Showing posts with label class XII. Show all posts
Showing posts with label class XII. Show all posts

Sunday, January 15, 2023

Class XII - Flamingo Prose - Poets and Pancakes - Various Themes


Themes in Poets and Pancakes

  1. Nepotism and Fawning at the place of work: Kothamangalam Subbu reaches the position of second in command at the Gemini Studios because of favouritism by virtue of being born a Brahman. He had the ability to look cheerful at all times even after...a flop film.' He was a poet, a novelist, and yet, the office boy believes that all this success might have been 'because he seemed so close and intimate with The Boss'. Another reason for Subbu's success might be that 'his general demeanour...resembled as sycophant's.

  2. The hierarchy at the place of work: 'A strict hierarchy was maintained in the make-up department. The chief make-up man applied make-up on the chief actors and actresses, his senior assistant looked after the second hero and heroine, and the junior assistant looked after the comedian. The office boy, who feels jealous of Subbu, is on the lowest stage of the hierarchical ladder.

  3. Social Integration at the place of work: While partiality, flattery and grading order are argumentative in nature, it is surprising to know that social assimilation was closely followed in Gemini Studios. As such, the make-up department was first headed by a Bengali who was succeeded by a Maharashtrian. The Maharashtrian was assisted by a Dharwar Kannadiga, an Andhra, a Madras Indian Christian, an Anglo-Burmese and then, of course, there were the local Tamils.

  4. Publicity at the place of work: Unfortunately, Gemini Studios became a battlefield for advertising in which the people, who worked in Studios, became the confused, dazed and unfortunate victims in a war of attitudes and schools of thought that they didn't really understand! The Moral Re-Armament army's hidden agenda was to counter International Communism'. It was with this express purpose that they visited Madras in 1952. Later, when Stephen Spender visited Gemini Studios, it was to propagate the virtues of Communism. Although his speech was interspersed with words like 'freedom' and 'democracy, his accent left them baffled" 

  5. Jealousy at the place of work: Asokamitran describes jealousy at great length. In this case, there was one person who was jealous of Kothamangalam Subbu. This was the office boy who had 'entered the studios years ago in the hope of becoming a star actor or a top screenwriter', but he had not managed to any of them. He was in his early forties and looked at Subbu with envy. "In all instances of frustration, you will always find the anger directed towards a single person openly or covertly and this man of the make-up department was convinced that all his woes, ignominy and neglect were due to Kothamangalam Subbu.' Subbu had managed to write poetry, he had written a novel. and 'He was an amazing actor all of which the Office boy had wanted but could never achieve.

Monday, April 27, 2020

Class XII - English - Flamingo - Deep Water - Notes

William Douglas (1898-1980)

About the author

William Douglas (1898-1980) was born in Maine, Minnesota. After graduating with a Bachelors of Arts in English and Economics, he spent two years teaching high school in Yakima. However, he got tired of this and decided to pursue a legal career. He met Franklin D. Roosevelt at Yale and became an adviser and friend to the President. Douglas was a leading advocate of individual rights. He retired in 1975 with a term lasting thirty-six years and remains the longest-serving Justice in the history of the court. The following excerpt is taken from Of Men and Mountains by William O. Douglas. It reveals how as a young boy William Douglas nearly drowned in a swimming pool. In this essay he talks about his fear of water and thereafter, how he finally overcame it. Notice how the autobiographical part of  the selection is used to support his discussion of fear.

Complete Text

It had happened when I was ten or eleven years old. I had decided to learn to swim. There was a pool at the Y.M.C.A. in Yakima that offered exactly the opportunity. The Yakima River was treacherous. Mother continually warned against it, and kept fresh in my mind the details of each drowning in the river. But the Y.M.C.A. pool was safe. It was only two or three feet deep at the shallow end; and while it was nine feet deep at the other, the drop was gradual. I got a pair of water wings and went to the pool. I hated to walk naked into it and show my skinny legs. But I subdued my pride and did it. 

From the beginning, however, I had an aversion to the water when I was in it. This started when I was three or four years old and father took me to the beach in California. He and I stood together in the surf. I hung on to him, yet the waves knocked me down and swept over me. I was buried in water. My breath was gone. I was frightened. Father laughed, but there was terror in my heart at the overpowering force of the waves. 

My introduction to the Y.M.CA. swimming pool revived unpleasant memories and stirred childish fears. But in a little while I gathered confidence. I paddled with my new water wings, watching the other boys and trying to learn by aping them. I did this two or three times on different days and was just beginning to feel at ease in the water when the misadventure happened.

I went to the pool when no one else was there. The place was quiet. The water was still, and the tiled bottom was as white and clean as a bathtub. I was timid about going in alone, so I sat on the side of the pool to wait for others. 

I had not been there long when in came a big bruiser of a boy, probably eighteen years old. He had thick hair on his chest. He was a beautiful physical specimen, with legs and arms that showed rippling muscles. He yelled, “Hi, Skinny! How’d you like to be ducked?” 

With that he picked me up and tossed me into the deep end. I landed in a sitting position, swallowed water, and went at once to the bottom. I was frightened, but not yet  frightened out of my wits. On the way down I planned: When my feet hit the bottom, I would make a big jump, come to the surface, lie flat on it, and paddle to the edge of the pool.
It seemed a long way down. Those nine feet were more like ninety, and before I touched bottom my lungs were ready to burst. But when my feet hit bottom I summoned all my strength and made what I thought was a great spring upwards. I imagined I would bob to the surface like a cork. Instead, I came up slowly. I opened my eyes and saw nothing  but water — water that had a dirty yellow tinge to it. I grew panicky. I reached up as if to grab a rope and my hands clutched only at water. I was suffocating. I tried to yell but no sound came out. Then my eyes and nose came out of the water — but not my mouth.

I flailed at the surface of the water, swallowed and choked. I tried to bring my legs up, but they hung as dead weights, paralysed and rigid. A great force was pulling me under. I screamed, but only the water heard me. I had started on the long journey back to the bottom of the pool.

I struck at the water as I went down, expending my strength as one in a nightmare fights an irresistible force. I had lost all my breath. My lungs ached, my head throbbed. I was getting dizzy. But I remembered the strategy — I would spring from the bottom of the pool and come like a cork to the surface. I would lie flat on the water, strike out with my arms, and thrash with my legs. Then I would get to the edge of the pool and be safe.

I went down, down, endlessly. I opened my eyes. Nothing but water with a yellow glow — dark water that one could not see through.

And then sheer, stark terror seized me, terror that knows no understanding, terror that knows no control, terror that no one can understand who has not experienced it. I was shrieking under water. I was paralysed under water — stiff, rigid with fear. Even the screams in my throat were frozen. Only my heart, and the pounding in my head, said that I was still alive.

And then in the midst of the terror came a touch of reason. I must remember to jump when I hit the bottom. At last I felt the tiles under me. My toes reached out as if to grab them. I jumped with everything I had.

But the jump made no difference. The water was still around me. I looked for ropes, ladders, water wings. Nothing but water. A mass of yellow water held me. Stark terror took an even deeper hold on me, like a great charge of electricity. I shook and trembled with fright. My arms wouldn’t move. My legs wouldn’t move. I tried to call for help, to call for mother. Nothing happened.

And then, strangely, there was light. I was coming out of the awful yellow water. At least my eyes were. My nose was almost out too.

Then I started down a third time. I sucked for air and got water. The yellowish light was going out. 

Then all effort ceased. I relaxed. Even my legs felt limp; and a blackness swept over my brain. It wiped out fear; it wiped out terror. There was no more panic. It was quiet and peaceful. Nothing to be afraid of. This is nice... to be drowsy... to go to sleep... no need to jump... too tired to jump... it’s nice to be carried gently... to float along in space... tender arms around me... tender arms like Mother’s... now I must go to sleep...

I crossed to oblivion, and the curtain of life fell.

The next I remember I was lying on my stomach beside the pool, vomiting. The chap that threw me in was saying, “But I was only fooling.” Someone said, “The kid nearly died. Be all right now. Let’s carry him to the locker room.” 

Several hours later, I walked home. I was weak and trembling. I shook and cried when I lay on
my bed. I couldn’t eat that night. For days a haunting fear was in my heart. The slightest exertion upset me, making me wobbly in the knees and sick to my stomach.

I never went back to the pool. I feared water. I avoided it whenever I could.

A few years later when I came to know the waters of the Cascades, I wanted to get into them. And whenever I did — whether I was wading the Tieton or Bumping River or bathing in Warm Lake of the Goat Rocks — the terror that had seized me in the pool would come back. It would take possession of me completely. My legs would become paralysed. Icy horror would grab my heart. 

This handicap stayed with me as the years rolled by. In canoes on Maine lakes fishing for landlocked salmon, bass fishing in New Hampshire, trout fishing on the Deschutes and Metolius in Oregon, fishing for salmon on the Columbia, at Bumping Lake in the Cascades — wherever I went, the haunting fear of the water followed me. It ruined my fishing trips; deprived me of the joy of canoeing, boating, and swimming.

I used every way I knew to overcome this fear, but it held me firmly in its grip. Finally, one October, I decided to get an instructor and learn to swim. I went to a pool and practiced five days a week, an hour each day. The instructor put a belt around me. A rope attached to the belt went through a pulley that ran on an overhead cable. He held on to the end of the rope, and we went back and forth, back and forth across the pool, hour after hour, day after day, week after week. On each trip across the pool a bit of the panic seized me. Each time the instructor relaxed his hold on the rope and I went under, some of the old terror returned and my legs froze. It was three months before the tension began to slack. Then he taught me to put my face under water and exhale, and to raise my nose and inhale. I repeated the exercise hundreds of times. Bit by bit I shed part of the panic that seized me when my head went under water.

Next he held me at the side of the pool and had me kick with my legs. For weeks I did just that. At first my legs refused to work. But they gradually relaxed; and finally I could command them. 

Thus, piece by piece, he built a swimmer. And when he had perfected each piece, he put them together into an integrated whole. In April he said, “Now you can swim. Dive off and swim the length of the pool, crawl stroke.” 

I did. The instructor was finished. 

But I was not finished. I still wondered if I would be terror-stricken when I was alone in the pool. I tried it. I swam the length up and down. Tiny vestiges of the old terror would return. But now I could frown and say to that terror, “Trying to scare me, eh? Well, here’s to you! Look!” And off I’d go for another length of the pool. 

This went on until July. But I was still not satisfied. I was not sure that all the terror had left. So I went to Lake Wentworth in New Hampshire, dived off a dock at Triggs Island, and swam two miles across the lake to Stamp Act Island. I swam the crawl, breast stroke, side stroke, and back stroke. Only once did the terror return. When I was in the middle of the lake, I put my face under and saw nothing but bottomless water. The old sensation returned in miniature. I laughed and said, “Well, Mr Terror, what do you think you can do to me?” It fled and I swam on.

Yet I had residual doubts. At my first opportunity I hurried west, went up the Tieton to Conrad Meadows, up the Conrad Creek Trail to Meade Glacier, and camped in the high meadow by the side of Warm Lake. The next morning I stripped, dived into the lake, and swam across to the other shore and back — just as Doug Corpron used to do. I shouted with joy, and Gilbert Peak returned the echo. I had conquered my fear of water. 

The experience had a deep meaning for me, as only those who have known stark terror and conquered it can appreciate. In death there is peace. There is terror only in the fear of death, as Roosevelt knew when he said, “All we have to fear is fear itself.” Because I had experienced both the
sensation of dying and the terror that fear of it can produce, the will to live somehow grew in intensity. 

At last I felt released — free to walk the trails and climb the peaks and to brush aside fear.


In "Of Men and Mountains" by William Douglas, the author recounts an incident from his childhood when he was tossed into a swimming pool by an older boy and nearly drowned. He had an aversion to water from an earlier traumatic incident and had been learning to swim at the YMCA pool. When he was alone at the pool, the older boy threw him into the deep end, and Douglas was unable to swim to the surface due to fear and panic. He struggled to stay afloat and was about to lose consciousness when a lifeguard rescued him. The experience left him with a determination to overcome his fear of water and learn to swim properly.

Think as you read

  1. What is the "misadventure" that William Douglas speaks about?

    The ''Misadventure'' is an incident that took place at the Y.M.C.A Swimming pool when Douglas as a kid went there to learn swimming. One day when Douglas was waiting by the side of the pool for company, a big bully picked him up and tossed him into the deep end which was nine feet in depth. As he was not a good swimmer, Douglas nearly drowned. This incident left him traumatized.

  2. What were the series of emotions and fears that Douglas experienced when he was thrown into the pool? What plans did he make to come to the surface?

    William Douglas was thrown into the pool by a muscular boy. He got frightened but did not lose his wits in the beginning. While going down he planned to make a big jump when his feet would hit the bottom and come to surface, lie flat on the water and paddle to the edge of the pool. But his plan did not materialize. He went down very slowly and by the time his feet touched the bottom his lungs were ready to burst. His journey back to the top was very slow and the entire experience made him grew panicky and terrorized.

    The same thing happened when he went down for the second and third time in the water till he started fainting and thought himself to be dead.

  3. How did this experience affect him?

    Douglas's childhood trauma of almost drowning in a pool triggered his aversion to water. The incident left him feeling weak and tearful, and he lost his appetite. Any physical activity drained him and caused him to feel nauseous, compelling him to avoid water and stay away from the pool whenever possible. Consequently, the incident continued to haunt him for a considerable period.

  4. Why was Douglas determined to get over his fear of water? 

    Douglas was determined to get over his fear of water because he wanted to live a normal life without any handicap. Since his fear of water was not letting him enjoy the water related fun activities like canoeing, boating, swimming and fishing etc. he decided to get rid of this fear completely.

  5. How did the instructor “build a swimmer” out of Douglas? 

    The instructor taught him all the swimming related activities one by one. He taught him how to exhale when the face is in the water and inhale when the face is above water. He also taught him different strokes and how to use one's feet for swimming. When Douglas mastered all the skills necessary for swimming one by one, the instructor asked him to use all at once so that he could swim, and this trick worked.

  6. How did Douglas make sure that he conquered the old terror? 

    Even after the swimming training was over, Douglas wasn't confident about his swimming or that he had overcome the fear. He was determined to completely get rid of it forever. He swam alone in the pool. He went to Lake Wentworth to dive. There, he tried every possible stroke he had learnt. He fought back the tiny vestiges of terror that gripped him in middle of the lake. Finally, in his diving expedition in the Warm Lake, he realised that he had truly conquered his old terror.

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.

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.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Poems by Milton - On Time XII-Elective English

Portrait of Milton, c. 1629

Poems by Milton - On Time XII-Elective English

Summary of the Poem

“On Time,” by the English poet John Milton (1608-1674), deals with one of the most common themes in all of medieval or Renaissance literature: the theme of mutability, or the idea that life on earth is full of constant (and mainly negative) change. The inevitable passage of time was a particularly painful example of such change, especially since it ultimately involved physical deterioration and then, eventually, physical death. Milton’s poem is a response to such gradual but certain decay. Like many other writers of his era (an era dominated by Christian thinking), Milton emphasized that humans can escape the ravages of time by attaining an eternal life in heaven that is full of joy.

Line 1 begins with the vigorous verb “Fly” (that is, “flee”), which immediately asserts the speaker’s vigor and self-confidence. Rather than being intimidated by time, he attacks and mocks it (much as John Donne attacks and mocks a personified Death in his Holy Sonnet X). Time is “envious,” a word which in Milton’s era mainly meant being hateful, malignant, and/or spiteful. But perhaps it also here suggests that Time, which is limited and bound to end, envies human beings, who are capable of existing eternally. In any case, by personifying time as “Time,” Milton makes it almost seem a living thing—an assertion which already implies a bit of irony since he soon suggests that Time will die. Time, in this poem, seems not merely an abstract philosophical concept; it is a malevolent, active being whom one must resist and defeat. The speaker, however, immediately implies that he feels no fear of Time; from the very first line, he suggests that Time is fated to suffer death.

Line 2 shows Milton’s talent for using sound effects. In this case, the effects involve not only alliteration (repetition of similar consonant sounds) but also assonance (repetition of similar vowel sounds), as in the repetition here of “l’s” and short “e’s”: “Call on the lazy leaden-stepping hours.” Having already mentioned the word “race” in line 1 (a word implying speed), the speaker now implies (through the use of the particular adjectives here) that Time moves very slowly. It is as if the speaker feels contempt for the “lazy leaden-stepping hours,” as if he is almost eager for Time to run its race as quickly as possible.

Line 3 once more emphasizes the slowness of Time by comparing its movement, appropriately enough, to that of a “plummet” (or weight) in a clock, which slowly descends and thus powers the time-piece.

Line 4 implies that Time is a kind of crude glutton, eager to consume living things and then digest them in its stomach (or “womb”). It is as if Time has now become a huge, personified gut—a kind of mindless, all-consuming stomach. Here again, then, the tone is completely contemptuous.

Line 5 again speaks of Time contemptuously, suggesting that what it greedily devours is in any case worthless, so that Time seems not only crude but also stupid. Time is willing to...(to be updated later)

Q. In the poem "On Time" by John Milton, why has the poet pitted the flight of Time against the "lazy leaden-stepping hours" and "the heavy Plummets pace"?


Milton is contrasting the seeming speed of life as it flies by and is finished to the seeming long length of individual days. He is also contrasting the ultimate end of human life with the ultimate annihilation of Time.

Fly envious Time, till thou run out thy race,
Call on the lazy leaden-stepping hours,
Whose speed is but the heavy Plummets pace;

The first line quoted here carries a Biblical allusion to the Christian notion that Time will eventually end, "till thou run out thy race," when Earth, space and time cease to exist at the end of the world, a time when a New Heaven and a New Earth without the limits of Time is expected. He defies Time's control over individual human lives in the words "Fly ... Time." The poetic narrator (presumably Milton himself) is mocking Time for two reasons. First, though life rushes past, each day has a "lazy leaden-" pace that goes only as fast as a lead weight, "Plummet." Second, Time will cease to be, "thy greedy self consum'd," but humans' lives will end in the long eternal "bliss" of unity with God:

And last of all, thy greedy self consum'd,
Then long Eternity shall greet our bliss
With an individual kiss;
And Joy shall overtake us as a flood,

In summary, Milton has developed a wonderful metaphoric paradox for understanding Time as something that is both too fast and yet prolonged: the whole is too fast but the individual parts are preciously slow. Milton further "pitted the flight of Time against the 'lazy leaden-stepping hours' and 'the heavy Plummets pace'" as a mark of defiance against the quickly spent short course of life and as a celebration of the eternal blissful life that is to follow.