Good morning, first day of the college! Wow, so you’re all geared up to make an impact on the first year students, aren’t you? I am sure with that contemporary (fashionable) attire (outfit, dress); you’ll soon earn the title of the fashionista of the college. Great going, buddy… But hey, wait a minute — your clothes are just fine, but what about your speech? What if the girl you like turns out to be a complete English buff (fan)? And you with your desi grammar and local dialect (language). It would be a tough job, don’t you think so?

No guys, I am not being mean; I’m merely stating the facts (too bad if the facts are harsh). Most of you ignore English till much later and when you do realise the folly of not paying attention to the language, it is already too late. So, bang goes your dream of getting the attention of the most beautiful girl in the class, for she is good in English and all you can mutter in the language is “Myself Mahes P or Jites N or Prites S or Pinkes J.”

A good-looking bright student of mine, Parth, gave me the idea of this article when he wrote a mail to me saying, “I had always neglected English in my school days. I used to think languages are only for those who cannot understand mathematics and science and had no choice but to build a career related to linguistics.”

Parth was honest to voice out what he had thought, there are many others who think the same and pass on this faulty notion (opinion) of theirs to their children, “Languages are for morons… And what career can be made out of English? It’s okay to read a novel-shovel (Indian English) once in a while, but taking up English as a career…”

Wake up, friends! Being a student of English will not shut doors on your livelihood. On the contrary, you have so many options to choose from — media, teaching, advertising, writing, journalism. All of them are well-paying jobs. Yes, teaching too.

Please don’t limit yourself and behave like a sheep, there are plenty of alternatives available. In any case, whether you’re an engineer or a chartered accountant, you’ll need English at every step of your life.

Now let me take you to the word ‘fashionista’ mentioned in the first paragraph. The word is used for a person who is a follower of fashion; it could be a designer, a promoter or just a follower. Let’s check out some words related to ‘fashion’.

Dandy- used for a man greatly concerned about his clothes and appearance.

– The dandy slipped on the wooden floor, poor fellow was wearing some fancy shoes.

Fashionmonger- though the word is very similar to ‘fashionista’, it has a slightly negative overtone. ‘Fashionmonger is a person who imitates or sets the fashion’.

– The fashionmonger looked like an ape (monkey) in his brown furry overcoat.

Haute Couture (to be pronounced as OUT [     ] – KOOTYU [the‘t’ in couture is to be pronounced as the Hindi letter ‘  ’] the word means ‘exclusive custom- fitted clothes’.

– The awards function had a display of the best of the haute couture.

Did you know that the word ‘monger’ in itself means ‘one who promotes or follows something undesirable’? Thus, ‘fashionmonger’ is not the only ‘monger’, there are others too — scandalmonger, gossipmonger, rumourmonger…

This is it for today. Have a great time in your schools and colleges!

Keep smiling…

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