Question: The author’s grandmother was a religious person. What are the different ways in which we come to know this?
Answer: The author’s grandmother was a deeply religious lady. We come to know this through the different ways of her behaviour. She visited the temple every morning and read scriptures. At home she always mumbled inaudible prayer and kept telling the beads of rosary. She would repeat prayers in a sing-song manner while getting the writer ready for school. She hoped that he would learn it by heart. She didn’t like English school as there was no teaching of God and scriptures.
Even while spinning at her spinning-wheel she would recite prayers. Perhaps it was only once that she forgot to say her prayers. It was on the evening prior to her death when she felt over excited while celebrating the arrival of her grandson with songs and beatings of drum. She continued praying and telling beads of her rosary toll her last breath.
Question: Describe the changing relationship between the author and his grandmother. Did their feelings for each other change?
Answer: During his boyhood, the author was completely dependent on his grandmother. She was a part of his life. The turning point in their friendship came when they went to city. She could no longer accompany him to school as he went there by bus. They shared the same room but she could not help him in his studies. She would ask him what the teachers had taught. She did not believe in the things that were taught at school. She was distressed that there was no teaching about God and the scriptures. She felt offended that music was also being taught. She expressed her disapproval silently. After this she rarely talked to him. When he went to university, he was given a room of his own. The common link of friendship was snapped.
However their feelings for each other did not change. They still loved each other deeply. She went to see the author off a at the railway station but kissed his forehead silently. The author valued this as perhaps the last sign of physical contact between them. When the author returned after five years, she received him at the station. She clasped him in her arms. In the evening she celebrated his homecoming by singing songs and beating an old drum.
Question: Would you agree that the author’s grandmother was a person strong in character? If yes, give instances that show this.
Answer: Yes, I agree that the author’s grandmother was a person strong in character. She was a strong woman with strong beliefs. Although she was not formally educated, she was serious about the author’s education. She could not adjust herself to the western way of life, Science and English education. She hated music and disapproved of its teaching in school.
She was a deeply religious lady. Her lips were always moving in a silent prayer. She was always telling the beads of her rosary. She went to temple daily and read the scriptures. She was distressed to know that there was no teaching of god and holy books at Khushwant’s new English school. She was a kind lady. She used to feed dogs in the village. In the city she took to feeding sparrows. Although in old years and weak in body, she had strength of mind. Just before her death, she refused to talk to the members of the family as she did not want to waste her time. She wanted to make up for the time last evening when she had not prayed to God. She lay peacefully in bed saying prayers and telling the beads of her rosary till she breathed her last.
Question: Have you known someone like the author’s grandmother? Do you feel the same sense of loss with regard to someone whom you have loved and lost?
Answer: Yes, I have known my grandfather, who loved me deeply and looked after me. He had served in the army before he retired as a colonel 20 years ago. When I was a school going kid, he was still active and smart. He was fond of walking, jogging and playing outdoor games. He inspired us to get up early in the morning. He believed that a healthy mind lives in a healthy body. He used to give us good physical exercises followed by milk and nourishing food and then asked us to study for a while before going to school. In the afternoon, he would enquire what we had been taught at the school. He would help us in our home tasks and supervise our reading, writing and doing sums. He was gentle but firm. He laid stress on good habits and character building. He passed away when I had gone abroad for higher studies. I miss him a lot. A sense of loss fills me whenever I see his portrait of the wall. But his cheerful looks remind me to take heart and fight eh struggle of life.
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