ISWARAN THE STORYTELLER
By- R.K. Laxman
EXTRACT’S FOR COMPREHENSION
Read the following extracts and answer the questions that follow in one or two lines.
He was a bachelor. His needs were simple and he was able to adjust himself to all kinds of odd conditions, whether it was an ill-equipped circuit house or a makeshift canvas tent in the middle of a quarry.
(a) Who is ‘he’ in the above extract?
Ans:‘He’ here is Mahendra, a junior supervisor in a firm that offered on hire supervisors at construction sites.
(b) List two characteristics of this person.
Ans:He was a bachelor and had simple needs. He adjusted himself to all kinds of unusual situations at his different work sites.
(c) Which type of places did he have to live in?
Ans: He had to live in ill-equipped circuit houses or makeshift canvas tents.
(d) Why did he have to live like this?
Ans:He had to live like this because his work involved supervision of different types of construction sites at remote places.
He would miraculously conjure up the most delicious dishes made with fresh vegetables within an hour of arriving at the zinc-sheet shelter at the new workplace.
(a) Who is ‘he’ in the above lines? Why is he being appreciated?
Ans: ‘He’ in the above lines is Iswaran, Mahendra’s servant. He is being appreciated because he could quickly cook delicious dishes from fresh vegetables even in a remote workplace.
(b)What was the zinc-sheet shelter?
Ans:The zinc-sheet shelter was the temporary home at the new construction site where Iswaran stayed with his master, Mahendra.
(c) Was the cook resourceful?
Ans:The cook, Iswaran, was resourceful since he could arrange fresh vegetables even in unfamiliar workplaces.
(d) What is the meaning of ‘conjure up’ in these lines?
Ans: ‘Conjure up’ means to do some magic trick. Here it means to quickly cook delicious dishes even when ingredients were not ready at hand.
It has something to do with a Japanese art, I think, sir. Karate or ju-jitsu it is called. I had read about it somewhere. It temporarily paralyses the nervous system, you see.”
(a) Who speaks these lines and to whom?
Ans:lswaran, the cook, talks to his master, Mahendra, in these lines.
(b) What is the topic of discussion?
Ans:The topic of discussion is the explanation offered by Iswaran about how he tackled the mad elephant.
(c) What explanation does Iswaran offer about the efficacy of the Japanese art?
Ans:Iswaran explains that the Japanese art was efficient as it temporarily paralyzed the nervous system and helped to overpower the opponent.
(d) Where did Iswaran learn that art?
Ans: Iswaran learnt that art by reading about it somewhere.
Can I make something special for dinner tonight, sir? After all today is an auspicious day-
(a) Who is ‘I’ and who is his ‘sir’?
Ans: “I” here is Iswaran, the storyteller, and his ‘sir’ is his master, Mahendra, the junior supervisor.
(b) What permission is the speaker seeking here?
Ans: Iswaran is seeking permission to prepare something special for dinner that night.
(c) Why was the day auspicious?
Ans: The day was auspicious as it was devoted to the memory of ancestors.
(d) What tradition was followed on this day?
Ans:The tradition of preparing various delicacies to feed the spirits of ancestors was followed on this day.
It is an ugly creature with matted hair and a shrivelled face, like a skeleton holding a foetus in its arms.
(a) What is ‘it’ here and who is describing ‘it’?
Ans:‘It’ here is the female ghost who is being described by Iswaran, the cook.
(b) Why was ‘it’ ugly?
Ans:‘It’ was ugly because it had matted hair and shrivelled face like a typical ghost.
(c) Who had seen ‘it’, when and where?
Ans:It was claimed to have been seen by Iswaran at midnight during the full moon in the factory area supervised by Mahendra.
(d) What effect does this description of the ugly creature have on Mahendra?
Ans:This description made Mahendra shiver with horror although he put up a brave show by dismissing Iswaran’s belief in ghosts or spirits as a figment of his imagination.
At first he put it down to a cat prowling around for mice. But the sound was too guttural for a cat. He resisted the curiosity to look out lest he should behold a sight which would stop his heart.
(a) Who is ‘he’ in these lines? What is ‘it’ that he put down?
Ans: ‘He’ in these lines is Mahendra, the junior supervisor. ‘It’ is the strange low moan sound he heard at night near his bedroom window.
(b) How did he conclude that the sound was not of a cat?
Ans: The sound was too guttural and this made Mahendra conclude that it was not of a cat.
(c) What desire did he resist?
Ans: He resisted the desire to look out through the window at the moonlit night.
(d) Why did he resist his desire?
Ans:He resisted his desire because he was afraid that he might get to see a horrifying sight of some ghost.