Everything Exists for A Relationship

Heart to Heart
Personal from Pappa Joseph

You and I are here today, wherever we are now, for one purpose – to have a relationship. Not just human beings, but every living thing on earth exists for a relationship – cat, dog, ant, plant. But that’s not all. Every single nonliving object on earth, created or manufactured – stone, river, pen, knife, computer – exists to facilitate and enhance a relationship. Now if some objects are used by man to destroy relationships it is not in any way the fault of the object.

The single most important activity in your life today is building relationships, starting with your loved ones.

The single most important activity in your life today is building relationships, starting with your loved ones.

Obviously, nothing exists for a relationship for a person to whom everything had its origin in a primordial nonrelationship. If everything is an offspring of a primeval accident or aberration, then everything can logically exist for one purpose only – to survive at the cost of every other existence by becoming the fittest, which is possible only by making others less fit than it.

Everything exists for only one purpose for the one who believes in that origin – to aid him, to please him, to comfort him and to give him pleasure in his relentless quest to make his survival as fit as possible.

But if you are among those who believe that the universe and all things in it, including you and the people in your life, were put here for a purpose that transcends the self, then you better be taking great care to ensure the continuance and health of your relationships. You better be always building and developing relationships all around you, otherwise the relationships are going to wane and eventually wither away. There is no middle ground in relationships. You build, develop and cherish, or you neglect, demolish and cast away.

Every uplifting word you speak today will go unswervingly on its ordained course to build a better relationship; every harsh word that you utter, if left unchecked, will be an avalanche gathering even harsher words and acts and crash in the abyss of a bitter relationship. This is the ultimate result of the universal law of cause and effect.

Far more than the law of gravity and the laws of motion, this causal law is more immutable and more inexorable than any other universal law. Immutable, because it cannot be altered or changed in any way; inexorable, because it cannot be stopped or avoided. The law of gravity is immutable but it is not always inexorable. A man who defies or does not believe in the law of gravity and jumps from a five-storey building to prove he is right suffers the inexorable consequence. But I have heard of at least one published case of two drunks opening what they thought was a door and falling from the French window down several floors, and then getting up from the ground and staggering arm in arm jovially away. But I am yet to see or hear of a case of someone escaping the effects of the causes he set rolling in his relationships.

There is no middle ground in relationships. You build, develop and cherish, or you neglect, demolish and cast away.

As a parent, every word you speak to your child is going to enter his conscious and from there into his heart and boomerang to you in multiplied effect. Ever noticed that when a child screams at his parent it is always at about 50 decibels higher than it is when the parent shouts at him? The words that wound the child’s heart continue to have their domino effect even into his adulthood, spilling into his relationship with his wife, his children, his colleagues, his fellow commuters, and even with his Dalmatian that jumps on him in affectionate greeting when he returns home after an unnice day at work. Put the blame on his father or grandfather, or somebody else up the line, who got the verbal cannonballs rolling down the generations.

As a husband or wife, every word you speak to your spouse is like a chunk of concrete falling from the ceiling of a beautiful edifice, or a polished stone that goes to further reinforce the foundation. Golden wedding anniversary celebrating 50 years of intimate relationship happen when all the words and acts of the husband and the wife have inexorably gone on to finally complete a celestial home for the couple. Divorce after 10 or 20 years is where the dagger-sharp words and deeds kept shedding vital pieces from off the marriage mansion year after year, until there was nothing left to live in, and the couple go looking for new mansions to live in.

‘I am a marvelous housekeeper’, said Zsa Zsa Gabor. ‘Every time I leave a man, I keep his house.’ The beautiful actress had nine mansions to keep, but not a single heart to weep with her.

May your every word go forth to soothe, and not to seethe. Let your fingers handle to bring the healing touch, to always caress and to fondle, and never to harass.

This website has one purpose in all its contents – that you and your family may go on to build beautiful lives and homes which you can pass on from generation to generation.

 ‘We have all made such a fetish of financial success and forgotten frequently that success of any kind, when it does not include success in one’s personal relationships, is bound in the end to leave both the man and the woman with very little real satisfaction.”   Eleanor Roosevelt 




Have You Been Doing the Same Kind of Job the Past Seven Years?

Heart to Heart                                                                                                            
Personal from Pappa Joseph 

Courtesy: Victor1558 – flickr.com

If you have been doing the same work for the past seven years – I mean, doing the same kind of activities in your job, receiving the same kind of rewards, going through the same level of life experiences – I am afraid you may be unwittingly living on the mediocre plane. Seven years is plenty enough for any ambitious person to start moving out of his or her present borders of accomplishment to new frontiers in their dreams. But I suppose a large percentage of people in any human endeavor are quite content working the same way they have been doing since the past many years, as long as their job is continuing to remunerate them with what they have been happily receiving from it all along.

But for a small percentage of people, mediocrity is the biggest thief of their human potential. These are the people who are always moving on, the ones who are always expanding their present borders and exploring uncharted territories. These are the relentless innovators who are always trying out new methods and untried strategies in their work. And such people do not remain long on any pinnacle of success they have attained.

“One of the temptations in life to be guarded against is that of sinking into a spirit of complacence, to slack off. As we climb the hill of life, it is natural to rest a moment on reaching the summit of a ridge. The temptation is to stay there, satisfied with your efforts.”   Lord Chatfield

In the sunset of your life, when you look back at all that you have achieved, your greatest sense of fulfillment comes from the bold and extraordinary initiatives you took in your job, in your personal life, and above all, in your relationships. You refused to be an ordinary bleating sheep in a familiar herd grazing contentedly within the fences erected by others, or even by yourself. Your spirit soared to new limitless pastures that your inner eyes had espied beckoning you from a distant shore.

‘The difference between a successful person and a very successful person is the size of his or her dreams.’   Robert Kiyosaki, author of Rich Dad, Poor Dad.

If you resolutely decide that from today you will begin to break out of your ordinarily successful life and search for unexplored new frontiers in your professional and personal goals, then on this very day you have flapped your wings of aspiration and begun your ascend to the azure skies of your grand vision. And if you dont take your eyes of that distant shore, you are surely going to reach it sooner or later.

Perhaps, if you are a business executive, or a professional, you can start by trying to implement something extraordinary in your company – something that no colleague of yours was innovative and daring enough to try so far. If you are a decisionmaker, perhaps you can stretch your vision still further to include some seemingly ludicrous projects – until the world gasps at the fruition of what they once thought was merely your eccentric dream.

‘We must overcome the notion that we must be regular. It robs you of the chance to be extraordinary and leads you to the mediocre.’   Uta Hagen

By the way, for the sake of some odd men whose wings are clipped not because of a dearth of imagination but because of another reason – a marital one – I give below an insight from a renowned achiever of the fairer gender. I came across this quote soon after I finished writing the preceding paragraph. It will give all our male readers a new perspective on mediocrity:

‘Women want mediocre men, and men are working hard to become as mediocre as possible.’   Margaret Mead, US anthropologist & popularizer of anthropology (1901 – 1978)




History’s Most Proven Secret of Success

Heart to Heart
Personal from Pappa Joseph

The Queen of Sheba Kneeling before King Solomon. Solomon is recognized in several faiths as the greatest human achiever in history.

As the former editor of several business magazines and corporate publications, it was part of my job to research, glean and compile the world’s best ideas in business management and professional excellence. And now I have given up all other jobs and returned to my native country to focus on searching out and bringing you the most effective and proven principles for personal and professional fulfillment for today’s aspiring men and women.

If you are a young professional, you very likely began your career with a dream goal. You wanted to reach a certain high station in your career journey. You are now headed in that direction, and it is most probable that you will reach that station if you are diligent and persevering enough.

Motivational writers, management gurus, seminar presenters, professional trainers, and business consultants make millions of dollars in royalty and fees showing lesser mortals how they too could make it to the top echelons of their business or profession. They share with their readers and audiences the proven secrets of effective management, or the various strategies for corporate dominance, or the core principles of right decisionmaking, or the seven spiritual laws of success, or the bunch of golden keys to becoming an influential leader.

Here, in this message, I would like to share yet another ‘secret’ for aspiring achievers – of a different dimension. This secret comprises a set of keys that most success propounders have little knowledge of, or if they do, they do not have the gumption to ruffle the settled feathers of their readers and audiences by clinking these unusual keys before them. You see, these keys are corporately and professionally of sensitive nature and the risk of making a politically incorrect statement might mean fewer readers and fewer invitations to speak in chandeliered corporate meeting halls.

Almost always, all the laws and principles of success that are presented by management experts have one basic origin: in the pia mater of brilliant men. And because these laws are extruded from the wide experience and exceptional knowledge of wellknown achievers, their application in the lives of aspirants often do produce better work and greater achievements.

I had been a fan of motivational writers from my boyhood. I enjoyed collecting all kinds of motivational books –  how to win friends and influence people, how to fall in love or make a woman fall in love with you (after several pathetic flops in sincerely applying the laws of attraction revealed in this book, they finally worked with the umpteenth woman I tried to draw into a longterm relationship), how to be assertive and confident, ‘how to develop a million-dollar personality’ (in those days nobody had amassed a personal fortune that reached ten figures, or the author, J. V. Cerney, would have revealed the secrets to developing a billionaire-grade personality; but I recommend that you get a copy of this book from Amazon – in the least it will take you on memorable fantasy rides), how to generate mind power by thinking positively, how to ‘bluff your way in publishing’ (also available on Amazon), how to build a powerful memory (this book set me on a brief career course where I found myself conducting memory training seminars in companies…until my own memory began to give way), how to successfully raise kids and rear chickens at the same time (the kids worked, the chickens didn’t), and on. I enjoyed jotting down notable passages from the writings of the great in business, politics, religion, sciences, arts, military – starting from Dale Carnegie and Napoleon Hill to Peter F Drucker and Tom Peters, from Norman Vincent Peale and Dwight D Eisenhower to Warren Buffet and Herb Kelleher (former CEO of Southwest Airlines, my favorite model among business leaders of this generation. I strongly recommend every young executive to read his influential article ‘A Culture of Commitment’, available free online – just type the title in your search engine). Their books, articles and the passages I have jotted down are literally among my most prized possessions today.

Just a few days before I gave up my job in Dubai and returned to India to take up this mission, I received an invitation to meet seven of the world’s ‘top leaders and leadership thinkers’. The invitation said it was my ‘once in a lifetime leadership experience’. The seven leaders mentioned were Rudolp W Giuliani, Jack Welch, Tom Peters, Alvin Toffler, Lester C Thurow, Frank Maguire and Michael E Porter. I was familiar with the names of three, very familiar with one, and hadn’t the faintest clue who the other three were, but the seminar seemed to promise some precious nuggets of insights I couldn’t dig up anywhere else on good earth. Of course, there was some cost to accepting the ‘invitation’ – about US$ 3000, with a substantial discount of $450 if I pay up five months in advance. Anyway, I had to leave the country permanently before the seminar was held, but I don’t think I missed much by not meeting these ‘top minds’ as I had tunnel access to a nugget mine with incomparably more prodigious output than all that the savviest brains could offer me. Nevertheless, I would certainly encourage my readers to get their eyes on the writings of these and other respected authorities whenever they can. What they say is based on their successful experiences in leading global corporations, in researching into what makes excellent companies, in analyzing world events, in probing the profound depths of human innovation, and in laying bare treasures discovered from previously unknown gorges of the human subconscious.

The World Daily Bread site of inspiration for current and aspiring decisionmakers does include insights gleaned from the quintessence of the lessons promulgated by the world’s great leaders and successful people. But the provision of such insights is only supplemental to the core purpose of this site, which is to inspire men and women of intelligence and deep compassion to go beyond the borders of their imagination, beyond the frontiers of the ordinary achiever’s aspirations, and blaze through paths never trodden before and reach territories never attained in corporate or national, or even global, history before.

Based on my decades of observing various categories of achievers and studying the writings of many successful people, I am convinced beyond a shadow of doubt that if a person diligently applies the principles propounded by them, he or she will attain a high level of success in their respective fields of endeavor. But this success is not guaranteed, and even if one achieves his dream goal, the duration of his tenure at the helm of success is never certain. There are a thousand factors that can keep a diligent and intelligent person mediocre or a failure all his life. There a million negative forces everywhere, any one of which could pull the success rug off the feet of a promising achiever.

While I know many earnest men and women who have achieved what they had aimed for, I know far more equally capable people who have been prevented from reaching their goals because of a sudden or eventual physical infirmity or other adversity that cropped up in their lives. Some were hindered because of mere bad luck or bad timing (for example, a small invention in Japan obsoletes overnight a product of years of dreams and hard work of an earnest entrepreneur in a third world country); others were trapped in political circumstances (think of the potential achievers languishing in the turmoil and upheaval prevailing in many war-torn countries).

Some have all the material success they had aimed for, but are now more miserable than the biggest flops in corporate history, because of a marriage gone sour, or a death in the family, or quickly diminishing eyesight, or something else their otherwise fine intellect can’t cope with. One old friend of mine was having all the success he wished for in his life: fine wife, three mansions, great business. One day, while driving his car, he rapidly began losing vision in both his eyes. His whole life course changed from that moment. After some time of struggling to cope with her husband’s handicapped state, my friend’s wife quit and left him alone. His business also left him and probably his mansions too might have changed hands – I didnt ask him. But he survived. After his series of calamitous misfortunes, he slowly started to pick up his broken life, and a few years ago I met him and arranged to have him visit a wellknown eye specialist in my country to see if he could regain at least partial sight so he could go about his life without having to depend on anyone to take him around.

But not so in the case of another friend of mine. In the prime of his life as a successful executive, he, like my other stricken friend, began to lose his eyesight, but at a less galloping pace of deterioration. When total darkness continued to become increasingly imminent and he realized he could not continue much longer before he had to totally depend on others to move around, he reached an emotional nadir. Rather than choosing to live in total darkness and complete dependency, he chose to consume poison and cut short what he believed would be a tragedy swept life. He was an ardent believer in God but hadn’t grown in understanding yet to realize that it is in tragedy that God gives those who depend solely on him their supreme opportunities for success in life.

You see, achieving the pinnacle of one’s goals as taught by most success teachers is dependent on too many factors beyond man’s control. It can never really be guaranteed by any human..

Many consider King Solomon as the most successful man in history. His final conclusion about his great achievements?

‘Vapor of vapors and futility of futilities. Smoke, nothing but smoke. There’s nothing to anything – it’s all smoke. What’s there to show for a lifetime of work, a lifetime of working your fingers to the bone? What profit does man have left from all his toil at which he toils under the sun?  Oh, I did great things: built houses, planted vineyards, designed gardens and parks and planted a variety of fruit trees in them, made pools of water to irrigate the groves of trees. I bought slaves, male and female, who had children, giving me even more slaves; then I acquired large herds and flocks, larger than any before me in Jerusalem.
‘I piled up silver and gold, loot from kings and kingdoms. I gathered a chorus of singers to entertain me with song, and – most exquisite of all pleasures – voluptuous maidens for my bed.
‘Oh, how I prospered! I left all my predecessors in Jerusalem far behind, left them behind in the dust. What’s more, I kept a clear head through it all. Everything I wanted I took – I never said no to myself. I gave in to every impulse, held back nothing. I sucked the marrow of pleasure out of every task – my reward to myself for a hard day’s work!
‘Then I took a good look at everything I’d done, looked at all the sweat and hard work. But when I looked, I saw nothing but smoke. Smoke and spitting into the wind. There was nothing to any of it. Nothing.’1

The greatest achievements of mortals on earth in the final analysis count for literally nothing and will eventually prove to be mere smoke ascending into nothingness from a fire that burned for a fleeting moment and snuffed out forever. Unless…unless those achievements are based on the one success secret.

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Nobel laureate and tireless critic of Soviet totalitarianism, was among the most persecuted men in Russian history, but today he is regarded by his nation as one of their most successful and esteemed citizens. Solzhenitsyn wrote:

‘Over a half century ago, while I was still a child, I recall hearing a number of old people offer the following explanation for the great disasters that had befallen Russia: “Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.” Since then I have spent well-nigh 50 years working on the history of our revolution; in the process I have read hundreds of books, collected hundreds of personal testimonies, and have already contributed eight volumes of my own toward the effort of clearing away the rubble left by that upheaval. But if I were asked today to formulate as concisely as possible the main cause of the ruinous revolution that swallowed up some 60 million of our people, I could not put it more accurately than to repeat: “Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.” ’2

So what is this one absolute secret of lasting success? The greatest human achiever in history, whom I mentioned earlier, and who finally saw the real worth of all his efforts, concludes his life findings in the following words:

“Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is man’s all.”1

Whatever a person’s faith, when he or she determines at the outset of their pursuit of success, at the outset of undertaking any great project, that they will always fear God and keep his commandments – specifically, The 10 Commandments – then that person is guaranteed absolute success in his or her life.

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, one of the greatest men of the 20th century.  By Verhoeff, Bert / Anefo [CC-BY-SA-3.0-nl], via Wikimedia Commons

Consider the lives of the leaders in the political world who towered in their lifetimes during the 20th century. Ponder the achievements of the billionaires of that era who reigned in the corporate world. The ones who feared God and kept his commandments have left a lasting legacy that continues to benefit not only their descendants but thousands and millions of other people long after they were gone. Their memories are cherished and the earth is now a little better place for their brief existence. But the many leaders and billionaires who disdained belief in God and did not base their thoughts and actions on their Maker’s laws of success, left behind works that eroded into oblivion some years after they departed. And if any continue now, those works, if you care to go deep into probing them, are festered with the sores of strife, sexual depravity, and social upheaval. The earth is today a worse place for their having come into existence.

This website will explore the lives of political leaders and business magnates of the two kinds and examine the fruits of their achievements.

All the secrets of success expounded by motivational writers and speakers work only if they are acknowledged and applied as ramifications of the laws of perpetual success revealed by the Lawgiver himself, which he codified as ‘The 10 Commandments’. And the plain exposition of these ‘secret’ laws is what this website and all my books are about. Every message in here is based on these laws of success which have proven themselves astonishingly effective in the lives of men and women of exceptional achievements throughout history – men and women who attributed their great success solely to their earnestness in keeping The 10 Commandments – the Creator’s greatest gift to men and women who seek good success.


1 Ecclesiastes 12:13
2 “Solzhenitsyn – Voice from the Gulag”, Ericson, Edward E. Jr.




English Usage for Earnest Professionals




Don’t use ‘after’ before a verb with ‘having’ in it: ‘after having written’, ‘after having eaten’, etc.

Unidiomatic: ‘After having texted the message to Martha, Jack waited with bated breath for her response.’

‘having texted’ means ‘after texting’, so ‘after’ is redundant in the sentence. Write either ‘After texting the message…’ or ‘Having texted the message…’


amidst; amongst

Obliterate the useless ‘..st’ from the above words. Another similarly ugly word that appears now and then in modern communications is ‘whilst’. Doesn’t ‘while’ serve the same purpose?


blatant; flagrant

Often thought of as interchangeable words. ‘blatant’ is associated with noise and unpleasant sounds. ‘flagrant’ means doing something bad openly and unashamedly. ‘His flagrant vice is exceeded only by his blatant boasting of it.’


careen; career

‘careen’ means to tilt or heel over.

‘The speedboat careened sharply as it rounded the buoy.’

‘career’ means to move uncontrollably at high speed.

‘The speeding car careered into a crowded pavement.’


deadline; dateline

‘deadline’ originally meant the line round a military prison beyond which a prisoner was liable to be shot. The whole of the 20th century was a time when corporate bosses threatened subordinates with this word to ensure they finish a task in time…or else something was going to drop dead. Join ESF in eliminating this morbid word from the English vocabulary and substituting ‘dateline’ for it.



‘A senior-aged lady, prim and prudish, was on her way [to] or returning from church on a Sunday.’

The bracketed prepositions in such cases can be ellipsed.

Definition:  ellipsis   [pl. ellipses] 
a. the omission from a sentence or other construction of one or more words that would complete or clarify the construction, as the omission of who are, while I am, or while we are from I like to interview people sitting down.
b. the omission of one or more items from a construction in order to avoid repeating the identical or equivalent items that are in a preceding or following construction, as the omission of been to Paris from the second clause of I’ve been to Paris, but they haven’t.
c. Printing . a mark or marks as ——, …, or * * *, to indicate an omission or suppression of letters or words.



‘transfer has an idiotic system of spelling for its derivative words:

‘transferable’ or ‘transferrable’ – both are traditionally accepted as correct but ‘transferred’ and ‘transferring’ cannot be spelt ‘transfered’ and ‘transferring’.

I recommend the consistent spelling:  ‘transfered’, ‘transfering’



‘utilize’ is not the same as ‘use’. The writer of the following sentence has not used the right word:

‘She utilized all her savings on a new Fendi handbag.’

‘utilize’ means ‘make good use of something that is generally not intended for that purpose’.

‘The school’s facilities may be utilized for the convenience of visitors to the carnival.’




English Smarties & Beauties

Phrases and Passages Worth Emulating





They tend to swarm like minnows into all sorts of crevices whose existence you hadn’t realized and before you know it the whole long sentence becomes immobilized and lashes up squirming in commas.   Lewis Thomas


exciting as

as nailbitingly exciting as a race between tortoises


getting worse

Things are not improving but we can celebrate that things are getting worse more slowly.


like an acorn

like an acorn that must become an oak, a spore that must become a mushroom, a space vehicle that must stick out its spidery legs and start collecting geological samples.   Peter Goodchild



as obstinate as a demented octogenarian


oven mitts

It’s as if we’re currently trying to play the piano while wearing oven mitts. Right now, we’re trying to embrace our lover, but we’re wearing a hazmat suit.   Rob Bell

hazmat – a material or substance that poses a danger to life, property, or the environment if improperly stored, shipped, or handled: ‘regulations for transporting radioactive materials and other hazmat’.



Comedian Rowan Atkinson, more famously known as Mr Bean, is described as a close friend of the Prince of Wales. No doubt the prince and his bride will be hoping he doesn’t initiate any Bean-style pratfalls in the Abbey.   CNN

pratfall – a fall in which one lands on the buttocks, often regarded as comical or humiliating; a humiliating blunder or defeat.


reliable as

as reliable as a guide dog with acute astigmatism


the continuum

the continuum between temporality and eternity, between matter and spirit, between man and ‘the other’.   George Steiner



The retribution came with such velocity and ferocity.




Ama-musing New Words

Amazing and Amusing New Words

Created and Contributed by Users of
‘Change Your English, Change The World’ 


    Image Courtesy: Poporetto (poporetto.deviantart.com)

Courtesy: Poporetto – poporetto.deviantart.com



1. The ambit within which odor from a person’s underarms has effect on.
2. The area within which a person’s arms can operate.

Pappa Joseph



Trick a person into buying someone a drink at a pub.  Noun: bamboozer.

 Pappa Joseph



A wide bread eaten by Puritans, and referred to in their thanksgiving prayer ‘Lord, we thank thee, for thou hath given us out of thy bounty our daily breadth’.  Ref: bread + th, as in hath, doeth, and other words with the suffix ‘th’ loved by King James Bible lovers.

 Pappa Joseph



Breath that smells like death.

Pappa Joseph


dump and dumper  

Technical term used by garbage truck operators to refer to a situation when the garbage bin is full and when it overflows.  Ref: Dumb and Dumber, film starring Jim Carey and Jeff Daniels.

 Pappa Joseph



An egalitarian who eats only ‘vegetarian eggs’, that is, unfertilized eggs, but who also believes that all eggs, even those begotten of an intimate foul encounter, are equally tasty.

Pappa Joseph



Used when members of a church fellowship gather together to sip some beverages.

V. V. Jacob
Kochi, Kerala, India



A bellow used in the lower spirit world to fan the flames of hell.

Pappa Joseph



Opposite of ‘hallowed’, used by Satan worshipers in their lord’s prayer in the verse ‘hellowed be thy nail’.

Pappa Joseph



A kiss given just before one dozes off; a good-night kiss.

Pappa Joseph



Irresistible urge to kiss everyone; sexual urge felt on the lips.

Pappa Joseph



A word used to refer to the race of human beings descended from the original Siamese Twins.

Pappa Joseph



Used in the case of a half-witted castaway when he sleeps off on his mattress on the beach at low tide and is carried away into the ocean at high tide.

Pappa Joseph



A sound made when a moaning person hurts his toe against a stone; the sound made by a groaning person when he complains.

Pappa Joseph



The lease used on dog constables.

Pappa Joseph



Spread bread crumbs on the carpet.

Pappa Joseph



Song you sing while showering.

Pappa Joseph



A word used to describe the action of bumble bees, humming birds, etc, hovering over a flower in a light shower.

Pappa Joseph



Snail mail, that is, mail delivered by the postman.

Pappa Joseph



Song you hear on your car radio when crawling your way through a thick smog.

Pappa Joseph



A smile that masks a snarl; a snarl made to appear as a smile.

Pappa Joseph



A surfer with a secret phobia of the ocean, but loves the sport so much he is willing to suffer for it.

Pappa Joseph



Smatter butter on the table while spreading it on your slice.

Pappa Joseph



A woman who has had her womb surgically strictured as a contraceptive measure.

Pappa Joseph



A soldier overcome with anxiety that he may die in combat.

Pappa Joseph



Users:  Be imaginative with your existing range of vocabulary and come up with more such interesting and colorful creations to enlarge the English vocabulary. Or if you come across such words in any writing, send it over, mentioning the original source.

Copyright warning:  The words listed here belong to the users of Change Your English, Change The World. Anyone planning to use any of them for their own purpose must acknowledge this website as the source, or at least think a thankful thought to us while using the new word. Thank you!




English Howlers, Bloopers, and Gaffes


Glaring Mistakes in English Usage
That Even Smart Writers Make




Howler  –   ‘ A stupid or glaring mistake, especially an amusing one.’
Blooper  –   ‘An embarrassing error.’
Gaffe  –   ‘An unintentional remark causing embarrassment to its originator.’


A slip on Marilyn Monroe’s dress


‘There is one collector who claims to own the lion’s share of Monroe memorabilia…Investment banker and collector David Gainsborough Roberts… Roberts’ collection may be extensive, but the jewel in the crown for him would be the billowing white dress worn by Monroe in 1955 film “The Seven Year Itch.” Owned by film star Debbie Reynolds, Roberts said that it is going up for sale in Las Vegas this summer. ‘Every time I talk to Debbie, she mentions millions’, said Roberts.’   CNN article, ‘Why gentlemen still prefer Marilyn Monroe’.

There’s a ‘dangler’ in the second paragraph. A dangler is a sentence that leaves the first part of its statement dangling in the air. CNN first states, ‘Owned by film star Debbie Reynolds’, and the next thing it mentions is Roberts, leaving the white dress dangling in limbo. The undangled sentence would read:

Owned by film star Debbie Reynolds, the dress is going up for sale in Las Vegas this summer, said Roberts.’

But that’s not the only slip in that CNN article. The way “The Seven Year Itch.” is punctuated really itches sensible writers. The unquote (”) is meant for the Itch, not for the whole sentence. The period is meant for the whole sentence, not for the Itch alone. But now it seems that the title of the movie includes the period, and the sentence is left without an end. The sensible way to punctuate:

‘Roberts’ collection may be extensive, but the jewel in the crown for him would be the billowing white dress worn by Monroe in 1955 film “The Seven Year Itch”.’


Never slip on your commitments

‘We are committed to continuously widen the association with Indian academic institutions in international higher education. TECOM Education Cluster is confident our partnership with institutions of higher learning from India – inspired by our common mission to deliver quality education – will continue to open promising academic avenues for the UAE and the regional student community.’   Dr Ayoub Kazim, Managing Director, TECOM Investments’ Education Cluster, Dubai, at the annual conference Emerging Directions in Global Education held in New Delhi.

When someone I newly employ tells me, ‘I am committed to fulfill all the job responsibilities you give me to your total satisfaction’, I may not doubt his sincerity, but I certainly question his ability to speak and write in the way I want my professionals to communicate. Dubai’s prestigious TECOM Education Cluster comprises the Dubai International Academic City (DIAC) and Dubai Knowledge Village. DIAC is, in their words, ‘the premier destination for higher education in the region’, and its campus is host to over 18,000 students of more than 100 nationalities. These students have access to over 300 higher education programmes, but one vital programme seems to be missing – on professional English usage. Any student graduating with the highest distinction from DIAC, and then going around using sentences such as the one Dr Ayoub Kazim used at the global conference, is certainly going to put a slight blotch on TECOM’s reputation as a ‘premier destination for higher education’. Be careful when you use the word ‘commit’ with the preposition ‘to’. The verb these 2 words always takes the ‘ing’ form. Examples:

‘When a man marries, he is committing himself to providing his wife all her needs and wants.’ ‘The firm has committed itself to completing the project with its present workforce.’

So, Dr Ayoub Kazim should have said:

‘We are committed to continuously widening the association with Indian academic institutions in international higher education.’


Slipping on the floor of Starship Enterprise

Panorama of the Enterprise's bridge from the 2009 Star Trek film.

Panorama of the Enterprise’s bridge from the 2009 Star Trek film.

I was watching my favorite tv serial, Star Trek. The episode that was being shown was ‘Half A Lie’, in The Next Generation series. A female member of the starship community had fallen in love with an alien who is a visitor on the Enterprise. Towards the end of the serial, the visitor tells the woman that back on his planet when a person reaches the age of 60, they kill themselves before they become a burden to their relatives and to society. The lover had reached his time to die. When the day came for the visitor to return to his planet and end his life, the woman mourns the impending suicide of her lover, and plans to go with her lover. The woman’s daughter, an officer of the starship, tries to comfort her with the words:

‘You’ll never be one of those who dies before they die’.

Pardon me, lady officer, you certainly arent talking just about your mom who is going to die before she dies, but about all the other people as well who die in the same unnatural way. Pull up your slip, ma’am, or your reputation is going to slip down on the sleek starship floor.

‘You’ll never be one of those who die before they die’.




Photo on top of the page beside subheading courtesy of Eva Machandel (evamachandel – flickr.com).




If We Stick Too Hard to the Rules of English Usage

If We Stick Too Hard_shutterstock_134891141

I have always been critical of my English miss who insisted in my school days that a singular pronoun such as ‘everyone’ cannot be the antecedent of a plural possessive pronoun such as ‘their’. I would get a big red cross if, for example, I wrote, ‘The teacher asked every student in the classroom to raise their right hand’.The correct usage according to Nesfield or Wren & Martin, she would crossly remind me, is ‘The teacher asked every student in the classroom to raise his right hand’, or ‘The teacher asked all the students in the classroom to raise their right hands’.

‘But, miss’, I would protest, ‘what about the girls in this classroom…and also, miss, all the students here have only one right hand’.

‘Don’t be impudent with me, kid, and just do as the grammar books show you how’, she would retort, and then swagger back to her blackboard.1

When I became a magazine writer, my chief editor, of true vintage breeding from Eton, was adamant that the correct way to punctuate a sentence was to put the unquote mark invariably after the period. Look at this strange specimen:

The accountant’s name is John, but his colleagues call him ‘Frog.’

That is how the chief editor wanted me to punctuate it. I told him it was illogical, because the period was not meant for Frog but as a full stop for the whole sentence. The chief editor wouldn’t budge a dot.

‘Respect the King’s English’, he reminded me.

I raised my eyes towards the ceiling and said ‘Long live the King!’

The chief wasnt amused at my gesture of exasperation.

‘When you’, he boomed, ‘become the chief editor, you may mutate your sentences any way you want. For now, do it the way I want’.

And so, suppressing my deep sense of irrationality, I continued to write many sentences the way he wanted, until I made my escape from that publishing company and finally landed at a spot where I am finally the chief editor…heh, heh, now I can write the way I want and who can stop me.

Only one party, though – the majority of my readers. I am writing for them. Only they will decide what’s the best usage for them. So far nobody has complained. If 51 percent of my readers say that I can only bat an eyelid, and not the hair on my brow, or complain about the way I use my commas, or, insist that I should never split the infinitive – I promise to immediately change…I mean, I promise immediately to change.

When tradition is adhered to merely for tradition’s sake, we get a whole lot of stagnated and ossified structures – in language, in fashion, in product design, in teaching methods, in management.

I have before me a book written a few generations ago in the English that was the correct and modern usage then, and deviation from which by any student at that time would have been met with the sternest reprimand from his teachers. Here is a sentence from that book:

‘So, if we building upon their foundation that went before vs, and being holpen by their labours, doe endeavor to make that better which they left so good; no man, we are sure, hath cause to mislike vs.’2

We can make some sense of it if we struggle to decipher the meaning. But it was the best English in the sight of our forefathers.

My point is, the English that we speak and write today would appear as quaint as the sentence above if we keep insisting that the language rules we inherited from our teachers are always the best and the correct ones.

If you are a teacher reading this, try some new unconventional ways to use the English language in your classes. If you are a student, go on and create something fresh in your language usage, but keep such innovations outside your test papers – your examiners may not be as experimental-minded as you are.

So, if we, building on the good foundation that our teachers left us, being helped by what they taught us with much labor, endeavor to make it even better, no one, we can be sure, would have cause to dislike us.


Pappa Joseph


1 Despite the teacher’s stern rebuke about the use of ‘their’ with a singular pronoun, it is now officially accepted and even recommended by many English language authorities, including Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary of English Usage (see entry ‘everybody’; can be viewed online).

2 The old English quote is by the translators of the King James Bible in their introduction to this version.




Do You Use ‘Their’ to Refer to ‘He’? Superb!

Courtesy: Tom Jolliffe

Courtesy: Tom Jolliffe

Which one of the following constructions would you use in your communications?

1. The person who excels in his/her work shall rise above the ranks of the mediocre.
2. Somebody has left behind his or her umbrella in the hall.
3. The ordinary user of English has no clue about their use of pronouns.

It’s not enough that a professional uses English with grammar textbook correctness. They must adapt their language to changing trends in usage. Sadly, we see examples of outdated usages, ineffective construction, and outright grammatical timidity on websites and in printed literature – in newspapers, in press releases, company communications, corporate brochures, etc.

The chairman of a globally renowned organization, with which I was once closely associated, was publicly annoyed when one of his employees announced over the public address system:

‘Somebody has left their car lights on in the basement parking’.

Being in charge of an organization that took exceptional pride in its quality consciousness in all facets of its activities, the chairman rebuked the employee for his sloppy English usage and told him to stick to the accepted pronoun ‘his’ or ‘her’ the next time he made such announcements.

J.C. Nesfield, Wren and Martin, Roger Fowler and other august grammarians long diseased, I mean, deceased, also would have frowned in their graves if such usage had reached their ears.

But what the chairman didnt know was that reputable writers have used ‘they, them, themselves, their’ to refer to singular nouns and pronouns such as ‘someone, person, individual, he’ since the 1300s! For example, in 1759, the Earl of Chesterfield wrote, ‘If a person is born of a gloomy temper, they cannot help it’. Since then, many great writers, including George Bernard Shaw, have also used this construction, much to the chagrin of traditional highbrow English purists. The practice can be found in such respected publications as The Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal.

But when writers still shy away from using ‘they’ to refer to a singular antecedent, it is usually out of unthinking obeisance to what they have been taught in school concerning agreement of pronouns.

Compounding their sense of timidity is the powerful influence upon their consciences of authoritative panels on language usage set up by Oxford and other universities. According to one report I read, one such official English Usage Panel rejected the use of ‘they’ with singular antecedents as ungrammatical. 82 percent of the panel found the sentence

‘The typical student in the program takes about six years to complete their course work’

as unacceptable.

Interestingly enough, panel members seem to make a distinction between singular nouns (such as the typical student and a person) and pronouns that are grammatically singular but semantically plural (such as anyone, everyone, no one). 64 percent of the panel members accept the sentence ‘No one is willing to work for those wages anymore, are they?’

There’s one other consideration, one which the earlier mentioned chairman might have overlooked. His employee, not knowing whether the car belonged to a male or female colleague, might have wisely decided to neuter the construction.

At the beginning of this article, I wrote,

‘It’s not enough that a professional uses English fluently. They must adapt their language to…’

not only because I consider it semantically plural, but because I didnt want to risk annoying my female readers. Until such time the English language gives birth to a neutral pronoun which can be used with ‘manager, businessperson, somebody’, etc, I am going to play it safe and stick to ‘they’ and ‘their’ in such constructions.

Here are a few examples of differing usages relating to antecedents such as ‘person, customer, child’ etc, taken from a random selection of newspapers and magazines in the region. I can understand if a writer prefers one or the other of the usages, but what is unprofessional about some of them is that they are plainly inconsistent in their usage.

‘This is why an average investment consultation is likely to take more than an hour, to enable me to find out exactly what the client wants and, perhaps more importantly, what are his/her views with regard to risk.’   Arabian Business

The writer has played it safe, but ‘his/her’ ugly use of the slash has made his/her sentence stick out like a sore thumb/toe.

‘A person may not offer car driving lessons unless he/she is qualified and licensed by the Traffic Department’.   Gulf News

But then in the same column, the writer switches sides:

‘The reader should demand his dues before they lapse after the period of limitation of one year’.

Here’s an gender insensitive piece of writing:

‘This would also strengthen the relationship between parent and child without having the parent assume the youngster’s responsibilities, thereby denying him or her the chance to grow.’   Friday Magazine

So far so good for all relationships. But on the next page, the writer alienates all parents whose only child is a daughter by writing:

‘One reason why a child likes to test his parents’ rules is for the child to get what he wants.’

Customer insensitive:

‘To the customer, a programme is of no value if he can’t get what he wants from points earned.’   Gulf Business

Perhaps that company doesn’t have many female customers.

However, some other publications in the region put their pronouns to fair use.

‘Our main endeavor is to provide a first class customer experience at value for money prices to encourage the customer to return to us for their future rental requirements.’   Fleet Auto Middle East
‘It is important to do this, so you can control the options the user gets and hide the functions that they do not need.’   Arabian Computer News
‘This however puts everyone in the same bag, whether they don’t inflate their circulation at all or they multiply their actual print-run by 10 or more.’   Gulf Marketing Review


Pappa Joseph




Doodling About Noodles in Malaysia

There is so much to see and slurp around in this happy, yummy land.



The word piped in from the cubicle adjacent to mine. And that is one item in the English vocabulary that perks up my ears, props up my seat, and peps up my limbs without fail whenever I hear it. I stood on my chair and peered over the partition. Mrs Hanson looked up and smiled.

‘Slick noodles oozing dark soy sauce’, effused my neighbor. ‘I will go to Malaysia again just to slurp them once more.’

Mrs Hanson had visited Southeast Asia a few months earlier, and of all the impressions that she carried back home the strongest was the one that had smacked her tastebuds and sensory glands with a mighty wallop of stringy flavors. Never had she encountered a gastronomic experience such as the one that swamped her senses when she was served the oozy noodles in the alleys of Malaysia’s several chinatowns.

Knowing that I would be heading towards the same region in the next few weeks, she gave me a few tips on how best to enjoy my visit. I told her I would not miss the noodles at any cost, and got down from my chair.

By the time I landed in Kuala Lumpur and was heading toward my hotel, my resolution to savor at first opportunity the dish that had swept Mrs Hanson off her tongue was shoved to the back of my mind. I was here to have a good time, and my first wish now was to visit one of the 200 charming islets I had read so much about, and to plunge into the waters around them, splash about till my limps grew weary, and then go lie on the sparkling white sands under a swaying palm (no risk of a coconut falling on my nut – there were nets tied directly under the bunch of coconuts on every tree.)

What’s unique about some of these islets is that they are still mostly virgin territory, a rare treat in a world where almost all the beautiful natural spots in a country are overtrodden by lascivious tourists.

Malaysia’s tiny blobs of land a few miles off the main coastland are an explorer’s dream of Eden recreated. They seem like they came into being when a cosmic splash broke up a huge paradise into little green gems bobbing in blue waters.

The beaches on these islets are fringed with gently swaying palms leaning toward the mighty sea in obeisance – a sight which attracts tourists on passing-by cruiseliners with more alluring power than that of a half-naked siren on whaleback in the middle of the ocean. These beaches that nature had so generously overlaid with pristine soft sand are a pleasure to walk and play on and be half-buried in.

The azure waters lapping over soft coral reefs about 50 meters away are a splish-splashy delight for swimmers and snorkelers. Got the picturecard image in your mind? Now add a quaint fishing hamlet of thatched dwellings to that image, and you have visualized an idyllic destination that is probably unsurpassed in its natural attractions by any other spot in the Far East.

The tropical climate ensures a weather that ranges from comfortably warm to bearably hot all year round; at the same time it also means you can be caught wet any time by a sudden short burst of the frequent showers. But if you wish, when the weather seems to be getting too sultry for your skin’s liking, you can quickly head for one of the several mist-shrouded hills.

There you can hire a bungalow located in the midst of a dense rainforest. From within its safe confines you can often enjoy the sight of wildlife foraging with their own kind, and sometimes, feeding on other kind. The foraging kind include bears, tapirs, orangutans, elephants, pangolins, mousedeers, and more, while the preying ones usually are the tigers and leopards. At least one overcurious bungalow denizen has gone missing in big cat territory. So don’t trek alone in the forest.

Where it is safe to trek with a guide, take along a machete…not to protect yourself. On many of the jungle paths you will have to cut your passage through dense creepers and undergrowth. If you trek in the right places, you may even come across one of nature’s most amazing sights – the world’s largest, and stinkiest, flower – the rafflesia. In full bloom it measures three feet in diameter!

Another of Malaysia’s attractions are its limestone hills and caves. If you are not claustrophobic, and not allergic to bat droppings, I would strongly urge you to peep into a few of these caves. They are treasure chambers of mystery and natural wonders. The stalagmites and stalactites here are reputed to grow at such monstrous pace that if you watch their tips carefully, you can actually see them growing before your eyes!

Some of these caves have never yet been fully explored to its full depth. A few contain sculptures and other evidences of ancient human habitation. In one of the caves that I went in, I saw a packet of shelled peanuts alongside some incense sticks. Being somewhat hungry, and assuming some earlier tourist had dropped it, I picked the packet up and started munching the nuts as I continued to explore the dark cavern.

After my return to the UAE, when I told Mrs Hanson about my nutty cave discovery, she gasped. ‘You took the food offered to the ancestors of some Chinese tourist! There is a strong belief that one who desecrates the food of the gods will go hungry for the next seven days. Did you?’ she asked. ‘Nope’, I said. I suppose a religious gaffe committed in a twinge of hunger in a foreign land is something no ancestor can take offense at.

No, I did not starve for the next seven days. Instead, for more than a week, I enjoyed the world’s most succulent, the most slippery, and the most slurp-worthy dish in gastronomical history, or at least in my gastrointestinal history – the truly authentic Hakka noodles prepared by the verily genuine Chinese chefs whose ancestors really came from the actual shanty avenues of Canton. I suppose no noodles anywhere else can match this height of authenticity and sheer flavor. More of that a little later.

Malaysia’s attraction is enhanced by its three main ethnic groups, Malay, Chinese, Indian, each providing visitors with its own entertainment, history, culture and cuisine. Experiencing the different cuisines is a trek through adventurous culinary woods where you encounter sweet, sour, salty, spicy and fiery surprises and shockers. Here are a few your senses should not be deprived of:

Malay – nasi goring (fried rice), ayam goring (with chicken), nasi lemak (coconut rice with anchovies, peanuts and curry); Chinese – local soups, hainan (chicken), and especially mee (wheat and rice noodles) served in various choices of thickness, lengths and flavors; Indian – rice on a banana leaf, with your choice of curries and chutneys, masala dosai (a kind of rolled pancake), biriyani (spiced rice with chicken or mutton), tandooris (oven baked flat bread).

As for choice of setting, you may dine out at the open-air stalls of the night hawkers, where, under a softly humming petromax lantern, you can sit and enjoy the freshly cooked chowmeins and chopsueys, and keep on ordering and eating them, if you wish, till the mee hours of the morning, which is a couple of hours before sunrise.

On another day or night, you may opt for a sidewalk Chinese café. And it is here in one of those cafes that I suddenly remembered my colleague’s words…when the first sauce-dripping string slid down my esophagus, and the stunning flavor and aroma awoke every sensory bud in my body to a glorious chorus of ‘hurrah!’ She was right. I think I too would make another trip to Malaysia even if it is solely for the purpose of savoring again what I just did.

Later, I tried to have a repeat of the experience in a starred hotel, but nothing happened. The noodles there tasted like any you get in a good Chinese restaurant in other countries – it’s ok, but nothing to salivate about. Something was missing in the slithery stuff you get in the grand hotels and posh eateries. Perhaps it’s the tincture of the sweat of the humble cooks in the sidewalk cafes, whose one aim in life seems to be to give you the very best they can concoct with all their heart for your mouth’s ecstasy.

Now I consider myself something of a connoisseur when it comes to noodles. Wherever in the world I travel to, I make sure I visit at least one Chinese restaurant in the city I am in. I have had noodles prepared in Dubai by ‘Chinese’ chefs from Lebanon, in Cairo by Cantonese ‘natives’ who strangely looked very natively Egyptian to me, in Calcutta’s Chinatown by genuine fourth-generation Chinese cooks who, in their homes, daily have chapattis for lunch, speak Bengali as their mother-tongue and couldn’t even count upto 10 in their great-grandfather’s language. The noodles they prepare has little in common with the noodles you get in the sidewalks of Malaysia. In Chinese restaurants in India, for example, noodles is invariably served with a lavish proportion of carrots, cabbage and lentils, all of which are anathema to any authentic dish of noodles. In Dubai and Cairo, noodles is arabized with kebabs, which camouflages the taste for which you ordered the noodles in the first place.

So, now I know, if anytime I am overwhelmed by a desire to savor noodles in all its true flavors, there is only one place in the universe I need to book a flight to.

After one has wallowed in noodles to his gut’s content, there are three other lesser, but unforgettable, sensory encounters in Malaysia he shouldnt miss – two for the palate and one for the soles. Along with noodles, nowhere else in the world can you enjoy these encounters in the intensity of the gustatory, olfactory and tactile sensations as they are offered in this peninsula.

The first is a drink I used to enjoy to the utmost in my boyhood days in Malaysia. It is called ‘chendoul’ – a glassful of greenish brown milky liquid with green strings of vermicelli floating in it. You wouldnt find it in any restaurant, but only in the side alleys of the older parts of the town. Nothing in liquid form has so delighted the nerve endings from the tip of my tongue down to the bottom of my belly like chendoul. There are a couple of corollary drinks available with the chendoul vendor, and you should attempt to try them all at different times, but you may find none as deliciously titillating as the greenish elixir.

Then, of course, there is the durian. Nobody I know who has encountered the durian has a passive view of it. They either hate it with all the might of their nostrils, or they love it enough to cross oceans for it. To the former, the smell of durian is shockingly very close to that of hydrogen sulphide seeping through a crack in a rotten egg. To the latter, the durian’s whiff is enough to make them drop every other activity they were engrossed in, and rush to the source of the seducing aroma. The taste is even more potent – toxic to the durian hater, tonic to the lover.

Don’t try to rip open a durian yourself; get a native to do it for you, because the fruit, no matter how delicious inside, has the most dangerously spiked skin among nature’s conceptions.

I cannot close my thoughts on Malaysia without mentioning the third encounter, which, in the area of tactile sensation, is undoubtedly the most soul satisfying and sole soothing experience you can ever get as a traveler anywhere on good earth.

As you stroll on some of the busy sidewalks of Kuala Lumpur, especially in Jalan Ismail or Jalan Bukit Bintang, keep an eye out for rows of stools and people sitting on the pavement beside them. If you can find a vacant stool, go quickly and sit on it. And here, for about US$ 2 or 3, a local practitioner will begin his one-hour session on your tired soles. Each pressure of the practitioner’s finger on a vital point on the bare bottom of your limb sends an out-of-this-world sensation shooting all the way down to the depths of your soul and up to the top of your scalp and out from the tips of your ear lopes. The hour often includes a little shoulder time, too.


Malaysia is not a nation as plentiful and diverse in its natural attractions as China or India, but it proves the far more attractive destination on several counts, of which noodles is numero uno.


Pappa Joseph