelled to give a gift. Sometimes, it can become a burden on your budget.
What are the different types of gifts that women, men and children would like to receive?
Women are usually fond of ornaments and clothes. They also like to receive household appliances and handicrafts. For special occasions like birthdays they receive a lot of such gifts.
Children are usually attracted to toys and dolls. They love chocolates and sweets too.
What changes have taken place in giving and receiving gifts in the last 50 years?
A number of changes have taken place in the way people give and receive gifts, over the last 50 years. In the olden days gifts were not very common and it was exchanged only during rare occasions like marriages and housewarming. Today, giving and receiving gifts has become a very frequent affair. Exchanging gifts has become very common on a number of occasions like birthdays, anniversaries and success in an exam.
Whose gifts do you treasure most?
I treasure the gifts of my loved ones. For instance, I always cherish the gifts that my wife has given me. In fact, she gives them to me with great love. I greatly value gifts from my parents too. Gifts from close friends or colleagues also can give me great pleasure.
What may be the type of gifts that children will receive in future?
I think we should wait to see the type of gifts that children will receive in the future. If I make a guess, I think, mostly it will be electronic gadgets or games. They are also likely to receive a lot of good chocolates.