So did I. The two "select the word" questions I have had so far in this exercise don't seem to follow the rules for forming the preterite - gab and bleib. Are these exceptions to a rule, or are there more rules to discover?
Is staying in India different to remaining in India? I'm not sure it is in English, at least for one meaning of stay. eg "Didn't your husband come back with you? No, he's staying in India". but it was marked wrong
Bleiben is used to indicate remaining in a place and this remaining can be temporary. Whereas wohnen means to actually live in a place. For instance, "Er blieb einen Tag in Spanien. Aber er wohnt in Berlin."
Native here and the pronunciation is perfectly fine. Maybe it helps if you try to focus on the "er" and the beginning and imagine a pause between "er" and "blieb". Or try and hear the the "l" in "blieb".
Hope that helps.