7. Reading Skills Comprehension: Flags


Read the following passage carefully.                                          

 On the way to Stok, the village ten miles outside Leh, there is a suspension bridge that spans the Indus. From the distance, it looks like a circus tent, it is so covered with prayer flags of every colour. I am sitting on the seat next to the driver, a young Ladakhi, and I ask him, “Why are there so many prayer flags?” He looks at me as if l am mad. “If there are no prayer flags, the river would get angry.” It is such a festive and exuberant gesture, covering the steel lines of the bridge with scarves and mantras and holy dragons that I want to sing. As the bus crosses the bridge, the prayer flags flap against it. The driver turns to me and smiles. “Every time I am crossing the bridge I am saying my prayers. It is holy, this bridge.” How old is this bridge? He does not know. It is as if it had always been there like the pile of stones in the mountains, like the stupas, like the small wayside shrines. The spirit of Ladakh has changed it into a shrine, an object of worship. Does the bridge have its guardian, Buddha? The driver smiled and did not answer. The rocks on the sides of the paths are sprinkled with small blue flowers, a fierce wild green grass grows between the boulders; with every quarter of an hour the heat increases and the rocks change, growing more and more fantastical, wings of cathedrals, falling into the river below, large fluted columns, like the hermit perches of Cappadocia, with golden moss spilling over from their height and yet it is not the rocks and their dazzling forms that move me most. Resting on the top of a mountain pass, I found that the rock I was sitting on was ringed on by white stones, heaped there by travellers over many years; walking on and on into the highest parts of the pass, found just as I was too tired to go any further, that there was a deserted shepherd’s hut, with its roof torn off by the wind, and a small rose-bush growing in the shelter of one of its walls. I sat in it and ate my bread and cheese. On the wall the shepherd had written with charcoal from the fire, ‘Om’, just one letter again and again. And under each letter, he had sketched a rough Buddha’s face.

Questions :

Complete the sentences given below.

(i) From the distance, the bridge looks like a circus tent because……………. 

(ii) According to the driver, the river would get angry…………..

(iii) The driver prays while crossing the bridge because…………..

(iv) The rocks change and grow strangely beautiful as……………

(v) The word ‘deserted’ means………….

 (vi) The bridge is covered with many prayer flags because…………….

  (vii) What happens to the prayer flags when the bus crosses the bridge?

 (viii) The word ‘exuberant’ means…………..

 Answers :

(i)it has many prayer flags of different colours.

(ii) ) if the prayer flags weren’t there

(iii) it is holy

(iv) wings of cathedrals, falling into the river below, large fluted columns, like the hermit perches of Cappadocia, with golden moss spilling over from their height.

(v) abandoned

(vi) it is considered to be holy

 (vii) they flap against the bus

(viii) lively

Download the above Passage in PDF Worksheet (Printable)

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