However not many know that English communication was his weakest area till about a few years back.
Now, apart from writing in English, he gets invited to prestigious blogger forums and seminars to speak (in English, of course) and share his knowledge.
In this candid article for Careerizma, Kulwant takes us back in time to share what happened during his student days that motivated him to improve his English communication skills and use it in a way that makes not just Indian but native English speaking international bloggers too look up to him with awe and inspiration.
How I improved my English communication skills
Interview with top blogger Kulwant Nagi
The world has come to believe that English comes naturally to Indians. To understand the reason for this sweeping generalization, consider these facts:
- The average Indian speaks more languages than citizens of any other country.
- Many Indians who are active online express their views fluently in English on topics ranging from politics to economics and everything in between.
- The desi domination goes beyond social media sites and extends to serious knowledge-based sites like Quora.
- Indian students go abroad in huge numbers to study in USA, UK, Canada, Australia and other English speaking countries.
- Many stay back after graduation to take on impactful positions in the western business world.
But the other side of India remains hidden from the Western world. Unlike the regional languages that we are exposed to from childhood (thanks to parents, neighbours, friends, relatives), speaking and writing in English is still a big challenge for many.
Kulwant Nagi’s journey has been fascinating. From being put in the spotlight in his class for his (lack of) English skills to being one of the top earning English bloggers in India, he shares many personal stories.
Careerizma: Tell us about your childhood.
Kulwant Nagi: I am from a very small town in Haryana (which as per the survey, is the most illiterate city in Haryana). My Father is just 8th standard pass, and mom is 5th standard pass, and that too in Punjabi. She doesn’t know how to write or speak Hindi.
I was class monitor till 12th standard, so you can guess how good I was in study.
Let me share my funny, unappreciated and ambitious life.
As my parents are not so educated, they never knew how good or bad I was in studies. My mother never ever visited my school, and funnily she still doesn’t know how the college looks like from where I got my diploma in Electronics and Communication, and engineering (B.E) degree.
I was extremely satisfied with my study because every year (till 12th standard) I was coming at first position in my class. I was happy, so obviously my parents were happier than me.
But the funny moment came when I struggled to get admission in engineering (B.E) because I was passing all those classes till 12th with 50%-60% marks only.
LOL moment of my life!
Students in my class were so poor in studying that I used to come in the first position.
Once I realized the truth (after 12th standard), I was helpless. I couldn’t alter the result of all those classes.
I was very shy in the class, and I never took part in any extracurricular activities. I am still very shy.
Getting in Engineering is another funny story.
Till 12th standard, I didn’t know what I was going to do in my life. I had Arts as my subject in 11th and 12th. So I was at such a position where neither I knew what I was going to do, nor my parents (who are not so educated).
One day a friend came at my home and suggested me to do diploma after 12th exam. For me this was a new term, and I didn’t know what it actually was.
He was such a good friend of mine that he brought the forms for diploma from another city, came to my house, got the form filled, and finally submitted it in the concerned department at his own cost.
Further, he took me to the diploma entrance exam coaching center and helped me to crack the exam with good marks.
Careerizma: What was the unpleasant event during your student days that triggered the transformation?
Kulwant: In my engineering college, BEC (British English Course) exam was a compulsory subject. Every student had to pay extra 7300 INR for this subject and getting cleared in the exam was a must to appear in the company written tests.
I don’t know if it was seriously necessary or just a way to collect extra money from students.
In BEC exam there were 4 different sessions (Speaking, Writing, Reading, Listening). I could write, read and listen very well, but when it came to speaking, I was the weakest student.
I was so poor in English that I couldn’t understand the lectures very well and because of that inferiority complex I never participated in any discussions.
Our teacher used to organize various group discussions in the class, but sadly I never participated in them.
The wake-up call was when she said that you won’t be able to clear the British English Course exam.
I didn’t feel shocked or embarrassed because I knew where I was lacking.
Careerizma: What did you do after that to improve your English communication skills?
Kulwant: After that incident I met a guy (he was in another section, so I never knew that he was my classmate as well). He was from another city 50 kilometers away from my city.
When I talked to him, I found that he was very good in English. He said that once he was on the same stage as I was. He suggested me to join some good courses to understand more about English and finally become more proficient in it.
So I joined GRE examination – having the intention in the mind that one day I’ll go to USA for the further study.
Careerizma: Why did you choose blogging in English despite the discouraging comments?
Kulwant: Becoming a blogger was an awesome incidence.
I joined GRE and TOEFL examination classes in second year of my graduation (in 2008). After spending one and half years in the learning process (I am a very fast learner) I recited 3500 dictionary words. I memorized them so well that students in my class started calling me as “walking dictionary.”
As many of the students in my class were preparing for the same exam and they used to ask me the meaning of the different words.
Luckily, I used to answer them almost every time.
So this was the transformation in me within 18 months after that teacher commented on my English skills.
I cleared GRE examination with 1300/1600 and TOEFL exam with 99/120.
This was a big score and dream of every test taker.
With my hard work I cleared both the exams with very good marks.
Careerizma: What inspired you to move on?
Kulwant: It was just a voice within me.
I am a strong believer of, “If he can do, I can do.”
Careerizma: Describe the step-by-step game-plan that you developed to improve your English.
Kulwant: I started reading a lot of newspapers loudly. To be specific, I started reading editorial column of The Hindu newspaper.
This helped me to speak English very well.
To understand the tone, I started watching a lot of movies, documentaries and started listening to a hell lot of interviews.
Writing in English is still a challenge for me. Because of my roots I am bad in spellings and grammar. I am working hard to improve my writing.
Careerizma: What were the easy / difficult tasks? How did you overcome them?
Kulwant: Cramming the vocabulary was an easy task. Within 7 months I memorized 3500 words. Funnily, I had all of them on my finger tips.
When any student in my class forgot the meaning of any word, they just asked the meanings from me. 🙂
Improving grammar was a difficult task (I am still working on it).
I started seeing results in 8-10 months. I knew I was getting into good shape.
Careerizma: Tell us about your blogging career and the scale of operations.
Kulwant: Blogging just changed everything.
Things which were dreams 5 years back are the reality now.
Right now I am managing 3 big blogs and around 8-10 private niche blogs. I am getting visitors from almost every country in the world now.
I am earning an average of $10,000 a month from all of my blogs and other online activities.
I have 15 awesome writers working with me right now. Luckily, they are as enthusiastic as I am, which ultimately gives me an extra edge to compete with the big players.
Careerizma: How did you start getting invited as an expert to speak at big events?
Kulwant: This was an initiative taken by Jitendra Vaswani (he is brand ambassador of Payoneer).
Payoneer was organizing an event in India where the main audience was small business owners and bloggers.
One day Jitendra pinged me and asked if I am interested to become a speaker of this event. For me this was an awesome opportunity, so I instantly said YES to him.
Speaking in front of 700 awesome people was an incredible experience for me because 5 years back I was sitting in the same auditorium hall thinking that one day I’ll also speak on this stage.
So this was an awesome achievement for me.
Careerizma: How have things changed now after you’ve tasted success?
Kulwant: I am not very active in blogging now. I used to write 10+ articles in a month on my blog, but now I am not even writing 2-3 articles a month.
People love my blog and they want to read new stuff every week. But because of my busy schedule I am not able to maintain my blog.
I get a lot of calls, messages, emails from people appreciating my writing style because I use very basic words and my content is very easy to understand.
Careerizma: Share a few secrets about why your readers ignore your English and buy the affiliate products you recommend.
Kulwant: If you can explain the product well with the screenshots and examples, readers are more likely to buy rather than worrying about your writing style.
Your branding is the next big thing.
You can understand this with the example of our honorable prime minister Mr. Narendra Modi. He did his branding so well on social media platforms that finally he won the elections.
Building online trust is one of the must have tasks if you want to survive for the long term in the industry.
Careerizma: Any advice to people who have an inferiority complex about their English communication skills?
Kulwant: This is just another language in the world. Our mother-tongue is Hindi, so speaking in English might not be our cup of tea.
We can master it with the right efforts.
English speaking people find it extremely difficult to speak Hindi so why are you feeling lower than them.
Put your efforts and become master of it.
Life is all about learning new things every days.
You learnt how to walk, how to eat, how to drive bicycle, car, and too many other things.
You were not master of it when you were born, but now you can drive your car very efficiently and easily.
Learning anything in life it just like that. It might take time, but at the end you are going to learn it if you seriously want.
P.S. A few days before this post was scheduled to be published, Kulwant got an unexpected request. It was from the teacher who had insulted him in class. She reached out requesting for help for her son who wanted to get into blogging. The ‘weakest’ student in her class a few years back was the strongest mentor she could think of today. Strange are the ways of karma!