Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Lost Spring - Stories of Stolen Childhood by Anees Jung - Flamingo Class XII


  1. What is Saheb looking for in garbage dumps? Where is he and where has he come from?


    Saheb is a ragpicker and he is looking for some useful things in the garbage dumps that can be sold in the market. Sometimes he also finds coins and ten rupee notes. This way he earns his livelihood. He and his parents live in Seemapuri, a slum area on the outskirts of New Delhi. They have come from Bangladesh as refugees during the 1971 war.
  2. What explanations does the author offer for the children not wearing footwear?

    The author comes across many shoeless rag-picker children in her neighbourhood. According to her, one explanation of this habit of remaining barefoot is that it is a tradition among the poor children of this country. However, the author quickly mentions that calling it a tradition could be just a means of justification of the utter destitution.
  3. Is Saheb happy working at the tea-stall? Explain.

    No, Saheb is not happy working at the tea-stall. He is paid 800 rupees and all his meals but he has lost his freedom. His face has lost the carefree look. The steel canister seems heavier than his plastic bag. He is no longer his own master. He is as a servant at the tea-stall.
  4. What makes the city of Firozabad famous?

    Firozabad is famous for its glass blowing industry. Bangles of Firozabad are world famous.
  5. Mention the hazards of working in the glass bangles industry.

    The bangle makers face many problems in the glass industry. They have to work in the dingy cells without air and light , in the high temperature of the furnace .The dust from polishing the bangles is injurious to eyes. They often lose their eyesight before they become adults. Their eyes are more adjusted to the dark than to the light outside.
  6. How is Mukesh’s attitude to his situation different from that of his family?

    Mukesh belongs to a poor family of bangle-makers. But his attitude is very different from his family. He wants to break the family tradition of bangle making. He is daring and determined. He has hopes and dreams. Instead of believing in his "KARAM", he wants to be a motor mechanic.


  1. What could be some of the reasons for the migration of people from villages to cities?

    There are many factors that cause migration of people from villages to cities. Some villagers voluntarily move to the cities in search for jobs and better civic and health facilities, etc. Others are forced to migrate when natural disasters like flood, storm, drought, famine, etc. destroy their houses and properties. History has records of large scale migrations caused by wars. Also, many villagers who are better off than others manage to send their children to study in the cities. 
    In the lesson ‘Lost Spring’, Saheb and his family migrates to Seemapuri from Dhaka after their houses were destroyed in the storms.
  2. Would you agree that promises made to poor children are rarely kept? Why do you think this happens in the incidents narrated in the text?

    Yes, the promises made to poor children are rarely kept. Often, they are not taken seriously or have been made on the pretext of retaining a child’s fancy for something. This keeps the child hoping for a better possibility till he/she realises the truth. It is difficult for people to shatter the children’s dreams; while it is also painful to see these children thrive of false hopes given to them.

    Once, while interacting with Saheb, the narrator ends up encouraging him to study and jokingly talks about opening a school herself. At that time she fails to realise that unknowingly she has sown a seed of hope in Saheb’s heart. She becomes conscious of her mistake when, after a few days, Saheb approaches her, enquiring about her school. Her hollow promise leaves her embarrassed.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Telephone Conversation by Wole Soyinka - Chapter 04 - Woven Words - Elective English - Class XI NCERT

Poem Text

The price seemed reasonable, location
Indifferent. The landlady swore she lived
Off premises. Nothing remained
But self-confession. ‘Madam,’ I warned,
‘I hate a wasted journey—I am African.’
Silence. Silenced transmission of
Pressurised good-breeding. Voice, when it came,
Lipstick coated, long gold-rolled
Cigarette-holder pipped. Caught I was, foully.
‘HOW DARK ?’... I had not misheard... ‘ARE YOU LIGHT
OR VERY DARK ?’ Button B. Button A. Stench
Of rancid breath of public hide-and-speak.
Red booth. Red pillar-box. Red double-tiered
Omnibus squelching tar. It was real! Shamed
By ill-mannered silence, surrender
Pushed dumbfounded to beg simplification.
Considerate she was, varying the emphasis—
‘ARE YOU DARK? OR VERY LIGHT?’ Revelation came.
‘You mean—like plain or milk chocolate?’
Her assent was clinical, crushing in its light
Impersonality. Rapidly, wave-length adjusted,
I chose. ‘West African sepia’—and as afterthought,
“down in my passport.” Silence for spectroscopic
Flight of fancy, till truthfulness changed her accent
Hard on the mouthpiece. ‘WHAT’S THAT?’ conceding
‘DON’T KNOW WHAT THAT IS.’ ‘Like brunette.’
‘THAT’S DARK, ISN’T IT?’ ‘Not altogether.
Facially, I am brunette, but madam, you should see
The rest of me. Palm of my hand, soles of my feet
Are a peroxide blonde. Friction, caused—
Foolishly madam—by sitting down, has turned
My bottom raven black—One moment madam!’—sensing
Her receiver rearing on the thunderclap
About my ears—‘Madam,’ I pleaded, ‘wouldn’t you rather
See for yourself ?’


Word Meaning

Notice these expressions in the poem and guess their meaning from the context:

rancid breathsquelching tar
spectroscopic flight of fancy
rearing on the thunderclapbrunette
peroxide blondeclinical assent
raven black

  • rancid breath: Rancid means a matter which is offensive or disagreeable. Thus, the voice in which the lady speaks to the poet is under an immensely nasty or insulting breath.
  • squelching tar: The verb squelch means to strike or press with crushing force. Thus, the expression used here is that of a huge amount of compressed tar, the dark coloured product obtained after distillation of coal or wood, expressing the complexion of the poet. 
  • spectroscopic flight of fancy: The word spectroscopy originated from the concept of dispersion of visible light into seven different colours. Thus, the word explains the dispersed flow of thoughts of the lady after talking to the erudite poet. Her fancies of a “dark” man gained wings and attained new levels of interpretations when she had to submit to the fact that she knew lesser than the person on the other side of the line.
  • rearing on the thunderclap: A thunderclap refers to something resembling the sudden occurrence of a thunder, as in loudness or unexpectedness. 
  • brunette: Brunette here refers to dark hair and, often, dark eyes and dark or olive skin.
  • peroxide blonde: This expression refers to a harsh or unnaturally bleached palm and sole of feet rather than a natural fair complexion. Peroxide is a chemical which is used as a bleaching agent. 
  • clinical assent: The voice of the lady in the poem seemed clinical while assenting to the poet's revelation. It refers to the concerned voice based on a vivid and actual observation of the poet, giving in to the situation after a lot of thought and inspection.
  • raven black: Here, raven black is a metaphorical expression to describe the intensity of the colour black. Raven is supposedly a very large, dark complexioned bird of the crow family. This metaphor is usually used to describe dark-skinned people. 


  1. State the central issue in the poem.

    The central issue dwells around the ironical fact that when a person is in search of shelter, the questions being asked are based on his skin colour and not the usual queries exchanged like that of the rent, the amenities provided and other basic requirements in an apartment. The landlady is shown to have possessed a very shallow racist behaviour in the poem and ironically, the poet is shown to be sorry for something which he was born with. Discrepancies between what appears to be and what really is create a sense of verbal irony that helps the poem display the ridiculousness of racism.
  2. There are intervals of silence in the interaction between the landlady and the prospective tenant. What are the reasons for this?

    There are intervals of silence in the interaction between the landlady and the prospective tenant. The main reason behind this was the fact that the landlady felt inferior in the face of the poet and realised her lack of knowledge as compared to the erudite intellect of the poet. The sudden silences are prominent in the poem emphasizing the impact of the African’s race being revealed to the landlady. The ignorance of the landlady is also portrayed with humour on a very subtle level.
  3. How is colour highlighted in the poem and why? List all the words in the poem that suggest colour.

    The various colours highlighted in the poem exemplify the difference between the landlady and the poet, based on the skin-colour of both. The use of the colour red is magnified to explain the various things which are red in colour like the telephone booth, the double-tiered bus and the pillar-box. It explains the colour of the dark-skinned poet who was not fair-complexioned like the landlady on the other side of the line. The expression 'gold-rolled' shows the elite class to which the 'fair-skinned' people are said to belong.

    Various colours which are used in the poem are: Red, Black, Gold, milk chocolate, brunette and blonde.
  4. Which are the lines in the poem that impressed you the most and why?

    'West African Sepia' is the phrase which impressed me the most. This phrase seems to be a befitting reply to the ignorant white woman. This phrase in the poem projects humour on a very subtle level where the poet, when asked again and again, about his color, turns to reply like a person with a high level of intellect. Through these words Soyinka tries to emphasise on the fact that it is wrong to judge a person's level of wisdom and knowledge based on his color.
  5. You know what ‘hide-and-seek’ is. What would ‘hide-and-speak’ mean?

    The expression 'hide-and-speak' here expresses the taboo of the dark-skinned people being inferior to those who claim themselves to be 'fair-skinned' and thus, more learned, sophisticated, civilised and superior.
  6. Certain words in the poem are in capital letters — why?

    Certain words in the poem which are in capital letters are: “HOW DARK?', 'ARE YOU LIGHT?', 'OR VERY DARK?', ' OR VERY LIGHT?'
    These words exemplify the purpose of the poem which is to showcase the racist mentality of the fair-skinned. When a landlady talks to a tenant, the only matter of concern should be whether the person is suitable for staying with respect to his behaviour, financial position, etc. and not on his skin colour. These capital letters magnify the fact that it is more important for the landlady to know how dark-skinned the person on the other side of the phone is, rather than how erudite or intellectual or well-behaved he might be.
  7. Why do you think that the poet has chosen the title ‘Telephone Conversation’? If you were to suggest another title for the poem, what would it be?

    'Different- are We?' could be another suggestion for the title of the poem.
    However, the poet has chosen a very appropriate title for the poem - 'Telephonic Conversation'. It refers very aptly to the shallow racism being projected by the conversation between the landlady who is 'white' and the poet who is 'dark'. The telephone symbolises the gap between the two ends of the line, the impossibility for both the ends to meet.
  8. The power of poetry lies in suggestion and understatement. Discuss this with reference to the poem.

    Understatement means to state or represent less strongly or strikingly than the facts would bear out. Thus, it is a very well known fact that it is very understating to decide one's status or level of knowledge based on his/her color. The play of words between the landlady and the poet clearly proves that a man's color and region has nothing to do with the levels of education he has attained and the power of wisdom he possesses. The questions posed by the landlady became a mockery at her own level of intellect. Thus, the poem very strongly suggests that the question of civilisation does not rest on own's color. Soyinka humorously uses sarcasm as he says 'Shamed/By ill mannered silence" when it is obvious that is the woman who is the ill mannered of the two.

Coming by Philip Larkin Class XI Elective English - Woven Words Ch-03

by Philip Larkin

On longer evenings,
Light, chill and yellow,
Bathes the serene
Foreheads of houses.
A thrush sings,
In the deep bare garden,
Its fresh-peeled voice
Astonishing the brickwork.
It will be spring soon,
It will be spring soon—
And I, whose childhood
Is a forgotten boredom,
Feel like a child
Who comes on a scene
Of adult reconciling,
And can understand nothing
But the unusual laughter,
And starts to be happy. 


  1. What does the bird in the poem announce? How is this related to the title, ‘Coming’?

    The poem 'Coming' by Philip Larkin is a celebration of the advent of the spring. To express the happiness the poet sets the plot of house fronts bathed in chilly and yellow light. Amidst all this, a thrush sings a welcoming song. It seems the whole nature is dancing with joy at the arrival of the new season. The thrush, sitting in a garden shrub, laurel”, in the deep bare garden, is humming repeatedly in” its fresh-peeled voice “that” it will be spring soon”. This joyful singing of the thrush imparts an “astonishing” effect on the brickwork of the houses. The poet feels happy as well to see the beauty that nature encompasses. In fact it is through the voice of the thrush that the poet has tried to express that how overwhelmed he is on the “coming” of the spring.
  2. Why is the speaker’s childhood described as ‘a forgotten boredom’?

    The autobiographical element makes a reader curious to know about Larkin's childhood. His parents were very loving and affectionate. However, he recalls his childhood as a dejected one. He talks of himself in depreciating terms. It appears that the poet had a very poor concept of himself. It is also known that Philip suffered slight stammer in childhood that endured for the rest of his life, though reduced. If the reader pays attention, argues John Woley, it is not difficult to note the contradiction in the term “forgotten boredom”. If, like Larkin says, he has forgotten his childhood, the question is, how can he comment so confidently that it was a bored one? However, it may be concluded that Larkin's childhood did not have any memories that he was fond of.He even remarked once that his biography could begin when he was 21, which implies that nothing spectacular happened before that. Thus, Philip Larkin recalls his childhood as “a forgotten boredom”.
  3. What causes the element of surprise when the child comes on the scene of ‘adult reconciling’?

    As Larkin is absorbed in the resonant humming of the thrush, he transcends present to his boring childhood, which he feels is best forgotten. The poet is transformed into a child. He feels happy like a child who feels happy just by watching elders reconciling with each other. The child comprehends nothing yet smiles just because the adults are happy. This might appear surprising however, if one may look more closely, the scene reflects the innocence of a child. Probably the poet has tried to make a point that our happiness lies in other's happiness. The whole thought makes Larkin happy and he wonders about the mystiques of universe and human life.
  4. What two things are compared in the poem?

    It is difficult to judge whether the poet is trying to compare or is drawing a relation. Philip Larkin, in his poem Coming, celebrates the advent of the new season, spring, with the “fresh-peeled voice” of the thrush. He creates the imagery of the spring peeled out of the winter. The old season giving birth to the new season. The nature had been sleeping in the cold and gloomy winter and now the freshness of the new season sparked a new life in it. The birds, houses, gardens, the whole nature has joined the party to welcome the spring. Seeing this transformation the poet is so happy that he himself transcends into childhood.

    Here Larkin highlights the difference between innocence and experience. He presents an innocent watching the adults, laughing and reconciling, probably after a fight or reconciling with the life. How he begins to feel happy though he understands nothing. This is the innocence of the child that his happiness lies in others happiness, which is juxtaposed with the experienced adults, who engage themselves in trivial issues creating troubles for themselves and others.

    The poet has tried to bring out the difference between two seasons and stages of human life. This mystique is beyond Larkin's comprehension and he is only left wondering about it all.
  5. How do you respond to these lines?
    Light, chill and yellow,
    Bathes the serene
    Foreheads of houses

    The poem Coming by Philip Larkin is dedicated to the beauty the spring brings along with it. It is a celebration of humanity. In the beginning, the poet creates a picturesque in the mind of a reader. Larkin creates a beautiful evening scenery. The longer evenings of the spring are jeweled by the forehead of calm houses' roof tops, washed down by the chilly and yellow light of the setting sun. The reader is imparted with beautiful imagery of the whole environment sitting serenely and enjoying the sun going down as the spring beckons. They all dance to the humming of the thrush in the deep garden. It feels like the whole nature has come alive in the lovely evening and join the party to welcome the coming of the spring.
  6. Comment on the use of the phrase ‘fresh-peeled voice’.

    Larkin uses the “fresh-peeled voice” of the thrush as an adjective to beautify the evening setting of the new season, the spring. The phrase describes the freshness and sharpness of the thrush's humming. This freshness is symbolic of the freshness that has dissolved in the air with the advent of the new season that the poet celebrates. The thrush sings, sitting in a “laurel-surrounded in the deep bare garden”. It hums repeatedly that “it will be spring soon”. Its singing marks an “astonishing” effect on the brickwork of the houses. The song of the thrush also acts a catalyst in the transcending of Philip to his childhood flashing the “forgotten-boredom” right in front of his eyes. He is transformed into a child. The poet probably tries to draw a parallelism between the freshness of the bird's song and the innocence of the child. The “fresh-peeled voice” is symbolic of the spring succeeding the winter. The transformation of the season. It appears as the winter gave birth to the spring and now that it is coming, the whole universe and humanity dance to the tune of thrush to join in the celebration.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Elective English - Woven Words - L02 - A Pair Of Mustachios by Mulk Raj Anand


  1. What do you understand of the natures of Ramanand and Azam Khan from the episode described?


    Ramanand, the grocer and the money lender, is quiet cunning and possess a servile nature that is fit for his business of selling groceries and money lending. He never gets angry but prevails on his customers like Azam Khan with cleverness and by provoking the so called pride. It is also evident that Ramanand regards his customers as always right at least in principle. So he always keeps his business first and pride secondary.

    Azam Khan on the other hand is a victim of so called pride. He is still lost in the past glory of his forefathers. He is arrogant, full of anger and short sighted. He is ready to sell all his property for the sake of keeping Ramanand's mustaches down, which was suitable to his(Ramanand) class. Obviously Azam Khan is living in his past. He is impractical, short tempered and doesn't know what is good or bad for him.
  2. Identify instances in the story that show the business acumen of Ramanand.


    Ramanand is a good businessman. His business acumen is evident from the fact that he readily agrees to lower his mustache on Azam Khan'request. But he lowers only one tip of his mustache just to cleverly provoke Khan to bring in more of his property for mortgage. Unlike Khan he never gets angry and keeps his business interests above all his priorities.

  3. Both Ramand and Azam Khan seem to have very fixed views. How does Ramanand score over Azam Khan towards the end of the story?


    Ramanand and Azam Khan have a fixed view regarding themselves and each other. They are part of the social milieu that believes in the categorization of people on the basis of their mustaches. Ramanand belonged to goat class while Khan sahib belonged to tiger class mustache. They are both in harmony with the fact that they should not trespass into each other's boundaries.

    Ramanand scores over Azam Khan at the end of the story by turning up the tip of his goat mustache so that it looked like a tiger mustache. This enrages Azam Khan and he is tricked into selling all his property to Ramanand.


  1. The episode has been narrated in a light vein. What social mores does the author seem to ridicule?


    The author has mocked the society and its people who live in false pride of their community or lineage. How a fool who knows not of the practical matters and just to feed their image they go ahead auctioning their actual possessions. And such people are fooled by the smarter ones like Ramanand who bend but do not break. They alter their values according to the need of the situation but do not compromise entirely on their pride. They are the cunning ones who take advantage of fools who are stuffed with their worn out social status and forsake the present to protect the past. The author has ridiculed such people who weave their fall with their insensibilities.

  2. What do you think are the reasons for the references made to the English people and the British monarchy?


    Indian society, unfortunately, is the one that takes pride in the language and culture of their rulers and not in their own rich and vibrant history. The nabobs and babus that were in British Raj are still looked up and are respected. Though the truth is that these are the people that ensured English Queen's authority on our land. The reference in the story of Mulk Raj Anand makes it clear. He cites an example of how the nabobs and generals in English army are to wear the prestigious lion mustache, which is worn by resplendent rajas and maharajas  of our land. This makes clear how we Indians take pride in being slaves of Britishers.

  3. What do you think is the message that the author seems to convey through the story?


    The author has tried to make a point that how people living by age old impractical values weave their own fall and create unnecessary disturbance in the society. One should evolve as the time advances and the society grows. Sticking to false pride is not what will bring prosperity to one. One must be cautious and keep a wide eye to see if one is taking advantage of their virtues.


  1. Comment on the way in which the theme of the story has been introduced.


    The theme of the story-mustachios has been introduced in a scientific but light manner. In the beginning, it seems that it might be an essay on how Indians take pride on their style of mustaches. It is only later the reader realizes the significance of the introduction. The author wisely served the reader with the detail description of the object around which the whole story will revolve. How men rise and fall by altering and sticking to their status symbols, such as mustachios.

  2. How does the insertion of dialogue in the story contribute to its interest?


    Inclusion of dialogues in a story enables the writer to express things in their actual perspective. It allows him to include words and expressions which a writer normally would not write on his own. For example when Azam Khan gets angry he says to Ramanand: "You know what I mean, seed of a donkey!" or & "I tell you, turn that tip down" or "I shall wring your neck."


  1. Nouveau riche and bourgeoise are French words. Collect from newspapers, magazines and other sources some more French words or expressions that are commonly used in English.


    Following are few popular French words frequently used in English:
    - Salade
    - Soupe
    - Omelette
    - Restaurant
    - Depot
    - Genre
    - Voyeur
    - Souvenir
    - Bouquet
    - Boutique
    - Entrepreneur
  2. Locate expressions in the text which reflect the Indian idiom, for example, the pride of the generations of his ancestors.


    Here are a few Indian idioms reflected in the text.

    Seed of a donkey,
    To become a mere worm,
    Oily lentil-eaters
  3. We ‘draw up a deed’. Complete the following phrases with appropriate words 

  4. a. To give one’s word
    b. Carry out one’s will
    c. To make ends meet
    d. To owe a loan
    e. Give a deaf ear to

                      Thursday, August 9, 2018

                      Chapter 1 - The Lament by Anton Chekhov

                      Click Here for Multiple Choice Questions(MCQs) - The Lament by Anton Chekhov - Class 11 - Woven Words - Elective English

                      1. Comment on the indifference that meets Iona's attempts to share his grief with his fellow human beings?

                        Iona the main character in the story is a poor cab driver, who has lost his son and is mourning his death. As a human being he wants to share his grief to his fellow human beings but non of them pay any attention to it. 

                        In the story he first tried to talk to the officer who hired him to go to Viborg Way. The officer is in hurry to reach his destination and doesn't pay any attention when Iona says "My son Barin, died this week". 

                        After the officer, the three young men hired his cab to go to Police Bridge. These young men not only cursed Iona but also made fun of him. They also expressed the least concern when Iona told them about the death of his son and jokingly said "We must all die". The three young men are busy arguing with each other and show no sympathy towards Iona. 

                        Next, Iona tries to talk to a Hall Porter but the hall porter orders him to "move on". 

                        Finally he tries to tell his grief to a half a sleep cab driver at the tavern but this fellow is just interested in drinking some water and falls a sleep soon after without paying any attention to Iona's request to listen to his grief.

                      1. What impression of the character of Iona do you get from this story?

                        When the story opens we find that the cab driver, Iona Potapov, is quite white and looks like a phantom. He is bent doubled literally as well as metaphorically because he is grieving the death of his son. 

                        He is a poor man, who is struggling to earn his livelihood as a cab driver. He is married, with two children, Kuzma the son and Anissia the daughter. 

                        He is a normal human being and throughout the story he is searching for an emotional outlet to unburden his grief. He is having a very positive and simplistic approach towards life. He does not react violently to the disrespect and curses that his passengers hurl at him.
                      2. How does the horse serve as a true friend and companion to Iona?

                        The horse serves as a true friend and companion to Iona. When Iona gets no one to share his grief, the horse comes to his rescue. It not only listens to him but appears to lament the death of Kuzma Ionitch along with Iona.

                        When Iona realized that no body was listening to him and that he had no body to go to to grieve at his loss, he turned to his horse. He tried to talk to his passengers, the officers, the drunkards and the young cabdriver, about his son; how he fell ill, what did he say before he died. It was about to be a week since the mishap and the Cabby had had no body to talk to so far. Finally, he decided to go to look after his horse. It was unbearably painful to him to picture his son when he was alone. So he tried to keep himself occupied. He offered hay to the little horse as that was all he could as he had no corn as he did not earn much for he had lost his young son, he explained it to the horse. Iona's feelings were too much for him. The driver goes on explaining the whole story of his son to the horse, while the horse listened patiently and breathed over his master's hand like a true mate.

                        This way the horse acts as a true friend and companion to Iona.

                      TALKING ABOUT THE TEXT

                      1. Empathy and understanding are going out of modern society. The individual experiences intense alienation from the society around him or her.

                        We have entered an era that feeds on globalization. A world that is driven by fast technology. The age old emotions and sentiments are all bygone. There is little time for empathy and understanding. An ordinary human's lifestyle has evolved, changing the ethics of our society. People are busy and work is immense and the pressure that a human undergoes leaves no time for her/him to ponder or wonder. A state that makes a human mechanical and lacking in sensibility, which is overtaken by practicality. The concept of society has altered. The individual is alienated from the society. Human does contribute to the society but not with cultural values but only by technological advancement. The sharing and dependence have evaporated from our culture and we have restricted our zone by not giving way to feelings of joy, sorrow, fear or love any way. Humans have resigned from such emotions and are resolute not to give in to them.
                      2. Behind the public face of the people in various occupations is a whole saga of personal suffering and joy which they wish to share with others.

                        Like Iona, every human has a portion of his/her heart unexplored. They guard it stealing it from everyone and yet they long for it to be uncovered; sharing it all with a companion, a friend, a mate. A human, like a diamond has many facets. The face people wear in public is just one of those facets. There is a child inside everyone, a male in every female and a female in every male, unknown, hidden. They keep them locked inside and yet crave to share it with someone. This world of today, where we all are much wiser and practical and much more busy, get little time to spend and share the inner self of ours with someone. The true face behind us all is shielded carefully and it longs to be known, understood. We all hold our souls back yet we wish to share our dark secrets with someone. Our sufferings, our joys, our desires, our hidden self. And in this modern world, few find that true mate with whom they can share their personal joys and sufferings, which they keep locked away in their hearts.


                      1. The story begins with a description of the setting. How does this serve as a fitting prelude to the events described in the story?

                        The story of Iona Potapov is one of suffering. The setting described in the beginning sets the mood of the reader, the atmosphere is full of gloom and darkness as it is a day covered with snow. The author has tried to evoke melancholy in the reader's heart through the environment he describes so that the reader is set in tune with the mood of the protagonist. The author describes the positions and appearance of Iona. He appears like a phantom who is lost as if he is not interested in the world any more, unaware of his surroundings and the snow that covered his eyelashes and even on his horse's back. This all sets the mood perfectly for a story that is to uncover the protagonist's loss at which he laments.
                      2. Comment on the graphic detail with which the various passengers who took Iona's cab are described.

                        The author described the passengers that took Iona's cab defining their character sketch. The first one was the officer. It gives an image of the impatience that the police personnel have. These characters portray the society we live in. How a drunkard might react to someone's grief and how a police officer would be unconcerned about someone's loss. Even the boy in the stable did not pay any heed to Iona's story. No body in the busy world had the time to stop and hear to what the poor old cab driver had to say.
                      3. This short story revolves around a single important event. Discuss how the narrative is woven around this central fact.

                        The story has a simple plot and revolves around it. Iona Potapov, an ageing man, a poor Russian cab driver lost his dear son earlier week. A load that he carries, weighing his heart, Iona wishes to speak and share his grief desperately with someone. Thus, on finding no companion or friend to mourn over his grief he tries to share it with every one he comes across. He tries to share it with the passengers that board his sledge only to find how disinterested everyone is in his story. His agony grows and he is thrown into despair. All the while there is one thing that remains constant in the story, the loss Iona suffers and his attempt to overcome it. So, overwhelmed is the old father that he finally decides to go on and talk his heart out to his horse. The horse proves to be a true companion and listens to Iona's story patiently while munching hay.
                      4. The story begins and ends with Iona and his horse. Comment on the significance of this to the plot of the story.

                        The story is a satire on how disengaged humans are that one has to find a true companion in an animal. Iona from the beginning of the story is portrayed with his horse. In the beginning, while Iona is struck with his loss and is melancholic, he and his horse stood unmoved. It appeared that they both shared similar grief. Both seemed unaware of their surroundings and of the heavy snow, the horse for being a slave animal and Iona due to his grief. The story narrates how Iona lashes his frustration by brandishing the horse unnecessarily, yet the horse is faithful to his master. Even by the end of the story, Iona is left unheard and his heavy heart knows no one to release his burden to. He finds solace in the company of his horse again. He goes up to him and gives him hay to munch. While he goes on speaking to the silent animal explaining how he lost his young son. He grieved, now that he is old and poor, to make things worse, he will be having trouble earning. The animal, not sure if understood what his master said, remained silent and heard it all peacefully proving its faithfulness to his master.

                      LANGUAGE WORK:

                      3. Explain the associations that the colour 'white' has in the story.

                      White is the colour of light. However, the irony in the story The Lament is that it reflects the gloom portrayed in the story. In the beginning to show the melancholy of Iona Potapov, the narrator says that he is so white that he looks like a phantom. His horse also appears quiet white. Actually white is the colour of snow. And snow reflects despondency and lethargy of the season of winter and how the whole environment and atmosphere appears to be thrown into utter despair. The evening is setting in and everything seems so white and withered. The street lamps' light is also white, replacing the brighter rays. The whole setting, while laying stress on the white surroundings, project the solitude of the poor cab driver.

                      Additional Questions

                      Sunday, April 8, 2018

                      Fiction, Chapter 3 - The Man Who Knew too Much - Class-IX English-A

                      The Man Who Knew Too Much

                      Answer these questions-

                      Question- What is a nickname? Can you suggest another one for private Quelch?
                      Answer- a nickname is a name given to a person (except the real name) in any kind of feeling (affection, jealousy etc.) or which describes his or her traits.
                               Another name for private Quelch can be ‘Mr. know all ’.

                      Question- Private Quelch looked like a ‘professor’ when the author first met him at the training depot. Why?
                      Answer- When the author first met him at the training depot, his lanky, stooping posture, his frown and his horn rimmed spectacles made him look like a professor.

                      Question- What does the dark sun dried appearance of the sergeant suggest about him?
                      Answer- The dark sun dried appearance of the sergeant suggests that he was very experienced and had dedicated his life to the army. He was not a man to be trifled with and knew his subject well.

                      Question- How was private Quelch’s knowledge exposed even further as the sergeant’s classes went on?
                      Answer- As the sergeant’s classes went on and he finished his lecture he questioned everybody including the professor. The professor answered every question with confidence and accuracy and thus, his knowledge was exposed even further.

                      Question- What did the professor meant by intelligent reading?
                      Answer- By intelligent reading the professor means to do a thorough study through observation and have as much knowledge about any subject as possible.

                      Question- What were the professor’s ambition in the army?
                      Answer- The professor wanted to get a commission in the army. His first step was to get a stripe.

                      Question- Did private Quelch’s day to day practices take him closer towards his goal? How can you make out?
                      Answer- Private Quelch was hardworking and intelligent with a clear goal. But his habit of exhibiting his knowledge in the hope of impressing was his backdrop. This habit of his was extremely irritating and the reason he was appointed to the back quarters of the kitchen.

                      Question- Describe corporal Turnbull.
                      Answer- Corporal Turnbull was a young officer who had come from Dunkirk. He was disciplined and the squad used to admire him a lot. His personality commanded respect and he was known for his toughness.
                      Question- How did Private Quelch manage to anger the corporal?
                      Answer- Private Quelch interrupted the corporal in the midst of his lecture and tried to correct him where he was already correct. Then he compared the corporal’s way with the way of another instructor and showed off as if he was an expert on the subject and thus, managed to anger the corporal.

                      Question- Do you think that private Quelch learnt a lesson when he was chosen for cookhouse duties? Give reasons.
                      Answer- No, I don’t think private Quelch learnt his lesson when he was chosen for cookhouse duties because the write narrates over hearing him addressing the cooks about their unscientific method of peeling potatoes. This shows that he still used to show off his knowledge whenever he got the chance.

                      Want to check grammar for free? Try Free Grammar Checker.

                      Saturday, April 7, 2018

                      Fiction, Chapter-2 - A Dog Named Duke - Class IX English-A

                      A Dog Named Duke
                      William D. Elis

                      Answer these questions –

                      QUESTION- In 1953 Hooper was a favored young man. Explain.
                      ANSWER-This means that in 1953, Hooper had everything a man could ask for. He was healthy and fit. He was extremely successful in his job, was married and had his own home. He was liked by everyone and everything was going for him.

                      QUESTION- They said that they would create a desk job for him.
                        (a) Who are ‘they’?
                      ANSWER -‘They’ refers to some men from the company in which Hooper worked.
                      (b) Why did they decide to do this?
                      ANSWER -They decided to do this because they knew that due to his accident chuck will not be able to move around ad work as he did earlier. So, they told him to take a year off and decided to create a desk job for him which not requiring much movement would have suited his circumstances.

                      QUESTION- Duke was an extra ordinary dog. What qualities did he exhibit to justify this?
                      ANSWER- Duke was an extra ordinary dog.
                      ·       After the accident, he realized that chuck can’t maintain his balance and so he never jumped on his master again.
                      ·       He understood that he can help his master to walk again.so, he dragged Hooper patiently and persistently and helped him gain back his endurance and strength.
                      ·       When walking in the dark, Hooper would stay still until Hooper would trip and fall down, Duke would stay still until stood on his feet again.
                      All these instances prove that Duke was an intelligent, careful, tactful and responsible dog who helped his master not only to get back on his feet but also flourish in his career. These instances prove that Duke was an extra ordinary dog.

                      QUESTION- What problems did Chuck present when he returned to the company’s headquarters?
                      ANSWER- When Chuck returned back to the company’s headquarters neither could he work continuously for a long time nor could he write. This move of Hooper presented a problem because due to his condition , he was useless of his old job  of a salesman but nobody could tell him so because no one wanted to hurt his feelings after all his struggle to get back to work again.

                      QUESTION- Why do you think that Charles Hooper’s appointment as national assistant sales manager is considered a tribute to duke?
                      ANSWER- Charles Hooper’s appointment as national assistant sales manager is considered a tribute to duke because it was duke who taught him to cope with the challenge and accept the changed mode of life after his accident. Without Duke, Chuck would never have been able to walk, get back to his job, work hard and get promoted.

                      Friday, April 6, 2018

                      Fiction Chapter -1 How I Taught My Grandmother to Read Class IX English-A

                      Chapter 1
                      How I Taught My Grandmother to Read

                      Question- What made Triveni a popular writer?
                      Answer- Her style of writing and her convincing stories which dealt with the day to day life of ordinary people made Triveni a popular writer. People liked her and her stories because they could easily relate to her stories as they usually depicted the psychological problems people face in their day to day life.

                      Question- Why did grandmother depend on the granddaughter to know the story?
                      Answer- Grandmother depended on her granddaughter to know the story because she was an uneducated lady who never went to school and so she didn’t know how to read or write.

                      Question- Pick out two sentences which state that the grandmother was desperate to know what happened in the story.
                      Answer- Two sentences which state that the grandmother was desperate to know the story are-
                      1.    “I waited eagerly for you to return.”   
                      2.    During that time she would forget all her work and listen with the greatest concentration.

                      Question-Could the grandmother succeed in accomplishing her desire to read? How?
                      Answer- Yes, the grandmother succeeded in accomplishing her desire to read by working very hard, doing lots of homework, reading, writing, reciting, repeating and being determined to continue and accomplish her goal of learning the Kannada alphabets.

                      Question- Which of the following traits would be relevant to the character of the narrator’s grandmother?
                      Answer- The following traits are relevant to the character of the narrator’s grandmother-
                               (i) Determined- grandmother was a determined lady as she set the goal and decided to keep Saraswati pooja day as the deadline and was able to accomplish her goal in spite of many obstacles.
                               (ii) Emotional- grandmother was an emotional lady as when her granddaughter was not with her she felt sad and helpless. When her granddaughter returned and she related her story and helplessness she got emotional and cried.

                      Question- Write the character sketch of grandmother.
                      Answer- The main character in the story ‘how I taught my grandmother to read’ written by Sudha Murty is Krishtakka, the grandmother of the writer. Of sixty-two years with grey hairs and wrinkled hands. She worked a lot in the kitchen as she enjoyed feeding her children and grandchildren a lot. The writer states that she had not seen her grandmother cry even in the most difficult situation which shows that she had a strong-willed character.
                      She was a very determined lady as she didn’t give up in spite of all obstacles when she decided to learn the Kannada language. She was also very diligent and hardworking as the amount of homework she did was amazing. She decided to learn the Kannada language so that she could read independently. This shows that she possessed an independent spirit. She was also very religious and pious as she obeyed her holy scriptures and respected her teacher (granddaughter) irrespective of her age.

                      Sunday, February 25, 2018

                      Character Sketch of Kothamangalam Subbu

                      Class XII - English Core - Flamingo - Chapter 6 - Poets and Pancakes

                      Kothamangalam Subbu

                      In his book ' My Years with Boss at Gemini Studios' the writer Asokamitran has described Subbu as number two. To reach this position he had worked hard. We find out that 
                      the Gemini Studios was set up with a team of 600 people in 1940. It had set up its identity in film production and it touched upon varied aspects. Subbu is a many-sided genius and an indispensable man for the studios. He serves his Boss and the organization from the core of his heart. He does not have much education but his loyalty has made him identify with his Principal or the Boss. He uses all his energy and creativity to the advantage of his Boss and his company. He understands all the complexities and technicalities of film-making. In case the director is not satisfied, Subbu comes up with fourteen more alternatives. In this context, he is a dynamic person. During its golden period, Subbu gives Gemini Studios a  new direction and definition. Subbu is a poet and writes his poetry for the masses. His sprawling novel ‘Thillana Mohanambal’ had dozens of lovely characters on the mood and manner of the Devadasis of the early 20th century. Whatever roles Subbu played, he acted better than the main actor. Subbu has a charitable and cheerful personality. He feeds and supports dozens of near and dear ones at his residence but has his own share of enemies. With the closure of the story department, Subbu also lost his job.