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Iswaran the Storyteller Long Questions and Answers
By- R.K. Laxman
1. Iswaran was a master storyteller. Describe his amazing capacity of narrating stories and anecdotes.
Ans. lswaran was a master storyteller. He was fond of reading popular Tamil thrillers. The stories that he narrated were greatly influenced by these novels. He narrated even the smallest of incidents by creating a loss of suspense. For example, if he had to describe a fallen tree, he would not simply say that he saw an up-rooted tree on the highway. He would say, “The road was deserved and I was all alone. Suddenly I spotted something that looked like an enormous beast. But as I came closer I saw that it was only a fallen tree.” In order to make stories interesting, lswaran added dramatic gestures to it. He would give the stories a surprise ending. Sometimes he would not end the story in order to heighten his master’s curiosity. Often he was ex-cited while telling a story. Then he would jump and stamp his feet in excitement.
Q.2. Describe lswaran’s encounter with the elephant.
Ans. One day, lswaran told Mahendra the story of a mad elephant. One day timberyard-It roamed here and them Then the tucker reached the town. Pete ran here and there in terror. l e_ i sometime, the elephant entered a school ground where children were playing: All the boys ran into RI an elephant escaped from the room and shut the doors. The elephant pulled out the football goalpost, tore the volleyball net and broke-that p c class- drum kept for water. Everyone watched helplessly. lswaran said that he was studying in the junior class at the time. He grabbed the stick of a teacher and came to the elephant. He struck the elephant’s toenail. It shivered and fell down. A veterinary doctor was called. After two days, the elephant’s mahout came and took it away. Iswaran told Mahendra that he made the elephant unconscious using the Japanese art karate or ju-jitsu.
Q.3. What did Iswaran tell Mahendra about a ghost? Describe Mahendra’s horrible experience one night. Why did he resolve to leave that place?
Ans. lswaran told Mahendra that entire factory area where he worked was once a burial ground. lswaran told Mahendra that he often saw ghosts at night. Sometimes, there appeared a horrible ghost of a woman. She held a foetus in her arms. Hearing this tale, Mahendra shivered. But he told lswaran that there were no ghosts in reality. From that time, Mahendra felt somewhat uneasy at night. One night, Mahendra was awakened up from sleep by a moan. The moan became louder. He looked out of the window. He saw a dark cloudy form of a woman, not very far away from a window. She was carrying a bundle in her arms. Mahendra began to sweat with fear. The next morning, Iswaran told Mahendra that he had also heard the moan at night. He had come to his room. He had seen that Mahendra was looking out of the window at the ghost of the woman. Mahendra was cold with fear. As soon as he reached the office, he handed in his papers for transfer from that place.
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4. Describe the things that attracted the child at the fair.
Ans. At the corner of the entrance to the fair, a sweetmeat-seller was calling out to the crowd. The child’s mouth watered for a burfi. He murmured slowly that he wanted to have a burfi. Next, a man was selling colourful balloons. The child wanted to have them all. A snake-charmer stood to play the flute to a snake. The child went towards him. But his parents had forbidden him to hear the coarse music of snake-charmers. So he moved further. A roundabout was going on in full swing. He wanted to go on it. These were the things that attracted the child at the fair.
5. How did the man, who picked up the lost child, try to soothe him?
Ans. The man first took the child to the roundabout. But the child did not want to have a ride on it. He then took him to the place where the snake-charmer was playing his flute. But the child shut his ears with his fingers. The man then took him near the balloons. He thought the bright colours of the balloons would distract his attention and quieten him. The child did not want the balloons either. The man still tried to make the child happy. He offered to buy the child a garland. But the man’s efforts proved futile. Then he took him to the sweet-shop. But the child did not want any sweets. He only wanted his parents.
Q6. How does Iswaran describe the uprooted tree on the highway? What effect does he want to create on his listeners? (Textual)
Ans Iswaran describes the uprooted tree by first adding suspense and then a surprise ending to the account. He uses his eyes and hands quite dramatically while recounting that he was alone on a deserted road when he saw something that looked like an enormous bushy beast. Later, on a closer look, he saw that it was a fallen tree with dry branches spread out.
He adopts this style of description because he wants to catch the attention of the listener. He employs suspense and adds details so that the story captivates his audience. His style of narrating stories was influenced by Tamil thrillers that were quite long. He knew from his experience of reading that elaborate descriptions made the story enjoyable and interesting. He wanted to give the same experience to his listener.
Q7. How does Iswaran narrate the story of the tusker? Does it appear to be plausible? (Textual) Ans: Iswaran narrates the story of the tusker in his unique style. He starts by giving an introduction (prologue) in which he describes elephants that turn wild and become uncontrollable. He then gives an account of how one day a tusker escaped from the timber yard and destroyed the bushes, creepers and branches that came it is way. While describing, Iswaran gets carried away by the narrative and jumps about on the floor. He continues narrating the details regarding the forced entry of the elephant first in the town and then in his school. He builds up the suspense by describing the fear that gripped the people of his town, his teachers and the boys in his school. He then very cleverly assumes the role of a hero and goes on to narrate how he, merely a junior student, grabbed a cane from a teacher and ran down to challenge the tusker. It tried to scare him by stamping its feet and kicking up mud. But Iswaran said that he was so brave that he hit hard on the third toenail of the elephant and the stunned animal shivered and collapsed.
The early part of this story that describes the havoc wreaked by the mad tusker is plausible. We often get to read news reports of such incidents in areas close to elephant habitats. However, the later part when Iswaran claims to disempower the elephant is impossible but hilarious. Taming a wild elephant in a snap with a cane held by a junior class student is far fetched but interesting.
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Q7. Mahendra calls ghosts or sprits a figment of the imagination. What happens to him on a full-moon night? (Textual)
Ans: Mahendra claimed that he was a brave and rational man. He scolded Iswaran when the latter talked about ghosts or spirits. He told him that such things were merely a figment of the imagination. However, deep inside he got scared when Iswaran told him that he had seen a female ghost and that the entire factory area where they lived was earlier burial ground.
One full-moon night, Mahendra was woken up from his sleep by a low moan close to his window. At first, he thought it to be some cat looking for mice but soon realized that it was not the case. However, he did not look out because he was afraid that he might find a ghost. When the sound grew louder, he could not resist anymore and lowered himself to the level of the windowsill to look out. There he saw a dark cloud like form holding a bundle. Mahendra got so frightened at this sight that he broke into a cold sweat and fell back on his pillow, breathing heavily.
Q8. “Iswaran is a fascinating storyteller”. Discuss. Or
Iswaran was a master storyteller. Describe his amazing narrative’ skills.
Ans: Iswaran is a fascinating storyteller who could weave out endless stories and anecdotes. He acquired this talent by reading Tamil thrillers. He would read these novels every day after lunch and relate them to his master in his leisure time. He always added suspense and surprise even to the smallest incident and could make up innumerable stories on different subjects. He would use facial and body expressions to add interest to the story. He would raise his eyebrows, wave his hands, and jump about imitating the characters in his stories. He would narrate a story in instalments and purposely leave it unfinished midway. On returning, he would not pick it up right away till reminded by his listener. He would narrate a new story every day and fill it with adventure, horror and suspense, thus entertaining Mahendra as television does.
Q9. What human values form the essence of Iswaran’s character?
Ans: Iswaran was a multitalented person whose character teaches us the values of dedication, cheerfulness and creativity. He carried off his duties as a cook by preparing the most delicious dishes like a .magician. He was dedicated to Mahendra and served him uncomplainingly regardless of the situation or the place. He enjoyed his job and would not sit idle when Mahendra was at work. In Mahendra’s absence, he would finish off cleaning and washing tasks. Iswaran was a curious learner. He developed the art of storytelling by reading Tamil thrillers. He could narrate a story every day by mixing suspense, adventure and horror to the episodes. He was a good and loyal companion to Mahendra and entertained him more than a TV. He was large-hearted and did not sulk even after getting a scolding from Mahendra. His innumerable positive values make him memorable.
Q10. What are the qualities of a good storyteller? How can you say that Iswaran was a fascinating storyteller?
Ans. A good storyteller has the quality to put the readers in thrill. He keeps the interest of the listener lively. He must have a good imagination and good skill. Iswaran has all the good qualities of a good storyteller. Iswaran is a fascinating storyteller. He seems to be a good dramatist. His story is full of great suspense and surprise. He told his story in a dramatic manner. Instead of saying uprooted tree, he would say that he saw huge bushy beast lying across the road. He had an amazing capacity to make stories. He always tried to introduce suspense and surprise in the narration of the simplest incident. Thus according to the text, Iswaran was a good storyteller.
Q11. Iswaran, the story-teller, had a sensational way of telling his stories. Do you think he did the right things by adding sensation to his stories?
Ans. Iswaran had an inborn skill for story-telling. He would add up suspense and surprise even to an ordinary incident. Mahendra had no choice but to listen to him uncritically. Then he would jump to another incredible story. When he was in the junior class, an elephant got mad. It uprooted bushes and trees and caused terrible destruction. When everyone was running helter-skelter, he stepped forward with a stick. He hit it hard on its third toenail. The beast shivered and collapsed. A veterinary doctor had to take a long time to revive the beast. Iswaran was highly inspired and copied the popular Tamil thrillers in this art.
Q12. Storytelling is an art. Comment with reference to the story `Iswaran the Storyteller’.
Ans. Story-telling is an art. The story-teller must have a grim tone, suitable expression of face and dramatic gestures of hands and body to leave a long-lasting impact on listeners. Stories can be made vivid by telling them in a unique style. Though stories are a figment of the imagination a perfect storyteller presents the facts. A good story has suspense in small things and has a surprise ending. Iswaran is a good storyteller. He used to read Tamil thrillers; it affected his behaviour. He used to narrate a small incident in a detailed way. He created suspense in small things and gave surprise endings. He was an expert in narrating stories in an elaborate way.
Q13. Right from childhood, we hear ghost stories. What should be our opinion about ghosts? Answer with reference to the story `Iswaran the Storyteller’.
Ans. Since our childhood, we hear the stories of a ghost. Sometimes we become frightened and fall asleep quickly. And sometimes we think about the action of ghosts. As children, we believe in the existence of ghosts. We become confident that ghosts exist in the world and become afraid of dark even if we see any horrible sight. Our belief in ghosts deepens further. In the story, Iswaran told Mahendra that he had seen a female ghost one day. He further told him that the ghost appeared off and on at midnight during the full moon. The ghost seemed an ugly creature with thick hair and a shrivelled face and it gave the impression of a skeleton holding a foetus in its arms. Although Mahendra called Iswaran a crazy fellow, he was frightened inside. However, at night he conjured up the ghost and started shivering. Thus, his belief in ghosts deepened and he decided to leave the place at once.
Q14. Iswaran served his master Mahendra with devotion and honesty. Do you think he was an ideal servant to his master?
Ans. Iswaran was an obedient person. He was Mahendra’s cook. He was very caring and hardworking. He did all the jobs such as cooking meal, washing clothes and chatting with Mahendra at night. He obeyed his master with full dedication. So, he was an asset to Mahendra. Any ideal servant should take every care of his master. He should keep his master satisfied in every way. As Mahendra was unmarried he was leading a lonely life. There was no one in the house who could give him company. Only Iswaran was in his house. Only he was his guide and friend. He was the source of entertainment for him. Thus, he was really an ideal servant of his master.
Q15. Iswaran narrated ghost stories to his master, Mahendra, which created fear in Mahendra’s mind. Was it right on the part of Iswaran to create fear in Mahendra’s mind?
Ans. Mahendra’s mind was influenced by the ghost stories told by Iswaran. Iswaran told Mahendra that the place was a former burial ground and he had seen a female ghost. Mahendra was influenced by this story and he too saw a similar female ghost outside his window. This made him leave the present house he was staying in. It is horrible that it was only a figment of his imagination and there was no real ghost. So he must have confirmed himself that he really saw a ghost before vacating his place. Mahendra felt frightened and ran to Ms office. Further, he decided to leave the haunted place at once. It was his art of telling stories which helped him to convince Mahendra that he should believe in the ghosts.
Q16. Even an educated person sometimes realises the existence of a ghost. Illustrate this with reference to Iswaran the Storyteller’.
Ans. A well educated and well-informed person would not believe in the existence of the ghost but sometimes the fear of their heart and effect of horror tales and haunted movies make them realise the existence of the ghost. Due to a psychological effect, the horrible scene does not get out of his mind and keeps on thinking about the existence of a ghost. When one is in deep thoughts about a certain scene, the things related to the scene appear like real before our eyes. The same is the story of the ghost. In the story, the skilled storyteller, Iswaran, makes his successful effort to make Mahendra realise about the ghosts’ world and he started to believe that the ghosts were really existed and decided to leave the place, taking it as haunted.