Judged as Bollywood diva Sridevi’s comeback vehicle, English Vinglish was one of the most-anticipated movies of 2012. But when audiences walked out of theatres (or turned off their screens) after watching the film, it was to talk not about the star, but her role: of Shashi Godbole, the Maharashtrian housewife from English Vinglish who smiles through her family’s taunts at her sub-par English language skills. Humiliated for her inability to speak English, Shashi joins a four-week course at a language school, and the movie ends on a happy note with Shashi making a heartfelt climactic speech in fluent English. The movie is inspired by countless true stories of people struggling in their personal and professional lives due to their inability to interact in English.
Vivek Agarwal, CEO of Liqvid, the elearning company says, “I was once talking to a taxi driver and asked him if he wanted to learn English. He said he did because all his customers sitting in the backseat used to speak in the language, which he did not understand and hence felt small. So there is a basic feeling of inadequacy if you can’t speak English.”
Liqvid, (based on two root words: ‘Liquidus’—Latin for ‘fluid’ or ‘flowing’, and ‘Vid’—Sanskrit for ‘to know’) is trying to address this need. Liquid, by definition, takes the shape of the mould. Seen as a language of utility by many, English is fast becoming an essential business tool for firms across the globe. Almost everyone aspires to converse in perfect English. In a country where an elementary understanding of the language can increase social mobility, open up job prospects, failure to grasp the language can prove to be a real handicap, adds Agarwal.
A product of IIM-Calcutta, Agarwal started his startup Liqvid in 2002. He is now the chief executive officer of the company. He has launched EnglishEdge, a software to provide English language learning at an affordable cost. Prior to this venture, he had co-founded eGurucool which was subsequently sold to NIIT.
It was this thought that gave birth to EnglishEdge, a programme that empowers teachers to deliver an effective learning experience through technology. “The programme is available through the Internet on computers, tablets and mobile phones. It has nearly 1,500 hours of content,” Agarwal says.
Based out of Noida, a suburb of New Delhi, Liqvid has an impressive infrastructure that delivers quality learning services that
include custom content development, training design services, technology services,