Yesterday’s ‘Chai & Chit Chat’ was another eventful one. Joined in the studio by both of my co-presenters Natasha and Sujata, and guest Smita Joshi, we spoke about some of this week’s top stories and invited viewers to call in and share their opinions, experiences and stories.

How important is it to you to be able to speak English? Have you lived in England your entire life and managed to get by just fine – or in fact better than fine as you’ve brought up children who have gone on to become successful in their careers and paths of life? Or have you made a conscious effort to learn the language?

Prime Minister David Cameron thinks it is so important to learn English, he has implementing an initiative where all Muslim women are going to be required to learn a basic level of the language. For any Muslim women here on a spouse visa, they will have to show that they have improved their language skills after two and a half years or may face deportation. He hopes this will improve integration, and combat extremism and other issues such as female genital mutilation and forced marriage.

We all voiced the opinion that it is not right to single out Muslim women as a means to creating integration. What about women who face forced marriage or female genital mutilation or all other issues women face across communities? Why are resources, and money, not being put towards helping all women facing these problems?

Also, London is one of the most multi-cultural cities in the world. We have a beautiful plethora of cultures residing in the country. In my opinion, true integration within society, both men and women who cannot speak English should be required to learn.

Natasha expressed the concern that £20 million is being put into this initiative that will only help some 22 per cent of women unable to speak English in England – excluding Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Sujata explained that everyone should know the basic level of English but it just not be exclusive to Muslim women. She also stated that deportation is not the right way to force people to learn. But at the same time, in my opinion, some women may face restrictions from being allowed to learn, so making it compulsory will counteract this issue.

The conversation soon developed into talking about the significance of learning a new language and being able to speak multiple languages. Smita is able to speak seven languages! She explained that learning a new language enables you to learn about a culture, as words carry the roots of culture.

For Smita, understanding and being able to speak another language bridges the gap between you and that culture. It creates understanding between cultures. Also, it gives one a new sense of confidence. To be able to converse brings with it confidence because you are not hesitant when trying to communicate, for fear of not doing so correctly.

I whole-heartedly agree with Smita, as did Natasha and Sujata. For me, as well as food, language carries culture. Take, for example, hymns, prayers, or even Panjabi Boliyan or Ghazals. They carry so much significance that oftentimes cannot be translated without losing the richness of the meaning. I also believe that learning a new language gives women and men alike more of a voice – because the more languages you know, the more you are able to speak, express yourself, and better your confidence in speaking.

For Sujata, learning your mother tongue is important because, in the fast-paced world that we live in, children need to be the best at everything. So knowing just one language is not good enough anymore – especially is an age of globalisation where it is easier to travel to other countries to work.

She also expressed the fear that many regional languages are becoming extinct so we must work towards preserving out mother tongue and teaching our children to speak it.

Natasha explained that if the government wants people to learn English then that is fine but it’s also important to preserve our own languages and teach our children, so that they don’t lose their own culture and heritage.

Many of our viewers called into the show to express their opinions and join the conversation. Many expressed similar beliefs that language is the essence and carrier of a culture and that they have strived to teach their own children the language of their home country – because they inevitably learn English in school.

It was beautiful to hear the pride in people’s voices when they phoned in and shared their stories about teaching their children and continuing their culture while living in Britain – enabling their children to enjoy the best of both worlds.

We then went on to speak about our methods of relaxation after a recent study reported that over 50’s are turning to alcohol to de-stress. Fortunately, neither one of us in the studio could say we did the same!

Sujata had a healthier practise to help unwind – meditation. She locks herself in her room, plays soothing music, and thinks about all of the positive things in her life. What a wonderful way to unwind! Our thoughts, I believe, manifest into our feelings and actions so by focusing on all of the positive things, surely it can only have a positive outcome overall on your wellbeing!

Natasha enjoys spending time with friends and family, talking and chit-chatting; clearly this show was made for her then! She also likes to pray because it’s the one time you shut out all of your technology and demands from others.

Smita practises yoga to unwind. She practises yoga about six to seven times a week, and sometimes even twice a day!!! That is sheer dedication and commitment. As well as doing yoga, Smita sometimes lies in a corpse position and breathes in and out – she can fall asleep in Indira Gandhi Airport after doing this for about ten minutes!

I have worked out a great morning routine. I wake-up and immediately say thanks to the Lord/Universe while looking at my vision board and taking in all of the images. I then, one by one, go say what each picture on my vision board represents and say the words ‘I will…’. It leaves me feeling powerful and ready before I have even left my bedroom.

After this, I exercise, eat, shower, dress and on my way to work I spend at least 15 minutes writing (unless I cannot stop, which is often), and spend some of my journey reading an inspiring book.

Talking of inspiring books, after discussing what we thought about the Oscar award ceremony having all-white nominations for a second year running, and many, as a result, boycotting the awards, we spoke about Smita Joshi’s book Karma & Diamonds.

Smita is a British Indian born in Gujarat. She has enjoyed a successful career as a corporate business executive, working with global leaders of industry on multi-million dollar contracts. She is one of the pioneers of bringing India’s Information Technology services into the heart of British and European companies. As a freelance TV presenter, she has interviewed leading politicians, entrepreneurs and gurus. And as well as all of this, she is an experienced life coach and certified yoga instructor.

Smita explained that Karma and Diamonds documents her journey of discovering her inner self. Overcoming childhood traumas and struggles, Smita travelled on a journey of self-discovery and came across gurus and all kinds of teachers in order to find answers to the questions that plagued her.

The book is one of a trilogy, all of which Smita wrote simultaneously and turned into three different books. After travelling and meeting so many people to find the answers to her questions, and further and further hearing and honing her inner voice, I wanted to know what the greatest lesson is that Smita has learnt.

Smita loved the question and replied that after all of the searching and questioning, she has found that all of the answers lie within.

After an up-tempo, engaging and insightful discussion, we were all left feeling completely inspired too!