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The Portrait of a Lady Short Question Answer English
By- Khushwant Singh
1. How does Khushwant Singh describe his old grandmother?
Ans. Khushwant Singh says that his grandmother was so old that she could not get any older. Her face was full of wrinkles. She was short, fat and somewhat bent. It was unbelievable to imagine that she had once been young and pretty, and had a husband. The thought of her being a child once was almost revolting to him.
2. Give a pen-picture of the narrator’s grandfather as he appeared in the portrait.
Ans. The portrait of the narrator’s grandfather hung in the drawing room. He wore a turban and loose-fitting clothes. His long, white beard gave him the look of a 100-year-old man who could have only grandchildren.
3. What could the narrator not believe about his grandparents?
Ans. It was almost unbelievable that the author’s grandfather ever had a wife and children. He looked as if he could have only lots of grandchildren. In case of the author’s grandmother, it was difficult to imagine or believe that she, too, once used to play as a child, that she was ever young and pretty, or that she too had a husband.
4. Why did the narrator’s grandmother give the impression of ‘winter landscape in the mountains’?
Ans. The author’s grandmother used to wear spotless white clothes. She had silvery hair. White all over, she looked like the winter landscape in the mountains covered with snow. She recited her prayers all the time, so had a serene expression on her face which was like the peaceful, white mountains.
5. How did the old lady look after the narrator in the village?
Ans. The narrator was left to the care of his grandmother in the village home when his parents went to live in the city. She looked after the child with care and love. She bathed him, dressed him, fed him, got his school bag ready, and then took him to temple-school. She helped the boy with his lessons.
6. Why did the grandmother feed dogs and birds in the village and then in the city? What did the habit tell about her nature?
Ans. The old lady was a caring person. She had a love for birds and animals. In the village, she threw chapattis to the street dogs. In the city, she had no dogs around, so she began to feed little birds. This showed her affection for all living creatures and her noble nature.
7. How can you say that the grandmother was a deeply religious-minded lady?
Ans. The author’s old grandmother was deeply religious-minded. She all day long counted the beads of the rosary and recited prayers. She read scriptures inside the temple. She was disturbed to know that there was no teaching about God and scriptures at the city school. She fed the dogs in the villages and the birds in the city.
8. The thought was almost revolting. What was that thought and why was it disgusting?
Ans. The old grandmother often told the children of the games she used to play as a child. It seemed absurd or unbelievable and even Indecent on her part. The children treated those stories like fables. They found it hard to believe that their grandmother could have ever been young and pretty. They had always seen her as an old lady: so they liked to think of her only as their grandmother.
9. My grandmother and I were good friends. When was the friendship cemented and broken?
Ans. The author and his grandmother became good friends in the village home. The grandmother readied him for school and accompanied him there. They were together almost the whole day. Her affection and care lasted until her last breath. But in between, when they lived together in the city that link grew weak.
The author studied in an English school and was not taught about God and scriptures at all. Now she could not help him with his studies. Finally, he got a room of his own and this made her withdraw from him. But the friendship was broken only after she had died.
10. Why did the grandmother accompany the narrator to the school?
Ans. The grandmother was quite doting and was very affectionate towards her grandson. The author was a small boy. For his safe journey to and from school, she went with him to the temple-school. She utilised her time reading scriptures in the temple.
11. What made the grandmother unhappy in the city?
Ans. In the city, the friendship between the old lady and the little grandson came under strain. She was disturbed because she could not go with him to school, nor help him with his lessons. She did not approve of English education, particularly the music lessons. The author, as he grew up, got a room of his own. The growing distance between them upset her. All this made her unhappy.
12. What was the grandmother’s attitude towards English education and music lessons at school?
Ans. The old grandmother was old-fashioned in her thinking and she herself was not much educated. She did not believe in the things they taught in English schools. She was against English education as it imparted no religious teaching. She was of the view that music was meant only for beggars and prostitutes.
13. What was the common link of friendship between the narrator and his grandmother and when was it broken?
Ans. The common link between the old lady and her growing-up grandson was that they shared the same room in the city for several years. It was broken when he went to university and got a room of his own. She was left alone but she accepted her aloofness quietly.
14. How did the old grandmother keep herself busy in the city home?
Ans. When the author got a room of his own in the city home, the old lady accepted her aloofness calmly. She worked on her spinning wheel all day long and recited her prayers. Only in the afternoon did she take a half-hour break to rest and to feed the birds.
15. Give a brief account of the grandmother’s friendship with the sparrows in the city.
Ans. The old grandmother lost even the last link of friendship with the author so she made friends with the sparrows. In the afternoon, she threw small bits of bread to the birds who even sat on her shoulders and her head. After her death, the sparrows also grieved for her. Thousands of them made a circle round her. They made no noise, no movement. They refused to eat the crumbs offered to them. They flew away only after her dead body was taken away.
16. And at her age, one could never tell. What was it that one could never tell?
Ans. The author was going abroad for five years. He had a fear that the grandmother would be badly upset, and might not be able to bear the separation. At her age, she could die any day, any moment. Nobody could tell how long she would stay alive.
17. Give a brief account of how the grandmother saw the narrator off at the station and then celebrated his homecoming.
Ans. The old grandmother went to the railway station to see her dear grandson off. She showed no sentiments, no emotions. She only kissed his forehead. She was still there to receive him at the end of five years. She seemed to be very happy. In the evening, she celebrated his home-coming by singing songs and beating the drum. She was so tired that she was taken ill and she died the next day.
18. Only once did the grandmother not pray. When and why did she break that routine?
Ans. The grandmother was very punctual and regular in her prayers and counting of beads. She missed them only on the day of the return of the author from aboard. She collected some women, got an old drum, beat it and sang of the author’s home-coming. That was the only day in her life when she broke the routine.
19. Describe In brief how the old lady died peacefully.
Ans. Because of overstraining at such an old age, the grandmother was taken ill. She knew for certain that her end was near. So she declined to talk to anybody. She wanted to spend the last moments of her life praying and telling the beads of her rosary. Then slowly her lips stopped moving and the rosary fell from her lifeless fingers. Thus, She died peacefully.
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20. How and why did the sparrows mourn the death of the old grandmother?
Ans. The association or friendship of the old lady with the sparrows began in the city. Left alone, she sought the company of the sparrows. She fed them every day in the afternoon. The birds became very friendly and attached with her. So they felt bereaved when she died. They gathered around her and sat quietly until the dead body was carried off.
The Portrait of a Lady Value Based Questions
1. It really pained the grandmother that the schools did not teach anything about God and the scriptures. Should moral education be taught in schools? What do you think?
Ans. Our present education system has miserably failed to uplift the students’ moral, ethical and spiritual values. We require religion and morality to keep men as civilized human beings. We are raising the standard of living but not the standard of life. Performance of duty, consideration for fellow men and compassion has taken a back seat. The crisis of character looms large. Our lofty civilization is becoming hollow because it lacks high values and character. Value education is the need of the hour.
Morals are a set of principles which teach us the difference between right and wrong. Morality is religion in practice. Social evils prevail and their roots are due to lack of moral and spiritual education. Morals train man to be good and propagate goodness. if we do not impart moral education at the primary level, we will have a whole new generation of misguided youth.
If a section of this misguided youth indulges in loot, arson, robbery and if they do nothing for their family or country; then we have only ourselves to blame. To inculcate discipline and values in the children of today, the older generation has to guide them by setting an example before them.
2. Aged people should not be left behind and every effort should be made that they live with their children and grandchildren. This will inculcate a proper understanding between the old and the new generation. Pen down your views.
Ans. The aged people feel the need for physical. Moral, financial and emotional support from their children. They are left alone by their children quite often to lead a lonely life. Even their virtues become major vices.
When the aged are left alone, a fathomless gap appears between them and their children. The temporary separation which may be the outcome of circumstances is good as it enhances love and respect. The elderly live in their own world and it is difficult to change their lifestyle. They want nothing from the new generation except love and respect.
It is true that our new generation has its priorities but they must not become indifferent to the needs of the aged. When the aged live with their children, there comes a change in their outlook. Being experienced they try to adapt themselves to the new environment. A solution of old age problems lies not in building old age homes but giving them a little care, affection and love. We must remember that we, too, will be like them one day.
A thorough change of attitude is needed. The new generation can enrich itself by listening to the experiences of the elderly and they, in turn, can learn a lot about modern gadgets and things from the young. This will help in bridging the generation gap and give way to a healthy and happy society.
3. Parents face a dilemma—English education or no English education. Still, they go in for it. Discuss.
Ans. Parents want their children to study English as they know that if it is not done their children would lag behind in this competitive world. They fear that western culture and education can also take their children away from their own culture. So, they speak against English education but in their hearts, they feel somewhat satisfied.
We are facing a strange dilemma. What is the way out? A balance must be struck between English education and native culture. For that our children should be given moral education. The positive points of our culture should be inculcated in their minds. They should be told that unmindful and blind aping of the Western culture will make them disoriented and lead to an identity crisis.
English education without lessons in ethics and morality will do more harm than good. Generation gap will go on widening and materialistic attitude will be all pervasive. Thus, we can say that while English education is important to keep pace with the rest of the world; it is equally imperative for the young generation to be connected with their roots and culture.