4. Bepin Choudhury’s Lapse of Memory

Ch 4 Bepin Choudhury’s Lapse of Memory

Satyajit Ray

Comprehension Check(Page No: 62)

1. Why did the man stare at Bepin Babu in disbelief?


The man stared at Bepin Babu in disbelief because Bepin Babu did not recognise
him even though he was sure that he knew him and had met him in Ranchi.

2. Where did Bepin Babu say he went in October’ 58?


Bepin Babu said that he spent the Puja holidays in ’58 with a friend in Kanpur.

3. Mention any three (or more) things that Parimal Ghose knew about Bepin Babu.


Parimal Ghose knew following things about Bepin Babu:
→ That Bepin Babu slipped near Hydro falls and hurt his leg.
→ That Bepin Babu stayed in a Bungalow because he preferred food by bawarchi.
→ That Bepin Babu’s wife died 10 years ago.

Page No: 65

1. Why did Bepin Babu worry about what Parimal Ghose had said?


Bepin Babu continuously worried about what Parimal Ghose had said because he
had shown that he knew many intimate facts about him. He knew about the bag of
books, his wife’s death and his brother’s insanity. Considering that Parimal
Ghose knew so much about him, Bepin Babu couldn’t say with conviction that he
was making a mistake about the Ranchi trip.

2. How did he try to decide who was right – his memory or Parimal Ghose?


He tried to decide whether his memory was right or Parimal Ghose by looking at
his right knee where Parimal had claimed that there would be a cut. There was
certainly a mark of an old cut. However, he could not decide if the cut was the
result of his fall in Ranchi or due to some incident in his childhood. Then, he
decided to ask Dinesh Mukherjee, who according to Parimal Ghose was with him in
Ranchi. He felt that asking him would put an end to his confusion.

3. Why did Bepin Babu hesitate to visit Mr Mukerji? Why did he finally
decide to phone him?


Bepin Babu hesitated to visit Mr Dinesh Mukerji because he was afraid of the
ruthless sarcasm he would have to face. He felt that if the whole story about
Ranchi was false, then Mr Mukerji would think that he had gone insane.
Being constantly troubled by the incident at the bookshop and having no other
means for verifying the claims of Primal Ghose, Bepin Babu finally decided to
ask Mr Mukerji. However, he decided to phone him because that way his
embarrassment wouldn’t be visible to the latter.

4. What did Mr Mukerji say? Did it comfort Bepin Babu, or add to
his worries?


Mr Mukerji, after checking his diary, said that they had visited Ranchi in
October’58. This added to Bepin Babu’s worries as he could not figure out
how he could possibly have forgotten about the trip.

Page No: 68

1. Who was Chunilal? What did he want from Bepin Babu?


Chunilal was an old schoolmate of Bepin Babu. He had been having a rough time
lately and had been coming to see Bepin Babu for a job.

2. Why was Dr Chanda puzzled? What was unusual about Bepin Babu’s loss
of memory?


Dr Chanda was puzzled because he had never dealt with a case such as Bepin
Babu’s. It was outside his field of experience.
The unusual thing about Bepin Babu’s case was that he remembered everything in
his past except for one particular incident. Dr Chanda said that Bepin Babu
must have been to Ranchi. However, due to some unknown reason, the entire
episode had slipped out of his mind.

Page No: 70

1. Had Bepin Babu really lost his memory and forgotten all about a trip to


No, Bepin Babu had not really lost his memory and forgotten all about a trip to
Ranchi. It was a trick played by Chunilal.

2. Why do you think Chunilal did what he did? Chunilal says he has no money;
what is it that he does have?


Chunilal did what he did because Bepin Babu did not help him at a time when he
had no money and required a job. However, Bepin Babu did not do anything for
him. So he wanted to punish him by rekindling the haunting memory of his fall
near Hudroo.

seems to be a good writer with a very fertile imagination. That is what he
believes would help him to tide over his bad phase.


Working with Text

1. The author describes Bepin Babu as a serious and hardworking man. What
evidence can you find in the story to support this?


The author has described Bepin Babu as a serious and hardworking man. He worked
daily in his office. It was a big firm and he was doing a responsible job. He
had been with the firm for twenty-five years. He had a reputation for being a
tireless, conscientious worker.

2. Why did Bepin Babu change his mind about meeting Chunilal? What
was the result of this meeting?


Bepin Babu changed his mind about meeting Chunilal because he thought that it
might be possible that the latter remembered something about the Ranchi trip.
When Chunilal confirmed that Bepin Babu had been to Ranchi, Bepin Babu decided
to see a specialist doctor.

3. Bepin Babu lost consciousness at Hudroo Falls. What do you think
was the reason for this?


Bepin Babu lost consciousness at Hudroo Falls because he had a fall. He had
broken his hip.

4. How do you think Bepin Babu reacted when he found out that Chunilal had
tricked him?


After finding out that Chunilal had tricked him, Bepin Babu must have been filled
with remorse for his ‘unfeeling behaviour’ towards an ‘old friend down on his
luck’. He would have realised that he had indeed been a victim of forgetfulness
as he had forgotten the meaning of friendship in a time of ‘affluence’.

Page No: 71

Working with Language

1.Fill in the blanks below using ‘had
to’/ ‘have to’/ ‘has to’.

(i) I ____________cut my hair every month.
(ii) We _____________ go for swimming lessons last year.
(iii) She ____________tell the principal the truth.
(iv) They ______________take the baby to the doctor.
(v) We _____________ complain to the police about the noise.
(vi) Romit ___________finish his homework before he could come out to play.
(vii) I _______________repair my cycle yesterday.


(i) I have to cut my hair every month.
(ii) We had to go to swimming lessons last year.
(iii) She has to tell the principal the truth.
(iv) They had to take the baby to the doctor.
(v) We have to complain to the police about the noise.
(vi) Romit had to finish his homework before he could come out to play.
(vii) I had to repair my cycle yesterday.

3. Study the sentences in the columns below.



saw this movie yesterday.

have seen this movie already.

Babu worked here for a week last year.

Babu has worked here since 2003.

wrote to a publisher last week.

has written to a publisher.

visited Ranchi once, long ago.

have visited Ranchi once before.

Compare the sentences in the two columns, especially the verb forms. Answer the
following questions about each pair of sentences.

(i) Which column tells us the Bepin Babu is still working at the same the
(ii) Which column suggests that Chunilal is now waiting for a reply from the
(iii) Which column suggests that the person still remembers the movie he saw?
(iv) Which column suggests that the experience of visiting Ranchi is still
fresh in the speaker’s mind?


(i) Column B
(ii) Column A
(iii) Column B
(iv) Column B

Page No: 72

4. Given below are jumbled sentences.
Working in groups, rearrange the words in each sentence to form correct

You will find that each sentence contains an idiomatic expression that
you have come across in the lesson. Underline the idiom and write down its
meaning. Then use you dictionary to check the meaning.

(i) Stop/and tell me/beating about/what you want/the bush

(ii) don’t pay/if you/attention/you might/the wrong train/to the
Idiom: _______________________________________________________________

(iii) The village/tried/the crime/on the young woman/to pin

(iv)Bepin Babu/orders to/telling people/under/loved/doctor’s/eat early/that he
Ans: ________________________________________________________________
Idiom: _______________________________________________________________

(v)the student/The teacher/his eyebrows/when/said that/all their
lessons/raised/they had revised
Ans: ________________________________________________________________
Idiom: _______________________________________________________________


(i) Stop beating about the bush and tell me what you want.
Idiom: beating about the bush – avoiding the main topic, not coming straight to
the point

(ii) If you don’t pay attention to the announcement, you might board the wrong
Idiom: pay attention – listen carefully

(iii) The villagers tried to pin the crime on the young woman.
Idiom: pin the crime – place the responsibility of the crime

(iv) Bepin Babu loved telling people that he was under doctor’s orders to eat
Idiom: under doctor’s orders – in the complete necessity

(v) The teacher raised his eyebrows when the students said that they had
revised all their lessons.

Idiom: raised his eyebrows – expressed doubt/surprise

Study Material of Bepin
Choudhury’s Lapse of Memory