A writer rarely has free time, not because he’s always writing, but that he’s thinking his next article or story or play or plot. But, on those delightfully glorious occasions I find I have that odd hour or two, I pull out a huge volume of short stories by Roald Dahl, and lose myself in his world of fantasy, and unexpected story endings.

I was pleasantly surprised that Dahl is also a favourite author of British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak!

What a special day it was for all of us here in India when a country that prided itself in being white outside and white inside too, decided to have a man of Indian origin as their Prime Minister. Something that would have made the likes of Winston Churchill and Queen Victoria turn in their respective graves. But as they voted him in, it was not the colour of his skin the Tories saw but his rhetoric, his skill in oratory and his brilliant language!

That skill won him the impossible!

That skill can do the same for anyone of us! And to a very great extent the command over language does not come from learning the dictionary byheart but comes from a passion for reading!

The best textbooks on grammar are not the Wren and Martin we studied in school, but the billions of books written so painstakingly by authors over centuries.

Read and lead!

Many of us think by learning a new word a day or by keeping a lexicon as our study book, we can master the English language. The simple fact is, that if the word needs a dictionary to be understood then that word is not one that is commonly used, and instead of helping us to master the language may come in the way of communicating with others. You don’t want your friends or audience glancing at a dictionary to find out the meaning of what you speak, do you?

They won’t and you will remain the most misunderstood person that lived.

But the dictionary you need to use are books!

Read and lead!

In the Writer’s and Speaker’s course I conduct, I tell my class month after month, to pick bestsellers and instead of reading just content, to carefully read a page and then the next page, studying the way the author has communicated. Very soon the student will be able to do the same.

Not grammar books, nor dictionaries, but novels, short stories or articles.

You want to become a thinker, whose thoughts will be much sought after, read in silence, absorbing each word. You want to become a world leader whose language will convince and whose voice will command, then read aloud. The printed word should become alive in your mind, and then, and then only will you find the truth in the fact that you can read and lead..!

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