Children at Work

2.Children at Work

Children at Work

Comprehension Check (Page No: 9)

1. Velu stood on the platform but
he felt “as if he was still on a moving train”. Why?
Answer- Velu stood on the platform but felt as if he was still on a moving
train because his legs were still wobbly and shaky after the journey to
Chennai. Usually, the effect of a moving train stays for some time after the
end of the journey.

2. What made him feel miserable?
Answer- Velu felt miserable and exhausted because he had run away from his
village two days ago and had not eaten anything except some peanuts and a piece
of jaggery for the last two days.

3. (i) Velu travelled without a
ticket. Why?
Answer- Velu travelled without a ticket because he had no money to buy a

(ii) How did he escape the ticket collector’s attention?
Answer- He escaped the ticket collector’s attention
because luckily the ticket collector did not come to the unreserved compartment.

4. Why had Velu run away from home?

Answer- Velu had run away from home because
his father used to beat him every day. His father would also spend the money
earned by Velu and his sisters on drinking.

5. Why did he decide to follow the
‘strange’ girl?
Answer- He decided to follow the ‘strange’ girl because he did not know
where to go and what to do.

Page No: 13

1. Can Velu read Tamil and English?
How do you know?
Answer- Velu can only read Tamil but not English. He failed to read the
signboards in English. However, he can read the front. Velu read the Tamil sign,
Central Jail.

2. “If you are not careful, you
will soon be counting bars there,” the girl said.
(i) What is she referring to?
Answer- She was referring to the Central Jail.

(ii) What does she mean when she says “If you are not careful…”?
(She says something a little later which means the same. Find that sentence.)
(ii) When she said “If you are not
careful…” to Velu, she meant that he should not get caught. All he had to do
to stay away from jail was to not do something stupid and get caught by

3. (i) Where did the girl lead Velu
Answer- The Girl led Velu to the back of a wedding hall.
(ii) What did they get to eat?
Answer- Velu got a banana and a vada, while the girl got only one banana to

4. What work did she do? Think of a
one-word answer.

Answer- Rag picking.

Page No: 15

1. (i) What material are the
‘strange’ huts made out of?
Answer – The ‘strange’ huts were made out of metal sheets, tyres, bricks,
wood, and plastic.
(ii) Why does Velu find them strange?
Answer- Velu found the huts strange because, in his village, the houses were
made of mud and palm leaves. The huts he saw were made up of all sorts of
things and looked like they could fall at any moment.

2. What sort of things did Jaya and
children like her collect and what did they do with those things?
Answer- Jaya and children like her collected paper, plastic, glass, and
other such things. They sold these items to Jam Bazaar Jaggu, who further sold
it to a factory.

3. Is Velu happy or unhappy to find
work? Give a reason for your answer.
Answer- Velu was unhappy to find work because he had not run away from home
to dig through garbage bins. The only work he had ever done was weeding and
taking cows out to graze. However, since he did not know Chennai too well, he
decided to work as a ragpicker till the time he found a better job.


1. Is Velu a smart boy? Which
instances in the text show that he is or isn’t?
Answer- Yes. Velu seems to be a smart boy. Not physically but
mentally. He makes the determination to leave his village and could stand his
father’s beating. When he reached Chennai, the girl, who was a ragpicker,
tried to help him. Initially, he thought of not taking her help. However, he
was smart enough to realize that he was very hungry and did not know where to
go. Therefore, he followed the girl. He knew how to read Tamil. When the girl
told him to eat the banana that she found in the garbage, he refused at first.
However, he quickly realized that he was very hungry and therefore, ate it.
Even though he found the place and even the girl very strange, he continued to
walk along with her. He tried to understand why she collected rubbish. He knew
that he had not come to the big city to collect rubbish; however, he adjusted
to the circumstances and decided to do the same work till he found a better

2. Do you think Jaya is a brave and
sensitive child with a sense of humour? Find instances of her courage, kind
nature and humour in the text.
Answer- Jaya is a brave and sensitive child with a sense of humour. She was
of Velu’e age. She was a ragpicker and knew how to live in the city. Jaya
knew her way around Chennai, which is a fairly big city. She knew from
where to find food. She knew that one has to be careful to not get caught by
the police.

Jaya was also a very sensitive and kind girl
as she helped Velu in all possible ways. She gave him a pair of shoes
because his feet burnt in burning sun on the far road. 

Jaya was also of a humorous nature. When she
saw Velu sitting at the platform, she asked him if he was there to become rich.
When Velu was not able to cross the road, she dragged him to the other side of
the road and said “What do you think you’re doing? Grazing cows? If you stand
around in the middle of the road like that, you’ll be chutney.”

3. What one throws away as waste
may be valuable to others. Do you find this sentence means in the context
of this story? How?
Answer- Yes, this story shows that what one throws away as waste might be
valuable to others. The empty bottles, paper and items of plastic are thrown
out by the people. The ragpickers earn their living by collecting them. Those
who store rubbish become very rich people for them. The waste is valuable and a
blessing for them and their life depends upon it.