The Aladdin's Cave

Hi, thanks for stopping by! The dictionary defines the idiom “The Aladdin’s Cave” as “a collection of interesting and beautiful objects”. Likewise, my website is a potpourri where you can browse and read from a variegated collection of articles on sundry subjects. Be prepared to stumble upon pieces ranging from noodles to analytics and from novels to friendships. Like what you read? Thanks a ton for being such a sweetheart. Don’t find it up to the mark? Well, blame it on back-breaking expectations ;) Jolly Reading!

Making Friends With Salads

Salad, Salad,
Fresh and green
Free of sneaky sugar,
Free of whipped cream

I will munch on you
Day and night
When I am out on a date,
Or when I binge post a fight

Salad, Salad,
My colorful “silver bullet”
Together we can tame,
My unruly palate

You could be simple,
You could be elaborate
Anyhoo, I am gonna pile you up
On my green, portion-control plate

Salad, Salad,
Please join my team
I am gonna depend on you
To make me lean

You will keep me healthy,
You will keep me young,
But can’t you taste as good in my head,
As you do when you are on my tongue?

Salad, Salad,
Veggies and fruits
All sorts of leaves,
And all kinds of roots

Be my coach,
Keep me in line
To burn those pesky calories,
Can you, please, work overtime?

Almost A Grown-Up

A stray gray hair, a trip alone, tax forms, paychecks and bills with my name printed on them – all of these combined could not have succeeded in making me feel all grown-up as this singular culinary act involving a particular vegetable did.

Here’s what happened. Today, I did the unthinkable. Today, I willingly (yes, under no particular pressure whatsoever – except for the occasional health advice from mum which I am totally used to) bought bitter gourd (karela in Hindi). And no, instead of letting it rot in the refrigerator so that I could throw it out, I, voluntarily prepared them as a side dish for lunch. Yes, that’s the unimaginable thing that I did. And this maiden experience was no short of a jolt. As I watched the chopped pieces of bitter melon taking on a dirty brown tinge from their original dirty green color, scores of childhood memories ran through my (now possibly grown-up) mind.

Since childhood, we kids were coaxed and cajoled into eating a few, if not more, pieces of this extremely bitter vegetable. The adults would tout it as a panacea for all health problems and my cousins, Di (my elder sister) and I would employ a variety of tantrums and protests to squirm out of this most unwelcome situation. And no, we weren’t being over dramatic – this thing really has the ability to ruin the taste of your mouth for a good few hours. Trust me – its horrible juice and texture work in unison to do extremely unpleasant things to your tongue and food pipe and stomach and makes you feel as if they had all been burnt and scoured and poisoned. Yeah, this vegetable single-handedly annihilates every single aspect of gastronomy.

This was a recurring reason for standoffs in my home – with my dear mum on one side and my Di and I on the other side. To get past this impasse, some heavy duty negotiations would ensue and both the parties would engage in extended discussions to try and gauge the other party’s BATNA (Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement). All this conflict and drama usually ended with Di and me hastily swallowing 1/2/3/4 (depending on our combined negotiation skill of the day) pieces of this alligator-looking, toxic-tasting vegetable and then stuffing our mouths with chocolates to soothe our pained palates. On days when my mum did not have the time to counter our sophisticated logic on this topic, she would sneak a few littles pieces in the lentil bowl or under the little pile of rice. Later, she would simply dismiss it as a mistake on her part and would offer us chocolates and kisses to make up for it. Of course, we couldn’t say no to either of those. But we would be sure to be on the lookout for stray pieces of karela in our food for the next few days.

The Bowl of Contention

The Bowl of Contention

This being one of the major and recurring struggles of my happy childhood, I found it mind-boggling that the adults would treat this crocodile-skinned, inedible thing as just another vegetable, and looked forward to consuming it (convinced beyond any doubt that it was the best detoxifier in the history of detoxifiers). The only explanation I could come up with was that the taste buds of grown-ups behaved and reacted to tastes very, very differently than those of the little people.

Whoa, that was one strong bout of nostalgia, isn’t it?

Okay, back to the present now. So while I was thinking about all this, the bitter melons got cooked and were ready to be consumed. I admit being generous with the oil, spices and onions to make it swallowable because I still think that this vegetable was labelled as edible through some unfortunate accident. But the fact that I conceded to voluntarily pay for this stuff and to bring it in my happy little kitchen and to clean, chop and cook it made me feel all matured and sensible and ready to make big decisions and to take on the challenges of life!

What? Did I hear you ask how it tasted? Well, how am I supposed to know that? If you think I would put a single piece of this rugged, rubbery thing in my mouth without being pressurized or fooled into doing so, you certainly have another think coming. But Gunjan did say he enjoyed it very much and would love it if I were to prepare it again 🙂 That’s what he said! I can certainly tell you that I will deign to indulge his request once in a while – because who knows, maybe it really is the best detoxifier in the history of detoxifiers. But I can’t tell you if the taste buds of grown-ups react differently to this bitter melon than those of the little ones; having not tasted it at all, I wouldn’t know!

Washed Your Credit Card?

You know how they say you never know what life’s going to teach you next? Please don’t ask me who says that; I just know that many people do. Yeah, and they are quite right about it too. Here’s what life chose to teach me this past weekend – you can put your credit card (CC) through a wash cycle, and it will (probably) live to continue paying your bills. If you have read my blog before, I know exactly why your super-critical mind is telling me off at this very moment – ‘Huh, first she drowns her Nexus phone, and now she bathes her credit card’. Well, let me tell you that I took a good two-years-eight-months break between these two unlucky washouts. Now allow me to get back to my informative story because I think this one is going to take a while.

Like all of you, I have my usual pick of alibis (been traveling/busy/sick/lazy) for ‘not been able’ to have done my laundry when I should have. And then, ‘really not been able to have done it’ much later after this ‘should have’ date. As a result, there had been bucket-loads and bagsful of clothes demanding immediate attention for a while.

And then it happened this Saturday night: Gunjan officially ran out of clothes (another good reason to not be allergic to shopping). It was one of those ‘laundry today or naked tomorrow’ kind of situations, you know. It was then that we finally decided to wash anything that says machine washable, and then some others too. Armed with a generously loaded laundry card, detergents and fabric softeners, we hauled bags full of rags (and some fineries too – because we are too lazy to wash them by hands) to the laundry room. Gunjan and I started dumping the clothes in the machines (er, took three of them), and by the end of this activity, we realized that the last machine was quite unsatisfactorily filled. You know, it was one of those annoying situations when you just hate the asymmetry caused by this one under-loaded machine. Not getting a wash worth a dollar and seventy-five suddenly seemed to be a really big deal, and we simply could not ignore the pesky imbalance. To remedy this situation, I rushed back to our apartment upstairs to see if there was any washable linen lying around that had slyly escaped us earlier. Even after putting together a little pile of semi-dirty stuff, it seemed that my imaginary scale (mentally weighing the three washing machines now) would still be a little off and I was having this compulsive need to correct this misalignment. I reckoned that the trousers that I was wearing wouldn’t mind an early wash, so I changed in a flash and threw my trousers in the pile too. With this newly acquired somewhat-filthy plunder, I reached the laundry room again, and we hugged and celebrated the much-awaited gurgling and rumbling of the (perfectly-loaded) machines in action. (Judge me all you want until I find out your crazy idiosyncrasy and judge you back!)

Two episodes of F.R.I.E.N.D.S. later, we rushed down to transfer the freshly clean clothes to the dryers. Now, imagine my shock when I saw my American Express Credit Card and my Discover Card sitting helplessly amongst the wet clothes. Oh, how I rued hastily stuffing these two cards in my pocket two hours ago when we had stepped out for a bite. I really don’t know why I can’t simply carry my wallet for these quick things (or at the very least, carry just one of these cards). And Gunjan – oh, he who is such a devotee to all things bearing magnetic disks and magnetic strips – oh, poor thing – I really must stop doing this to him. I don’t have the heart to describe his horror on witnessing this sight. Let me just say that at this point, I would have gladly accepted the vexation caused by a trio of unevenly-loaded machines than that caused by a pair of freshly-washed CCs.

Washed Your Credit Card?

Accidentally in Machine

It’s not like procuring a new copy of a CC is particularly challenging. But this blatant display of such shockingly irresponsible behavior did cast a pall over the joyful laundry session. Gunjan was too disturbed by the treatment meted out to the cards to say much – more so, after I pulled out a $20 bill from the pocket of the trouser that I had hastily added to the load. Even though I should kick myself for this third unintentionally-washed item, I will admit that it contributed in making his consternation complete and rendering him totally speechless. Hence, I had mixed feelings about this uber-hygienic albeit heedlessly-laundered bill. With dented spirits, we completed the drying part of the laundry session and ended the day with clean clothes but no hopes (for our cards).

Then, instead of resting on the seventh day (Sunday), I stepped out with two spotless but potentially dysfunctional cards (to test them out) and one not-so-spotless but functional card (as a backup). I picked a few random stuff (say ‘n’ of them) in Jewel-Osco, pretended to forget one of these n items in the cart and proceeded to pay for the (n-1) goods with one of the speckless CCs. As the sales assistant requested me to swipe my card, I was already fingering the backup CC in my other hand. The ‘payment approved’ message alleviated most of the nervousness that I was feeling, and gave me high hopes for the other unlucky CC. Not choosing to celebrate too soon, I duly acted out my part of forgetting the nth item in the cart, and now presented the second CC to make this payment. It suffices to say that this transaction elicited distinctly different reactions from the payer (who switched from a gloomy to a remarkably celebratory mode) and the sales assistant (who could hardly comprehend the reason for the payer’s joyfulness, relief and sense of achievement over this most mundane chore).

Thanks a lot, if you have stuck with me and my CCs through this rather long post and I sincerely hope that you never have the misfortune of laundering your bill-paying instruments. But in case you do, remember my story and stay hopeful. Even though I do not have the evidence to make a blanket statement like ‘Voila! Credit cards are waterproof’, I can say from experience that all may not be lost, and visiting a store to use a squeaky clean CC is definitely worth a shot!

Oh, in case you are wondering, the $20 bill managed to survive the wash too! 🙂

Take care!

A ‘House of Cards’ Weekend

A very good morning to all my free and fine friends who have not (yet) been seduced by the brilliant Netflix series ‘House of Cards’ (HOC), and a tired hello to all fellow binge-watchers who, like Gunjan and me, have put their lives on hold since the latest season (the fourth one in this unwholesome political drama) went live this last Friday (March 4, 2016).

You know, the reason to write this particular post is quite odd. I have been stirred into penning down this rather abrupt piece because I absolutely need to make this weekend a productive one. Here is a little background on this. These days, I travel a lot for work, and am home only for about three and a half days per week. Owing (chiefly) to this, my weekends fall in two extreme categories – awfully lazy or surpassingly crazy. Most of the February weekends fell in the latter bucket, though mostly (and thankfully) in a fun way. Anyway, I had ambitious plans to make this weekend a really productive one, and to tackle either a couple of weighty tasks or a series of lighter ones that have been threatening to push their way from my ‘to-do’ list to my ‘must-do-or-face-the-consequences’ list.

But alas! While formulating these elaborate plans, I was remiss not to factor the release of this new ‘House of Cards’ season that demands about thirteen hours of relentless watching to cover its thirteen mind-blowing episodes, with mandatory breaks to absorb all the shocks and schemes. If you have not watched HOC yet, you might judge me for being a crazy and undisciplined loser to allow my plans to go awry because of a mere series. Well, to you I say this: let’s talk about discipline and plans once you have made the journey to our side because you just won’t understand yet. I will say no more because I know we all take spoilers pretty seriously, and I am not prepared to lose my readers over spoilers. And if you are a fellow HOC watcher, succumbing to one grueling episode after another, I say this: it’s not really in our hands anymore, so let’s stop trying to restrain ourselves and just get this done. We made friends with the wrong sorts (The Underwoods) and are paying a hefty price for this thoughtlessly formed friendship.

Oh, how I loathe myself when, during my unguarded moments, I find myself secretly hoping for the success of the Underwood pair. Or when, inexplicably and shamefully charmed by their ruthlessness, manipulation, brilliance, hunger and utter disregard for other people’s lives and feelings, I revel in this maniacal couple’s unmerited achievements. Or when, instead of cursing Doug Stamper for being a heartless robot programmed to serve Francis Underwood at any cost, I applaud him for his fierce loyalty and countless schemes. Oh, the misery of it all – to watch Francis Underwood (excellently portrayed by Kevin Spacey) and Claire Underwood (superbly portrayed by Robin Wright) use and throw just about anybody as a pawn and exploit any event as a stepping stone to fulfil one of their many bold, depraved dreams, and to know that I shamelessly want them to go on!

We, the HOC viewers, have been sucked into this stupendous and merciless vortex and there isn’t much that we can do to crawl out of this trap. This post, however, is just a feeble fight that I am putting up to defend my noble, ‘productive’ plans that are halfway out of the window. I chose this method to fight back because the one thing that makes me feel really accomplished is seeing a new post on this dear website 🙂

Now, if you are thinking that this piece needed quite a few revisions before being published, I am totally with you on this one. But then, uh…well, Gunjan and I have paused after episode nine, and really must power through four more episodes before we can hope to get anything done this weekend. So please bear with the poor editing and crazy ranting, and allow us to get back to our binge-watching on Netflix. You have to understand that it’s out of our hands now.

Bye for now! Wishing you a happy and hopefully productive weekend!

Yours helplessly,
A die-hard HOC fan

P.S. I admit that it is quite ironical that my sole attempt to ward off this HOC-induced darkness involves a post about HOC itself, I don’t know what to say to that. I guess I am temporarily possessed by this brutal series.

Pronunciation Bloopers – 4

Hello Readers,

I hope you have mastered the previous lists in this series and are ready to absorb the ones that I present in this new set. In case you are new here or need a quick refresher course, please refer to Pronunciation Bloopers – 1Pronunciation Bloopers – 2 and Pronunciation Bloopers – 3 to familiarize yourself with the other potential bloopers  In this list, we will tackle some seemingly-simple but possibly-treacherous words that take great pleasure in tripping the non-native speakers of the English language. Ha, what a cruel world we live in! I will never understand why we need to have Hs and Gs and Ls and Bs planted in those words where we never intended to pronounce them in the first place. Anyway, since nobody is asking me for my expert opinion, I will stick to doing what I can – memorizing these pronunciations and making my peace with them. And I advise you to consider doing the same thing, for the joys provided to us by the English language greatly outnumber the few pains that it directs our way.

Word Comment on Pronunciation Note
Elect [ih-lekt] , not [ai-lekt]  The ‘e’ at the beginning pompously breaks itself from the rest of the letters. The pronunciation for both ‘elect’ and ‘election’ start with an ‘e’, and not with an ‘el’.
Cough [kawf, kof], not [kuff] Yep, to add to the misery of cold and cough, we must be mindful not to make this one rhyme with puff and tough.
Lieu [loo], not [lyu] Lieu rhymes with flu and clue – and you might want to glue this to your mind.
Loose [loos], not [looz] With loose and goose, the language is uncharacteristically phonetic. But the same cannot be said for lose that rhymes with ooze.
Crumb [kruhm], not [krum-b] Let’s be as particular about this one as Monica (from Friends, of course) is about her ‘no crumbies’ rule!
Dumb [[duhm], not [dum-b] In case this makes you feel a little dumb, trust me you are not alone.
[tree-oh], not [try-oh]
Remember this one from the golden trio – Harry, Ron and Hermione! Since we talk about this trio so very often, we definitely don’t wanna get this wrong.
Plumber [pluhm-er] not [pluhm-ber] Another one where the ‘b’ is just ornamental 🙁
Ghost [gohst], not [gh-ost] What? Did you say that ‘h’ in ghost is silent? Now this one is certainly gonna haunt me for a while.
Meticulous [muhtik-yuh-luh s], not [met-tik-yuh-luh s] If you are a meticulous speaker of English, you must remember this one to uphold your reputation.

As always, I would love to receive your feedback and suggestions through the comments. Take care and stay tuned for more of these!

Writing With Pencils

It’s still the first half of the first month, which means it isn’t too late to wish all my readers a very happy new year! I wish you all loads of joy and peace and happiness, and sincerely hope that you will stick to your new resolutions for a little while longer. I also hope the same for myself, though it is becoming increasingly difficult not to find excuses to dismiss each and every old and new resolution. Nevertheless, one of my many 2016 vows is to write more frequently, and I invite you all to be the judge for this one 🙂

Now let me get back to writing something that justifies the title of this post. Gunjan has a growing concern with me using pencils for the draft posts that I write – he worries that when I author a book of my own, I will have to do a hell lot of typing to digitize all the words that would have got transferred from my heart (or muddled brain?) to paper. Notice that he says “when I author a book” instead of saying “if I EVER author a book”. But let us forgive him for this astoundingly ambitious belief. Both his confidence and concern stem from a very strong and genuine affection, and we can’t charge a fellow for a crime of the heart, can we? 😉

But even though I find his concern extremely endearing, I know for a fact that this Herculean digitization task is not gonna bother me in the near future or in the distant one for that matter. How I wish it would – but where are the words and the plot and the characters? Oh, just where? 🙁 Anyway, grieving and ranting about my cluelessness is for another post. This one is for discussing a few of the many merits of using a pencil for putting one’s thoughts on paper.

  • Reminiscent of Childhood – Even though this is not a prioritized list (yes, I was careful to use bullets instead of numbers!), I will go ahead and admit that for me, just this one certainly trumps them all. It’s one of the things that will always keep you connected to the most carefree time of your life. Plus, there is also the added hope of being able to write freely, just like a child, without  worrying too much about the vocabulary and the grammar and the world – not while drafting, at the very least. You can go nuts and scrawl all that comes to your mind, and save the sophisticated filters for later use.
  • Very forgiving – Ah, a pencil is one of the most non-punitive devices when used in conjunction with the classic ‘undo’ button – the trusted eraser. Right? Unless and until you’ve managed to tear away the paper with some fierce erasing, you can always give it another try. After all, not all of us can get it right the first time.
  • Takes you off the grid – We live in an age where people first spend a hefty sum to buy all the latest and greatest gadgets and then spend some more to attend digital detoxification sessions that aid them in disconnecting with the electronics they bought earlier. In this crazy world of incessant clicking/flicking/gaming/chatting/emailing/reading/watching etcetera, sitting down with a piece of paper and a writing instrument (that doesn’t have any kind of internet connection) is like attending a free digital cleansing session. With no blinking distractions and stubborn notifications vying for your attention, you will be able to focus on your thoughts  and get something worthwhile on that paper.
  • Private notes – It is the perfect gear for penning down awful drafts that only you can decrypt – just write very lightly and nobody will be able to decipher what those curls and swirls mean. For example, if you would have looked at the paper draft for this post, it might have seemed to you that I had indulged in some heavy-duty doodling over a few pages. Yes, it is almost like your chicken scratch is naturally encrypted, and your familiarity with your own scribble is the key to decrypt this code. What a relief it is to know that nobody can judge you for composing scummy drafts!

Even though I just love the wooden pencils jauntily sporting their cute little eraser hats, I try to minimize their use and instead employ the plastic ones for writing. I suppose that sticking to a couple of plastic ones will do the environment less damage than callously sharpening away a forest, one tree at a time.

Hey, I was going to wrap up this post now but reading through the above bullet points again, I feel like taking a philosophical detour for a bit, and see if I can pull it off. So here are a few rhetorical questions for all of us. Is there some merit in taking a leaf out of our trusted pencil’s book? Would it be a happier world if we could be a little less judgmental/punitive with those around us? Is it possible for us to be a tad more rewarding to bring out the best in other people, just like our humble pencil? Well, let’s employ some of these practices in our lives and find out for ourselves!

Happy Scribbling, Friends! 🙂

Pronunciation Bloopers – 3

Hey there, everyone!

I hope you all had a pleasant Thanksgiving/vacation/weekend and I pray that we always have plenty to be thankful for! More importantly though, I hope that we always are thankful for all that we have, instead of taking things and people and life in general for granted. And I take this moment to thank each one of you for encouraging me to keep writing, and for all you love and support. It really, really means a lot to me.

“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” – William Arthur Ward

After Pronunciation Bloopers – 1 and Pronunciation Bloopers – 2, I am here to present to you the third part in this series dealing with some commonly misspoken English words. This set of words might contain a shocker or two for the non-native speakers of the language. But before dismissing any particularly unpleasant pronunciation with  the utterance of ‘Smoke and Mirrors!’ and forsaking this website, kindly refer to your trusted dictionary and check for yourself. And then, you might be willing to give the fourth post in this series a chance too, which will be out soon.  Now I invite you to take a look at the following list, and to let me know your thoughts in the comments section.

Word Comment on Pronunciation Note
Respite [res-pit] – US , [res-pite] – UK Mishi – Pit as in bit (US), pite as in bite (UK); Thanks Sumit!
Up-to-date [uhp-tuh-deyt], not [up-to-date] Mishi – Please don’t ask me why, and I know this hurts! 🙁
Steward [stoo-erd, styoo-erd], not [stee-ward] Mishi – Yeah, ‘ste’ + ‘ward’ messes up both the parts
Icon [i-kon], not [i-kan] Mishi – Just pronounce I and con separately, as we do in iPhone and iStore
Awry [uh-rahy], not [aww-ree], nor [aww-rye] Mishi – The pronunciation goes awry, if we pronounce it as ‘aww-ree’ or ‘aww-rye’
Opportunity [op-er-too-ni-tee,op-er -tyoo-ni-tee], not [op-er-chyu-ni-tee] Mishi – The language takes a phonetic turn with this word; just pronounce it as you see it, don’t have to end it with ‘choonity’ or ‘chyunity’!
Vehicle [vee-i-kuh-l , vee-hi-kuh-l], not [vay-hi-kuh-l] Mishi – A very-commonly used and very-commonly misspoken word!
Category [kat-i-gawr-ee, -gohr-ee], not [kat-a-gary] Mishi – Remember ‘mandatory’ from the first  post in this series? We should treat category as its mispronounced cousin.
Longevity [lon-jev-i-tee, lawn-], not [long-i-vity] Mishi – Even though it has ‘long’ in it, we cannot just append ‘-ivity’ to ‘long’; the pronunciation is quite different with ‘jev’ in the middle.
Tomb [toom], not [toom-b], not [tom-b] Mishi – Double the ‘o’ and forget the ‘b’ to pronounce it correctly; thanks Tarun – for suggesting this one!

Have a great week ahead!

Pronunciation Bloopers – 2

All the encouragement that I received for my previous post Pronunciation Bloopers – 1 has spurred me to action, and so here is the second part in this series focusing on commonly mispronounced words. This post specifically deals with words related to food and cooking, and all things palatable and potable. I took all your suggestions to post this one promptly because these really are words that we use in our everyday conversations at homes, offices, restaurants, parties, everywhere.

Before I give you the list, let me share a little something. This Wednesday night, I had pizza for dinner. Even though the calorie-laden slices made me regret my dinner choice, my one solace was that I had pronounced it correctly (as we learnt about it in the first part). So you see, learning the correct pronunciations might help soften the blow of these dietary slip-ups. And since I am a tad conscious after my cheesy lapse, I will start this list with some healthy choices and then plunge in the calorie pool! I hope you all find this one useful too.

Word Comment on Pronunciation  Note
Quinoa [keen-wah, kee-noh-uh] Mishi – Very difficult to resist starting with “qui” as in quick
Raspberry [raz-ber-ee, -buh-ree, rahz-], not rasp-berry Mishi – Ah, I keep forgetting this one
Salmon [sam-uh n] Mishi – Yeah, the “L” is to be ignored
Almond [ah-muh nd or am-uh nd], not al-muhnd Mishi – As in salmon, ignore the “L”
Shea [shee, shey], not shee-aa Mishi – I hear this more often in the cosmetics stores than in the grocery stores 🙂
Cheddar [ched-er], not shed-er Mishi – Start with ch as in check, not sh as in shed
Steak steyk, not steek Sumit- One leads to another
Mishi – If the waiter doesn’t get it, your steak is at stake – so remember to pronounce this one as stake 😉
Chow mein [chou meyn] Mishi – The “chow” part is easy, just remember not to end it with an abrupt “min”
Provolone [proh-vuh-loh-nee] Mishi – End it with “lo(h)ny”, not “loan”
Tortilla tawr-tee-uh, not tawr-tilla Mishi – No idea what’s with these food words and their step-treatment towards the letter “L”, but it is to be ignored here too

Happy Weekend, Friends!

How do you enjoy cheese the most?


Pronunciation Bloopers – 1

This is part 1 of a collaborative effort to consolidate some of the words that trip us and our friends – either due to their unintuitive pronunciations or because the mispronounced words are so deeply embedded in our vernacular that the correct utterances grate on our ears. Many of my friends are contributing to a google sheet to make this collection as exhaustive as possible, and to help us all improve…day by day, word by word. We are also sharing our thoughts/struggles/frustrations/hopes/jokes in the ‘Note’ column to make this an enjoyable class. Please feel free to share your “tripping words” in the comments section, and I will be happy to publish them in one of the subsequent posts. Thanks to all my friends who have given me the liberty to share their words here, and thanks to all the readers too. And I welcome you to this fun class where all the harassed students double as the harassing teachers! 😀

P.S. Native speakers of English might find this to be an extremely stupid endeavor. Nevertheless, you are welcome either to contribute/correct us or to enjoy some other posts on this website! 🙂 Also, keep in mind that the emphasis is on highlighting the part(s) of the words that are commonly enunciated incorrectly.

Word Comment on Pronunciation Note
Chic ‘Sheek’ Mishi – Not ‘chick’, not ‘cheek’, not ‘shick’
Reservoir [re-zer-whar] not voir Sumit – thanks to my English teacher in school who first told me this
Gross gros, not ‘graus’ Sumit – learnt this very recently
Gourmet goor-mey Sumit – the T is silent! and yes I love food
Monk Pronounced as ‘munk’, not ‘maunk’ Mishi – The ‘munk’ who sold his Ferrari
Pizza Peet-suh’, not ‘Piz-za’ Mishi – mispronounced at an alarming rate during parties
Mandatory manda-tory’ or ‘manda-taury’, not ‘manda-tary’ Mishi – finally mastered this
Assume Pronounced with s, not z; and oo, not yu Mishi – Uhh
Worcestershire [woo s-ter-sheer, -sher] Sumit – a totally different pronunciation from what the letters suggest
Consume(r) Pronounced with s, not z; and oo, not yu Mishi – Uhh

Have a beautiful day!

It’s Or Its?

Well, this is one error that shows itself every single day – so let’s get it clarified once and for all.
It’s: This has two words – “it” and “is”. If we think of this as two separate words, we will always use it correctly. We should use this only if the sentence would make sense with both “it’s” and “it is”.
Its: This is the possessive pronoun of “it” – we should use “its” to indicate that something belongs to “it”.


  • It’s a beautiful day! (= It is a beautiful day!)
  • The baby is blinking its eyes! (Here, the eyes belong to the baby.)
  • Look at the flower – it’s amazing to see its colors! (Here, it is amazing to see the colors of the flower.)
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