How I taught My Grandmother to Read (Extra Questions and Notes)

By | April 2, 2017

About the Author- Sudha Kulkarni Murthy

Sudha Kulkarni Murthy was born on 19 August 1950 in Shiggaon, Karnataka, India She did her M.Tech. in Computer Science and began her professional career as a computer scientist and engineer She is also an Indian Social Worker and author. A prolific writer in English and Kannada, she has written nine novels, four technical books, three travelogues, one collection of short stories, three collections of non-fiction pieces and two books for children. Her books have been translated into all the major Indian languages and have sold over three lakh copies around the country. She was the recipient of R.K. Narayan’s Award for Literature and the Padma Shri in 2006. She also teaches computer science She did B.E. in Electrical Engineering and stood first in Karnataka for which she received a gold medal. She also completed her M.Tech. in Computer Science from the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, standing first in her class and received a gold medal from the Indian Institute of Engineers. Some of her great writing s include Sweet Hospitality” and “Wise and Otherwise”.

Introduction of the story

“How I Taught My Grandmother to Read” is the story of an old woman who started to learn to read and write at the age of sixty two. She believed that age is no bar for learning. Her Sincere efforts and determination helped her to achieve her goal to read independently within a short period of time. She gave due respect to her ‘teacher’ who was a twelve-year-old granddaughter.

Theme

The story deals with the idea that age is no bar for learning. A strong determination, desire to succeed and confidence in one’s self can help one accomplish even the impossible. The story also explodes the myth of generation gap. The story also deals with the liberation of women through education, the message that a teacher, irrespective of gender or age, should be respected.

TITLE

“How I Taught My Grandmother to Read” is the story of an old woman who was taught the Kannada alphabet by her granddaughter at the age of sixty two. The story revolves round how the grandmother was motivated to read, how her determination and hard work with the efforts of her grandchild resulted in the accomplishment of her desire to become independent by being able to read on her own. The story is written in first person by the granddaughter. She felt a great sense of achievement in helping her grandmother to read. Hence she has given this account the title “How I Taught M Grandmother to Read”. The title, thus, is a very apt one.

Short Summary in English

The narrator, Sudha Murty tells a story about the time when she was 12 years old. She used to stay with her grandparents in a village in north Karnataka. Her grandmother loved her very much. The childhood of the grandma was full of difficulties as she lost her mother when she was very young. Her father married again. Besides, in those days, girls were not sent to school. She was married off early. The major part of her life was spent in looking after the family. Unfortunately She remained uneducated and the writer tells how she taught her grandmother to read.
When she grew old, her granddaughter, Sudha Murty who lived with her in the village, read out stories from magazines and newspapers. She was especially fond of a story, Kashi Yatre, which appeared in the magazine Karamveera because this story matched with the personality of the grandma, Kristakka. In Kashi Yatre there was a poor old woman who was very keen to visit Kashi with the savings of her lifetime. But at last she did not go to Kashi and gave all her savings to a poor, orphan girl for her marriage.
Once, her granddaughter went for a week to a neighbouring village to attend a wedding. Grandmother could not read that week’s episode of her favourite serial. That was when she realized how dependent she was on- others. She realized the importance of literacy and the freedom and independence it gave. She asked her granddaughter to teach her how to read. She was 62 years old then. In the beginning the granddaughter laughed at the idea of a sixty two-year-old grey haired lady trying to learn to read and write but ultimately she started to tech her grandmother. Grandma set a deadline for herself. It was the festival of Dassara. She vowed that she would hold a pooja dedicated to Saraswati, the Goddess of learning.
She achieved her target. On the Pooja day, the grandma was able to read on her own. She gifted her granddaughter a frock material. As a mark of gratitude respect she touched the feet of her twelve-year-old teacher. The Child was taken aback. She also touched her grandmother’s feet and gifted her ‘Kashi Yatre’ which had by this time been published as a novel. The grandmother read out the title of the book, the writer’s name and the publisher’s name without any mistake. This gave ‘the teacher’ a lot of joy because her student had passed with flying colours.

Summary In Hindi (Will be Available Soon)

Message / Moral of the story

The story conveys the message that there is no age for learning and a teacher, irrespective of age of sex deserves to be respected. One should always feel grateful to a teacher who leads one from darkness to light.

MCQ Based Questions with Answers-

Read the extracts given below carefully. Then attempt the questions given below-
1. ‘The happiness of an orphan girl is more important than worshipping Lord Vishweshwara at Kashi’
a. The speaker is-
i) The writer                                                                        ii) Krishtakka
iii) the protagonist of the story Kashi Yatre           iv) the writer’s grandmother
Ans.- iii) the protagonist of the story Kashi Yatre

b. The speaker made the orphan girl happy by
I) spending her money on her marriage      ii) praying to Lord Vishweshwara at Kashi
iii) Educating her                                                  IV) sending her to Kashi
Ans.- I) spending her money on her marriage

c. The extract shows the _______ nature of the speaker-
I) evil                               II) generous                     iii) grateful                        iv) magnanimous
Ans.- magnanimous

2. I felt so very dependent and helpless. We are well-off, but what use is money when I cannot be independent?’
a. The writer’s grandmother felt dependent and helpless because
i) she had no one to look after her       ii) she was wealthy but did not know how to use it
iii) she was illiterate                                  iv) her relatives were troubling her for her wealth
Ans.- iii) she was illiterate

b. The speaker thinks
i) wealth is very important                      ii) education is more important than money
iii) independence comes with money  iv) money and education axe equally important
Ans.- ii) education is more important than money

c. ‘… but what use is money…’ means
i) money is of no use                                  ii) money is very useful
iii) money is everything                           iv) money is invaluable
Ans. – i) money is of no use

3. ‘Her stories usually dealt with complex psychological problems in the lives of ordinary people and were always very interesting.’
(a) Who is ‘her’ referred to ?
(i) Krishtakka                   (ii) Triveni                       (iii) Narrator           (iv) None of the above

(b) What was the person referred to here, by profession?
(i) Writer                           (ii) Doctor                        (iii) Social Worker  (iv) Teacher

(c) How many years ago did the person referred to here die?
(i) Ten years (ii) Thirty years (iii) Forty years (iv) Sixty years

Ans : (a) (ii) (b) (i) (c) (iii)
4.“Many times, I rubbed my hands over the pages wishing they could understand what was written.”
(a) The ‘I’ in the above lines refers to :
(i) Sudha Murthy            (ii) Triveni                  (iii) Krishtakka                  (iv) Saraswati
(b) The ‘pages’ were of a :
(i) Kannada Newspaper                                      (ii) Magazine
(iii) Novel ‘Kashi Yatre’                                        (iv) Weekly magazine ‘Karmaveera’
(c) “Rubbing my hands over the pages” suggests the speaker’s :
(i) disappointment          (ii) desperation        (iii) deep yearning                (iv) regret
Ans. (a) (iii) (b) (iv) (c) (ii)

5. “Later, she could repeat the entire text by heart.”
(a) ‘She’ is referred to :
(i) Sudha Murthy                                                    (ii) Sudha Murthy’s classmate
(iii) Sudha Murthy’s grandmother                  (iv) Sudha Murthy’s neighbour
(b) The ‘text’ is referred to :
(i) Holy scriptures                                                 (ii) Text-books
(iii) Homework                                                       (iv) The story of the episode

(c) The speaker intends to :
(i) highlight memory of the girl (ii) highlight memory of the grandmother
(iii) say that girl was so fascinated with the episodes of the novel
(iv) tell that grandmother was very much fascinated with the episodes of the novel
Ans. (a) (iii) (b) (iv) (c) (iv).
6. “I knew my student had passed with flying colours.”
(a) ‘my student’ refers to :
(i) Duke                                 (ii) Triveni                      (iii) Avva                           (iv) Jeanne
(b) The student has passed in :
(i) Flying colours              (ii) Class                          (iii) Exam                          (iv) Life
(c) I knew that my student has passed when she :
(i) Could read on her own                                      (ii) Could write on her own
(iii) Paid the fee                                                          (iv) Stopped the classes
Ans. (a) (iii) (b) (iv) (c) (i)
7. “I have decided I want to learn the Kannada alphabet from tomorrow onwards. I will work very hard.”
(a) The speaker wants to learn Kannada alphabet______
(i) To be able to read a novel on her own

(ii) To be able to write a novel on her own

(iii) To be able to teach others.

(iv) As the speaker can read other languages fluently but not Kannada.

(b) The above statement reveals that the speaker is______
(i) Humorous                         (ii) Helpful                              (iii) Determined               (iv) Concerned
(c) At the time of speaking these lines she was______
(i) 61 years old                       (ii) 62 years old                    (iii) 63 years old            (iv) 64 years old
Ans. (a) (i) (b) (iii) (c) (ii)

8. “I will work harder than anybody but I will do it.”
(a) The speaker has decided to learn :
(i) to walk                              (ii) to speak Hindi                   (iii) to read                          (iv) to act
(b) The speaker is addressing :
(i) Maid                                  (ii) Marcy Hooper                    (iii) Sudha Murthy           (iv) Jeanne
(c) From the line, speaker’s ____ is reflected:
(i) Determination              (ii) Personality                            (iii) Attitude              (iv) Stubbornness
Ans. (a) (iii) (b) (iii) (c) (i)

Extract based questions and Answers-

Read the following extracts and answer the questions that follow in one or two lines. (1 * 3=3 marks)
1. “I could’ve asked somebody in this village but I was too embarrassed to do. I felt so very much dependent and helpless. We are well off but what use is money when I cannot be independent.”
(a) Who is ‘I’ in these lines?
(b) Why did she feel dependent?
(c) What does the phrase “well off” mean?
(d) What does the grandmother mean by ‘I could’ve asked somebody’ ?
(e) Why would she feel embarrassed ?
(f) What is ‘being independent’ according to her ?
Ans. – (a) ‘I’ in these lines is the grandmother.
(b) She felt dependent because she was illiterate. She could not read on her own.
(c) The phrase “well off” means prosperous, to have sufficient amount of money.
(d) She could’ve asked somebody to read the story ‘Kashi Yatre’ to her.
(e) She feels embarrassed to reveal her inability to read and write.
(f) To be independent, according to her, is to be self-reliant, not seeking anybody’s help.

2. It is the story of an old lady and her ardent desire to go to Kashi or Varanasi.
(a) Who is the old lady?
(b) Why did she want to go to Kashi?
(c) What do you mean by ‘ardent desire’?
Ans. – (a) The old lady is the protagonist of Triveni’s novel Kashi Yatre.
(b) She wanted to go to Kashi to worship Lord Vishweshwara.
(c) Great eagerness.

3. “We have always touched the feet of God, elders and teachers. We consider that as a mark of respect. It is a great tradition but today the reverse has happened. ”
(a) To which traditional Indian custom is the speaker referring to in the above extract?
(b) What does the speaker consider as a mark of respect in the context of the story?
(c) What is the meaning of ‘reverse’? What reverse had happened on that day?
(d) What has happened now to this great Indian tradition ?
(e) What does the term “great tradition” refer to?
(f) What does the narrator mean by “reverse”?
(g) Why had this happened?

Ans. – (a) The traditional Indian custom referred to is touching the feet of God, elders and teachers.
(b) The speaker considers touching the feet of elders as a mark of respect.
(c) Reverse means ‘change something to opposite’. On that day, grandmother had touched the feet of her granddaughter.
(d) We have now forgotten this great Indian tradition.
(e) The “great tradition” refers to the tradition of touching the fret of elders.
(f) In the given extract the narrator meant that the opposite had happened as the grandmother touched the feet of the granddaughter.
(g) The “reverse” had happened as the granddaughter had taught her grandmother to read and write.

4. She nodded but did not reply. I did not understand and forgot about it. In the night after dinner, we were sleeping in the open terrace of the house. It was a summer night and there was full moon.
(a) Who are ‘she’ and ‘I’ in the above extract?
(b) What did ‘I’ forget about?
(c) What do you mean by the word ‘nodded’?
(d) What was ‘she’ upset about ?

Ans. – (a) ‘She’ and ‘I’ in the above extract are the grandmother and the narrator respectively.
(b) ‘I’ forgot about the grandmother’s crying and sadness.
(c) Move head in agreement.
(d) She was upset because she was not able to read.

5. I saw the determination on her face. Yet I laughed at her.
(a) Who is ‘I’ in the above lines?
(b) What do you mean by determination? What determination is the narrator referring to?
(c) Why did ‘I’ laugh at her?
Ans. – (a) ‘I’ is the narrator.
(b) Determination means firmness of purpose. The narrator is referring to the determination of the grandmother for learning to read.
(c) ‘I’ laughed at her out of childish innocence.

6. At times, I used to regret not going to school, so I made sure that my children and grandchildren studied well.
(a) Who is the speaker of these lines?
(b) What do you mean by ‘regret’? What did the speaker regret?
(c) What did the speaker decide to do?
Ans. – (a) The speaker of these lines is Krishatakka, the grandmother.
(b) Regret means feel sorry for something. The speaker regrets not going to school and thus not being educated.
(c) The speaker decides to learn to read and write.

7. “I knew that my student had passed with flying colours.”
(a) Who are ‘I’ and ‘my student the above line?
(b) What test had ‘the student’ passed?
(c) What do you mean by ‘flying colour’?
Ans. – (a)‘I’ and ‘my student’ in the above line are the ‘narrator’ and the grandmother’ respectively.
(b) ‘The student’ had passed the test of reading independently.
(c) Extraordinary success.

8. But I knew I loved her immensely and there had to be some reason why she was talking to me. I looked at her face. It was unhappy and her eyes were filled with tears.
(a) Who are ‘I’ and ‘she’ in the above extract?
(b) What do you mean by ‘immense’? Whom does the narrator love immensely?
(c) Why was the grandmother unhappy?
Ans. – (a) ‘I’ and ‘she’ in the above extract, are the ‘narrator’ and the ‘grandmother’ respectively.
(b) ‘Immense’ means exceptionally great in extent. The narrator loves her grandmother immensely.
(c) The grandmother was unhappy because she felt helpless and dependent.

9. The amount of homework she did was ‘amazing. She would read, repeat, write and recite.
(a) Who is ‘she’ in the above lines? ‘What ‘homework’ is being talked about here?
(b) What is the meaning of ‘amazing’? Why was she so keen on doing the homework?
(c) What does this extract reveal °about the character of ‘she’?
Ans. – (a) ‘She’ is the grandmother in the above lines. The ‘homework’ is for learning how to read.
(b) ‘Amazing’ means outstandingly good. She was keen on doing the homework because she wanted to become independent by learning to read and write.
(c) This extract reveals that the grandmother was very dedicated and determined to attain her objective.

10. ‘When I came back to my village, I saw my grandmother in tears. I was surprised, had never seen her cry even in the most difficult situations. What had happened? I was worried.”
(a) Who is ‘I’ in the above extract? Where did she/he return from?
(b) Why was the grandmother in tears?
(c) What does the last line of the extract tell you about the grandmother’s character?
(d) Where had the narrator gone?
(e) What kinds of emotion were expressed in this extract? What is the word/phrase used to describe sadness?
(f) Why was the grandmother so depressed?
(g) Why was the narrator astounded to see her grandmother in such a situaction ?
(h) What are the difficult situations that the grandmother must have faced in her life ?

Ans. – (a) ‘I’ is the ‘narrator’ in the above extract. She had returned after attending a wedding from the nearby village.
(b) The grandmother was in tears because she realised how helpless and dependent she was because of illiteracy.
(c) The last line tells us that the grandmother is very strong, resilient and tough.
(d) The narrator had gone for a wedding to the neighbouring village.
(e) Sadness, surprise/shock, anxiety. The phrase ‘in tears’ and the word ‘cry’ describes sadness.
(f) The grandmother was depressed because of her inability to read Triveni’s story by herself.
(g) The narrator was astonished to see her grandmother because she had been very courageous.
(h) The grandmother must have faced financial crisis, feuds in the family, etc. in her life.

11. “Her style was easy to read and very convincing. Her stories usually dealt with complex psychological problems in the lives of ordinary people and were always interesting.”
(a) Whom does “her” in the above lines refers to?
(b)What does the narrator mean when she says, ‘Her style’? What is she referring to?
(c) Find a word from the extract that means to make someone believe in something.
Ans. – (a) Triveni, the popular writer.
(b) The narrator is talking about the style of writing that the writer Triveni uses. Triveni wrote stories that were convincing, easy to read and talked about complex psychological problems in the lives of ordinary people.
(c) Convincing

12. “My grandmother too never went to Kashi, and she identified herself with the novel’s protagonist. So more than anybody else she was the one most interested in knowing what happened next in the story and used to insist that I read the serial out to her.”
(a) In what way did the grandmother relate to the central character of the story “Kashi Yatre”?
(b) Why did the grandmother not read the serial herself?
(C) The leading character in a drama, film or novel is called
Ans. – (a) The grandmother could relate to the central character of the story “Kashi Yatre” because they both had a strong desire to visit Kashi.
(b) The grandmother could not read the serial by herself as she could not read or write; grandmother was illiterate
(C) a protagonist.
13. “After hearing what happened next in Kashi Yatre, she would join her friends at the temple courtyard where we children would also gather to play hide and seek. She would discuss the latest episode with her friends. At that time, I never understood why there was so much of debate about the story”
(a) What is “Kashi Yatre”
(b) Why did the women at the temple discuss the latest episode of “Kashi Yatre”?
(c) Can you give different Words that have the same meaning as ‘debate’
Ans. – (a) Kashi Yatre s a novel written by the Kannad writer, Triveni which appeared as a serial in the Kannad weekly, Karmaveera.
(b) The women at the temple would discuss the latest episode of Kashi Yatre as they could relate with the protagonist of the serial,
(c) Discussion , argument

14. “My grandmother, Krishtaka, never went to school, so she could not read. Every Wednesday, the magazine would come and I would read next episode of this story to her. ”
(a) How did the grandmother know the details of the story published in her favourite magazine?
(b) Why had the grandmother not gone to school?
(c) Can you think of a word that has the same meaning as ‘not being able to read’?
(d) What magazine is referred to here ?
(e) Which story is referred to here ?
(f) Why did Krishtaka take interest in the story ?

Ans. – (a) The grandmother got to know the details of the story published in the favowite magazine as her granddaughter used to read it out to her.
(b) The grandmother had not gone to school because in her times people did not think it was important to educate girls.
(c) Illiterate.
(d) The magazine, is a weekly called ‘Karma Veera’.
(e) The story referred here is the story of an old woman in ‘Kashi Yatre’.
(f) Krishtaka took interest in the story because she identified herself with the protagonist of the story.

15. ‘Avva came and sat next to me. Her affectionate bands touched my forehead. I realised she wanted to speak.”
(a) What does the term Avva mean? What did Avva tell the narrator?
(b) What kind of relationship did Avva and the narrator share?
(c) Can you explain the phrase ‘affectionate hands’?
Ans. – (a)The term Awa means mother. Awa told her about her childhood, why she never went to school and asked her to teach her how to read and write.
(b) The relationship between the riiirrator and her grandmother was very close, warm, and loving.
(c) The phrase affectionate hands means that the grandmother was showing her affection and care with her hands as she gently touched her grancic1aughter’s head.

16. “She was a good looking lady who was usually smiling. Even today I cannot forget the worried expression on her face.”
(a)Why was “she” upset?
(b) What quality in ‘her” character is brought out by this episode?
(c) What does the word ‘express Ion’ mean in this context?
Ans. – (a)The grandmother was upset because she realised that she was helpless and dependent on others to read and write.
(b) Her determination becomes evident through this episode
(c) In this context, the word expression means ‘a look on someone’s face’

17. “For a good cause if you are determined, you can overcome any obstacle. I will work harder than anybody but I will do it. For learning there is no age bar.”
(a) What is the “good cause” mentioned here?
(b)What light does this remark throw on the character of the speaker?
(C) Can you find a word that means a hindrance’ or ‘hurdle’ in the extract?
(d) What does hard work refer to ?
(e) What was the cause of this determination ?

Ans.- (a) The good cause mentioned here is learning how to read and write.
(b)This remark brings out the fact that she is determined and hardworking.
(C) Obstacle
(d) Hard work refers to putting in a lot of efforts to learn to read and write.
(e) The cause of this determination was her helplessness in being able to read her favourite story.

18. “Then she did something unusual. She bent down and touched my feet. I was surprised and taken aback”
(a) What was unusual about the gesture?
(b) Why did she behave in this manner?
(c) What does the narrator mean when she said she was taken aback?
Ans. – (a) It was unusual that a grandmother was touching the feet of a granddaughter, as the cultural custom is that the younger ones touch the feet of the elders as a mark of respect
(b)This gesture on her part was to honour and thank the person who had taught her to read and write.
(c) When the narrator said she was taken aback, she meant that she was startled.

19. “Now I am independent. It is my duly to respect a teacher.”
(a) Who is the speaker?
(b) How had she become independent?
(c) How did she show her respect for her teacher?
Ans. – (a) The speaker of the extract is the grandmother.
(b) The grandmother had become independent as she no longer had to depend on others to read or write.
(c) The grandmother expressed her respect for her teacher by touching her feet.

20. “Secretly I bought Kashi Yatre which had been published as a novel by that time.”
(a) What was kashi Yatre?
(b) Why had the narrator bought it “secretly”?
(c) Why did she buy “Kashi Yatre” for her?
Ans. – (a) “Kash Yatre” Was a novel,
(b) The narrator bought it secretly as she wanted It to be a surprise.
(c)The narrator bought “Kashi Yatre” for her grandmother as her grandmother loved the story and she wanted to give her a gift for completing her studies.

21. ‘‘I am touching the feet of a teacher, not my granddaughter.’’
(a) Who speaks the above line ?
(b) Why does the speaker touch the feet of the person much younger than her ?
(c) On whom did the speaker depend to read the magazines. ?
Ans. (a) The speaker is the narrator’s grandmother.
(b) The speaker touched the feet of the person much younger than her because she has taught her to read confidently and independently.
(c) The speaker depended on her granddaughter to read the magazine.

22. “There was also a young orphan girl who falls in love but there was no money for the wedding. In the end, the old lady gives away all her savings without going to Kashi.”
(a) Who is the young orphan girl mentioned in the extract ?
(b) Why does the old lady give away all her savings without going to Kashi ?
(c) Find out a phrasal verb from the extract.
Ans. (a) The young orphan girl is the character in the novel, ‘Kashi Yatre’.
(b) The old lady gave away the money to the girl for her marriage.
(c) ‘Gives away.’

23. “Later, she could repeat the entire test by heart.”
(a) Who is the person referred to here as ‘she’ ?
(b) To what does the word ‘text’ refer here ?
(c) What does the speaker intend to do ?
Ans.(a) She is Sudha Murthy’s grandmother.
(b) The ‘text’ refers to the story of the episode.
(c) The speaker intends to tell that the grandmother was greatly fascinated with the episodes of the novel.

24. “I did return namaskara to her by touching her feet and gave my gift to my first student.”
(a) Who was the narrator’s first student and what was the gift given to her ?
(b) How did the receiver react after getting the gift ?
(c) Is the narrator proud of her student ? How does she reveal this ?
Ans. (a) The narrator’s first student was the grandmother. She got a copy of the book ‘Kashi Yatre’.
(b) The grandmother was very happy and delighted.
(c) Yes, the narrator is proud of her student. She returns her namaskara by touching her grandmother’s feet.

25. “I have decided I want to learn the Kannada alphabet from tomorrow onwards.”
(a) Who does ‘I’ in the above line refer to ?
(b) Why did the speaker want to learn the Kannada alphabet ?
(c) Which quality of the speaker is shown in the above line ?
Ans. (a) ‘I’ is the grandmother.
(b) The speaker wanted to learn the Kannada alphabet in order to be able to read without help.
(c) The above line shows her determination.

26. “Avva, don’t cry. What is the matter ? Can I help you in any way ?”
(a) Why was the author’s grandmother crying ?
(b) How did the narrator help her ?
(c) What does this sentence tell us about the speaker ?
Ans.(a) The author’s grandmother was crying because she had not been able to read ‘Kashi Yatre’ independently.
(b) The narrator helped her by teaching her how to read.
(c) The speaker was concerned about her grandmother.

Main Characters of the Story

Give a character sketch of the Grandmother

Grandmother
The grandmother, Krishtakka was a very powerful and determined lady. She was very not fortunate in her childhood because She lost her mother when she was very young. Her father married soon and there was nobody to look after and guide her. She never went to school and remained uneducated. She got at a very young age. She was so gentle that she always felt happy when she fed others.
The grandmother was determined and visionary. At the age of sixty-two she decided to learn the Kannada alphabet from her granddaughter. She fixed the deadline and worked very hard to achieve it. She proved that there is no age bar for learning. It was her determination, strong willpower, hard work and self-confidence that helped her succeed in learning to read and write Her touching the feet of granddaughter showed her deep respect for teachers and learning.
She is very emotional at heart. We do find her in tears when she feels helpless because of her illiteracy. We also see her affectionate hands touching the forehead of her beloved daughter.

Give a character sketch of the Granddaughter- Sudha Murty
The granddaughter or the narrator in the story was a small lively girl of 12 years who lived with her grandparents in a small village of north Karnataka. She was a constant companion of the grandmother. The grandmother was very interested in the novel Kashi Yatre by Triveni. So the narrator would read out the novel which was appearing as a series of stories in the magazine Karamveera. The narrator did her job dutifully and became an indispensable part of her grandmother.
The narrator loved her grandmother very much. When she came to know of her grandmother’s helplessness because of illiteracy, the narrator feels distressed too. When she was asked by her grandmother to teach her the Kannada alphabet, she felt very strange. But later she realised the importance of her plea. She started teaching the grandmother.

Short Answer Type Questions (30 to 40 words)

1. Why did the grandmother never go to school?
OR
What were the obstacles the grandmother faced when she was a young girl specify.

Ans. – The grandmother lost her mother when she was very young. There was nobody to look after and guide her. Her father got married again. In those days people never considered education essential enough for girls, so she never went to school. Moreover, she was married off at an early age.

2. Why did the grandmother think of learning to read and write at the age of sixty two?
Ans. – The grandmother was not able to read the next episode of Kashi Yatre published in the magazine when the narrator was away. She was very keen to know what had happened next in the story, but could neither go to the village to ask her grandchild to read it to her, nor ask anyone in the village to do so. A sense of helplessness and being dependent engulfed her. She felt very bad and therefore, decided to learn to read independently.

3. Why did the narrator stayed longer in a neighbouring village and what did she see when she came back to the village?
Ans. – Once the narrator went for a wedding with her cousins to the neighbouring village. In those days wedding used to be a great event. The children rejoiced themselves thoroughly. They would eat and play endlessly. They enjoyed their freedom because all the elders were busy. She Went for a couple of days but ended up staying there for a week. When she came back to the village, she saw her grandmother in tears.
4. Why was the grandmother in tears?
Ans. – When the narrator came back to her village, she saw her grandmother in tears. The narrator was surprised because she had never seen her grandmother cry even in the most difficult situations. The grandmother told her how she never went to school as in those days people never considered education essential for girls. She also described how much helpless and dependent she felt when she opened the magazine to read the next episode of Kashi Yatre but understood nothing. She regretted not going to school. Her inability to read brought tears in her eyes.
5. Describe the novel Kashi Yatre by Triveni . Why did the narrator identify herself with the novel?
OR
In the lesson, ‘How I Taught My Grandmother to Read’ more than anybody else grandmother was interested in knowing about the latest episode of Kashi Yatre ? Why was she so much interested in it?
Ans. – Kashi Yatre is the story of an old lady and her ardent desire to go to Kashi and worship Lord Vishweshwara and her struggle to go there. The novel also describes a young orphan girl who falls in love but has no money for the wedding. In the end, the old lady gives away all her savings to the young girl without going to Kashi. The grandmother identified herself with the protagonist as she ‘too’ had never been to Kashi.
6. How had the narrator planned to surprise her grandmother? How was she herself surprised?
Ans. – The narrator had planned to surprise her grandmother by planning to gift her the novel Kashi Yatre by Triveni. The narrator was herself surprised because the grandmother gifted her frock material and bent down and touched her feet. The narrator was surprised and taken aback.
7. What message does the story “How I Taught My Grandmother to Read” convey?
Ans. The story tells us that for learning, there is no age bar. One can learn at any age, provided one has strong willpower and determination. The story also conveys that a teacher, irrespective of age or gender, deserves to be respected. One should always feel grateful to a teacher who leads one from darkness to light.
8. The grandmother touched the feet of her granddaughter. How did she justify this gesture of hers?

Ans. – Youngsters always touch the feet of God, elders and teachers as a mark of respect. But the grandmother touched the feet of her granddaughter. She justified this gesture by saying that she is touching the feet of a teacher who taught her so well, with so much affection that now she can read any novel confidently and independently. And a teacher should be respected, irrespective of the gender and age.
9. Avva or the narrator’s grandmother was a wonderful student. Justify with the help of the story.
Ans.- Avva or the narrator’s grandmother was a wonderful student. She read, repeated and recited all her lessons with great enthusiasm and concentration. She did an amazing amount of homework. Hence, within the time limit that she had set for herself, she was able to learn to read fluently. In her teacher’s opinion, she had passed with flying colours.

10. The grandmother in the story “How I Taught My Grandmother to Read” was a very determined woman, yet at the same time very emotional. Justify.
Ans. – The grandmother was very determined to learn to read. She worked very hard in order to accomplish her target before the deadline she had set for herself. After learning to read independently, she expressed her gratitude to her granddaughter by touching the feet of the little girl. She did so because she felt it was her duty to respect her teacher irrespective of the gender and age. The grandmother was also very emotional when she tells the story of her life to her granddaughter.
11. How did the newspapers and magazines reach villages in the days of ‘Kashi Yatre’?
Or
Why did everyone in the village wait eagerly for the bus?
Ans. – At the time of writing the novel ‘Kashi Yatre’ the transport system in the narrator’s village was far from being efficient. The villagers got the morning paper in the afternoon only. The weekly magazines used to reach the village by bus one day late. Thus, everyone would eagerly wait for the bus.
12. Why did it become necessary for the little granddaughter to read out the story to her grandmother?
Ans. – The sixty-two year old Krishtakka, like many women of her age, developed such a keen interest in the novel Kashi Yafre’ that was being telecasted a serial in a magazine ‘Karamveera that she would follow the story eagerly. Since she was illiterate, her granddaughter had to read it out to her.
13. Describe the manner in which the grandmother would listen to the story?
Ans. – The grandmother used to listen to the story with utmost concentration. She identified herself with the protagonist of the novel ‘Kashi Yafre’. She concentrated on the story to such an extent that she would often forget all her work. Later on, she could repeat the entire text word for word.
14. Why was Krishtakka interested in ‘Kashi Yatre’ more than anyone else?
Or
The grandmother waited eagerly for each episode of ‘Kashi Yatre’. Why was she so interested in the story?
Ans. – Krishtakka, like the chief protagonist of ‘Kashi YatrL” had never been to Kashi. So, she identified herself with the old lady of the novel very well and was always very keen to know about the characters fate. As soon as the weekly arrived, she set aside all her work and listened to the story with great interest. After hearing it, she would reproduce the entire text word for word.
15. Why was there a great debate among the old ladies of the village?
Ans. – After learning about what happened next in ‘Kashi Yatre’, the grandmother used to join her friends at the temple courtyard and would discuss the latest episode with them. There was a great deal of debate amongst the ladies as they all responded to the different incidents of the story in their own individual way. Their interpretation also differed, which naturally resulted in a great debate.
16. What was the debate about in the temple courtyard and why didn’t the narrator understand the reason behind it?
Ans. – As the story of ‘Kashi Yatre’ developed with each episode, a debate ensued in the temple courtyard among the women of the village. They would discuss the fate of the characters, comment on their actions and discuss social change in a very enthusiastic way. The twelve-year-old narrator was too young to understand the reasons and outcome of the debate, apart from the fact that the women discussed the life and actions of the chief protagonist of a popular novel.

17. What do you know about the narrator’s childhood?
Ans. – The narrator spent a happy childhood in the village with her grandparents. Her affectionate grandmother cooked food for her and fed her lovingly. She was regular at school and would play hide and seek with her friends in the temple courtyard in her free time. She read out Kannada stories from the magazine to her illiterate grandmother and later on also taught her to read and write Kannada.
18. Why did the narrator stay in the village for a week, though she had gone there for two days only?
Ans. – The narrator had gone to a neighbouring village along with her cousins for just a couple of days to attend a wedding. She could very well have returned after the ceremony. However, she stayed back for a week as she was enjoying her freedom there thoroughly. No one stopped her from eating and playing endlessly.
19. In what way was the wedding a great event in the days of Sudha Murty’s childhood?
Ans. – In those days, the weddings lasted for days together. All the elders remained busy with the ceremony. The children had a gala time. They ate and played endlessly as all the elders were too busy to take notice of the children’s pranks and mischief.
20. Why was the grandmother in tears when the granddaughter returned from the neigbouring village?
Ans. – When the narrator returned home, she found her grandmother in tears. She was crying over her inability to read the next episode of ‘Kashi Yatre in the absence of her granddaughter. She was very keen to know what had happened next in the story, but could neither go to the village to ask her grandchild to read it to her, nor ask anyone in the village to do so. A sense of helplessness and being dependent upset her so much that tears welled up in her eyes.
21. How did the granddaughter react to the grandmother’s tears?

OR

How did the narrator tease her grandmother when she expressed her desire to read ?

Ans. – Initially the granddaughter was very upset to see her grandmother in tears because she had never seen her cry even in the most difficult situations. Her tears worried her. However, being a child she didn’t understand anything and soon forgot about it.

22. What sort of relationship did the grandmother and the granddaughter enjoy?
Ans. – Both the grandmother and the grand-daughter loved each other very much. The old lady loved to cook for and feed the child. The child in her turn read out to the illiterate grandmother episodes of a serialized novel from ‘Karmaveera’, a Kannada weekly. What is more, she even taught the old lady to read and write. Both had a good understanding with each other.

23. Why could Krishtakka never go to school?
Ans. – Kristakka had lost her mother when she was very young There was no one to look after her or guide her. Her father was so busy that he hardly had any time for her. Moreover, he married again. Instead of providing her education, he had married her off at a young age. Thus Kristakka never got a chance to go to school.

24. Why did Krishtakka make sure that her children and grandchildren studied well?
Ans. – Krishtakka always regretted her illiteracy. Fate had deprived her of a chance of going to school. She thus wanted to make up for this deficiency by educating her children and her grandchildren well.
25. How did Krishtakka feel when she was unable to read ‘Karmaveera’ in her grandchild’s absence?
Ans. – Being illiterate Krishtakka could not read the next episode of ‘Kashi Yatre’ in her grand-daughter’s absence. She felt very helpless and dependent. She was so desperate to know what had happened next in the story, that she once thought of going to the village nearby where her grandchild had gone to attend a wedding so that the girl could read out the story to her. She felt too embarrassed to ask anybody in the village to read it out to her.
26. “Yes, I need your help.” What help did the grandmother need? Why did she feel that her granddaughter could render that help?
Ans. – Upset over her inability to read on her own, the grandmother resolved to learn Kannada alphabet. At the age of sixty-two, she wanted someone to teach her and she couldn’t find a better teacher than the granddaughter As a grandchild, the girl would understand her predicament and teach her with compassion and enthusiasm. Being taught at home would also save the old lady from Uflflecessaiy embarrassment of learning as an old parrot.
27. Why did the child make fun of the grandmother when she proposed to learn to read Kannada?
Ans. – The child was not used to the idea of an old lady trying to learn to read. She found the idea of a bespectacled, grey haired and wrinkled old lady trying to learn the alphabet too absurd. Hence she unwittingly made fun of the grandmother.
28. How did the grandmother react when the grandchild made fun of her idea of learning the Kannada alphabet at the age of sixty-two?
Ans. – The grandmother dealt with the child patiently. She just smiled at the child’s arguments. Her self-confidence, determination and logic convinced the granddaughter that there was no age bar for learning. The old lady also assured her that she would work harder than anyone and would achieve her mission at any cost.
29 . What time limit did the grandmother set for herself to learn Kannada alphabet? How far did she succeed iii achieving her goal?
Ans. – Having resolved to work very hard to learn Kannada alphabet, the grandmother kept Saraswati Pooja day during Dassara as the deadline. She decided that by that particular day, she should be able to read a novel on her own. The determined old lady learnt to read and write indepefldCflttY which left her ‘teacher’ quite impressed with her.
30. What sort of a student did Krishtakka prove to be? Or
How did the grandmother prove that she was a good student?
Ans. – Krishtakka proved to be a wonderful student. She read, repeated, wrote and recited all her lessons with great enthusiasm and concentration. She did an amazing amount of homework. Hence within the time limit that she had set for herself, she was able to learn to read fluently. In her teacher’s opinion1 she had passed with flying colours.
31. Describe how Krishtakka celebrated the pooja festival.
Ans. – The pooja festival was celebrated with a great solemnity and enthusiasm. Krishtakka made her teacher sit on a stool and gifted her with a frock material and touched her feet in gratitude. This gesture came as an unexpected surprise to the narrator.

32. How did the narrator come to know that her student had passed with flying colours?
Ans. – On the Dassara festival, when the grandmother gifted her ‘teacher’ (actually her grandchild) with a frock material, the latter also gave the grandmother a copy of ‘Kashi Yatre’ which by that time had been published in the form of a novel. When the grandmother read the novel’s title, ‘Kashi Yatre’ and the author’s name, Triveni as well as the publisher’s name; the granddaughter knew that her student had passed with flying colours.
33. Krishtakka was illiterate, but she was very intelligent. Comment.
Ans. – Though illiterate, Krishtakka was so intelligent that after listening to an episode of ‘Kashi Yat re’, she could reproduce the entire text of the story. She could discuss the story and debate about it. Not only that, she learnt to read and write Kannada at the ripe age of 62.
34. How do we know that her grandparents’ village was very remote?
Ans. – The morning paper was received in the afternoon, the wee friy magazine came a day late, and the transport system was not good
35. Who speaks the line: “The happiness………………………Kashi” (‘Para 3). What does the line show about the speaker’s character?
Ans. – These lines are spoken by the old lady in the novel Kashi Yatre. it shows how wise, magnanimous, and compassionate the lady was. She sacrifices her deepest desire to go to Kashi for the happiness of an orphan girl. This act of hers expresses her selflessness and her humane quality which is that the highest ideal of love does not expect anything in return.
36. Why was the grandmother so upset when her granddaughter went away to attend a wedding?
Ans. – The grandmother felt frustrated and was upset because she could not read the next episode of her favourite story that was serialized in the magazine, thus, she had to wait for her granddaughter to return and read it out.
37. Explain the statement “student had passed with flying colours”.
Ans. –when the grandmother read the title of the book effortlessly, it proved that she had succeeded in. her quest to learn to read and write thus proving she had passed with flying colours.
38. Write a brief character sketch of grandmother.
Ans- Krishtakka, the grandmother is a sixty two year old lady. She has a loving and caring nature. She is enthusiastic.. She had some adverse circumstances due to which she could not go to school and remained uneducated. When she felt the need of education to read ‘Kashi Yatre’ she regrets on not being educated. She feels that money is of no use if one has to depend on others. She was firmly determined that she had to start her education without considering her age. It was her determination, strong will power, hard work and self confidence that helped her to get success in learning to read and write within a short period of time.
39. Describe the role of the author in educating her grandmother.
Ans- Sudha Murty plays an important role in educating her grandmother. If we observe carefully she was the only source of inspiration for her grandmother. Her granddaughter took on the role of a teacher and patiently taught her to read and write. First of all she made fun of her but it was childishly. The narrator was also a preserving teacher who did her best to teach her student in all the ways possible.
40. Short speech / paragraph on importance of adult education within 150 words and ways to implement it.
OR
“For learning age is no bar” doesn’t this message highlight the importance of adult education in India. Comment
Ans- This has rightly been said that for any good cause age is no bar. The grandmother proved it also by achieving the task within the limited time. Education is very important for all age group people and it is a lifelong process. Education process is not limited to any age, person, place or other limitation of the life. It can continue all throughout the whole life because it does not end with the schooling. Individual education plays great role in the development and growth of life, person, society and country. Being a democratic country without education people cannot use their rights. India is a sovereign democratic republic country struggling hard for becoming the developed country like many other countries in the world. If we want to be developed we have to be educated.
41. How did the grandmother actualize her dream of being literate?
Ans. The grandmother expressed a desire to read before her granddaughter to teach her the Kannada language. She started her tuition. She used to read write and recite the lessons. She was a diligent and sincere student and worked hard to learn the language and to actualize her dream.
42. How does the grandmother fulfill her desire to read ?
Ans. With her strong will power and determination The grandmother was able to fulfill her desire to read and write. She was determined to learn the alphabet of Kannada language. She considered that the age is no bar to learn and start taking tuitions from anyone ever from her granddaughter.
43. Why was ‘Kashi Yatre’ grandmother’s favourite novel ? Give two reasons to support your answer.
Or
Give two reasons to show why ‘Kashi Yatre’ was grandmother’s favourite novel.
Ans. Kashi Yatre’ was grandmother’s favourite novel as she identified herself with the novel’s protagonist, who never went to school and her ardent desire was to go to Kashi which was believed to be the ultimate punya. Grandmother also wanted to go to Kashi like the lady In the absence of her granddaughter she rubbed her hand on the pages of the magazine and she always used to listen to it and forgot all the worldly things while it was being explained.
44. Why did the narrator call her ‘Avva’, a wonderful student ?
Ans. Avva was a wonderful student because she was a diligent and sincere student. She did her home work regularly and showed determination in learning the alphabet and achieved her task very timely.
45. How does the narrator explain her grandmother as a student ?
Ans. The narrator says that her grandmother was her first student. She was a wonderful student. She did a great amount of homework that was amazing. She would read, repeat, write and recite. She was sincere enough to learn everything.
46. How did the grandmother prove her goodness as a student ?
Ans. The grandmother learnt each and every lesson with full dedication and worked hard. She was committed to her work and had all the qualities which a student is expected to show like sincerity, punctuality, hard work and ultimately keeping of the deadline.
47. Mention one incident to show that the grandmother was an excellent student.
Ans. Grandmother was an exceptionally bright student. She took the challenge of learning to read very seriously. She did all her homework willingly. She worked with full enthusiasm and patience. She was driven by an intense desire to read and be self-dependent. She would read, repeat, write and recite. She proved that age is no bar when a person is determined.
48. How did the grandmother treat her granddaughter as her worthy teacher?
Ans. The grandmother treated her granddaughter as her worthy teacher. She respected her, made her sit on a stool, gave her a gift of frock material and touched her feet as per the cultural traditions of our society.
49. Why was Triveni a popular writer ?
Ans. There were several reasons for Triveni’s popularity. She wrote in Kannada language and her style was easy to read because it was convincing. Her stories were about ordinary people and their everyday lives. She dealt with the complex psychological problems and her stories were very interesting. She was a wonderful writer.
50. Why did the grandmother insist on the narrator’s reading the serial ?
Ans. The grandmother was interested in knowing the story ‘Kashi Yatre’ as she was illiterate. Moreover, she identified herself with the protagonist of the story, an old lady, who too never went to Kashi like her. So she insisted on the narrator’s reading the serial.
51. What is described in the novel, ‘Kashi Yatre’?
Or
What is the theme of the novel Kashi Yatre ?
Ans. ‘Kashi Yatre’ is the story of an old woman who had an ardent desire to go to Kashi and worship Lord Vishweshwara. She is a devout lady who wished to perform pooja to gain the ultimate Punya. But, she chooses to help an orphan girl by giving all her savings to the girl and believes it is more important than going to Kashi.
52. What made the grandmother identify herself with the novel’s protagonist?
Ans. The protagonist of the novel ‘Kashi Yatre’ and the grandmother shared the same ardent desire-that of visiting Kashi or Varanasi and worshipping Lord Vishweshwara to seek the ultimate Punya.
53. Why does the narrator use the word ‘secretly’ when she is referred to the novel she bought ?
Ans. The narrator uses the word ‘secretly’ when she is referred to the novel she bought because she wanted to give a surprise gift to her grandmother for being a good student.
54. Grandmother gave a gift to her granddaughter. What was that and why did she give it?
OR
What did the grandmother do to express her gratitude ?
Ans. Grandmother gave a frock material to the granddaughter. It was a mark of affection, love and respect. Her granddaughter had taken on the role of a teacher and had patiently taught her to read. Grandmother wanted to show her gratitude and also wanted to please the little girl who was now her teacher.
55. What do you know about the old lady of the novel Kashi Yatre? Mention two points.
Ans. The old lady of the novel, Kashi Yatre has an ardent desire to go to Kashi or Varanasi. She however, gave up her desire and helped the young orphan girl giving away all her savings. The orphan girl was in need of money for the wedding.
56. “But I know it was not possible. If only I was educated enough….” Describe the circumstances that made the grandmother realise the importance of education.
Ans. The grandmother was fond of knowing the weekly episode of the story ‘Kashi Yatre’. Once when the weekly magazine came, her granddaughter was out of the village. So, no one was there to read it out to her. Being an illiterate, she could not read it herself and was too embarrassed to ask somebody to do so. At this moment, she felt dependent and helpless. This made her realize the worth of being educated.
57. Why did the village women meet near the temple everyday ?
Ans. The village women shared a common interest in the story of ‘Kashi Yatre’. It was a story with a pious theme where an old woman wanted to visit Kashi. It struck a chord with them and they met in the temple courtyard to discuss the latest episode. They, perhaps, identified themselves with the old lady. Their devotional and religious nature is reflected through this.
58. What unusual thing did the grandmother do on the day of Dasshera to show her gratitude towards her granddaughter ?
Ans. On the day of Dasshera grandmother touched the feet of her granddaughter as a mark of respect to her. Grandmother believed in tradition and followed the ‘guru-shishya’ tradition. Her gesture, though unusual, was correct and proper because she was paying respect to her teacher. She elevated her granddaughter to the honorary status of a teacher and showed her gratitude.
59. What major Hindu belief did Triveni revolve her story around ?
Ans. Most Hindus believe that going to Kashi and worshipping Lord Vishweshwara is the ultimate Punya. Triveni’s story ‘Kashi Yatre’ talked about an old woman’s desire to visit Kashi. It strikes a chord with common people whose lives are led by their religious desires. They identify with the protagonist and share her desire to achieve the ultimate Punya.
60. How did Triveni’s death leave a void in Kannada Literature?
Ans. Triveni was an immensely popular writer in Kannada literature. She wrote in an easy style and convincing manner. She touched the lives of ordinary people by dealing with issues close to their heart. They identified with her characters and their desires. They saw her stories mirroring their own lives. Her early demise left a void in Kannada literature.
61. How does Sudha react on hearing her Grandmother’s desire to become literate ?
Ans. Sudha is a young girl who finds the idea of her grandmother becoming literate quite funny. She wonders why her grandmother wants to learn to read at the age of sixty two. She points out that grandmother has grey hair, wears spectacles and works hard in the kitchen. She is bewildered at the sudden request.
62. Write a note on the moral of the story
Ans.- The story conveys the message that there is no age for learning and a teacher, irrespective of age of sex deserves to be respected. One should always feel grateful to a teacher who leads one from darkness to light.
63. How does Krishtaka justify the touching of her granddaughter’s feet ?
Ans. Krishtaka justifies the touching of her granddaughter’s feet as a gesture to show respect and gratitude to the later, who though her granddaughter, was her teacher in the first place. To validate her action, she even makes a mention of the scriptures where it is written that a teacher should be respected irrespective of the gender and age.

64-  What did the grandma do to get literate?

Answer- First of all she made up her mind and got determined to get literate. This is one of the most important factor in her literacy. Secondly the grandma did not get discouraged on seeing a lot of work to get literate. She used to read, write, recite and feel happy after learning. To get literate she requested her granddaughter. To get literate she left the consideration of elder and younger. To get literate she had faith in her small teacher and future. To get literate she was hopeful and optimistic for future. These are some of the factors which made her literate and infect anyone can achieve any task by these factors.

 

11 thoughts on “How I taught My Grandmother to Read (Extra Questions and Notes)

  1. Kingshuk Banerjee

    Very nice content and language&expression

  2. Shailesh

    Thanks a lot my dear You will keep getting more such material. Kindly keep visiting. Thanks

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    Webmaster

  3. karthicka

    Please answer for this 1)what does the narrator’s grandmother do to literate?

  4. Shailesh Post author

    Thanks for commenting. I dont want to be a trouble to you but please take a moment to share the page.

    Shailesh

  5. Shailesh Post author

    Dear Karthicka,
    Your comment was considered and has been answered. Kindly refer to question number 64 in short questions category.
    Shailesh

  6. linta

    very informative . appreciate efforts for putting up different questions and answers without charging one rupees

  7. Shailesh Post author

    Dear Linta,
    Really a big thanks for ur nice words…..

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